0

Do The Names Of Hurricanes Dictate Their Death Tolls?

fb share tweet share

hurricaneA controversial new study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that hurricanes with female names are more deadly than hurricanes with male names because people take them less seriously.

The finding simply seems too silly to be true, especially when you think of the most deadly hurricanes in recent U.S. history, but hurricanes Katrina and Audrey were excluded from the study, given their off-the-charts size and devastation. The University of Illinois and Arizona State University researchers examined hurricane deaths between 1950-2012 (meteorologists started naming hurricanes in 1950, and used only female names until 1979). During those 62 years, the researchers identified the 47 most damaging storms, and of those deduced that the ones with female names resulted in an average of 45 deaths, while the ones with male names had half as many — 23 on average. “[Our] model suggests that changing a severe hurricane’s name from Charley … to Eloise … could nearly triple its death toll,” the study says. According to the study, the degree of femininity or masculinity in the name also had an effect.

0

Magnet-Controlled Robotic Sperm Is Now A Thing That Exists In The World

fb share tweet share

spermWhen I first saw a headline about robotic sperm, I thought it was somehow related to the #Yesallwomen phenomenon. For whatever reason, I imagined scientists trying to figure out some way robots could knock up women, cutting men out of the equation entirely. That just goes to show you I’ve been spending way too much time on Twitter, and that I shouldn’t assume too much from a headline. The MagnetoSperm is actually a new gadget about six times the length of a human sperm, and it can be used for medical treatments and even for manufacturing. Oh, and it’s controlled with magnets.

1

Massive Mega-Earth Baffles Scientists

fb share tweet share

Kepler 10cI imagine that scientists spend a lot of time scratching their heads, stymied by some mystery or unexplained phenomenon. Of these scientists, I figure astronomers are particularly well acquainted with head scratching, as some deeply weird stuff goes on deep in the cosmos. In fact, astronomers just discovered one such unexplainable finding: a rocky planet twice as big as Earth and 17 times as large.

The Kepler 10 system contains two rocky planets, that we know of. One of them, Kepler-10c, has always been known to be bigger than Earth—2.3 times, to be precise. But astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CFA) were only recently able to calculate the planet’s mass. The original data collected by the good ol’ Kepler telescope indicated the planet’s size, but not its weight or composition, so astronomers used additional data from the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS-North) instrument on the Canary Island’s Telescopio Nazionale Galileo. They were surprised by the result.

1

Wi-Fi Comes To The Moon

fb share tweet share

moon wifiFor some reason, there are few coffee shops around Boston that offer free Wi-Fi. Sadly, Dunkin Donuts is the only place one can rely on for free Wi-Fi (not to mention amazing people watching) around here. You’d think the Hub would be more connected than that, but that’s sadly not the case. In fact, even the moon has a one-up on Beantown — there’s now lunar Wi-Fi that’s as fast as the Wi-Fi I’m using right now. I guess the coffee shop is next.

Researchers from NASA and MIT have devised a way to beam Wi-Fi capabilities from a base in New Mexico. Even cooler than that, they use telescopes and lasers to do it. Four separate telescopes, each with a diameter of roughly six inches, transmit an uplink signal via coded infrared laser pulses to a satellite orbiting the moon. The signal bends in the atmosphere as it travels the nearly 240,000 miles to the moon, so using four telescopes ensures that the signals from each bend differently, which increases the chances that one of those laser beams will hit the receiver on the satellite. The receiver also has a satellite, which focuses the laser light into an optical fiber before amplifying that signal 30,000 times. Then, a photodetector converts the light into electrical pulses that are then converted into data bits. And presto, a wireless connection is established.

0

Oculus Rift Teaming Up With Samsung For Virtual Reality Media Experience

fb share tweet share

future VRIt was only a matter of time, especially once Facebook bought Oculus Rift. In an effort to compete with Sony’s Project Morpheus virtual reality system, Samsung has adopted an “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach — namely, by teaming up with Oculus Rift to develop a platform that enables virtual reality experience and interaction for smartphones and media.

Samsung is working on the hardware end while Oculus works on the software, providing Samsung with assistance in developing its user interface and providing access to its mobile software development kit. In return, Samsung will provide Oculus access to its organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, the next wave of LED technology that replaces the bright LED dots with sheets of light that allow for glare-free and flexible lighting at resolutions higher than 1080p — in other words, a lighting system perfect for the gaming side of Oculus Rift’s business.

0

Second Mars Simulation Underway

fb share tweet share

MarsDomeJust under a year ago, GFR reported on a four-month simulated Mars mission taking place in Hawaii, which focused primarily on feeding astronauts decent food for their long-term stays on other planets. Hi-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog & Simulation) researchers are now testing various kinds of extra vehicular activities, comparing the difference between 3D-printed tools and conventional instruments, devising better and safer astronaut training and preparation methods, identifying techniques for distinguishing different volcanic minerals on Mars, growing plants under different wavelengths, and refining methods of converting trash to gas, as well as studying psychological and emotional challenges and adjustments to such a taxing mission.