August 27, 2012

Neil Armstrong Passes Away At 82 – The Daily Orbit – redOrbit

— An American Icon Makes his Final Voyage into the great unknown

— Didn’t think high def could get any better? Wait to you hear what’s new

— U.S. Appeals Court: Government Can Fund Stem Cell Research

— Moooo-ve over Kobe beef there’s a new cow in town

— Pluto Demoted From Planetary Status Five Years Ago Today

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

It’s sad day in science as the nation mourns the loss of a legendary hero, Neil Armstrong.  The accomplished astronaut passed away Saturday, just weeks after his 82nd birthday due to complications from open heart surgery. Armstrong was a war also a veteran, aerospace engineer and test pilot. He joined NASA in 1962, and served as command pilot for the Gemini 8 mission in 1966. However, he is most remembered for the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, where he made world history by becoming the first man to step on the moon. (Sound bite and image) In a statement made Saturday, his family suggested we… and I quote, ”Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.” Well, here’s to you Mr. Armstrong (wink).

In technology news today, high def gets a lot more def.  A UN regulatory committee has approved a new television format that has 16-times the resolution of current sets. As if it wasn’t hard already to look good in high def!  The new technology called Ultra High Definition Television or (UHDTV), will allow a wider array of colors and have a frame rate more than twice that of current HD broadcasts.  NHK, developers of the technology, expects to broadcast the format called Super Hi-Vision by 2020.  But that technology set you back a pretty penny!  LG announced it will release a UHDTV version for an estimated $22,000 while Sony expects to release a $30,000 TV by Christmas.  I won’t hold my breath on that one being under my Christmas tree!

Ok, beef lovers, here’s a story you may get excited about!  Scientists at the Beijiing University of Agriculture have genetically modified a pair of calves to be tastier and more tender. The team of scientists produced a pair of cloned calves, which they implanted with an extra gene to increase fat in their muscles and add flavor and tenderness to the beef. Scientist hope that by genetically modifying cattle, they can help cut the cost of richly marbled beef.  Critics of the technology raise concerns about the welfare of the animals involved and the potential harm to humans consuming the meat and milk products. Can’t you just imagine a big ole juicy genetically modified steak..yum…yum…

And in more genetic engineering news, Proponents celebrate another win in the stem cell research funding saga.  On Friday, a US Circuit Court of Appeals in DC ruled that the government can continue funding of embryonic stem cell research.  This is the second time the appeals court has refused to stop federal funding of stem controversial program. Opponents object because the stem cells were obtained from destroyed human embryos.  Supporters insist that most cells used in research come from extra embryos from fertility clinics that would have been disposed of anyway.  National Institute for Health Director, Dr. Francis Collins said in a statement that the NIH will continue to move forward with their stem cell research.

And it’s a Big Happy Un-birthday to Pluto!  Saturday marked the 6th anniversary of the de-planeting of Pluto as I like to refer to it. Pluto was demoted to a “dwarf planet” by the International Astronomical Union after it redefined the term “planet” as a body that circles the sun without being some other object’s satellite, is large enough to be rounded by its own gravity and has “cleared it neighborhood” of most other orbiting bodies. Scientist ruled that Pluto could not be a true planet because it was just too different from the eight original planets. Aww…poor Pluto.  At least you have friends like Eris and the other Kulper belt bodies that don’t belong in the same category as the eight “original” planets. Everybody needs friends…even planets!

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