Two Inch Hornet

The Himalayas Recently scientists from Conservation International and Disney’s Animal Kingdom started out on a two month expedition into six regions of the Tibetan “Sacred Lands” in the mountains of Southwest China and Nepal.

2 inch hornet largeThey have found and rediscovered many species; one of which is called the “Yak Killer” by locals. The Vespa Mandarinia, or giant Asian hornet measures two inches long. Their quarter-inch-long stingers deliver venom strong enough to dissolve human flesh, and has been known to kill yaks.

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Ancient Pyramid Discovered in Mexico

AP Photo/EDUARDO VERDUGOYesterday, Mark Stevenson from the AP wrote an article about the latest discovery in Mexico. According to Stevenson, archaeologists announced yesterday that they had found the oldest pyramid beneath the ruins of a Catholic religious site.

The structure, supposed to have been built by the mysterious Teotihuacan culture, was apparently abandoned 1,000 years before Catholics started worshiping at the site in 1800.

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Multi-Input Touch Screen

Check out this video of a New York University project using a multi-input touch screen. Screen allows Minority Report like interaction with applications. No word on when this technology will reach the consumer market, but I’m sure it will be some time.

Our technique is force-sensitive, and provides unprecedented resolution and scalability, allowing us to create sophisticated multi-point widgets for applications large enough to accommodate both hands and multiple users.

The drafting table style implementation shown here measures 36″x27″, is rear-projected, and has a sensing resolution of better than 0.1″ at 50Hz. Stroke event information is sent to applications using the lightweight OSC protocol over UDP.
~Jeff Han

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Google Goes To Mars

Google MarsToday, Google released Google Mars. Utilizing Google Maps to provide an interactive map of Mars, much like the Google Moon project, was accomplished by a partnership between Google and Arizona State University’s THEMIS project.

Google Mars features three methods to view our red neighbor:

  • Elevation – A shaded relief map, generated with data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) on NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. This map is color-coded by altitude, so you can use the color key at the lower left to estimate elevations.
  • Visible – A mosaic of images taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. MOC is like the digital camera you have at home. Basically, this is what your eyes would see if you were in orbit around Mars.
  • Infrared – A mosaic of infrared images taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft. Warmer areas appear brighter, and colder areas are darker. Clouds and dust in the atmosphere are transparent in the infrared, making this the sharpest global map of Mars that’s ever been made.

Although data is not yet available for Google Earth, a video fly-through of Valles Marineris, the largest Canyon on any of our solar system’s planets is available.

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Light Sabers on the Way!

Scientists at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have created a device to project 3D images in mid-air. Upaist_3d2.jpg until this point all “3D” mid-air imagery was an illusion facilitated by the natural parallax between the eyes.

The AIST device actually creates very small plasma emissions by focusing lasers at specific points. The light causes oxygen and nitrogen gasses in the air to expand, creating the plasma.This confrontation of light and chemicals results in the rendering of points of light and noise, which is said to sound like small explosions.

The device can currently project images approximately 6.5′ to 10′ (2 -3 meters) away from the device. Scientists have stated that with improved laser technology they should be able to project more distant images and expect the technology to be used in future advertising projects.

Further Reading:
Pink Tentacle
AIST Press Release
Mainichi Shimbun