Boston Dynamics’ Latest Atlas Humanoid Robot Fights Bullying and the Snow

KS TechnologyI always get a little giddy when Boston Dynamics is in the news, because it usually means I get to watch video of drunken robots. The Alphabet-owned robot company released a video this week of the latest version of Atlas Рthe super cool humanoid robot.

In the video you see the new and improved Atlas stomp around in the snow, complete simple chores, pick itself up off the ground, open doors, and oh yeah… get bullied by a human! ūüėĮ Scroll down and check out the footage for yourself.

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The next generation Atlas is smaller than the last version, more powerful, and much more agile. In its last iteration, Atlas was tethered to an external power source. This version is battery powered, roughly 5’9″ and weighs 180 pounds. Watch it pick up boxes like a pro.

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Also impressive? Atlas’ new ability to recover from a fall. Watch the robot get shoved in the back, fall to the ground, and pick itself back up. What a champ.

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It looks like bullying in the year 2016 just got a little more interesting. Boston Dynamics worked hard to make a human-like robot that can navigate tough terrain, recover from stumbles, and pick up boxes Рjust to bring in a human to knock the boxes out of its cold metal hands.

All joking aside, the hockey stick exercise you see in the video was done to¬†gauge the robot’s responsiveness. A quick, sudden impact like that can be really hard to recover from – but not for Atlas!

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This isn’t the first time Boston Dynamics has decided to torment its creations. They released a video in February 2015 of their four-legged robot named Spot – where they repeatedly kick the robot to try and throw off its balance. You even feel bad for the little guy.

I’m just saying, don’t be surprised if this common mistreatment of robots comes back to bite us in the ass. Enjoy the new version of Atlas below. ūü§Ė #endrobotbullying

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Space Photos: NASA’s Hubble Turns the Universe into Eye Candy

space-newsHow incredible is this photo?? This galaxy is the universe’s version of a hot mess. Roughly a quarter of galaxies don’t take on any recognizable shape; they are known as irregular galaxies. Most galaxies rock¬†a crazy spiral or elliptical structure – but¬†not¬†NGC 5408,¬†which is located¬†about 16 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur).

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Known as irregular galaxies, this group includes NGC 5408, the galaxy that has been snapped here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

The photo above¬†was taken by NASA’s¬†Hubble Space Telescope.¬†Launched in¬†1990, Hubble has traveled over 3 billion miles around Earth, made 1.2 million observations, and snapped pics of locations more than 13.4 billion light years from¬†our planet.¬†I’ve collected a few amazing photos taken by¬†Hubble. Enjoy! ‚ú®

 

 

 

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Highlights from Astronaut Scott Kelly’s Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ – The Answers May Surprise You!

space-newsCan you imagine spending an entire year in space? I can’t. But I have been obsessing about NASA astronaut Scott Kelly’s mission to spend one year aboard the International Space Station. He made it past the 300 day mark last week. He also has a twin undergoing some of the same tests on Earth to evaluate the effects of living in space on the human body. Trippy!

He has revolutionized space social media with his incredible Instagram and Twitter game. I love his brutal honesty and constant¬†amazement. And, just to add to his cool factor, Kelly¬†just conducted a facisnating Reddit AMA. Reddit got to ask Commander Scott Kelly a bunch of fun questions. I’ve selected the highlights and pasted them below!

Scott Kelly Instagram
Credit: Instagram @stationcdrkelly

“I am getting smarter every day I am here.” – Scott Kelly

Why do you always have your arms folded?

Your arms don’t hang by your side in space like they do on Earth because there is no gravity. It feels awkward to have them floating in front of me. It is just more comfortable to have them folded. I don’t even have them floating in my sleep, I put them in my sleeping bag.

Simon (5yrs): Could a rogue spaceship sneak up on the space station without you being aware, and dock?

Simon, Maybe an alien spaceship with a cloaking device. But not your normal spaceship, no. Unless it had a cloaking device, which doesn’t exist, the U.S. Air Force would see it coming.

How are you doing this AMA? Are you directly typing it from a laptop on the ISS, or are is it being dictated?

I am talking to you live, but someone else is typing this in.

What do you suppose the chances are of us getting to mars any time soon?

Depends on your definition of soon. If we wanted to devote the appropriate resources to go to Mars, we could do it.

This low-angle self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the site from which it reached down to drill into a rock target called "Buckskin" on lower Mount Sharp. Credit: NASA
This low-angle self-portrait of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the site from which it reached down to drill into a rock target called “Buckskin” on lower Mount Sharp. Credit: NASA

Being up in space for an entire year is a LONG time. Have you noticed any effects on your body from weightlessness?

Good question. Yeah, there are a lot of changes that happen. Some of them you can’t see, cause it’s your eyes! Probably too many changes to go into detail here. I think my rehab plan is the same as if I were here for 6 months, but I’m not positive.

Could you tell us something unusual about being in space that many people don’t think about? (My personal favorite. EW! ūüėÜ)

The calluses on your feet in space will eventually fall off. So, the bottoms of your feet become very soft like newborn baby feet. But the top of my feet develop rough alligator skin because I use the top of my feet to get around here on space station when using foot rails.

Do you stretch when you wake up in the morning from your space sleep? Is stretching just a waking up thing or does gravity make people want to stretch?

My muscles and joints are a whole lot better up here than with gravity. It’s almost like you are in a bed rest. There is no pressure or pain. I do stretch before I exercise because my muscles aren’t stretched out, they are somewhat dormant.

Hi, I’m a Kindergarten Teacher. My students and I have been following you since you went up last year. My past and present students are curious; what kind of things do you do for fun?

I read, write and do arithmetic like a Kindergartner (just kidding). But I do read, take photos of the Earth and play with my food.

Credit: Instagram @stationcdrkelly - "Good morning aurora and the Pacific Northwest!"
Credit: Instagram @stationcdrkelly – “Good morning aurora and the Pacific Northwest!”

Can you describe your sleep cycle over the last 300 days in space? Always a solid 8 hours? Did you ever get strangely tired or have you consistently felt well rested? Bonus Question: When sleeping, is your dream world mostly in zero-G?

I am not a great sleeper. I don’t think I have ever slept 8 hours straight in the last 20 years. I wind up waking up a couple of times. My dreams are sometimes space dreams and sometimes Earth dreams. And they are crazy.

Today is your 302nd consecutive day aboard ISS, if you could go back and give yourself advice on day 1, what would you say?

The advice I would give myself on day 1 would be pack lighter!

what happens when you sneeze or blow your nose in space? Does it stay on your face like tears?

I just sneezed twice coming into my crew quarters. And I do what I do on Earth and cover my mouth with my hand. If I didn’t do that, it’s possible the sneeze could be found floating in another module. I generally don’t sneeze into open air on Earth or here in space.

What’s the creepiest thing you’ve encountered while on the job?

Generally it has to do with the toilet. Recently I had to clean up a gallon-sized ball of urine mixed with acid.¬†The acid is added to the urine so the urine doesn’t damage the machinery that moves it through the system. It keeps it from clogging up the system.

Greeting from earth mr.scott straight outta compton whats up?

Straight outta space. I want to see that movie, that’s what’s up.

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Mr. Kelly, what is the largest misconception about space/space travel that society holds onto?

I think a lot of people think that because we give the appearance that this is easy that it is easy. I don’t think people have an appreciation for the work that it takes to pull these missions off, like humans living on the space station continuously for 15 years. It is a huge army of hard working people to make it happen.

What ONE thing will you forever do differently after your safe return home?

I will appreciate nature more.

What will be the first thing you eat once you’re back on Earth?

The first thing I will eat will probably be a piece of fruit (or a cucumber) the Russian nurse hands me as soon as I am pulled out of the space capsule and begin initial health checks.

Now that you are able to count down the days to come home in March, what will you miss most about the Space Station daily life?

The challenge of living here. It’s not easy and I have always liked to do things that are hard.

I am Adam. I am 5 years old. How far away are you from earth?

I am 250 miles above the Earth, and I’m going very fast.

Hello Captain Kelly, I would like to ask, does the ISS have any particular smell?

Smells vary depending on what segment you are in. Sometimes it has an antiseptic smell. Sometimes it has an odor that smells like garbage. But the smell of space when you open the hatch smells like burning metal to me.

What is your favorite part of Earth to see from space?

My favorite spot on Earth to see from space is probably the Bahamas. The brilliant and varied colors of the blue water and contrast from here is pretty spectacular.

Credit: Instagram @stationcdrkelly
Credit: Instagram @stationcdrkelly – “A splash of Earth art over the Bahamas!”

What is your favorite space-related movie? What is your favorite non-space related movie?

I really enjoyed the Martian. I was able to watch it here aboard the space station. The Godfather.

Captain Kelly, I have been hearing about the deorbiting of the ISS in the next ten years. What is your view on how the ISS hardware/modules have been aging?

It seems like the inside of the space station has very good material condition. The outside looks a little aged. As far as maintaining it versus deorbiting it, it just depends what our priorities are. I think it would be great to keep it going forever, but of course everything has costs.


What would YOU ask someone who has spent the last 300 days in space? ūüöÄ

Highlights from Astronaut Scott Kelly’s Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ – The Answers May Surprise You!

Navy Funds Rutgers Cool Drone That Flies AND Swims!

KS TechnologyEngineers at Rutgers University have developed a drone that can swim and fly Рand the Office of Naval Research wants in! According to Rutgers, the Navy has agreed to fund the development of the special air-and-water craft.

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Image: courtesy Javier Diez & Rutgers University

This one-of-a-kind vehicle could speed search and rescue, monitor oil spills, and defuse underwater mine threats. According to¬†Javier Diez, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, the Navy told him they had never seen anything like it.¬†Its¬†called¬†it the ‘Naviator.’

It must be pretty cool, because the Navy dropped $618,000 on it! CLICK BELOW to watch a video of the busy drone in action, posted to YouTube by Marco Maia.

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Titanosaur is One of the Largest Dinosaurs Ever: Giant Model Takes Over Museum in NYC

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It’s times like this that I really miss living in New York City. The American Museum of Natural History is one of my favorite places on¬†the planet. Why is that? Because they build GIGANTIC dinosaur models that barely fit in the museum’s halls. Today the AMNH¬†unveiled another must-see exhibit: a cast of a 122-foot-long dinosaur. Meet the titanosaur!

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©AMNH/D.Finnin

The giant dino cast is so big its 39-foot neck protrudes through the doorway towards the elevator doors. To put its size into perspective – at a total of 122 feet, the titanosaur is 30 feet longer than a blue whale! This species of dinosaur is so new the paleontologists who discovered it haven’t named it yet. All we know is that it belongs to a group¬†known as titanosaurs, and it is one of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered.

Scientists believe this species of titanosaur¬†lived in the forests of today‚Äôs Patagonia about 100 to 95 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous period, and¬†weighed in at a whopping 70 tons! Its massive bones are filled with air pockets, so they are relatively light. It’s the only way a land animal could get so big.

The giant herbivore’s remains were excavated in the Patagonian desert region of Argentina by a team from¬†the Museo Paleontologico Egidio Feruglio led by Jos√© Luis Carballido and Diego Pol. According to Scientific American, After 18 months of excavations, the researchers uncovered 223 fossilized bones from six individual titanosaur dinosaurs, including an 8-foot-tall femur, or thighbone. Judging by the image below, it looks like the excavation team was super excited about¬†their discovery.

A team member is dwarfed by a bone of the gigantic dinosaur excavated in Patagonia. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Alejandro Otero
A team member is dwarfed by a bone of the gigantic dinosaur excavated in Patagonia. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Alejandro Otero

How on Earth did they make that gigantic cast? The AMNH flew down to Argentina and took 3D scans of all the bones in the field as well as in the lab, so they had the skeleton completely digitized. They used that data to carve bones out of giant slabs of foam. They molded all of the carved elements and cast the bones out of fiber glass. The cast was then painted and mounted. Neat stuff.

©AMNH/D.FINNIN
©AMNH/D.FINNIN

If you plan on visiting this incredible exhibit you have a little time. The titanosaur will be on display at the AMNH in New York City until January 2020.

Titanosaur is One of the Largest Dinosaurs Ever: Giant Model Takes Over Museum in NYC

10 Crazy New Species Discovered in 2015: Dracula Ants, Shape-Shifting Frogs, and Dwarf Dragons

KS Strange ScienceI live in San Francisco and the California Academy of Sciences is one of my favorite places to visit! Who doesn’t love penguins, rainforests, albino alligators, and a rad planetarium all under one roof??

In 2015, researchers at the Academy added 102 new plant and animal species to our family tree. The new species include two frogs, 23 ants, three beetles, eight wasps, 11 spiders, 26 fishes, nine sea slugs, two corals, nine plants, one water bear, and eight new viruses.

Given that we have found¬†less than 10% of the species on our planet, the Academy¬†has inspired me to share¬†ten of my favorite wild¬†new species discovered in 2015. Meet the hog-nosed shrew rat, sparklemuffin spider, and water bear. Happy New Year! ūüéČ

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New Species: Glowing ‘Ninja Lanternshark’ Lights up the Deep Sea

KS_LOGOs2_UnderwaterI was taught to not bury the lead, so here goes. This is a ninja lanternshark. That’s right – NINJA + SHARK. This new species of lanternshark is¬†black, stealthy, lives in the deep sea, and oh yeah… it glows.

Adult female Etmopterus benchleyi. Credit: Ocean Science Foundation
Adult female Etmopterus benchleyi. Credit: Ocean Science Foundation

Researchers named the new species Etmopterus benchleyi, after Jaws author Peter Benchley. They are roughly 18 inches long and have patches of photophores on their snout, sides, and belly. These tiny light-omitting organs are what gives them the ability to glow.

But, ninja lanternsharks have less photophores than their cousins, so they don’t glow as bright. They are also distinguished by their dark black color –¬†hence the name.

These masters of the deep were originally discovered in 2010, by the Spanish research vessel Miguel Oliver. They collected eight specimens off the Pacific coast of Central America at depths ranging between 2,700 and 4,700 feet.

With the help of the Pacific Shark Resource Center and the California Academy of Sciences, they determined that the ninja shark was indeed a new species. They published their findings in a journal this week.

New Species: Glowing ‘Ninja Lanternshark’ Lights up the Deep Sea

Heart Warming Wild Otter Baby Born at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Krystian-Science-Nature-LogoThis baby otter is so cute it will melt your face off. Seriously. The Monterey Bay Aquarium received a big holiday surprise after a pregnant wild sea otter swam into its tide pool and gave birth to the cutest little pup!

Sea Otter Baby - Monterey Bay Aquarium
Sea Otter gives birth to newborn pup in Monterey Bay Aquarium Tide Pool. Photo: Tyson V. Rininger, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Apparently the mom was chilling in and around the Aquarium’s Great Tide Pool for a few days, which isn’t common for healthy otters. She¬†had some of the Aquarium staff concerned by her behavior until¬†she popped out a baby. ūüėć

The Aquarium considers the otter’s birth to be a conservation success story. Otters were once hunted to near extinction – with just 50 left in all of California by the early 1800’s. But, after legislative protection and a soft spot in the heart of people everywhere for the furry guys, the otter population has rebounded to steady levels – with 3,000 in central California alone.

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Sea otters don’t have blubber to keep them warm in the cold water. They have a super thick fur coat instead, which they keep full of air bubbles while grooming for insulation. In the wild, sea otter moms spend a lot of time grooming their babies to keep them warm and buoyant.

Fun Fact:¬†Sea otters have 1 million hairs per square inch‚ÄĒmore than any other animal.

 

Heart Warming Wild Otter Baby Born at Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Latest Pics from NASA: Nobody Has Ever Seen Such Detailed Images of Pluto

Krystian Science SpaceWe are witnessing history, people! NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has sent back the first in a series of the sharpest views of Pluto it snapped during its flyby in July. According to NASA, these are the best close-up images of Pluto we may see for decades.

The Mountainous Shoreline of Sputnik Planum. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
The Mountainous Shoreline of Sputnik Planum. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

The photo above¬†is the highest-resolution image showing huge blocks of Pluto’s icy crust slammed together in¬†the al-Idrisi mountains. The¬†series of detailed images features¬†a sequence taken near New Horizons’ closest approach to¬†Pluto. These photos capture the beauty and diversity of Pluto’s terrain.

“The mountains bordering Sputnik Planum are absolutely stunning at this resolution,” said New Horizons science team member John Spencer of the Southwest Research Institute. “The new details revealed here, particularly the crumpled ridges in the rubbly material surrounding several of the mountains, reinforce our earlier impression that the mountains are huge ice blocks that have been jostled and tumbled and somehow transported to their present locations.‚ÄĚ

With resolutions of about 250-280 feet (77-85 meters) per pixel, NASA was able to capture¬†features less than half a city block wide on the surface. The sequence – which¬†forms a strip 50 miles (80 kilometers) wide on a world 3 billion miles away – shows Pluto’s massive craters, mountains, ice fields and glaciers.

The New Horizons spacecraft transmits recorded data from its flight through the Pluto system on July 14th every week. Mission scientists expect to receive more amazing images of Pluto over the next few days.

Aren’t you excited¬†to see what they find?


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Rad Super Mario Bros. Watch Will Cost You Almost $19,000!

KS Technology

It’s items like this that make me feel like a teenage boy trapped in a 29-year-old female’s¬†body. Take a second to soak up all the pixelated Nintendo goodness. The only catch? For the same price as this watch you could buy a new car.

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The watch is Romain Jerome’s latest game-inspired piece, created in honor of Super Mario Bros. launch in 1985. There are only 85 Mario watches available, so if you have an extra $20k lying around, go ahead and treat yourself.


MOVEMENT Mechanical self-winding movement

DESCRIPTION¬†√ė 46mm. Black PVD-coated titanium case. Grainy-textured stellar-patterned integrated back with Super Mario Bros. medallion. Black pixelated 3D dial built on three levels. Pixelated Super Mario Bros. character and elements appliques hand-painted in cold enamel with the 30th anniversary colours. Black rubber with grainy-textured interior of stellar-patterned strap.

LIMITED EDITION 85 pieces


The watch face features Mario jumping in mid-air, a fluffy cloud, iconic green bush, and the highly coveted mushroom. The RJ X Super Mario Bros. watch – commemorating the game’s 30th anniversary – costs a cool $18,950.

This isn’t the first time the company has payed homage to classic video games! They also built watches celebrating Tetris, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man. Enjoy ūüéģ

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