Companies are increasingly collecting amounts of digital information that are so large as to be unwieldy. It's no surprise that finding a way to securely store, categorize and recall this information efficiently is a huge advantage for any enterprise or organization.
The growth of information has introduced an entirely new category of software in the big-data arena, which includes a variety of databases, processing engines, and applications. The main objective of all of these tools is to make data more malleable and consumable so that it can be used in an easier way.
The satellite that once confirmed the existence of a hole in the ozone layer is now tearing a new path across the sky in a final fiery descent back to Earth, and there's a chance it could hit you upside the head.
OK, so the chance that you'll get smacked with space junk this week is only about 1 in 20 trillion, but why risk it? You can track the Thelma and Louise-style ending of the Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite--or UARS for short--on your Android phone or tablet with an app called Satellite AR.
AGI--makers of the augmented reality app that also has the nifty ability to tell you what satellites are currently passing overhead by simply pointing your phone's camera at the sky--have added a temporary button to the app's menu to easily keep track of UARS' demise.
While the odds that you, specifically, will wind up in an involuntary boxing match with UARS are in the trillions, the chance that someone on Earth will be hit by a piece of the satellite is about 1 in 3,200--that's lower than the acceptable threshold of 1 in 10,000 that NASA adopted after UARS was launched.
NASA's decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, out of gas and out of control, is not descending toward re-entry as rapidly as expected, officials say, likely delaying the satellite's kamikaze plunge to Earth by a few hours, to late Friday or early Saturday.
Experts expect more than two dozen chunks of debris to survive re-entry and hit the ground in a 500-mile-long footprint somewhere along the satellite's orbital track. But given the bus-size 6.3-ton's satellite's trajectory and the vast areas of ocean and sparsely populated areas UARS passes over, experts say it is unlikely any … Read more
Can the merciless resolve of a robot overlord help you shed pounds? A Hong Kong startup is hoping dieters are willing to pony up for a $960 droid instead of just using an app.
Intuitive Automata is accepting orders for Autom, its cute robot weight-loss helper that has long been in development.
The 15-inch talking droid has an LCD touch screen. Users enter data on calories they consume and the exercise they do each day. The robot responds with customized advice and encouragement, and can download new speech patterns from the Internet so the chatter doesn't get too dull.
Developer Cory Kidd says that many dieters have tried phone- or Web-based apps to get rid of excess weight, but there's a "psychological difference" in using a machine with a head, blinking eyes, and body.
Perhaps Autom's face-tracking function and big blue eyes will make users feel guilty about sneaking that pizza slice between meals. Kidd refers to Autom with female pronouns, and says "she" doesn't scold users.
A study by Kidd compared 45 dieters in the Boston area and monitored their calories and exercise by computer, on paper, or with Autom. The results showed the robot helped people stick to their diets for nearly twice as long as the other tracking methods. … Read more
European physicists have measured tiny particles called neutrinos moving just faster than the speed of light--only a smidgen faster, but enough to raise a serious possibility that Einstein's physics need a major overhaul.
The scientists sent a beam of neutrinos from CERN, on the Swiss-French border near Geneva, to the INFN (Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare) Gran Sasso Laboratory in central Italy, 730 kilometers (454 miles) away, in a research project called OPERA. The physicists had planned to study a rare event, the transformation of the muon variety of neutrinos into the tau variety. Instead, they found the extraordinary … Read more
Armchair satellite trackers hoping to catch a glimpse of NASA's doomed Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite when it plunges back to Earth on Friday will need patience, access to the Internet, a clear sky, and a large helping of luck, experts say.
Even with last-minute updates from NASA and U.S. Strategic Command pinpointing when and where UARS will begin its final plunge, the sheer size of the planet, with its vast stretches of ocean and remote terrain, means the odds of catching a glimpse of the spacecraft's fiery demise--or of being anywhere near any falling debris--will be remote.
But as re-entry footage of the old Russian Mir space station and the more recent flaming fall of a European cargo craft show, satellite "decays" offer the public and experienced amateurs alike a chance to witness a fairly spectacular show.
The UARS re-entry "is nothing to be particularly worried about, and if you're very lucky and in the right place at the right time, you may see quite a nice little fireworks show from it. But it's highly improbable that you'll get even that much out of it," said Ted Molczan, a well-known satellite watcher whose computer analysis and predictions have helped sophisticated hobbyists around the world track down spy satellites and other challenging targets.
"You have to maintain reasonable expectations. And in this case, the right expectation is, 'I'm not going to see this.' On the other hand, if you stop there it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So you do want to see it, you know you won't, but (if you make the effort) you might!"… Read more
The iPad might be winning the tablet battle on the ground, but Android is on its way to owning the air. Boeing has chosen the Android platform for in-flight entertainment for its new 787 Dreamliner airplane. Once integrated, passengers will be able to play games, listen to music, watch video, and more from the comfort of their seat.
In 2008, University of Washington scientists released the game Foldit, hoping a sort of critical mass of gamers would mess around with proteins and, in the process, uncover some of their intrigue. (We have more than 100,000 types of proteins in our bodies alone.)
Last year, we checked in on the project's progress, and principal investigator Zoran Popovic said that some 60,000 people worldwide had taken on the challenge. Popovic hoped the initial results his team reported on last year would convince those on the sidelines that scientific discovery games could actually lead to important breakthroughs.