While it may just be another flight back home from space for the Discovery spacecraft, 39 visits to space total, it’s the first for R2. R2 is a state of the art humanoid robot designed to help the ISS crew and was a subject of conversation during an interview between the crew and President Obama.
When they admitted that R2 remained in packing foam Obama joked:
“C’mon, unpack the guy! He flew all that way and you guys aren’t unpacking him?”
A sentimental point that both the crew of the ISS and President Obama brought up was the literally “out-of-this-world” harmony between nations.
Able to connect and collaborate without starting another cold war, the United States, Russia, European Space Agency, and Japan were able to build and maintain life on the I.S.S.
President Obama during the interview called the harmony a testimony to the way we need to
”live and work together productively in space, and maybe back here on earth.”
Colonel Steven Lindsey concurred, commenting on how
”All of these countries put together probably the most complex thing ever built, and built it in space.”
Not only did they put it all together in space, but as Col. Lindsey observed
”everything fit the first time we tried it.”
which makes it just poetic.
The proposal can be broken into three “phases”:
1. “ Develop proof-of-concept for manufacturing with distributed micro-robot swarm.” As well as “Develop the architecture for a networked real-time embedded system, i.e., cyber-enabled manufacturing, to design, plan and operate this micro-factory for desktop manufacturing.”
2. “Build a micro-robot swarm system that is capable parallel processing in the production the selected complex material system”
3. “Transition the micro-robot swarm desktop manufacturing technology to critical military use and the civilian sector. Build marketable manufacturing units and demonstrate the fabrication of test-beds.”
The proposal also notes that “A successful swarm micro-robot desktop manufacturing system would be useful for a variety of commercial applications. Such a manufacturing platform can be used to create super-strong components, ultra-lightweight materials, composite and hierarchical structures, complex part geometries, and/or multi-functional components.”
One possible reading of this proposal goes like this:
1. Prove we can make a micro-robot army, as well as bigger robots to make the smaller robots for us
3. Let the military have ‘em.
Oh and lets try to flip ‘em to make a profit too.
So it’s finally going to happen, robots building other robots–micro-other-robots! … better call Bridget Moynahan, Will’s gunna need a hand… that’s not robotic.
“We’ve been stuck for a quarter of a century with a keyboard and a mouse. It’s time to move to the next step and eye control technology is the perfect solution. It’s definitely going to be in the laptops of the future.”
Sweden’s Anders Olsson of Tobii technology told The Local, referring to the unveiling of Tobii Technology’s newest advancement: eye-controlled laptops!
Derived from the same technology that is used in cars to determine whether the driver is drowsy, eye-controlled laptops will help save battery life (able to recognize when you’re not looking at them, they’ll dim the screen), allow you to zoom when looking at images, and they will make transitioning between windows easier.
Though Tobii admits that the technology still needs to be refined, having just unveiled a prototype, they claim to
”look forward to working with our partners to find many exciting ways to share and integrate this technology to advance their work.”
I think I fantasize for many fellow gamers when I imagine a FPS controlled solely by your eyes! Praise those Swedish nerds!
Well not quite yet, but in Jack Ng’s email he claims that along with Jun Chen, and other super-nerds, they have discovered a
backward scattering force which pulls a particle all the way towards the source without an equilibrium point.
A few years ago we figured out that photons’ momentum can be used in order to manipulate other objects to move in a certain direction, i.e. a solar sail. Yet this new theory explains how one could create
“an additional degree of freedom to optical micromanipulation.”
Chen and friends now need to prove this theory with a demonstration and then we’ll be plucking Millenium Falcons out of space in no time.
The news is the bar codes that will be added to embryos (no RFID, here) are “biologically inert”:
The bar codes, which carry unique binary identification numbers, are biologically inert: they do not affect the rate of embryo development and are shed before the embryos implant into the wall of the uterus. The technique aims to simplify individual embryo identification, streamlining in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer procedures.
Battlestar Galactica executive producer Ronald D. Moore barred the BS technobabble that made so much of every show after the original Star Trek series aired.
That’s what allowed the epic space opera to come through.
And the guy he hired to keep the show honest has written a book about it:
Grazier – whose new book The Science of Battlestar Galactica finally puts geeks out of their misery by explaining the “hows”, “whys”, and “what ifs” – is blunt in explaining BSG’s success. BSG, he says, was not a technology show.This formula worked. BSG became a cult and critical hit. BSG was the first ever sci-fi show to earn a prestigious Peabody Award for its treatment of contemporary subjects. It won over fans of the 1970s original who were initially suspicious of Moore’s plans for their beloved show, and BSG secured a rarity for any TV sci-fi creation: the nodding approval of members of the science community.
If we are to believe transhumanists, people who bill themselves as champions of superlongevity and artificial human enhancement, 2045 should be a very good year.
But we won’t get there by counting on the biopharmaceutical complex, said open and citizen science proponent, Joseph Jackson:
“Technologists extrapolate these trends from certain domains and completely overestimate the progress we’ll make,’’ said Jackson, a Harvard University graduate who is developing a low-cost device to help scientists study DNA outside major laboratories. “Twenty years will tick by, and we’ll still be waiting.’’
Given that Verizon allowed the NSA to secretly tap millions of calls in the past decade, it’s stunning to see the company selling surveillance as sexy and empowering.
I am referring, of course, to Verizon’s new “Rule the Air” campaign.
In what might pass for a scenes from a remake of John Carpenter’s “They Live,” Verizon’s ads have buildings, a parking meter and other objects flowering into antennae that stalk cell phone-wielding models.
One blogger (excerpt and link below), notes the disturbing surveillance theme in “Rule the Air.”
But it is not enough to say that “Rule the Air” is Orwellian, just because it evokes a surveillance state nightmare. (Invariably, when people say, “Orwellian,” they are referring to “1984.”)
Even more insidious, and Orwellian, is the ad campaign’s vague and contradictory slogan. (Orwell warns of the perils of using imprecise language in his 1946 essay, “Politics and the English Language.”)
The truth, dear Verizon customers, is that you rule nothing.
If you ask me the whole thing seems a bit Orwellian and the Verizon red coupled with the vintage logo and the tag line, “Rule the air”, strangely evoked old-time war propaganda to me, but the effects are cool—and who doesn’t like the concept of reception everywhere.
In “Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food’’ (O’Reilly, about $35), Jeff Potter blends boring recipes, such as those for garlic mashed potatoes and chocolate chip cookies, with punishingly detailed (even for many geeks, I imagine) discussions of the chemistry behind tastes and fragrances, and the importance of cooking things long and hot enough to prevent foodborne illnesses.
But at times the book reads like more than a cookbook whose author is benignly attempting to work-up a new angle.
In a weird tangent, Potter makes a backhanded pitch for foods made with genetically modified organisms.
“What if a strain of rice could be produced that was more resilient in the face of floods and droughts?’’ asks Potter, as if saying “no’’ to such a product would make you heartless to the needs of people in developing nations.
Potter calls the GMO issue “an intensely charged political and social minefield.’’
But as any geek will tell you, the GMO debate is also about science. And scientists have not yet even agreed on standards for assessing the safety of GMO foods.