If I Could Online-Chat With The Animals...
Peter Gabriel and Vint Cerf are two of the people behind the proposed Interspecies Internet, a platform that is exactly what it sounds like.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
At a TED conference this week, four people -- musician Peter Gabriel, MIT's Neil Gershenfeld, cognitive psychologist Diana Reiss, and Internet co-creator Vint Cerf -- announced their latest joint nonprofit project, the Interspecies Internet. When launched, the networked streaming video platform will bring together species who have already demonstrated the ability to communicate with humans, such as dolphins and apes, with a range of people from researchers to schoolchildren. It will also work with other organizations that are already using technology to communicate with animals.
What's the Big Idea?
In the project description, Gabriel writes that the Interspecies Internet will also connect captive animals to their noncaptive fellows in their native lands. "Schoolchildren in the native regions where these animals are in danger, would be able to communicate with the animals via tablet and learn that these animals are intelligent and friendly." Cerf says the project is only one step towards an even broader goal: to be able to communicate with beings from other planets via an Interplanetary Internet.
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Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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