April 19, 2013
Lyra Constellation Hosts Potential Super Earth – The Daily Orbit
Guess what’s lying in Lyra?
Robots getting a little feeling.
Having your dog fixed for life.
And be careful what you eat! On today’s Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
Life in Lyra? Possibly. Astronomers have found what they consider the most Earth-like planet ever found outside of our Solar System. Using the Kepler Space Telescope, they found Kepler 62f, a small rocky planet orbiting a Sun-like star in the Lyra constellation. Called a “Super-Earth,” it’s approximately 1.4 times the size of Earth, and receives about half as much heat and radiation. They say it lies within the habitable zone, meaning it’s not so close to its sun that liquid water would boil off, and not so far away that it would be frozen. The system also contains another super-Earth, 62 e. Astronomers say though each planet would have different weather conditions, both could potentially be life-friendly. Sometimes, I just try to imagine what these planets would be like.
Now, imagine this—a world where robots can feel. I don’t mean emotions. But a new sensor is providing tactile feeling to robots. The sensor, called TakkTile, uses a tiny barometer in order to sense air pressure. On top of that is a layer of vacuum-sealed rubber that protects the sensor from weight and force of up to 25 pounds. When used on a robot’s hand, the robot knows what it’s touching—picking up a balloon without popping or picking up a key to unlock a door. The researchers said TakkTile could have many different applications such as being used in toy dogs so that they respond to petting. That’s the kind of dog I need with my schedule, a robot one that doesn’t have to be taken out or fed!
But if I did have a dog, I would get it fixed in light of this new study! Looking at death records from the Veterinary Medical Database over a span of 10 years, researchers found that the average age of dogs not sterilized was 7.9 years, compared to 9.4 years for those spayed or neutered. But why? Researchers say dogs that haven’t been fixed are more likely to die from infectious disease or trauma. They say that some of the reproductive hormones may suppress the immune system. But owners should be aware that with sterilization comes a higher risk for cancer in canines. And interestingly, another study found the castrated men also experienced a longer lifespan. Hmm…My mama always said having kids will kill ya.
Well, I was really excited the other day to tell you how well the Marine Mammal Act of 1972 was working but news today might threaten that. The US Department of the Interior is considering giving large oil and gas companies’ permission to blast sound waves through the Atlantic Ocean floor to produce 3D images in search of fossil fuels. But it comes at a price. Estimates show that scores of marine mammals would be injured and possibly killed along the East Coast. These waves produced by seismic air guns would be 100,000 times more intense than those of a jet engine. Marine scientists say the blast would cause hearing loss, abandonment of habitat, mating and feeding disruptions, potential beach strandings and ultimately death. A decision is expected to be made by October.
And this next one isn’t really shocking considering we reported on the high percentage of antibiotic resistant bacteria is US meats just a couple of days ago. According to the CDC, food-borne illnesses are on the rise. Illnesses related to the bacterium Campylobacter, which originates from raw or undercooked poultry, was up by 14% last year compared to 5 years ago. Vibrio, which is associated with shellfish, rose by 43% over 2006-2008 levels. Salmonella is still the biggest problem, even though its numbers stayed steady over the years. My suggestion, just cook it to death—literally.
Well that’s all for the Daily Orbit! If you cookout this weekend, remember to make it black and kill the bac That’s bacteria for short…you follow?