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Did We Miss an Interstellar Comet Four Years Ago?

Slashdot - November 11, 2018 - 7:45pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

The sounds of a Martian sunrise inspire short musical composition

Ars Technica - November 11, 2018 - 7:00pm

Enlarge / The sonification process involved assigning specific pitches and melodies to such characteristics in the data as brightness, color, and the elevation of the terrain. (credit: YouTube/NASA)

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity fell silent earlier this year, but even if it never regains full function, it had one last gift to give. Scientists have transformed Opportunity's image of its 5,000th sunrise on Mars into music using a process called data sonification.

“Image sonification is a really flexible technique to explore science, and it can be used in several domains, from studying certain characteristics of planet surfaces and atmospheres, to analyzing weather changes or detecting volcanic eruptions," says Domenico Vicinanza, director of the Sound and Game Engineering research group at Anglia Ruskin University. “In health science, it can provide scientists with new methods to analyze the occurrence of certain shapes and colors, which is particularly useful in image diagnostics.”

He and his co-creator, the University of Exeter's Genevieve Williams, will debut their two-minute composition ("Mars Soundscapes") at NASA's booth at the Supercomputing SC18 conference this week in Dallas, Texas.

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Three high-flying birds soar together for the first time since the 1970s

Ars Technica - November 11, 2018 - 6:10pm

Eric Berger

Update: This week, Ars staffers from across the country gather together in real life for our annual meeting, Technicon. We're supposed to be talking more than typing, so we're resurfacing a few classic Ars stories just in case the front page gets lonely. This one, which originally ran on November 22, 2015, centers on a few aviation/space pioneers and feels particularly apt for Veterans Day weekend. It appears unchanged below.

The last three flightworthy WB-57 airplanes in existence arrayed themselves on a runway near Johnson Space Center in Houston this past week, as if they were dinosaurs brought to life. The long-winged aircraft look something like prehistoric creatures, too, measuring just a stubby 21 meters long compared to an overly broad 37.5-meter wingspan. It had been four decades since as many as three of the great, superannuated birds soared together.

But then they did. One by one, the WB-57s slowly rolled down the runway at Ellington Airport and then began a slow climb upward into resplendent clear, blue skies. They flew again, thanks to a restoration program by NASA to bring a third WB-57 back from its boneyard. “It’s quite a day,” Charlie Mallini, who manages the WB-57 program for NASA, told Ars.

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Elon Musk on double-decker freeways, permitting, and building sewers

Ars Technica - November 11, 2018 - 5:30pm

Segments of The Boring Company's boring machine, called Godot. (credit: The Boring Company)

Tesla, SpaceX, and Boring Company CEO Elon Musk is good at finding alternative markets for his products. He did this with the lithium-ion batteries he was building and sourcing for his Model S, X, and eventually Model 3 cars: by developing a line of stationary storage battery products, he tapped into another well of potential customers at little additional expense.

Similarly, Musk told mayors on Thursday that he wants The Boring Company to dig sewers, water transport, and electrical tunnels under cities, in addition to the transportation-focused tunnels he hopes to dig to house electric skate systems.

Musk mentioned this alternate use for his boring machines at the National League of Cities' City Summit, during a "fireside chat" with Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti. According to Forbes, Musk told the audience, "The Boring Company is also going to do tunneling for, like, water transport, sewage, electrical. We're not going to turn our noses up at sewage tunnels. We're happy to do that too."

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Mitsubishi's launching a L200 1-ton truck and it looks rad - Roadshow - News - November 11, 2018 - 5:00pm
Too bad we're just about the only market not getting it.

Red Hydrogen One review: No 3D glasses needed, just a big wallet - CNET - Reviews - November 11, 2018 - 5:00pm
A Hollywood phone with a big budget and a disappointing ending.

Samsung's foldable phone is real and opens into a tablet - CNET - News - November 11, 2018 - 4:15pm
The device will use the company's new Infinity Flex Display and be available next year.

Some good came out of 2018: Astronomy photos

Ars Technica - November 11, 2018 - 4:00pm

While we're big fans of images of the very small, as brought to us by the Nikon Microscopy Competition, we also admire the really big. And each year, that comes courtesy of the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. This year's winners were recently announced and have gone on display at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, UK. But if you can't make it to London, you can get a taste for what you're missing below.

Tommy Eliassen

Astronomy images span a phenomenal range scale, from things that would fit neatly on Earth (like comets or features on local bodies) to the mind-bogglingly large (like stellar nurseries or entire galaxies). And we frequently observe these objects by using wavelengths the human eye can't see. So there's a lot of room for artistic choices about how to make these things both understandable and beautiful. In many cases, this year's winners have also humanized things by placing the night sky in context, framed by other figures admiring it or nestled among familiar-looking landscapes.

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Apple pumps up its Amazon listings with iPhones, iPads and more - CNET - News - November 11, 2018 - 3:45pm
Scoop: New listings will arrive in the coming weeks, though HomePod isn't included.

The first foldable phone beats Samsung to the punch - CNET - Reviews - November 11, 2018 - 3:00pm
Samsung, LG and Huawei are all predicted to launch foldable phones soon, but you can preorder the Royole FlexPai right now.

Pixel 3 vs. OnePlus 6T: Which Android should you buy? - CNET - News - November 11, 2018 - 2:00pm
It's a battle between a superb camera and an impressively low price tag.

How movie makeup makes Ryan Gosling look bad - CNET - News - November 11, 2018 - 2:00pm
From First Man to Blade Runner and Skyfall, makeup maestro Donald Mowat paints physical and emotional wounds on stars like Daniel Craig and Mark Wahlberg.

Why your iPhone and Android phone will get more expensive - CNET - News - November 11, 2018 - 1:00pm
The numbers don't lie.

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