May 29, 2013

Astronauts Make 6 Hour Journey To The Space Station – The Daily Orbit

All systems are go for Expedition 36.

Life after being frozen?

Who says social networking makes you unproductive?

And gotta love that robot waiter on the Daily Orbit!

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

Expedition 36 of the International Space Station is now officially underway! Three astronauts arrived at the ISS with a welcome from the three current residents of the ISS. They completed the journey from Launchpad to orbiting complex in just 6 hours—it takes me that long to get to the West Coast! During their time in space, the crew will prepare the complex for the Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module in December, and this is cool, they will spacewalk to take the Olympic torch outside. Also they will continue science experiments including one very important experiment to evaluate countermeasures to prevent the loss of bone density in space. They also will continue work on how crews may one day grow their own food in space. Expedition 36—may the force be with you! Ok, I know that doesn’t really go but I had to say it.

And if plants can grow after being frozen for hundreds of years beneath a glacier, surely they can grow in space. A Canadian researcher recently found ancient plants known as bryophytes awakening after being exposed from a receding glacier. Scientists had long thought that all plants buried for that long were unable to regrow upon re-exposure. Not only were these 400-600 year old plants intact, but they were in pristine condition and growing. The researcher said that these entombed plants coming out from underneath the glacier will have a “big impact” as glaciers quickly disappear.

[ Off screen] “Get off Facebook and get back to work!” FYI—Microsoft says social networking makes employees more productive! A new survey conducted by the company found that 50% of employees said that they believed social networking tools made them more productive, yet 30% of companies restrict the use of these tools. Productivity loss was the number reason given for the restriction of social networking tools followed by security issues. However, Microsoft says that these tools could lead to “collaboration in the workplace” and that deeply integrating apps into the workplace would speed collaboration and transform the way people work. Could Microsoft be a little biased?

And some children in Colorado have been caught with their hands in the “special” cookie jar. The state has seen an uptick in hospitalization of children from accidental ingestion of marijuana since the passage of the 2009 state-wide legalization act. Children have more severe reactions to marijuana than adults and it’s difficult for docs to treat little kiddies who accidentally eat pot-laced baked goodies once they show up in the emergency room. And you can imagine it’s hard for Mom or Dad to admit little Suzie found their stash of pot-brownies or lollipops. But rest assured there’s been no deaths or lasting effects. Still, Colorado parents: heed the docs advice and find a better place to stash your “stash.”

And ladies you might soon be replaced as your man’s “beer —-.’’ Ha! You thought I was going to say it didn’t you? Engineers are teaching a robot to anticipate human needs—like giving your coffee, or yes beer, a refill. The robot identifies the activities it sees, assesses the objects in the scenes, then generates a set of possible continuations—like drinking, eating, cleaning, and putting away and then sees what’s most probable. The robot made correct predictions 82% of time when looking one second in the future, but that accuracy rate dropped as it looked further into the future. Still pretty impressive though! I know all you dudes out there are excited—cleaning and refilling without the lip that usually comes with it! Right?

Well, that’s it for the Daily Orbit. (robot comes in to refill my coffee) Oh why thank you!

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