Tag Archives: news future

Futurology ~ Cosmic guffaw, Io lava waves, scary-smart homes, intelligent intersections, touchpaint, laser-etcher, talking browser, synthetic bone

New cosmic radio burst stumps scientists — Fast radio bursts are split-second intergalactic blips of radio waves we’ve detected over the last decade. You’d think that if we pointed our telescopes and other space cameras in the direction these bursts came from, we’d spot something else, too. But no.
Scientists spotted the newest burst (and the 22nd ever), FRB 150215, on 15 February 2015 with the Parkes Telescope in Australia. FRB 150215 was strange for lots of reasons. But despite what may have been the most well-coordinated follow-up effort yet with all sorts of equipment, scientists still don’t know the cause of it, or similar FRBs spotted on different occasions.
~ It was a cosmic guffaw that so-called sentient beings could vote in an idiot to rule the world’s most powerful, thus dangerous, country. 

Massive lava waves on Jupiter’s moon Io — Io is the closest thing we have to Hell in our Solar System, a Jovian moon that features hundreds of active volcanoes and expansive lakes filled with lava. New observations suggests that the largest of these lakes, Loki Patera, produces enormous waves that repeatedly flow around the molten surface.
~ Sounds like fun – as the crust breaks apart, it’s possible that magma spurts upward in fire mountains.

Scary-smart homes — To set up a connected home, you’ve got two options: buy a bunch of smart gadgets that may or may not communicate with other smart gadgets. Or you can retrofit all of your appliances with sensor tags, creating a slapdash network. The first is expensive. The second is a hassle.
Before long, though, you might have a third choice: one simple device that plugs into an electrical outlet and connects everything in the room.
~ Are you listening, Stephen King?

Intelligent intersections — Clemson researcher Ali Reza Fayazi has provided a tantalizing glimpse at that future, a proof-of-concept study showing that a fully autonomous four-way traffic intersection is a hundred times more efficient at letting traffic flow than the intersections you and I currently navigate. Because cars don’t sit idling at the lights, Fayazi calculated it would also deliver a 19 percent fuel saving.
~ Give this bloke a medal! 

Touchscreen paint — Touchscreen smartphones and tablets are so intuitive that even babies can easily learn how to use them. So why can’t any object work like a touchscreen? Everything from guitars to jelly might soon be able to, thanks to scientists at Carnegie Mellon University who came up with a way to use conductive spray paint to make almost any object touch-friendly.
~ Could lend a new spin to graffiti. 

Laser-etch colour printer — A new laser printer can etch microscopic patterns onto sheets of plastic. Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark have taken inspiration from creatures like butterflies and peacocks, whose wings and feathers create bright, iridescent colours not through light-absorbing pigments, but by bending and scattering light at the molecular level, creating what’s known as structural colour.
~ It works by modulating the surface to control how light is reflected. 

Annoyingly browser-based voice synthesiser — Neil Thapen’s Pink Trombone is a browser-based speech synthesiser that lets you manipulate a simulated mouth, throat, tongue, and nasal cavity to create a remarkably realistic – and equally annoying – human voice [Main picture, above].
~ Aaaah … aah … Great to troll your co-workers with.

Synthetic bone implant — Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a synthetic bone implant with functional marrow able to produce its own blood cells. So far, researchers revealed in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, they have successfully tested the engineered bone tissues in mice. But one day, those biomimetic bone tissues could provide new bone marrow for human patients in need of transplants, too.
~ We Can Build You. 

Futurology ~ Virtual Mars sightseeing, Mars crab, dark moon transit, carbon now pollution, tiny NZ buzz-saw, tiny transporter, skin neurons

You can now tour the Red Planet's southern hemisphere virtually
You can now tour the Red Planet’s southern hemisphere virtually

Atlantis Chaos on Mars — The Atlantis Chaos is a region on Mars splattered with small peaks and troughs, the result of erosion of a once-flat plateau. Thanks to the magic of technology (and the ESA’s hard work), you can take a virtual flight over the area.
~ Virtually being so much more attractive to me than actual, in this case. 

Rover found a Mars crab. Maybe — Well, it looks pretty convincing
~ ‘Take me to your head chef’.

DarkMoonDark side of the moon in transit — A stunning video shows our moon fly across the face of our Earth. The detail is incredible, the size difference is dramatic, and it’s just lovely to see the phenomenon happen from outside Earth. We see the moon streak the sky every night, this is what it looks like from out in space.
~ No crabs, though. 

Why carbon i s now called ‘pollution’ — Carbon dioxide and methane (also a form of carbon pollution) concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing. These molecules absorb heat that would otherwise escape the Earth, and that’s causing our planet to warm up, which is in turn causing ice caps to melt and sea levels to rise. Some of that extra carbon is also dissolving into the oceans, causing them to become more acidic and less hospitable to certain marine ecosystems.
~ Fascinatingly, this is happening whether you’re a conspiracy theorist or not.

BuzzTiny NZ buzz-saw you could swallow — New Zealand’s Lance Abernethy is back with another impossibly tiny 3D-printed power tool. It works, too – it’s powered by little hearing aid battery.
~ Great for model makers?

wlakcrTiny personal transporter looks like a ride-on MacBook — Parking a car in a crowded city is a nightmare, but navigating office towers with a bike in tow is no picnic either. The WalkCar promises to solve your commuting dilemma with a personal mobility device that’s so small you can carry it around in a laptop bag. The 3kg four-wheeled transport is designed to carry passengers as heavy as 120kg for up to 12km on a single three-hour charge.
~ Doesn’t get your email, though. 

New neurons for Alzheimers sufferers could come from skin cells — Using a special mix of small molecules, two groups of scientists in China have successfully turned human skin cells into neurons. They hope their technique could one day help rejuvenate failing tissues in the brains of Alzheimers patients.
~ I’d be happy if my skin just made some new skin cells.