In space, no one can hear a dying star scream, but you can certainly see the aftermath if you have a space telescope. To celebrate the spooky season, NASA released three images of "the disembodied remains of dying stars" captured by the Spitzer Space Telescope.
The images of planetary nebulae were captured in infrared light, showing the death of three stars, one of which looks an awful lot like the Mutara Nebula from "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."… Read more
The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday released a newly revised policy statement that essentially calls out parents for being naive when it comes to the way and extent to which their kids use media today.
"This is the 21st century and they need to get with it," Dr. Victor Strasburger, lead author of the new policy and a University of New Mexico adolescent medicine specialist, told The Associated Press. "I guarantee you that if you have a 14-year-old boy and he has an Internet connection in his bedroom, he is looking at pornography."… Read more
The world portrayed by Tom Cruise and his slick, glove-manipulated holographic operating system in "Minority Report" has been inching closer to reality for some time now, and as the video below shows, it could come way ahead of schedule and be even cooler than Hollywood's original vision of the future.
Taiwan's nonprofit Industrial Technology Research Institute pointed me to the below demo of its new i-Air Touch (iAT) Technology, which is essentially an augmented-reality system that falls somewhere between the compact specs of Google Glass and the original, bulkier virtual-reality systems of the 1990s. Unlike Google Glass however, it doesn't rely primarily on voice commands. Instead, it projects a virtual touch-based interface in the user's field of vision that appears to float in the air and responds to being "touched." Watch the video below for a better explanation -- a picture is definitely worth a thousand words in this case.… Read more
There's a high incidence of mental illness reported among soldiers compared with the general population -- in fact, one in nine medical discharges is due to mental illness, according to US Army statistics. This is not surprising. If you ask people to see and do horrific things, it will likely impact them in pretty significant ways.
DARPA is seeking to understand more about how the brain works in hopes of developing effective therapies for troops and veterans. It has announced a new $70 million project called the Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (Subnets).
Subnets is inspired by Deep Brain Stimulation, or DBS, a surgical treatment that involves implanting a brain pacemaker in the patient's skull to interfere with brain activity and help with symptoms of diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson's. DARPA's device will be similar, but rather than targeting one specific symptom, it will be able to monitor and analyze data in real time and issue a specific intervention according to brain activity. … Read more
"Imagine you have a collection of pebbles, and you wrap a whole bunch of elastic bands around them," Neville Hogan, a mechanical engineering professor at MIT, said in a school news report. "That's pretty much a description of what the ankle is. It's nowhere near a simple joint from a kinematics standpoint."
It sounds like the setup for an episode of "The X-Files." A satellite records evidence of a mysterious cluster of lights in the Atlantic ocean, far from human civilization. Could it be the reappearance of all the lost ships from the Bermuda Triangle? Could it be a secret alien headquarters hidden in plain sight on the ocean's surface?
The actual answer is a little more mundane, but still fascinating. The lights, seen in dramatic groupings between 200 and 300 miles off the coast of Argentina, have been identified by NASA as fishermen. The lit-up boats are gathering a particular species of squid (Illex argentinus) found in those waters.… Read more
Remember that Lego spaceship you once built? What if it could have a working thruster the size and weight of a Lego brick?
MIT professor Paulo Lozano is designing prototype "microthrusters" that would propel pint-size satellites in orbit and into deep space.
The director of MIT's Space Propulsion Laboratory believes such microthrusters and the scaled-down satellites they would power could radically reduce the cost of space missions compared with conventional spacecraft technology. … Read more