July 2, 2013
Canadian Teen Enlightens Us With A Hollow Flashlight – The Daily Orbit
An enlightening invention by a Canadian teen.
Seeing space in 3D.
Scientists bring new meaning to the phrase “body double.”
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
You know how the batteries are always dead when you actually need your flashlight? Well, thanks to a little teen ingenuity—problem solved! A 15-year-old Canadian girl has invented a hollow flashlight that calls on humans’ “surplus energy” to work—using Peltier tiles to convert body heat into usable light. The teen has her sights set on Google’s online science fair in September where the winner will receive a $50,000 scholarship and trip to the Galapagos Islands. I don’t know about you but I think she has more than a shot in the dark at that prize!
Well, 3D is all the rage nowadays—and I’m glad because I love it! The latest? Exploring space in 3D. Talk about a space junkie’s dream! Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, two of the best telescopes in the world, a new movie called “Hidden Universe” tours deep space with 3D simulations that we Earthlings may enjoy in the comfort of an IMAX theater. Viewers can travel through galaxies and nebulae, brush over Mars, and get up close and personal with the Sun in the comfort of central air. Filmmakers said “Hidden Universe will explore the Sun, our human connection to the cosmos, and amazing views of faraway galaxies in a previously unseen way.” See you at the movies!
Well that is, weather permitting. Seems like the weather just keeps getting crazier and crazier right? Well, it’s true and the tree rings prove it! Researchers at the Pacific Research Center in Hawaii are looking to a unique tree-ring record to study El Nino Southern Oscillation patterns over the last 700 years. They found that ENSO activity was unusually active in the late 20th century compared to the past 700 years—implying global warming is having an effect on the patterns. Many models have not reflected the strong ENSO response to global warming. They say their results could help improve the accuracy of climate models and that if this trend continues, we can expect to see more weather extremes such as floods and droughts. No bueno!
But scientists aren’t just trying to understand our weird weather here on Earth but they also are looking to better understand how national grids could be affected by space weather. Space weather comes in the form of coronal mass ejections from the Sun that shoot towards Earth. These ejections can interact with Earth’s natural magnetic field that can affect both currents higher in the atmosphere as well as in the ground. Changes in the currents in the ground can knock out power grids, railway switches and long pipelines. So researchers are making measurements in the UK to better understand the impacts of space weather on today’s technology. They hope this new research will lead to protection for our infrastructure and the technology we rely on.
And if you thought the weather was weird, how about a little weird science. Scientists say that grafting one person’s head onto another person’s body could be possible. They did it with a Rhesus monkey in the 70s, but he only lived 8 days. Anyway, here’s how it goes down. Both patients need to be in the same operating room (I think that’s a given) The head has to be cooled to between 12-15 degrees C (talk about brain freeze), and then you have to remove both heads and attach the recipient’s head to the donor’s body while the donor body is chilled and in total cardiac arrest. Voila new body. Okay, so it’s never been done. They’re simply saying it’s now more possible.
Well that’s it for the Daily Orbit!