Tech news stories

Indigenous ‘Thunderbird Strike’ Videogame Lets You Destroy Black Snake Oil Pipelines and Restore Buffalo
21st October 2017 | Earth, Humans, Tech

The symbolism of the thunderbird and the snake are prevalent in Anishinaabe culture and others. According to one version of the story, thunderbirds were a clan of people who were asked to return to the waters because the lightning from their eyes would kill others.  In this new videogame from Native American developers, you control a big greenish-blue thunderbird—hand-drawn and animated in a traditional woodland style—that flies around the screen and charges up electricity. Players then use its thunder to restore the local wolf, caribou, and buffalo populations, and also destroy vehicles and pipeline construction sites that threaten the environment.

Butterfly-Inspired Robot Undergoes Mechanical Metamorphosis
21st October 2017 | | Tech

Researchers at MIT say a new model for adaptive machines is beginning to emerge, one founded upon transforming from the outside (instead of the inside) using different exoskeletons.

Help Sought from Complimentary and Alternative Medicine to Remedy Health Problems in Europe
21st October 2017 | | Humans, Tech

Study found that complementary and alternative medicine are being used in Europe in connection with various health problems, particularly in situations where conventional medicine is considered by the patient to be inadequate.

NASA’s Robotic Psyche Asteroid Mission to Communicate Using Lasers
19th October 2017 | | Space, Tech

A spacecraft destined to explore a unique asteroid will also test new communication hardware that uses lasers instead of radio waves.  Psyche is both the name of an asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter — and the name of the NASA mission to visit that asteroid.

The Science Behind the New Weather-Fueled Doomsday Film “Geostorm”
19th October 2017 | | Earth, Space, Tech

Researchers have long sought control over the weather, but have yet to find a realistic way to master it.  Smithsonian takes a look at the film Geostorm to separate fact from science fiction.

Not Your Average Beach House
19th October 2017 | | Earth, Tech

When you live on the shore and the land can’t provide, you turn to the sea. Coastal dwellers know this well, and some have even brought the sea into their built environment. Whether due to a lack of terrestrial timber or an abundance of building blocks beneath the waves, humans from around the world have learned to make ingenious, reliable dwellings from surprising marine materials. Here are five coastal building materials that would not be, but for the sea.

Scientists Just Restored Breathing After Spinal Paralysis
19th October 2017 | Humans, Tech

Medical researchers from Case Western Reserve University have developed a treatment that could herald a breakthrough for patients with spinal cord injuries. Using a combination of drug and light therapy, researchers successfully activated an alternate nerve pathway in a rat with a severed spinal cord, allowing the animal to breathe without the assistance of a ventilator.

Google Maps Now Lets You Explore Space
19th October 2017 | | Space, Tech

The search giant Google has been working with NASA to include data from the Cassini mission, along with data from other missions, to allow users to tour 12 new worlds.

How Forest Forensics Could Prevent the Theft of Ancient Trees
18th October 2017 | | Earth, Tech

For tree poachers, sometimes known as midnight burlers, ancient giant redwood trees can present a lucrative opportunity for theft. To track down timber thieves, researchers are turning to new technology and tried-and-true criminal justice techniques.

Indigenous Artists in Australia Use Ancient Techniques to Create New Rock Art
17th October 2017 | | Ancient, Humans, Tech

A group of Indigenous artists from remote South Australia have been using ancient techniques to create brand new work. They are using ochre to paint stories on rocks, then taking stunning photos which they can sell. This allows artists to get out onto their country, teach the next generations their stories, and make money from the process. One artist painted the story of two sisters spearing a rainbow serpent at a waterhole.

America’s Corn Mazes: Where Getting Lost is an Art Form
17th October 2017 | | Earth, Tech

Hundreds of corn mazes now exist across the US.  Some are simple, designed by hand using graph paper and a tape measure, while others are created using GPS coordinates, computer-aided design software, and complex patterns that provide as much entertainment from their aerial view as they do on the ground.

Historians Claim to Have Found the Twin of Giza’s Great Sphinx
16th October 2017 | Ancient, Tech

NASA satellite photo shows an obvious underground anomaly near the Great Sphinx.  Egyptologist Bassam El Shammaa has applied for permits to dig in the anomalous mound next to the Sphinx to look for its long lost twin. In addition, the article shares this telling quote from an interview with historian author Gerry Cannon: “The Sphinx had to have been carved when there was no sand there. You can’t carve a rock when it’s under sand. When it was not under sand was about 12,000 years ago and Egyptians weren’t there.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Article mentions “NASA’s Endeavor Satellite” but there is no such satellite with that name.  Endeavor was a Space Shuttle orbiter which flew missions between May 1992 and May 2011. It deployed 3 satellites during that time, and had its own onboard cameras. So it is unclear what the article’s author is referring to as the source of the crucial aerial Giza photograph.

Apple Smart Watch Notification Helps Save Man’s Life
16th October 2017 | Humans, Tech

An Apple Watch notification from the HeartWatch App helped save man’s life in New York after it alerted him to needing immediate medical attention for a blood clot in his lungs.  Some doctors are now recommending both the watch and the app to their patients.

Pioneering Vet’s New Bovine TB Test May Put an End to Britain’s Badger Culls
15th October 2017 | | Animal Life, Tech

Research at a secret location in Devon, UK, may help eradicate bovine tuberculosis without a single badger being killed, says leading veterinarian.   A pioneering farm using cutting-edge science is helping to solve the hugely controversial, multimillion-pound problem of bovine tuberculosis may save the lives of 33,500 badgers per year.

Nebraska Archaeologists Bring Ancient Mezoamerican City to Life with Futuristic Technology
15th October 2017 | Ancient, Tech

To bring Ancient Copán to life, a team from University of Nebraska-Lincoln used a variety of technologies, including geospatial and 3-D mapping software, which gives the data collected on site a spatial reference point.  Airborne LiDAR, photogrammetry and laser scanning performed at the ruins allowed them to collect not just information on individual buildings and roadways, but entire landscapes. They were able to digitally peel away vegetation and reveal covered over surfaces as they would have appeared over a thousand years ago.  Article contains a short YouTube video of their virtual reality MayaCityBuilder rendering.

English Cathedrals Hope Apprenticeship Schemes Will Save Ancient Skills
15th October 2017 | | Ancient, Humans, Tech

Cathedrals in England are attempting to save ancient crafts by training apprentices in bell repair, stone masonry, and needlework. The skills have seen a revival in the past three years as new funding allowed cathedrals to expand their works yards and hire more apprentices.

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