Saturday, 30 May 2015

MIT Cheetah Robot Lands The Running Jump

In a leap for robotic development, the MIT researchers who built a robotic cheetah have now trained it to see and jump over hurdles as it runs - making this the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously.

YouTube link


Yay! Beer and wine!

(via Bad Newspaper)

Scientists Plug Hole In Swiss Cheese Knowledge

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After about a century of research, scientists in Switzerland have finally solved the mystery of the holes in Swiss cheese. Despite what you may have been told as a child, the holes are not caused by mice nibbling away inside cheese wheels.

Experts from Agroscope, a state centre for agricultural research, said the phenomenon was caused by tiny bits of hay present in the milk and not bacteria as previously thought. They found that the mystery holes became smaller or disappeared when milk used for cheesemaking was extracted using modern methods.

Taking The Plunge

When a young man's ideal marriage proposal is put in jeopardy he is forced to dive into unknown waters to salvage his plans.

Vimeo link

(thanks Cora)

10 Etiquette Rules You're Probably Breaking

Are you coughing into your right hand? Are you calling it a purse? Are you pointing at your friend? You're doing it wrong!

Here are 10 etiquette rules you are probably breaking.

The Hand Of Punta Del Este

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The Hand of Punta del Este, or Mano de Punta del Este, is a sculpture of a hand partially emerging from sand and located at Brava Beach in the popular resort town of Punta del Este, in Uruguay. The sculpture was made by the Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal and unveiled during the summer of 1982.

The sculpture has since become a symbol for Punta del Este and is one of Uruguay's most recognizable landmarks. Over the years the sculpture came to be called by different names such as Emergiendo a la Vida (Man Emerging into Life), Monumento los Dedos (Monument of the Fingers), and Monumento al Ahogado (Monument to the Drowned).

Friday, 29 May 2015

Top 10 Movie Sets Ever Built

Before the cameras can roll, and the action starts, a movie set invites audiences into the action. A well-built set creates the world that the rest of the movie brings to life. Here are the 10 best movie sets in history.

YouTube link

(via Neatorama)

Adorable Pedal Cars

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The human fascination with cars, boats and planes could easily originate in our childhood and looking at some of these pedal vehicles, it's hardly surprising.

Some of these pedal cars are originals that have been restored, while others are modern reproductions, but they're still pretty cool. So sit back, make yourself comfortable and enjoy the ride.

The Mystery Of The Margate Shell Grotto

image credit: deadmanjones

In 1835 a labourer was digging a field just outside the English seaside town of Margate. His work was interrupted when he thrust his spade in to the soil and it simply vanished in to the ground. The master of the nearby Dane House School, James Newlove, was made aware of this strange disappearance. He volunteered his young son, Joshua, for the task of being lowered, candle in hand, in to the void via a length of rope.

Regardless of our modern sensibilities about the health and safety of children, when Joshua was pulled back to the surface his wide-eyed tale astonished everyone. He told of a magical temple adorned in shells, hundreds, thousands... millions of them.

How Far Is A Light-Year?

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Stars other than our sun are so far distant that astronomers refer to their distances not in terms of kilometers or miles - but in light-years. Light travels at an incredible 300,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) per second. If you could travel at the speed of light, you would be able to circle the Earth's equator about 7.5 times in just one second.

Few of us can comprehend such a humongous number. Is there any way for us mere mortals to really understand how far a light-year is?

Nilometer: Ancient Structures Used To Measure The Level Of River Nile

image credit: Horus3

Every year the river Nile begins to rise in the summer, the water overflows its banks and deposits slit on the surrounding floodplain. It is this annual flood that makes the land fertile allowing it to be cultivated and civilization to exist.

But the flood was unpredictable. If the river failed to rise, it caused drought and famine. The Egyptians therefore began measuring the Nile's water level in order to predict the harvest.

The Great Harlot And The Beast

How will the naive freshly carved prince and his co-actors withstand their audience's insatiable appetite for entertainment?

Vimeo link

(thanks Cora)

How You'll Die On Mars

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We're on our way to Mars. NASA has a plan to land astronauts on its surface by the 2030s. Private spaceflight companies like SpaceX have also expressed interest in starting their own colonies there, while the infamous Mars One project has already enlisted civilians for a one-way trip to our planetary neighbor in 2020.

While many may dream of living their remaining days on Mars, those days may be numbered. The Martian environment poses significant challenges to Earth life, and establishing a Mars habitat will require an extraordinary amount of engineering prowess and technological knowhow to ensure the safety of its residents.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Playing Bear Cubs

While driving back from a hike in Hetch Hetchy in California, YouTube user Jeff Molyneaux caught these two bear cubs playing in the middle of the road while Mama bear browsed for food off to the side.

YouTube link

Heaviest Strawberry In The World

A farmer in Fukuoka, Japan found an enormous strawberry that tipped the scale at a whopping 250 grams (8.82 oz). The mutated beast of a berry now holds the Guinness World Record for the heaviest strawberry in the world.

Head Space: Behind 10,000 Years Of Artificial Cranial Modification

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In 2013, archaeologists working in France, uncovered something very strange. The researchers discovered the tomb and skull of an aristocrat, who died some 1,600 years ago. Her skull was heavily deformed, with the front flattened, and the rear rising into a cone shape.

It was an example of 'artificial cranial deformation'. But this was not a singular incident. It turns out that altering the shape of one's head is not shockingly unique; it's incredibly common, across time and geography. Its meaning isn't fixed, so understanding why and how it happens can reveal much about the societies who choose to change the shape of their heads.

10 Myths About Spiders

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Spiders are just like you and me. That is, they're largely misunderstood. Maybe it's their eight gangly legs and hairy bodies. Or maybe it's those little fangs that inject venom into their prey. Whatever it is, the sight of a spider tends to give folks the willies.

The fact is that many of us have our 'facts' wrong when it comes to spiders. Turns out, they're probably as put off by humans as we are by them. They're not likely to bite a person or crawl into your sleeping mouth. Let's look at 10 spider myths that don't hold up to scrutiny, starting with the biggest one of all.

(via Miss Cellania)

BRETT The Robot Learns To Put Things Together On His Own

UC Berkeley researchers have developed algorithms that enable robots to learn motor tasks through trial and error using a process that more closely approximates the way humans learn, marking a major milestone in the field of artificial intelligence.

In their experiments, the PR2 robot, nicknamed BRETT (Berkeley Robot for the Elimination of Tedious Tasks), used 'deep learning' techniques to complete various tasks without pre-programmed details about its surroundings.

YouTube link

The World's Largest Image

The world's largest image is made up of 365 billion pixels and gives us a very detailed panoramic view of Mont Blanc. The astonishing majesty of this impressive white giant is too wide to be represented either in words or images.

Now, you can grab that rarefied atmosphere through the highest resolution panorama ever made: a way to know, explore and feel the Mont Blanc. No matter if you're not an alpinist or a photographer: from now onwards the highest mountain in Europe will be part of your life like never before.

Solar Bike Path In The Netherlands Is A Shining Success

It's been only six months since the Netherlands made headlines with the world's first bike path covered in solar panels. But already the green idea is reaping higher-than-expected energy dividends, raising the chances that the idea could take off elsewhere.

The 230-foot test track is located in Krommenie, north of Amsterdam. The solar bike path is already producing more than 3,000 kilowatt-hours, or enough to power a home for a year.