Space and all that — Last week, astronomers announced our nearest neighbouring star hosts an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone—an exciting prospect for alien life, and a possible second home for humanity. But before we assemble the interstellar welcoming party to greet our cosmic neighbours, we need to figure out whether Proxima b is capable of supporting life at all. That question could be answered in less than three years.
The hunt for the 9th planet has led to the discovery of many other objects in the outer Solar System, we finally know what caused those weird craters on Phobos [they’re self-inflicted!], there’s a giant ice volcano on Ceres, Juno’s latest images shows a barely recognisable gas giant, and astronauts have finally tested an alien-detecting DNA sequencer in space, and it has been announced NASA’s new lander will head to Mars in 2018.
~ A veritable space opera for you.
Schiphol shows off the world’s biggest Lenticular Print Wall — Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, and you’ll pass a long wall of drifting clouds. It looks like a very big LED screen but it isn’t. There’s dimension to this cloudscape. There’s parallax. And when you stop moving, the clouds do, too. Daan Roosegaarde created the mural: a 112-metre shapeshifting panorama that used lenticular technology (little lenses over ink, basically).
~ Far canal, Amsterdam!
3D prints remember their shapes — MIT researchers are using a new 3D-printing process to create tiny structures that change shape at specific temperatures – opening the door for a new drug delivery system that only medicates patients if they have a fever.
Dogs understand what you’re saying, not just the sound of your voice — New research reveals that canines understand more subtleties in speech than we thought, thanks to similarities in brain regions to those of humans. A study by a team at Eötvös Loránd University found that dogs understand both words and intonation to degrees.
~ Dog, leave me alone …
IBM’s AI-made trailer — Morgan, staring Kate Mara and Paul Giamatti, is a sci-fi thriller about scientists who’ve created a synthetic humanoid whose potential has grown dangerously beyond their control. Fitting, then, that they’d employ the help of America’s AI sweetheart IBM Watson to build the film’s trailer, which you can see here.
~ Yay! So even the creative trades will soon be replaced…
Museum collection goes online — Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian Design Museum spans 3000 years of history. The oldest object in the collection is the Egyptian ‘lotus-shaped cup. Some of the newest artifacts, like architectural drawings acquired in recent years, are of structures that haven’t even been built yet. Ancient history, the future, and all the years in between — that’s a lot of stuff. And now you can see it all online.
~ 92% of the collection is viewable. It’s a brilliant resource for students of design.