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Back in 2012, Red Bull sponsored a daredevil named Felix Baumgartner and his quest to skydive from the edge of space. Felix jumped from a special capsule wearing a space suit at an altitude of around 120,000 feet. The mission was a success and Felix made it to the ground unscathed.
In the process, he became the first person to break the speed of sound without an aircraft. What scientist learned during the freefall will also help them to design systems that may make high-altitude escape more survivable for astronauts and pilots in the future.
Recently Red Bull announced that the space suit worn by Baumgartner and the Stratos capsule would become part of the permanent collection at The Smithsonian. The artifacts will be part of the Red Bull Stratos: Mission to the Edge of Space exhibit.
There are all sorts of aircraft that are considered drones. In many instances when someone says drone, what they really mean is remote controlled. Such is the case with a drone that you can buy on Amazon ready to fly called the DJI Phantom.
The drone is a quadcopter and has an attachment that can be used for carrying a GoPro camera. A geek took advantage of its camera carrying capability to send the Phantom and a GoPro into the caldera of an active volcano.
I would have though with lava spewing and hot gasses boiling forth that the drone would fail from the heat quickly. As it turns out the drone and its camera survived unscathed. That is despite the lava and gas it had to dodge repeatedly.
The future is filled with technology, and especially robots and artificial intelligence, something that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently talked about. Gates spoke at the American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington, DC, where he said that both governments and businesses need to prepare for a world where people will be fighting for jobs with robots.
Gates said: "Software substitution, whether it's for drivers or waiters or nurses... it's progressing. Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower-end of skill set... 20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don't think people have that in their mental model."
The Microsoft co-founder even talked about what governments would do to prevent social unrest because of the mass unemployment, where he said they should basically get on their knees and beg big businesses to keep employing human beings instead of robots. This could lead to a future without payroll tax and corporate income taxes, while keeping the minimum wage low enough that businesses continue to employ people cheaply, versus using an automated, never-sleeping, non-demanding robot.
Most people think that robots will just replace the lower-end of the job scale, such as "low-skilled" workers, but it will effect virtually all industries. Even high-paying, and high-skilled jobs like accountants, commercial pilots, astronauts, police officers, and much more could be replaced with AI-based robots.
Facebook has said that it has developed facial recognition technology that is capable of telling the difference of two people in side-by-side photos, a technology that is so good, that it is getting very close to replicating human abilities.
The social network has dubbed it DeepFace, and according to the company it's 97.25% accurate, which is a shave from the 97.5% accuracy that humans score on average, in the same standardized test. In order to do that, the technology maps out 3D facial features, after which is makes a flat model that is filtered by color to characterize specific facial elements.
Facebook says it has also taken 4.4 million labeled faces from 4,030 different people on its network to help its system learn. DeepFace won't end up on Facebook right away, instead the social networko is releasing it ahead of presenting it at the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition this June, so that it can get some feedback from the research community.
Time-lapse videos of nature are one of my favorite genres of internet video to watch, especially when shot the right way. A new video released recently by Project Yosemite is just the type of time-lapse that I love. The video features expansive views from deep within Yosemite National Park during both the day and the night. Breathtaking shots of the Sierra Nevada mountain range framed by a very bright and sharp Milky Way take this video above and beyond.
Project Yosemite is a coloration between Colin Delehanty and Sheldon Neill, two videographers who met through Vimeo that decided to shoot the undeniable beauty that is Yosemite National Park. The videos are a compilation of more than 45 days spread over ten months of work to generate the five minute video. The pair hiked over 200 miles to get the shots seen in the video and had to carry more than 70lbs of camera gear with them.
Later on today, scientists will announce a "major discovery" at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. There will be a press conference held, which will begin at 11:55am EDT, something you can watch here.
What should we expect to be announced? The Guardian is reporting on speculation that the discovery involves the discovery of primordial gravitational waves, which are ripples in the fabric of spacetime that were produced in the early universe. The imprint they left behind goes back to when the universe was created, some 13.82 billion years ago.
The Guardian said: "The signal is rumoured to have been found by a specialised telescope called Bicep (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) at the south pole." Hiranya Peiris, a Cosmologist from the University College London told The Guardian: "It's been called the Holy Grail of cosmology. It would be a real major, major, major discovery."
NASA welcomes citizen scientists to compete for $35,000 in awards, and public recognition, for those able to successfully help develop improved asteroid identification algorithms.
The first contest in the series will launch on Monday, March 17 - and the Asteroid Grand Challenge Series will have topcoder challenges open to programmers from across the world.
"For the past three years, NASA has been learning and advancing the ability to leverage distributed algorithm and coding skills through the NASA Tournament Lab to solve tough problems," said Jason Crusan, NASA Tournament Lab Director, in a press statement. "We are now applying our experience with algorithm contests to helping protect the planet from asteroid threats through image analysis."
What do you do when a volcano is going off? Well, you'd whip your smartphone out and start recording it, right? Probably not, because of the mass amounts of heat - oh and mortal danger - but what about flying in a drone? This is what Shaun O'Callaghan did, in the video below.
O'Callaghan used a DJI Phantom 2, which is a ready-to-fly (RTF) quadropter, with a gimbal mount and GoPro camera attached. The drone has a flight time of around 25 minutes, enough to capture some gorgeous footage from the exploding volcano. This is an incredible feat, as a normal helicopter could never get this close to an active volcano thanks to the mass heat being pumped out of it, with lava pouring out of vents at temperatures of up to 2192F, or 1200C.
O'Callaghan filmed the footage in Vanuatu, which is a two-hour flight off of the coast of Australia. It's home to some pretty incredible volcano activity.
The United States is the top producing nation of drones, as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tries to come to terms with commercial drone regulation. Industries such as film, farming, and construction now find drones can be a great tool to handle tasks including video recording, mapping geographic sites, and conducting research in remote regions.
There is a global push to bring drones into the commercial market - and Amazon's desire to use drones to deliver packages will need to wait until lawmakers create regulations to fly drones in U.S. airspace.
Since the U.S. has such busy airspace, the FAA is closely studying standards that are right the first time - which means there isn't a big rush to make it happen immediately.
A few years ago a pair of scientists theorized that there was another planet in our solar system orbiting far beyond the orbit of Pluto. The scientists that offered the theory are John Matese and Daniel Whitmire from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Both men are physics professors.
Their theory grabbed a lot of attention when it was first published back in 2011. The scientists hoped that when NASA finished combing through the data from its WISE, Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, survey that their theory might be proven correct.
NASA is finished with that survey and has announced that it found no proof of Planet X, also known as Tyche. The scientists had theorized that Planet X is a gas giant four times larger than Jupiter and would be found in the Oort cloud.