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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 33

Expert claims global warming will cause more murder, rape

A recent study from Michael Ranson, a Senior Associate with Abt Associates, has quite the claim about global warming. His study claims that global warming will lead to more violent crimes, including rape and murder.

 

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Ranson claims that climate change will lead to an additional "1.2 million aggravated, 2.3 million simple assaults, 260,000 robberies, 1.3 million burglaries, 2.2 million cases of larceny and 580,000 cases of vehicle theft in the United States". The study is called "Crime, Weather and Climate Change", and you can take a look at it here.

 

Ranson states that the analysis he provided is from a "30-year panel of monthly crime and weather data for 2997 US counties. I identify the effect of weather on monthly crime by using a semi-parametric bin estimator and controlling for state-by-month and county-by-year fixed effects".

Continue reading 'Expert claims global warming will cause more murder, rape' (full post)

K5 security robot set to begin protecting Silicon Valley campus

Science Fiction has long imagined a world where robot sentries patrol the streets, office buildings, and college campuses, and today those fictions became reality. A company called Knightscope has unveiled a new 5-foot tall robot dubbed K5 that is loaded with sensors, cameras, and connectivity to make it the best security robot ever to roam the hallways of silicon valley.

 

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The K5 was launched today in San Francisco, and has the ability to see, feel, hear and smell, and can issue warnings of biochemical attacks, leaks, or even notify officials of high levels of radiation. The robot uses complex algorithms to scan images it captures with its cameras to detect human threats such as a gun wielding criminal, at which point it automatically notifies authorities. K5 is also capable of scanning license plates on-the-fly to verify cars parked in parking lots belong to employees or authorized visitors.

Continue reading 'K5 security robot set to begin protecting Silicon Valley campus' (full post)

Flock of drones flying autonomously over the skies might be coming

A research team from Hungary is working on a project to see if 10 drones can fly autonomously with the ability to self-organize in-flight.

 

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If there is an issue for flying space, some drones will hover and wait until they are able to continue on their route, according to researchers. Most current drone technology is focused on allowing someone in a remote location to fly the drones, though there is growing interest in autonomous drone technology.

 

"Drones are most commonly associated with war, terrorism, and cyberattacks, but drones can be used in more peaceful civil applications as well," said Gabor Vasarhelyi, leader of the robotics research phase. "With a flock of drones, you can create a self-organized monitoring system from the air, or you can even deliver food or mail."

 

Researchers plan to demonstrate the technology during the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems later this year. There has been a significant amount of research, with a few different attempts to create 3D flying drone flocks, and collective motion could make these drones plausible.

Continue reading 'Flock of drones flying autonomously over the skies might be coming' (full post)

Physicist wants 1,000 feet high walls to block tornadoes in the US

Central America is home to some of the most ferocious tornadoes on the planet, but one scientist wants to see mother nature stopped, through the use of gigantic walls built across Tornado Alley.

 

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Rongjia Tao, a physicist with Temple University, says: "If we build three east-west great walls in the American Midwest .... one in North Dakota, one along the border between Kansas and Oklahoma to the east, and the third one in south Texas and Louisiana, we will diminish the tornado threats in the Tornado Alley forever".

 

Tao says that the walls would need to be 1,000 feet high, and around 150 feet wide. But at an estimated cost of $60 billion per 100 miles, and the engineering challenges, "it wouldn't work", according to tornado researcher Harold Brooks of the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma. Brooks said that "If his hypothesis was true, we'd already have the thing he wants to build naturally. This is essentially a case of a physicist, who may be very good in his sub-discipline, talking about a subject about which he is abysmally ignorant".

Continue reading 'Physicist wants 1,000 feet high walls to block tornadoes in the US' (full post)

Drone ships may change the face of cargo shipping in the next decade

Odds are that many of the products that you buy spent some time on a ship crossing the ocean at one time. About 90% of the world's trade goods are shipped by boat. The shipping industry is gigantic and is worth about $375 billion annually.

 

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Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc has announced a new plan for ships that it thinks could revolutionize shipping and save shippers lots of money while reducing pollution. The plan is to make drone ships that are controlled from a virtual bridge on dry land and have no human crew.

 

The ships would use redundant systems like aircraft and an array of sensors to see what is in the water in front of them. The crew is one of the highest cost centers for a shipping company with crew costs consuming about 44% of the entire operating expenses for a ship.

Continue reading 'Drone ships may change the face of cargo shipping in the next decade' (full post)

The biggest ever meteor to hit the Moon rammed it at 37,900 mph

A gigantic 400kg meteor smashed into the Moon on September 11 last year, hitting the lunar surface at 37,900 mph. The meteor itself was ten times larger than the previously recorded hit, which left a 131-foot-wide crater.

 

 

Jose Madiedo of the MIDAS project said he "couldn't imagine" such a collision before seeing it himself on the day, where he added: "This is the largest, brightest impact we have ever observed on the Moon". Scientists at MIDAS had been studying lunar collisions since 2009, said that the crash was quite explosive, releasing the equivalent energy of 15 tons of TNT.

 

The meteor hit the dark side of the Moon, which is unfortunate as the blast was big enough that it would've been visible with the naked eye here on Earth. Madiedo said: "Usually lunar impacts have a very short duration - just a fraction of a second. But the impact we detected lasted over eight seconds. It was almost as bright as the Pole Star, which makes it the brightest impact event that we have recorded from Earth".

Continue reading 'The biggest ever meteor to hit the Moon rammed it at 37,900 mph' (full post)

Oldest piece of Earth ever has been found, 4.375 billion years old

For quite some time now, scientist have known that the earth is over 4 billion years old, but just how old exactly has been a mystery with little evidence to back up claims and theories. Today scientist announced that the oldest fragment of the Earth that has ever been found has been discovered in the Jack Hills mountain range in Western Australia.

 

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The Gem is a fragment of Zircon that formed just 100 million years after the meteor impact that caused part of the earth to be ejected into space and formed the moon. This means that the zircon fragment pictured above is a mere 4.375 billion years old, making it the oldest piece of the earth ever uncovered. The age conformation came from the University of Wisconsin, Madison where John Valley and other researchers used atom-probe technology to count the individual lead atoms within the sample. This method allows scientist to accurately date geological samples with absolute confidence in the results.

 

Previously, a method involving counting lead isotopes was used to date the samples, but proved to be inaccurate as lead can migrate from part of the crystal to another over hundreds of millions of years causing the originating source to have an apparent older age than it actually is. The new atom-probe method is much more accurate and researchers say that it proves the chemical records inside these zircons are trustworthy.

Elon Musk unveils landing legs for SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket via Twitter

Today Elon Musk unveiled the new landing leg attachments that have been fitted to Space X's Falcon 9 rocket. The legs are intended to make recovery of the rocket's lift stages easier and more efficient. Currently Space X glides the first stage of the rocket into the Atlantic Ocean several hundred miles from the launch site at Cape Canaveral, Florida. As you would expect, this form of recovery is expensive, and time consuming.

 

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With the addition of the new landing legs, Space X hopes to eventually fly the rocket's first stage back to a landing site near the launch pad, and have it land itself vertically, making recovery and reuse much easier and far cheaper than current methods. The new landing legs are built out of a carbon fiber outer skin with a honeycomb inner layer comprised from high-alloy aluminum. The legs are planned to play on the Falcon 9's mission to the International Space Station on March 16th, but the first stage will be guided to the Atlantic for this first flight as Space X needs to test how the legs handle take off before attempting a vertical landing.

Continue reading 'Elon Musk unveils landing legs for SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket via Twitter' (full post)

US Navy creates the five-pound 'smallest guided missile' in the world

The US Navy has developed a five-pound Spike mini-missile, a precision device that is reportedly the "world's smallest guided missile" available. The speed and missile range are classified, but Spike can be launched from the ground using a stationary launcher or from unmanned aerial vehicles - and a shoulder-launched version is in development.

 

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The Spike missile costs about $50,000 to manufacture and measures only 2.5 inches in diameter, being built as part of the NAVAIR project at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif. Using a small camera mounted on the missile, operators are able to accurately modify Spike's trajectory before it detonates.

 

"Most of our weapons are fairly large because they're taking out very big targets," said Scott O'Neill, project developer, said in a media statement. "We've started looking at, with miniaturization of electronics, what does that mean to weaponry? How small can we make weapons and keep them effective against the targets that we're talking about?"

Continue reading 'US Navy creates the five-pound 'smallest guided missile' in the world' (full post)

DARPA seeking smartphone-controlled drones for ground troops to use

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) hopes to make it easier for troops on the ground, fighting in remote locations where airstrikes aren't readily available, to use smartphones to control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

 

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Specifically, DARPA wants help with the Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded Systems (ARES) design concept.

 

"Many missions require dedicated vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) assets, but most ground units don't have their own helicopters," said Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager, in a press statement. "ARES would make organic and versatile VTOL capability available to many more individual units. Our goal is to provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation that avoids ground-based threats, in turn supporting expedited, cost-effective operations and improving the likelihood of mission success."

 

The ARES is in its third and final phase, with Lockheed Martin currently taking the lead on DARPA's research.

Continue reading 'DARPA seeking smartphone-controlled drones for ground troops to use' (full post)

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