Tech news stories

Pet Companion Robot Plays Fetch with Dogs
24th August 2017 | | Animal Life, Tech

Do you ever feel guilty about leaving your dog at home alone when run errands or head to work?  If you do, a new robot may be able to change that. The Anthouse Pet Companion Robot can play fetch, feed and even let you talk to your pet from your desk. The $349 robot, which comes in white or yellow, can be set to automatic mode or be controlled via a companion app to interact with pets in real-time.

UK’s Royal Mail Service Begins Testing Electric Vans in London
24th August 2017 | | Tech

UK postal service the Royal Mail is trialling completely electric vans from carmaker Arrival. Arrival, also based in the UK, has partnered with the postal service to operate nine trucks to deliver mail and packages in London and surrounding areas. The trucks are three different sizes and will begin deliveries today from the postal service’s central London hub.

Robot Priest Can Perform Buddhist Funeral Rites and Drum Rituals in Japan
24th August 2017 | | Tech

A “robot priest”, dubbed Pepper, adorned with Buddhist robes and a high-resolution tablet is now programmed to perform funeral rites for less cost than a human.  The robot displayed its funeral rite capabilities including sutras chanted in a computerized voice and a drum ritual at a recent funeral industry event in Tokyo, the Life Ending Industry Expo.

Facebook Outage in Europe Causes Thousands to Panic
24th August 2017 | | Tech

Facebook’s website appears to be suffering a serious outage, leaving online social network users unable to login, share posts, or check their Newsfeed. Thousands of Facebook users in the UK, Europe and parts of the US are reporting issues regarding the site not working every minute.  This article includes information on a user-determined bypass solution. At the time of publication, both the root cause and estimated time of its correction are unknown.

NASA Chief: “There’s More Going On in Space Right Now Than I’ve Ever Seen in My Career”
23rd August 2017 | Space, Tech

It’s an exciting time for those interested in space and everything it has to offer us. Between our potential to travel in space and how much we’ve come to learn, and can still learn, from unmanned probes and satellites, it’s hard to not be hopeful for the future of our interest in the seemingly-boundless expanse that surrounds us.  NASA’s Acting Administrator Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr., feels the same about the exploration of space.  To him, the many plans, projects, and initiatives focused in this respect are well worth getting excited about.

Toyota Patents Cloaking Device: Are They Making an Invisible Car?
23rd August 2017 | Tech

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota is developing a device that would allow objects to turn invisible, or at least transparent. They recently received a patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office for a device meant to improve the visibility of drivers by removing existing and problematic “blindspots”.

Researchers Use Lasers to Weld Spider Silk to Kevlar
23rd August 2017 | Tech

Spiders aren’t domesticated, and attempts to make the silk proteins in other organisms haven’t been entirely successful.  The silk, once you have it, doesn’t always cooperate with modern manufacturing techniques.  But researchers in India figured out a way to get spider silk to play nicely with lasers. Under the right conditions, the silk itself helps amplify a laser’s power, to the point where it can either cut the silk in specific locations, or soften it to the point where it can be bent or welded.

Gaia’s First Full-Colour Sky Map
22nd August 2017 | Space, Tech

While surveying the positions of over a billion stars, ESA’s Gaia mission is also measuring their colour, which is a key diagnostic in studying the physical properties of stars. A new image provides a preview of Gaia’s first full-colour all-sky map, which will be unleashed in its highest resolution with the next data release in 2018.

New Homeopathic Remedy for Migraines Wins Award
22nd August 2017 | | Humans, Tech

Migraines are a problem that afflicts 1 in 4 US households.  They can sometimes be caused by magnesium deficiency, and hospital emergency rooms often give migraine patients an IV treatment that contains magnesium. Taking magnesium at home rarely works because oral forms of magnesium, such as pills, are poorly absorbed by the body and have little effect on migraines.  But Zyclear was created to solve this problem, and is made from a special form of liquid magnesium that is applied to the back of the neck and absorbs through the skin, making it highly effective.

Greening the Concrete Jungle with Environmentally Friendly Cement
22nd August 2017 | Earth, Tech

Cement is the world’s most widely used material apart from water, largely because it is the key ingredient in concrete, the world’s favourite building material.  With some tweaks to the recipe, cement and concrete can be made kinder to the planet.

First Ever Woman in China Cryogenically Frozen
22nd August 2017 | | Humans, Tech

Cryonics is the practice of deep-freezing recently deceased bodies, or even just the brains of those who have recently died,  in the hopes of one day reviving them. It has been the subject of serious scientific exploration and study – as well as a fair share of pseudoscience, lore, and myth. But recently, for the first time ever in China, a woman has been cryogenically frozen who died at the age of 49 from lung cancer.

Interactive NASA Globe Shows Paths of Next 15 Total Solar Eclipses Over Two Decades
21st August 2017 | | Earth, Space, Tech

Developed by a retired NASA astrophysicist, this user-friendly interactive globe showing the routes taken of more than a dozen total eclipses of the sun taking place around the world over the next two decades. In the map below, the three lines of each path represent the northern, central and southern borders of the path of totality.  Note: The interactive globe works best in the latest versions of Safari, Chrome and other browsers.

Celestial School Supplies for Space Cadets
21st August 2017 | | Humans, Tech

Just in time for back-to-school.  Take a step back from your telescope and take a look at these goodies.  With these stellar items at your fingertips, you’ll be able to blast off into the school year, ready and willing to explore the great unknown.

What Scientists Learn From Spectacular Blackout of Total Solar Eclipse
21st August 2017 | Space, Tech

For most Americans, the total solar eclipse on August 21 will be a piece of celestial entertainment. Impressive, even awe-inspiring, but perhaps also a welcome distraction from work, or something to bring the family together for a few brief minutes.  For scientists across the nation, however, the event will be an unmissable opportunity to learn about aspects of space and the sun they can’t study properly at any other time. Here are some of the experiments that will be taking place during the brief blackout.

Fascinating Eclipse Related History Facts For Your Reading Pleasure
21st August 2017 | | Ancient, Earth, Humans, Space, Tech

This lengthy, but well-written and entertaining article, many eclipse related history topics are discussed including, but not limited to:  Galileo, Christopher Columbus, the Pitcairn Islands, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Thales the Milesian, and Bailey’s Beads.

How a Smart Skywatching Author Convinced a Commercial Airline to Chase the Solar Eclipse
21st August 2017 | | Humans, Space, Tech

This is a rather detailed scientific firsthand account about how you can sometimes move mountains — or, in this case, airplanes — with a simple suggestion.  A planetarium instructor convinced Alaska Airlines to change flight times, among other things, to provide a glimpse of the darkening sun.  They’ve done it more than once, for passengers since 2015, and the flights are not specially advertised.

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