January 23, 2013

Asteroid Mining Venture Announced By Deep Space Industries – The Daily Orbit

Fireflies in space?

Curiosity could kill the cat.

Words shaping our world.

And saving face on today’s Daily Orbit!

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

Fireflies in space mining for metals? These fireflies you can’t put in a jar. Deep Space Industries announced this week that it plans to send a fleet of asteroid-prospecting spacecraft out into the solar system. Talk about headin’ West—wayyyy West! These “Firefly” spacecraft use low-cost components and get discounted space travel by carpooling—tagging along on the launch of larger spacecraft. The first launch is planned for 2015 and will last two to six months. Then in 2016 the company plans to launch larger “Dragonflies” that will collect samples from asteroids to bring back to Earth. And you can participate too! The company will provide live feeds from Mission Control, online courses in asteroid mining, and other cool stuff. Let’s get prospectin’!

This next story reminds me of Looney Toons: “I think saw a puddy cat, I did, I did!” Well while Tweety Bird managed to always escape the clutches of Sylvester the Cat, one New Zealand conservationist says the birds in New Zealand aren’t so lucky! Gareth Morgan is urging cat owners to spay and neuter their feline friends, and go one step further and not replace them when they die. Morgan says that the overrun domestic cat population is decimating the native birds. He calls cats “natural born killers” and in an online video says “Cats are the only true sadists of the animal world,” “cats torture their victims slowly and without mercy,” and that “cats are serial killers.” Many of the New Zealanders are outraged and Morgan has received backlash from the SPCA. He’s kind of the opposite of the crazy cat lady; he’s the crazy cat conservationist.

And on to crazy conspiracies [with glasses on] hahaha recognize me now! Worried about new facial recognition technologies? Walking by a mannequin that can identify you, TVs that tell whose watching, and such? Well for all you paranoid patrons, welcome “privacy visor” glasses. The glasses boast an array of infrared lights that confuse the cameras. Powered by a pocket-sized power supply, the glasses will be reasonably priced. But if you don’t want to wear these attractive “privacy visors,” you have options. You can put on a lot of make-up or tilt your head at a 15 degree angle to confuse the camera. Or better yet wear a mask. [putting on mask] I’m not sure I’d walk in a bank like this.

And there’s a red supergiant about to go supernova – in 5000 years. New images of the nearest supergiant to Earth called Betelgeuse shows multiple arcs which could be colliding with a dusty “wall.” Located in the constellation Orion the Hunter, Betelgeuse is visible to the naked eye in the northern hemisphere winter night sky as an orange-red star to the left of Orion’s three-star belt. Scientists say it is likely on its way to a supernova explosion. Betelgeuse sounds a lot like Beetlejuice—Beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetlejuice…hmm… nothing.

And what is in a word? Well, I think that’s supposed to be, what’s in a name, but for our case today we’ll go with it! A new study says that public acceptance of climate change may have been influenced by the rate at which words moved from scientific journals to everyday vernacular. Using Google Ngram, two anthropologists looked at the rise and fall of particular climate change words in the mainstream. These include biodiversity, Holocene, Paleoclimate, and phenology. They say that “scientists can learn from this study that the general public shouldn’t be expected to understand technical terms or be convinced by journal papers written in jargon.” They say explain it ‘til we can all understand it!

Well that’s all for today’s Daily Orbit!

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