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Photo Of Europa Shows Off Bands Of Blood-Red Ice

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EuropaLooking at this picture, what do you see? It resembles human muscle with the skin peeled off, or a close up shot from one of those Bodies exhibits. For a second you might even think it could be one of those balls made entirely of rubber bands, or a golf ball with the hard, dimpled rind removed from the outside. As you probably already knew, it isn’t of those things. This is an image of Jupiter’s moon of Europa, and those creepy looking red strands, the pieces that really do look like muscle, are rivers of blood red ice.

This image of Europa comes courtesy of NASA’s Galileo spacecraft which is exploring that particular region of space. The picture is a combination of “clear-filter grayscale data” from a single orbit (on November 6, 1997) of Jupiter’s satellite and lower resolution color data from another pass (taken in 1998). Those red threads that sprawl out throughout the picture are ice made up of water mixed with hydrated salts, which the scientists and NASA think could possibly be sulfuric acid or magnesium sulfate. They also believe that surface characteristics such as these—the ridges and chaotic surface—could indicate contact with a “global subsurface ocean layer during or after their formation.”

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Guided Bullets Change Direction In Mid-Flight

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WantedGuided bullets have figured prominently in a great many sci-fi films over the years. There’s all sorts of bullet-bending in movies like Wanted, and KISS bass player, and long-tongue-haver, Gene Simmons even puts them to use when hunting down Tom Selleck in the Michael Crichton-directed Runaway in 1984. They are also one of the latest genre inventions to make the leap from science fiction to science fact, and are another tool to allow people with less than stellar aim to become competent snipers right alongside of their more eagle-eyed comrades.

DARPA—of course it’s DARPA—is working on hard at work on a project called EXACTO, which, though it is a rather adorable acronym, stands for Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordinance. The full name sounds way more scary and sinister, and way less cuddly. These new projectiles will allow shooters to course correct bullets in mid-flight to account for any changes that may occur in the relatively short time span that elapses between muzzle and target.

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Beer Inspired By ‘The Planets’ Will Soon Be Released By Spacey Michigan Brewery

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celestial suds beerBooze! Booze! Booze! We’re used to alcohol artists creating interesting potables for fictional properties like Star Trek, and we’ve seen some other pretty nifty space-based alcohol in the past few years. But I think I’m most interested in the upcoming promotion from the Michigan-based Bell’s Brewery, which will be rolling out a line of varied beers inspired by the orchestral suite “The Planets,” from English composer Gustav Holst. Doing a keg stand for Jupiter just feels natural, doesn’t it?

Here’s how brewery founder Larry Bell is rolling the products out, and what we can expect from each beer. Starting in August, Bell’s will put out one beer every two months, ending in July 2015. You’ll be able to find the goods in both six-packs and on draft, but only if you live within the 20-state distribution zone that Bell’s works with. (That means almost the entire east coast, D.C. included, plus some northern states and Arizona and parts of Southern California.) And if you’re wondering why there isn’t an Earth beer, that’s because our own planet wasn’t included in the suite; besides, almost every beer on Earth is inspired by Earth.

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Caribbean Coral Reefs May Only Have A Couple Decades Left

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dead reefI went snorkeling in Belize with a lifelong resident of Caye Caulker. This guy, who actually screened people before allowing them on his boat and denied the trip to anyone he deemed unworthy, had an uncanny relationship with the sea creatures of the Caribbean. He once rescued a baby shark that got too close to shore, and said that shark would visit him frequently when he dove. I didn’t believe him until I saw it — he slipped into the water and sharks flocked to him. He wrestled with them as though they were dogs; he put a stingray on his stomach and floated on his back. He had photos of fish he saw again and again, who he referred to as his family. No water experience I’ve ever had, including scuba diving, has held a candle to that one. While on the boat headed toward shore, he lamented about the state of the reefs. In his 70 years diving in the Caribbean, he said he’d noticed a drastic change in the coral reefs — they were bleached and dying, and he was terrified about what would happen to the whole ecosystem. He had reason to worry — recent surveys indicate that 80% of the Caribbean’s coral reef cover has died over the past 50 years. A new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says that only 1/6th of the coral cover remains in the Caribbean, and that those are likely to disappear in the next 20 years.

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People Would Rather Shock Themselves Than Do Nothing

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addictIn an age where multitasking is the way of life, and there are more internet-connected devices than people—which many people use even in the bathroom—people have forgotten how to do nothing. Our technology saves us from that sad end—as long as we’ve got smartphones, we’re safe from nothingness. Turns out, that nothingness is now so unappealing that a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Virginia and Harvard shows that participants would rather shock themselves than be alone with their thoughts.

It sounds like an episode of the Simpsons, doesn’t it? An adaptation of the Milgram Experiment for the digital age. It sounds like it can’t possibly true, although of course it is. Science breaks down the study. Participants were asked to turn over their cellphones, other devices, books, notepads, or anything else they’d use as entertainment while not in the company of others. They then had to sit in a room for a little while—and I’m talking really a little while, only up to 15 minutes. They were simply supposed to sit, undistracted, and engage their thoughts. They could fantasize, or plan what to have for dinner, or think about how crazy science studies are—any and all thoughts were fair game, as long as they were the only means of “entertainment.” Needless to say, people weren’t keen on this endeavor.

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Who’s Up For A Good Old Fashioned Thunderstorm In The Living Room?

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cloudI love a good thunderstorm. Of course, camping during a thunderstorm is generally not super awesome (next time I think I’ll try this treehouse tent), but there’s nothing quite like sitting in a cabin or on a covered porch listening to the rain and thunder, and appreciating being dry. Now, there’s a totally new and unique way to experience a thunderstorm — by triggering it, or at least the lightning and thunder part of it, from inside your own home via a hanging cloud.

cloud

Visual artist and designer Richard Clarkson combines art and technology in furniture and lighting work he does in studios based in New York City and New Zealand. One of his most recent and most impressive pieces is Cloud, a light shaped like a storm cloud that simulates the light and sound of a thunderstorm. Cloud has a light and sound system, but unlike a real storm, it’s interactive and controllable with a wireless remote. Its motion sensors respond to the presence of a human and respond with thunder and lightning, which run via an Arduino. And if the thunder gets a bit old, you can use a Bluetooth device to stream music to the cloud. I guess Garth Brooks is an obvious choice, but I think a storm cloud spewing electronica would be better.

clouds

The cloud can change its color, too, as well as its brightness, or even just double as a nightlight — or rather, “a new discourse for what a nightlight could be.” Clarkson has a few different varieties of clouds in his store. The smart cloud retails for $3,360, but if you only want it to serve as a lamp it’s $960. Satellite clouds can be added on for $240. The cloud itself is comprised of hypoallergenic fibers sewn into a sponge casing, which provides enough structure to contain the speakers and other components.

Clarkson has fully immersed himself in the realm of smart art, and believes that such projects, as well as the components and technology that makes such projects possible, are important both to the future of electronics, as well as the future of interactive art. To that end, he’s made the code for Cloud available for free, so other artists and tech geeks can adapt and improve upon it however they want — like to create hurricanes in the bathroom.