Futurology ~ Asteroid Games, robots, steel concrete, toilet archaeology, dog origins, 6th extinction


A sperm whale circled a robe-camera several times
A sperm whale circled a robo-camera several times – all caught on film 598m below the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.

PHD Asteroid Games — There’s a 300-metre asteroid headed straight for the Earth. You’ve got five days to come up with a plan, or go the way of the dinosaurs. This is the scenario being war-gamed by a roomful of PhDs as we speak.
~ I say ‘Blast off for the moon with Richard Branson!’

Scary robots of the future might be closer than we think — The new doco Inhumankind is a sobering exploration how our robot fears might be more realistic than we think. The Motherboard crew go talk to the teams that are developing humanoid robots for the government, as well as to critics who warn about the dangers of that might arise if artificial intelligence and military technology do collide.
~ Haven’t they always collided?

Robot-whale encounter goes swimmingly — The robot ‘Hercules’ is a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) designed for ocean explorers, and well suited to study archeology, biology and geology and more in the deep sea down to depths of 4000m. Here it meets an interested sperm whale.
~ Majestic.

‘Ferroc’ came from a failed lab experiment — It’s made from the waste of steel mills (steel dust) and doesn’t use the same heat-intensive production process of cement. It’s also more durable and stronger than cement. But it’s biggest selling point may be the fact this mixture of chemicals actually sucks up CO2 and traps it.
~ China alone used as much cement in the last three years as the US used in the last 100 – and cement pushes carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. 

Quest to fix toilet reveals archaeology — Fifteen years ago, Luciano Faggiano of Lecce, Italy sent his sons out digging for a broken sewer line. They didn’t find the pipe, but they did find a Messapian tomb, a Roman granary, a Franciscan chapel and even etchings from the Knights Templar.
Faggiano ended up creating an underground museum. Descending into the Museo Fagganio today is like descending through the city’s history, with stops in the Roman, medieval and Byzantine eras.
~ And the sons eventually found the broken sewer pipe after several years of digging.

Where dogs come from — For years researchers have argued over where and when dogs arose. Some say Europe, some say Asia. Some say 15,000 years ago, some say more than 30,000 years ago. But now they might be close to identifying the place.
~ And some, like me, say ‘who cares?’

Oldest stone tools — Researchers say they have found the oldest tools made by human ancestors: stone flakes dated to 3.3 million years ago. That’s 700,000 years older than the oldest-known tools to date, suggesting that our ancestors were crafting tools several hundred thousand years before our genus Homo arrived on the scene.
~ Genius genus. 

Sixth extinction — Earth has seen its share of catastrophes, the worst being the ‘big five’ mass extinctions scientists traditionally talk about. Now, paleontologists are arguing that a sixth extinction, 260 million years ago, at the end of a geological age called the Capitanian, deserves to be a member of the exclusive club.
~ I reckon have as many as you want, as long as they’re in the past.