January 17, 2013

What’s The Status Of Your Memory? – The Daily Orbit

What’s the status of your memory?

From an energy drink to the ER – is the caffeine fix too much?

And space monkeys, space rooms, and deep sea drones.

Get ready for some science fun on today’s Daily Orbit.

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

I have to wonder if the Iranian Space Organization has been inspired by Planet of the Apes. The agency plans to send a live monkey into space before mid-February. Yes you heard me right. It’s actually Iran’s second attempt at doing so after a failed first attempt back in 2011. Why a monkey you ask? Well, the organization’s chief said that the monkey project would help Iran “implement the preparations of sending a man into space” which is tentatively scheduled for 2020. Oh Iran, stop monkeying around. I couldn’t help myself.

And from the Planet of the Apes to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the next story sounds a lot like a big-budget sci-fi flick. DARPA’s new Upward Falling Payload program would bury drones at the bottom of the deep blue sea. Hidden in spherical containers, the unmanned drones would be remotely awoken when they are needed — rising or “falling up” to the surface. Drones have long been used by the Navy to fill coverage gaps but getting them where they need to be quickly and easily has been an issue. But don’t worry…the sleeping drones won’t be put out in the middle of the ocean on their own with weapons for someone to find. They will carry non-lethal but useful capabilities. Can’t you just see it? Drones arise! Well DARPA probably won’t be so dramatic.

Well, the International Space Station will be building on. NASA just announced a $17.8 million contract with Bigelow Aerospace to provide a Bigelow Expandable Activity Module or BEAM to arrive at the station in 2015. The new space station room will be launching aboard the 8th Space X cargo resupply mission to the station. The astronauts will complete a two year test of this expandable space habitat technology – taking performance data and checking its structural integrity and leak rate. NASA said “as we venture deeper into space on the path to Mars, habitats that allow for a long-duration stay in space will be a critical capability.” Talk about adding space…haha! Yeah…I don’t know what’s wrong with me today!

Do you know what year Columbus discovered America? Do you remember that hot guy or girl’s status from down the street on Facebook last week? Ha! I bet you know their status by heart. A new study says that not only are we more likely to remember posts to Facebook over selections from books, but we’re also more likely to remember them over pictures of one another. Researchers say this could be because Facebook status’s are written much closer to our “natural speech,” and are often gossipy. Are they saying we are nosy? [on the phone] She’s having drinks with WHO? I won’t forget that!

Okay, listen up all you cracked-out-on-caffeine, energy-drink-lovin’ addicts out there. A new report shows that the number of people who have sought emergency treatment after consuming energy drinks and other highly-caffeinated beverages has doubled nationwide in the past 4 years. From 2007 to 2011, ER visits linked to these drinks shot up from 10,000 to 20,000. Ninety percent of Americans are looking for a caffeine fix on a daily basis. More than half get 300 milligrams and 20-30% get in excess of 600 mg per day – or 6 six cups of coffee, 12 cans of soda, or 4 energy drinks. Those 40 and older had a whopping 279% increase in energy drink related ER visits. But the report left us hanging on the symptoms, just calling all energy drink consumption a “rising public health problem.” Oh come on…you have to tell us the symptoms.

That’s all for the Daily Orbit!

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