August 20, 2013
Computer And MRI Team Up To Read Your Mind – The Daily Orbit
Reading minds one letter at a time.
Is there anyone who doesn’t use the Internet?
A cup of Joe for your liver?
And an ancient galactic find on the Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
While I surf the Internet in the morning researching my science news for the day, I sip on my daily cup of Joe. So I was glad to read today that coffee just might be good for my liver. Now I know that last week we reported that drinking 4 cups of coffee a day was gonna kill ya, well today drinking those 4 cups could save your liver. Darned if you do, darned if you don’t! Researchers found that caffeine consumption—specifically coffee or tea—could reduce fatty liver in people diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition found in 70% of people diagnosed with diabetes. The team found that caffeine stimulates the breakdown of lipids stored in liver cells and lowers fatty liver. Coffee…it does a liver good!
What if you could read someone’s thoughts? Although, I’m not sure I would always want to, scientists in the Netherlands say they have created a computer model that can do just that. Using a mathematical model to analyze MRI images, they say they were able reconstruct thoughts and decipher letters that test subjects thought about. The team was able to teach a computer model how to analyze MRI images during brain scans to reconstruct an image being viewed by the subject. Hmm…what letter am I thinking of right now?
That would be the letter “X” for exoplanets and exciting because exoplanets are exciting and I love when we get to talk about them. What’s the latest? It would be Kepler 78b and it’s fascinating astronomers because of its fast orbit. This planet, which is 700 light-years away from Earth, orbits its host star once every 8.5 hours—one of the shortest orbital periods ever detected. Because it’s so close to its host star, scientists say surface temperatures on Kepler 78b may reach more than 5,000 degrees F and is probably extremely volcanic. It is 40 times closer to its host star than Mercury. Scientists are hoping to be able to use gravitational data to help measure the planet’s mass, which would make it the first Earth-sized planet out of our Solar System to have its mass measured.
If my Aunt Lucille is on the Internet I thought everybody was. But apparently not! A new report says that 20% of American adults still do not use the Internet at home, work, or school. How is that even possible? A lot of older Americans have never owned a computer or smartphone equaling no Internet use. Also, economic disparity contributes to this percentage, as some people simply can’t afford to connect to the World Wide Web with Southern states like Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas exhibiting the lowest use. Not using the Internet could widen the economic gap as some employers don’t accept offline job applications. One researcher said “It means if you don’t have Internet, you could be really isolated.” And you wouldn’t necessarily know this because you wouldn’t even be watching the Daily Orbit!
And this is a story of alien metal—or space jewelry if you will. Using x-ray techniques, archaeologists have determined that iron beads found in Egypt were made from pieces of meteorites rather than iron ore. The beads, which are 5000 years old, were originally a necklace paired with gold and gemstones. Archaeologists said the bead shape was obtained by smithing and rolling—involving multiple cycles of hammering—rather than more traditional techniques such as carving or drilling. Hmm… interesting. I want a meteorite necklace.
And that’s all for the Daily Orbit. See you tomorrow Orbiters!