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Antarctica Is Hiding A Volcano Beneath Its Ice – On Science

November 18, 2013

There’s a fire below the ice.

Forget the fries for more than vanity.

Who’s here to protect us from cybercrime?

And roundin’ em up robot style! Coming up today…On Science!

Hello and welcome to On Science. I’m Emerald Robinson.

You never know what lies beneath the ice…but a team of scientists does! Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis have discovered a volcano beneath a kilometer of ice in western Antarctica. The team was using seismographs to detect far-off earthquake disturbances in order to map the land beneath the ice. Two bursts of seismic events let them know something was up. After more study, they determined those bursts came from a newly forming volcano. They say evidence hints that an eruption is on the way that could open the gates for water and ice to pour out of that region. Also, the new volcano could increase the rate of ice loss from one of the region’s primary ice streams. Sounds like a setup for a good disaster movie.

A research team from the LSU Department of Geology and Geophysics has created an image analysis and segmentation algorithm to help NASA scientists sort through pictures taken by rovers such as Curiosity. Typically, it’s a daunting task for planetary scientists as they use the images to identify where rock particles are and the processes that distributed them. Did they come from a water source or blown by the wind? The new algorithm has been implemented into a computational software program and can process a single image within 1 to 5 minutes and is more accurate than a human. Researchers are testing this algorithm out on images from the Mars Exploration Rover’s Microscopic Imager and Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager to quantify grain sizes. I guess a picture is worth more than a 1,000 numbers.

There’s another reason to cut the fried food besides the fat. The FDA warns that fried food contains acrylamide, a chemical that is known to cause cancer in animals and in high doses, can cause nerve damage in humans. The chemical accumulates more when cooking is done for longer periods or at higher temperatures, like in frying and baking. Foods that are particularly high in the chemical? Potatoes, cereals, coffee, crackers, or breads. And this is pretty scary, acrylamide is found in 40% of the calories eaten in the average American diet. So just to be safe, and slim—free yourself from the fries.

There’s a new superhero in town. Here to protect us against the evils of cybercrime. Microsoft unveiled its new Cybercrime Center located on its Redmond, Washington campus. Reminiscent of a Hollywood set, the center boasts huge flat-panel TV’s displaying algorithms, data, and images with tools and software all about cybercrime and of course case files and notebooks for the cybercrime agents. Here agents will keep tabs on global cyber threats in real time. They will partner with third-party cyber security analysts for as long as necessary to solve cybercrimes. Cybercrime may sound silly but it’s a very real and present threat costing consumers an estimated $113 billion per year. The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit has already won some big battles in the war on cybercrime, having shut down the Citadel botnet and exposing international piracy rings. So fight on, agents, in your new home.

Ever heard that song—where have all the cowboys gone? Well they’re being replaced by Rover—the round ‘em up robot. A team at Sydney University has tested a four-wheeled device, called Rover, to move a herd of cows from a field to a dairy. They said it was amazing how easily the cows accepted the presence of the robot. The herding process was “calm and effective,” they said. The robot was adapted from one that was already being used to monitor fruit and trees on farms. The prototype still needs a human operator, but future devices could be fully automated.

And that’s all for on science folks.



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