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This Interstellar Feature Builds A Better Black Hole

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Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Interstellar is sure to be big and philosophical and full of all kinds of themes and questions about the nature of humanity, our place in the larger picture, and many deep existential topics. It’s also the kind of science fiction that, while definitely full of the fictional side, is also heavy on the science portion of the program. This new video digs into some of that science that they went to great lengths to portray as accurately as possible on screen, and it’s fascinating stuff.

This video from Wired (read the entire article, it goes into far greater depth) features interviews with Nolan, along brother and co-writer Jonathan Nolan, wife and producing partner Emma Thomas, and, most importantly to the subject matter, noted astrophysicist, executive producer, and scientific advisor Kip Thorne. If anyone is going to have any light to shed on the film, it’s the first three, and if anyone is going to have a handle on the science, it’s going to be Thorne. I still think he looks a little like horror icon Sid Haig, but maybe that’s just me.

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This Wearable Jewelry Gathers Power From An Unexpected Source

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Kizhner jewelryFor those of us who aren’t sold on the notion of high-tech tattoos, there’s an alternative: jewelry. But like those tattoos, this jewelry is much more than ornamental—it can actually turn your veins in to a source of energy.

These days, we’re finding energy sources in all kinds of interesting places, including phone booths and park benches. But the main reason behind these innovations is the ever-increasing need for energy, both on a global and a personal level—after all, what would people do if they couldn’t quickly and easily charge their smartphones?

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Leave Your Permanent Mark On Space By Naming This Historic Site

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RosettaHave you always wanted to leave your mark on outer space but didn’t know how? If you’re anything like us, you spend a lot of time in a dark room (it’s like we live in caves scattered around the country), scouring the Internet, and are hardly any kind of astronaut material (I shudder to think what astronaut training would do to my questionably shaped body, I imagine I would wind up looking like Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd in Spies Like Us). But now none of that matters, and you can help named the landing site for the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission. But you better hurry, because the competition ends today.

The Philae lander is scheduled to set down on Comet 69P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the middle of next month on November 12. This will mark the first soft landing on a comet ever by a manmade object, which is pretty memorable, and will, inevitably, lead to more and more Armageddon style adventures in real life. Right now the location is designated Site J, which is hardly befitting of such a momentous occurrence, so ESA and their mission partners want your help in coming up with a better moniker.

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Are Tattoos The Next Big Wearable Technology?

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UnderSkinWearable technology is all the rage these days, whether it’s to diagnose epilepsy, travel to space, or create music. To that end, tattoos are becoming an unexpected entry into this arena, but they do more than play music—technology can also be implanted under the skin, or stuck onto the skin like stickers.

New Deal Design, the company responsible for FitBit, has come up with a project called UnderSkin, a small, tattoo-like device that gets implanted under the skin on your hand. Your body charges the device, which is equipped with sensors and monitors all kinds of data. New Deal designer Jaeha Yoo says the device could “become a paper trail for yourself,” as it stores information about the user’s movements, habits, and relationships. The tattoo can do everything from unlocking smart locks, to communicating health information via wireless near-field communication.

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This MIT-Developed Yogurt Detects Cancer

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YogurtScientists have used all kinds of brilliant and unexpected methods to detect cancer, such as a mantis-shrimp-inspired polarizing light scanner, nanodiamonds, and the sniffing power of bees. Of course, science has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to a disease that changes as it spreads to new organs and adapts to—and often bests—the chemotherapy and radiation treatments designed to stop it. Now, thanks to MIT professor Sangeeta Bhatia, there’s another hot new weapon in cancer detection: yogurt.

We’ve covered some of Bhatia’s work before on GFR, and her contributions to science garnered a prestigious $500,000 prize. Lately, she’s been turning her attention to colorectal cancer, which according to the American Cancer Society afflicts 5% of Americans. Early detection is tough with this variety of the disease—typical approaches include MRIs and colonoscopies. Despite Katie Couric’s televised attempt at making a colonoscopy seem not that bad, everyone knows that the procedure sucks, including the guzzling of nausea-inducing quantities of barium the night before. And even when people undergo colonoscopies at the prescribed intervals, they’re not foolproof. (Unfortunately, I know that from experience. )So an cheap, painless, and accurate way to screen for colorectal cancer is just what we need, and just what Bhatia has delivered.

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ISS Is About To Get This Weird Sounding Expansion

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BEAMInflatable rooms aren’t just for carnivals and massive house parties anymore. The ISS is about to get one as an addition to its existing digs. BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) will be the first privately designed and built room or habitat to be used in space when it launches next year, appropriately hitching a ride with one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets.

The habitat was conceived and constructed by Bigelow Aerospace, which won the $17.8 million contract last year. While private companies have taken over the space shuttle industry, this is the first such foray into habitat or room building for crewed systems. This is also a potentially important shift when it comes to the materials used to build space habitats, as an inflatable design would save lots of room.

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