November 27, 2012

Pac-man Seen on Saturn Moon – The Daily Orbit

Pac-man in space?

What’s faster than a speeding bullet?

And tossing those bad thoughts in the can..

All that and more coming up on the Daily Orbit!

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

Here’s a geek’s dream, Pac-Man has been found orbiting Saturn. Okay not really, but new images of the planet’s moon Tethys taken by the Cassini spacecraft feature a pattern on that moon that appears to be shaped like the 1980s video game icon created in Japan. This is the second Pac-Man character to be found around Saturn, first seen on the moon Mimas. NASA scientists say that these unusual shapes result from high-energy electrons that can dramatically alter the surface of any icy moon. Scientists say that the altered surface does not heat as rapidly in the sunshine or cool down as quickly at night as the rest of the surface. With this new discovery, NASA says that the systems around Saturn, and even Jupiter, could be a “veritable arcade of these characters.”

And the country that brought us Pac-Man is now getting props for its continuous development of high speed rail lines. What’s faster than a speeding bullet? Well, according to Japan, that would be its new train prototype that promises to deliver even faster train service to Japan than its current bullet train system. This new train will utilize magnetic levitation, or MagLev, technology, allowing it to float above the track and move forward via powerful magnets. Take that Chris Angle. The train will reach speeds of 311 mph. The current bullet train reaches maximum speeds of 149-186 mph. Because it has no wheels, it will provide a smoother and quieter ride, and will be less affected by inclement weather. Please send it to America!  And make a direct line to my Mama’s!

Oh don’t mind me, I was just gazing below your eyes to get a good look at your face. A new study discovered that the best way to look at a person’s face is below their eyes. Using an eye tracker, researchers found that when individuals meet, they first look below each other’s eyes, where their brain can determine the person’s identity, gender, and emotional state from as many facial features as possible. Researchers also believe looking beneath the eye may be a sign of respect. The glance only lasts a brief 250 milliseconds and the other person is usually oblivious to it. Researchers believe this behavior may vary with cultural backgrounds and certain medical conditions, like schizophrenia and autism. I’ll bet you notice today where people are looking.

Exercise: good for the body and the brain? We all know that staying active keeps our body’s healthier and feeling younger (which is why I should do more of it) but did you know it also keeps your brain healthier and younger too? A new study specifically looked at the effect of exercise on the brain’s gray matter, or the cerebral cortex, which plays a significant role in information processing. Studying different types of exercising, researchers found it is not one but a combination of lifestyle choices and activities that benefit the brain. They also found that greater caloric expenditure was related to larger gray matter volumes in the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes. Researchers equate gray matter to brain heath, and shrinking volume is seen in Alzheimer’s. To maximize the health benefits to your brain, you should start engaging in physical activities earlier in life, like in your 40s and 50s.  I am suddenly feeling inspired!

And here’s an idea to cure you of your negative nellies: throw them away! Researchers found that when people wrote down their thoughts on a piece of paper and threw the paper away, it helped them mentally discard the thoughts as well. They also found that people were more likely to use their thoughts when making judgments if they first wrote them down on a piece of paper and tucked the paper away in a pocket.  Researcher’s say it may sound silly but it works! Hmm…I’m going to give it a try…Wow!

That’s all for today’s Daily Orbit!  I just thought of a “thought” I want to hang onto. See ya tomorrow!

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