Futurology ~ Crab Nebula, robot killer, rat heart swimmer, only 6 books, Russian special forces food


Robotics and cybernetics have been melded with the creation of a fully controllable robotic ray that uses light-activated rat muscle cells to swim.
Robotics and cybernetics have been melded with the creation of a fully controllable robotic ray that uses light-activated rat muscle cells to swim.

What’s in the Crab Nebula — The exploded star is spinning at the centre of the nebula incredibly fast — 30 complete rotations every second — and generating a force so strong that the forces keeping it from simply flinging itself out into space are more than 10 billion times stronger than steel.
~ My imagination is officially defied. 

Bomb robot used to kill man — A police standoff with a suspect in the killing of five police officers in Dallas came to an abrupt end on Friday morning in an unusual way. The police said that negotiations broke down, an exchange of gunfire happened, but then they had no option but to use “bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was.” This represents an unprecedented shift in policing.
~ Slippery, slippery slope.

Rat heart cells power robo-stingray — Harvard researchers reported in the journal Science last week that they’ve built a “bio-inspired swimming robot that mimics a ray fish [and] can be guided by light.” The robot’s body consists of “a cast elastomer body with a skeleton of gold, along with a single layer of carefully aligned muscle fibers harvested from neonatal rat hearts.”
~ Who could make this stuff up? 

Only six book plots exist — Researchers from the Computational Story Lab at the University of Vermont in Burlington used sentiment analysis (analysis of emotion in a string of words) to map the plot of over 1700 works of fiction. By looking at how the emotional tone of a story changes from moment to moment, the researchers could see the overall emotional arc of the stories and deduced only six plots exist.
Ready? They are fall-rise-fall, as in Oedipus Rex; rise and then a fall, like what happens to most villains; fall and then a rise, like what happens to most superheroes; steady fall, like in Romeo and Juliet; steady rise, like in a rags-to-riches story; and rise-fall-rise, ie Cinderella.
~ Don’t worry, there aren’t that many musical notes available either, and look what’s resulted. Besides, I can think of another: no rise and no fall; just narrative. Hah! In your face!

Russian Special Forces rations include brain pâté — ‘Steve198’ has a penchant for consuming rare and obscure military rations. Recently he decided to scarf down several meals intended for the Spetsnaz (Russian special forces) for when those troops are travelling through mountains. It’s hearty. It’s weird. And there’s lots of it.
~ At least you can probably smellthem coming …
Or leaving. 

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