tech e blog

NASA Earth-Like Planets

NASA scientists working with telescopes at the European Southern Observatory announced today that an entire system of Earth-like planets exists just 40-light-years away. Of these seven, three lie in the star's habitable "Goldilocks" zone, meaning that all may have entire oceans of liquid water, increasing the possibility of life. "The energy output from dwarf stars like TRAPPIST-1 is much weaker than that of our Sun. Planets would need to be in far closer orbits than we see in the Solar System if there is to be surface water. Fortunately, it seems that this kind of compact configuration is just what we see around TRAPPIST-1," said researcher Amaury Triaud. Continue reading for two more videos, including one explaining how long it would take for humans to get there.

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Blue Lightning Space

Astronaut Andreas Mogensen was floating 250-miles above the surface of Earth when he captured a mysterious blue light, or what looks like upside-down lightning. They're officially called "blue jets," and its color is believed to be due to a set of blue and near-ultraviolet emission lines from neutral and ionized molecular nitrogen. In addition, whereas red sprites tend to be associated with significant lightning strikes, blue jets do not appear to be directly triggered by lightning (they do, however, appear to relate to strong hail activity in thunderstorms). Click here to view the first image in this week's geek life gallery. Continue reading for a viral video showing how not to crack an 80-foot whip.

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Ingestible Battery

Researchers at MIT have developed an ingestible battery that's powered by stomach acid. This technology could be used for drug delivery and internal medical procedures, along with other wearable technology. "We need to come up with ways to power these ingestible systems for a long time. We see the GI tract as providing a really unique opportunity to house new systems for drug delivery and sensing, and fundamental to these systems is how they are powered," said MIT researcher Giovanni Traverso. Continue reading for a picture of the delivery device.

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Wattway Solar Road

The Wattway solar road surface consists of prefabricated panels with a surface of 0.38-inches-thick hardened glass, and beneath this surface is where the cells are installed. Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) states that this energy can be used for lighting of the road, traffic lights and road signs. The energy is also delivered to local dwellings. TNO thinks in future electrical vehicles might be driven by the road itself. The Ray C. Anderson Foundation recently installed 538-square-feet of Colas' Wattway solar road system near the border between Georgia and Alabama. Continue reading for another video and more information.

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Naica Crystal Cave

The Cave of the Crystals is connected to the Naica Mine 980-feet below the surface in Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico. The main chamber contains giant selenite crystals, some of the largest natural crystals ever found, similar to the ones seen in Superman's Fortress of Solitude. The cave's largest crystal found to date is 39-feet in length, 13-feet in diameter and 55 tons in weight. It's extremely hot inside, with air temperatures reaching up to 136° F at 90% - 99% percent humidity. The caverns are relatively unexplored due to these factors, as without proper protection, humans can only endure approximately 10-minutes of exposure at a time. The Cave of the Crystals was discovered by brothers Eloy and Javier Delgado. Continue reading for more fascinating images from around the web.

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Rewritable Paper

Researchers from Shandong University in China, the University of California, Riverside and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have created light-printable, rewritable paper that can be printed with light and re-written up to 80-times. "The greatest significance of our work is the development of a new class of solid-state photo-reversible color-switching system to produce an ink-free light-printable rewritable paper that has the same feel and appearance as conventional paper, but can be printed and erased repeatedly without the need for additional ink. Our work is believed to have enormous economic and environmental merits to modern society," said Yadong Yin, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Riverside. Click here to view the first image in today's viral picture gallery. Continue reading for the five most popular viral videos today, including one of a Prince Rupert's Drop being crushed by a powerful industrial hydraulic press.

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Holographic Universe

Theoretical physicists and astrophysicists from the U.K., Canada and Italy purport what we could all be living in a giant holographic projection. The team made the discovery while researching irregularities in the "afterglow" of the Big Bang. This theory claims the information that makes up our 3D reality, time included, is contained within a two-dimensional surface, on its boundaries. "Imagine that everything you see, feel and hear in three dimensions [and your perception of time] in fact emanates from a flat two-dimensional field. The idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms where a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface, such as in the hologram on a credit card. However, this time, the entire universe is encoded," said Kostas Skenderis, Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton. Click here to view the first image in this week's funny autocorrect texts gallery. Continue reading for a viral video about someone who biohacked a dog.

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MIT Transparent Gel Robot

MIT engineers have created transparent, gel-based robots that move when water is pumped in and out, enabling them to perform a number of fast, forceful tasks, including kicking a ball underwater, as well as grabbing and releasing live fish. They're made entirely from hydrogel, which is a rubbery, nearly transparent material composed mostly of water, and each one is an assemblage of hollow, precisely designed structures, connected to rubbery tubes. When water is pumped into them, the structures quickly inflate in orientations that enable the bots to curl up or stretch out. Since the robots are both powered by and made almost entirely of water, they have similar visual and acoustic properties to water, making them virtually invisible. Click here to view the first image in this week's funny demotivational posters gallery. Continue reading for a viral video of a rare lava fire hose.

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Time Crystal

Two teams of researchers have reportedly created time crystals, a structure periodic in time and space that repeats not just in space, but in time, which puts them in perpetual motion without energy. "This is a new phase of matter, period, but it is also really cool because it is one of the first examples of non-equilibrium matter. For the last half-century, we have been exploring equilibrium matter, like metals and insulators. We are just now starting to explore a whole new landscape of non-equilibrium matter," said lead researcher Norman Yao from the University of California, Berkeley. Click here to view the first image in today's viral picture gallery. Continue reading for the five most popular viral videos today, including one of the worst real-life jobs to have in the Pokemon universe.

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Metallic Hydrogen

Scientists have tried in vain to produce a metal from hydrogen for the past 80-years, a substance thought to be present on other planets. Metallic hydrogen could be used to make a rocket propellant four times more powerful than what's currently available. Two scientists, Ranga Dias and Isaac Silvera, at Harvard University claimed to have discovered this super substance. This was made possible by squeezing hydrogen between diamonds inside a cryostat, at a pressure even greater than that at the Earth's center. Continue reading for another video and more information.

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