Archives for March 13, 2008

Robot Trouble in Space

“Spacewalk on Despite Robot Trouble … NASA pressed ahead with the first spacewalk of shuttle Endeavour’s space station mission Thursday night despite a problem getting power to a giant robot that needs to be assembled by astronauts. The trouble cropped up earlier in the day and had engineers scrambling for a solution. “ You can…

Vanguard I celebrates 50 years in space from PhysOrg.com The Vanguard I satellite celebrates its 50th birthday this year. Its launch on March 17, 1958 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, culminated the efforts of America’s first official space satellite program begun in September 1955. The first solar-powered satellite, Vanguard I has the distinction of being the…

Firefox 3 is in testing, with the latest build, beta 4, released Monday. Mozilla is aiming for a final release of its flagship product before the end of the first quarter of 2008. Let’s take a look at the changes coming down the pike. You can grab a copy of the latest Firefox 3 beta…

Achievement Gaps

There is an intersesting study being reported (at the annual Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness meetings in D.C.) on elementary school achievement gap dynamics. The study indicates that the usual “racial/ethnic” gaps are seen in early years, but that a lot of gap-closing happens by fifth grade.

Birds Saved from Volcano

Ten Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus chicks have been moved by helicopter, from their current stronghold on Torishima Island to the site of a former colony 350 km to the South-east. The potential for future volcanic events on Torishima is among the most serious threats to this Vulnerable species. Currently, 80-85% of the world population breeds…

Extinct Petrel Not!

A bird that was known only from two records from the 1920s has been discovered in the Pacific after a gap of 79 years. Sightings of the Critically Endangered Beck’s Petrel Pseudobulweria becki – published by the British Ornithologists’ Club – have finally proven the species is still in existence, and delighted conservationists. A voyage…

According to recent reports, it is possible that Robots will take over personal human transport operations. The RobuCab, an autonomous vehicle about the size of a golf cart, trundles at 10kph along a quiet French street. Alarmingly, it looks like it is driving itself. Surprisingly, that is more or less true. The RobuCab is following…

Blowflies. They are nearly impossible to swat dead, because they are so good at getting out of the way, and they are very very fast. For this reason, the blowfly, while an annoying creature, is an excelent model for research into rapid sensory information processing. A team of scientists from Indiana University, Princeton University and…

A woman was stopped at Munich airport after baggage control handlers found the skeleton of her brother sealed in a plastic bag in her luggage, police said Wednesday. The 62-year-old woman and her 63-year-old friend, who both live in Italy, were hauled in by airport police Tuesday after a scan of the bag showed a…

Public Access Public Meeting

Public Access Public MeetingThe NIH is hosting an Open meeting on public access (Bethesda, March 20, 2008). The purpose of the meeting is to air public comments on the new NIH OA policy. The agency is soliciting public comments in advance of the meeting, and about 50 commenters will be given five minutes each to…