- Pick of the Week
- #10: Armadillo: the Adorable Killer
- #9: Blame Your Parents
- #8: Most Significant Post?
- #7: Hey Look, No Tech Stories
- #6: Professional Chicken Confusers
- #5: Bananas All The Way
- #4: Explaining the Japanese Quake
- #3: Google Cars and Zombie Ants
- #2: Breakthroughs and Blast-offs
- #1: Ants and Anti-Lasers
|#2: Breakthroughs and Blast-offs|
|Monday, 28 February 2011 22:45|
Good grief, is it Tuesday already? Well, no, obviously it's not: I am not typing this on Tuesday, you can see that plainly enough from the timestamp up there, just below the stars. Clearly I was just engaging in some lighthearted banter under the pretense that... you know what? Here's the news.
As that picture might subtly have hinted, this week saw the last ever launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery. The historic craft (yes, historic. Space flight is that new) has carried hundreds of people into space, and put the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit. Its final mission is a rendezvous with the International Space Station, with a delivery of hardware, experiments, storage modules... and Robonaut 2, the first ever "dextrous" humanoid robot in space. So Robonaut 1 was a total butterfingers, presumably.
Microsoft's Kinect, a quite breathtakingly awesome piece of motion-sensing hardware for the Xbox 360, continues to be hacked and used for purposes other than playing computer games, much to Microsoft's chagrin. This time, though, it's not a lone hacker who wants to run motion capture tech in Linux. It's a team effort that combines Kinect's full-body scan with a 3D printer, to create a 3D print... of you. This is big: 3D printing is a wonderful technology, with a huge number of applications, but large-scale stuff has so far been restricted by lack of a cost-effective scanning device. With 8 million Kinects sold (and rising), Microsoft may have provided us with one.
A new drug has been developed for treating cystic fibrosis, and for the first time, it looks like it's actually going after the cause of the disease and not just the symptoms. Those who took it had their lungs' function significantly increased and also saw improvement with regard to the "secondary" problems typical of the disease, such as poor weight gain. Not quite a complete cure, but (so the creaors hope) the first step towards one.
And finally, prepare to cling desperately to the brims of your hats (lest they be blown clean, clean off), because do you remember the scaremongering over mobile phones when they first became a big thing? Do you remember all those doctors worried that mobile phone radiation would give you brain cancer and all that kind of thing? (If you answered 'no', you're officially young enough to make me feel old. Curse you and your perfect, unblemished skin.) Well, it turns out that mobile phone radiation actually increases brain activity. No, we don't know whether that's a good or a bad thing yet (it's probably neither), but it's certainly intriguing. I wonder how long it'll take until we can understand the effect, and make brain-manipulation hardware with it?
|Last Updated on Friday, 07 October 2011 14:24|