June 20, 2013

Curiosity Provides A Billion Pixel Image Of Mars – The Daily Orbit

NASA has created a Curious collage.

Who will global warming hit the hardest?

The semantics behind obesity.

And let’s give a round of applause for today’s Daily Orbit!

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

NASA’s getting artsy. Now y’all know I love when science and art combine, so this is right up my alley. Using nearly 900 pictures of Mars taken from the Curiosity Rover between Oct. 5 to Nov. 16, 2012, NASA made a billion-plus-pixel image of the Rocknest area with Mount Sharp in the background. NASA said the scene “gives a sense of place and really shows off the cameras’ capabilities.” The raw images are posted on JPL’s multimedia page. You can see the context, but also zoom in to see the fine details of the surface. So all you armchair astronomers, go have a look-see!

And in case you were missing them, we have another global warming update for you today. Scientists say the hardest hit from global warming will be the world’s poor. They say if the world warms by 3.6 degrees F, which could happen in the next 20-30 years, food shortages, heat waves, and more intense cyclones will ensue. Poor nations in sub-Saharan African and South Asia will “feel the heat” (so to speak), with some areas faced with flooding, or a lack of water for power, irrigation, and drinking…affecting agriculture and in turn the world food shortage. The new report called for an urgent solution, saying there is a chance to avoid the worst of the crisis.

And from a food shortage to too much food… the American Medical Association wants to recognize obesity as a disease. The association noted that rates have “doubled among adults in the last twenty years and tripled among children in a single generation.” They feel that semantically recognizing obesity as a disease will force the medical community to tackle it and deal with it, rather than writing it off as a behavioral issue. It will also force insurance companies to cover patients for counseling related to the disease. However, some say it is a double-edged sword, further stigmatizing obesity and further encouraging the use of drugs or surgeries to treat it.

And more medication seems to be the last thing Americans need. A new study from the Mayo Clinic showed that 70% of Americans are being prescribed at least one prescription drug making us the “Medication Nation.” The most-prescribed? Antibiotics, anti-depressants and opioid painkillers. The study found women and older adults receive more prescriptions. More than half of all Americans take two prescriptions drugs, and 20% are on five or more. They also say the rise in prescription drugs increases the potential for abuse. Drug spending was at $250 billion in 2009, when the data used for the study was collected, and researchers say drug-related spending should continue to grow in the near future. Almost everyone I know is “on something.”

“Everybody clap your hands.” Clapping is contagious, we’ve always said and a new study confirms it. Researchers claim that much of the applause after a show or performance is generated by peer pressure. Well, you don’t want to be the only one not clapping! And conversely when people begin to stop clapping, the clapping dies down fast. Researchers found boredom or tiredness was the major trigger for people to stop clapping. They said you should be wary of encores-often people just keep on clapping as long as everyone else. They didn’t have to tell us performers that!

And that’s all for the Daily Orbit. [ clapping ] Oh well thank you, thank you. I’ll be back tomorrow!

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