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Successful Test Flight For Virgin Galactic – The Daily Orbit

April 30, 2013

A successful step in spaceflight for tourism.

The ringed planet is raging and we’ll tell you why.

What’s shifting in smartphone development?

And are you a victim of FoMo? On today’s Daily Oribt!

Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo reached Mach 1.2 yesterday in its first powered test flight. This the first time the spaceflight system and the motor have been put together after extensive tests on both separately. In a blog post, the company’s owner Richard Branson said that this starts the phase of testing that “demonstrates their vehicle’s ability to go to space” and hopefully that’s later this year. He said this first powered spaceflight is the most important test to date and makes spaceflight by the end of the year a very realistic goal. Branson said that, like the hundreds of customers who have already purchased tickets, he and his children cannot wait to get on board this fantastic vehicle for their own trip to space. I’ll let them a try it a couple of times before I buy a ticket.

There’s a storm raging on Saturn that makes hurricanes on Earth look tame. Cassini caught images of a hurricane-like storm hovering at the ringed planet’s north pole. The storm is bigger than 2 Earths, and the eye of this monster measures about 1,250 miles across, which is about 20 times larger than the average eye of a hurricane on Earth. The storm is swirling in a large, mysterious, six-sided weather pattern known as a hexagon with winds upward of 300 miles per hour. Scientists say this storm is unlike any hurricane we’ve experienced on Earth because it is locked to the planet’s north pole, and there is no ocean underneath. They say learning about this storm may help them understand more about how hurricanes on Earth are generated and sustained. And in the words of Garth Brooks “and the storm rolls on out of control.” — I hadn’t sung in a while.

And I’m for this one—going green while getting my greens—Delivered! You no longer have to feel high-maintenance for getting your groceries delivered to your door because new research says it’s actually better for the environment than driving to the store yourself. Researchers found delivery service trucks were able to cut 20% to 75% of the carbon dioxide produced by personal vehicles and up to 90% if they delivered based on the most efficient route. And the bottom line? Saving fuel saves money, which also saves on emissions. It’s a win for store owners and the environment; and good for me, because I do hate going to the grocery store.

And the smartphone game is getting shifty—shapeshifting that is. Two different teams of researchers are talking about their flexible phones. MorePhone will be on display this week at the Computer-Human Interface Conference in Paris. It uses a monochromatic, flexible e-ink display with memory wires that bend the device when a call or text is received to provide a visual cue to avoid missed calls or texts. Another team is taking that even further with their “Morphees” which is based on what they call “Shape Resolution.” So far they have six prototypes made out of shape-changing materials such as memory alloy and electro active polymer that can bend in a specific way. One bends at the seams to offer password protection, one creates a game controller, and another is a pretty flower. That’s cool but I’m still holding out for a screen that won’t break personally.

Have you been experiencing more FoMO lately? It’s not your fault. It’s a serious condition that can be exacerbated by social networking. FoMO might sound silly but it’s short for the “Fear of Missing Out” and researchers say that it’s becoming more prevalent as social networking users can constantly see what their friends are up to. Not only do they have the fear that they may be missing out but researchers say they actually are because they are so concerned about Facebook or Twitter that they often ignore what’s going on around them. Researchers say that Facebook can be rewarding but we have to “learn new skills to control our usage and enjoy social media in moderation.” Are you experiencing FoMO? Test yourself. You can go to ratemyfomo.com.

Well that’s all folks! What’s my FoMO rate?



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emerald robinson

Emerald Robinson is the host of the Daily Orbit, Red Orbit's daily video news program. Known for her Southern charm and a quick wit, Emerald made her television debut on the daytime drama The Young and the Restless. Since then she has appeared in many feature films and TV programs, including a tour as host of Auto Trader New Car Review for WheelsTV.

Read more about Emerald here ...