Space Station Sunday: Texas, Tech, And A Tribute

Good afternoon, space fans!  It's been another scientifically stimulating week in space.  Here's what was up!

"The dance of the aurora", captured this week by astronaut Scott Kelly.

A Breath Of Fresh Air: New "Smog-Sucking" Towers Scrub The Skies

Air pollution is an issue in many major cities, but how is it possible to ameliorate the damages caused from...well, it being a city?  Until the clean cars come along, or truckers figure out a way to make some seriously heavy-lifting bicycles, these new smog-removal towers sound like a good plan...

Its physical similarities to the Monolith of "2001" are probably intentional.
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New "Greenhouse" Plug-In Exposes Corporate Political Pay-Outs

It's been a running joke for some time that American politicians should wear advertising logos, a'la racecar drivers, to indicate which corporations they are shilling for.  Despite this idea not yet rising to prominence, now, there's an easier way to tell who (and how much) has been paid to play in politics.

Usually when teenagers say "Greenhouse", weed is somehow involved.
Surprisingly, not this time.
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Gin + Rummy = A Winston Churchill-Themed Solitaire App From Donald Rumsfeld?

Almost everyone these days has a favorite game on their portable device or computer, and more are invented by the day.  But if you want something a little more classic than Angry Birds, yet something that also smacks of insidious military domination, well, Donald Rumsfeld has got a new game for you.

The angriest bird of all is that which represents a deceived American public.
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Space Station Sunday: Eyes And A Storm

Good afternoon, space fans!  Here's what was up on the ISS last week.

Celebrating 300 style.
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Congratulations, astronaut Kelly and cosmonaut Kornienko!
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On The Mooove: Beef Tallow Biofuel Helps Propel Navy Ships

The U.S. Navy is the mightiest fleet in the world, but with the tides turning on fossil fuels, how will they expect to stay sustainable in the 21st century?  The answer is fat.  Gallons and gallons of it.

It's like how you eat burgers for fuel...
except mixed with petroleum and multiplied by a warship.
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Trust The Thrust: SpaceX Dragon 2 Is One Step Closer To Mankind's Giant Leap Into Space

SpaceX has had many ups and downs (literally) in its quest for sustainable rocketry, but with every test flight, they are inching closer to the goal of having an updated, manned spacecraft to explore the cosmos with (or at least make manned trips to the ISS.)  Now, we've learned that this mission has continued apace...

A DragonFly test vehicle throws down with its thrusters during flight tests of the new system.
(Image courtesy,)

That Tune In Your Head...Lock It Down With This New App

So, you're a rockstar.  Or at least you're attempting to be one.  Really, someone needs to step up and fill a few recently-vacated positions, so why not you?  It's just that sometimes, those facemelting solos and sweet, sweet licks escape your brain while you're trudging away at your day job (or the bar...whatever, we don't judge.)  Fear not, however...there's now a way to keep track of your proto-"Greatest Hits" album...

All they need now is a screaming crowd app, a tour booking app,
and a doing-lines-off-strippers'-butts app.
But until then, you can still rock out.
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Space Station Sunday: Floating In A Most Peculiar Way

Good afternoon, space fans!  Welcome back to all the most awesome information from orbit.

Hallo, spaceboy!  Astronaut Tim Peake kept his cool during his debut spacewalk.
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"Terminator" Technology, Incubator Effects: Cyber-sperm to the Rescue!

The process of conception is theoretically a straightforward initiative, but like many of the best of human efforts, sometimes it just doesn't work out.  While some of the ever-escalating population of 7 billion people worldwide might not consider the lack of more children a problem, the fact remains that the process of procreation is biologically hardwired in many...and if the usual efforts fail, now they can be technologically stimulated as well.

It's not wearing a cute little scarf...that's a high-tech sperm guidance system!
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Leave A Message, I'm Busy Vaping: New E-Cigarette/Cell Phone Hybrid

As we hurtle towards a fascinating future filled with automation of all ilk, we must be careful that our desires for instant gratification are not surrendered to a ridiculous level of robotics.  Sure, it's nice to have certain things on your phone, like the ability to customize your wake-up routine (complete with kickstarting the coffee pot from bed!), or an app that lets you cuddle with other peoples' dogs, but we need an e-cigarette on there too?  Really?

A fire-free Frankenphone to fill your lungs in between chats.  Oh, technology, you're so crazy.
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Moonage Daydream: Is Audi Backing The Next Successful Moon Rover?

It's 2016 and we've only progressed a little bit more into the future, but the prospect of space travel is always pushing further forward.  For instance, one of the better car companies of past and modern times is now helping a team of scientists plot how to put a rover on the know, for the future.

It's more R2-D2 than R8, but that's still cool.
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Slip Into The Past Via Smartphone! New App Pinpoints Old And New Cityscapes To Discover

New York, New York, it's a hell of a town.  That much is obvious.  But in the gleaming city of glass, it can sometimes be difficult to remember the extent of the history that has happened through the many years the Big Apple has grown, fallen, gotten chomped up, and re-budded on the tree of life.  Now, thanks to a new app, you can enjoy some top-shelf time-travel right on your phone.

Yes, Mulberry Street in Chinatown/Little Italy has always been madness.
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Space Station Sunday: Spacewalk Specs And Science

Happy Sunday, space fans!  Here's what was up on the International Space Station this week.

New year, new gear:  astronaut Tim Kopra on a spacewalk in December.
Kopra and astronaut Tim Peake will head outside again this week for some
new gear installation and maintenance.
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Shot Through The Art, And You're To Blame: New Tattoo Recognition Software Spots Evildoers By Their Ink

We all know that the encroaching insidiousness of facial recognition technology is getting harder and harder to thwart.  This can be somewhat of a good thing, like when it actually catches criminals or finds your lost dog, but for the average citizen, you can't even skip church without getting compiled into a face database (dataface?) these days.  No matter how much weird makeup you use to try to obscure yourself, there's just too many cameras out in the world attempting to capture your likeness.  Now, the technology has been refined to include the art on your body in addition to your body itself...

Just in case you didn't make it this obvious.
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Finger/Painting: Innovative 3D-Printing Process Allows The Blind To Truly Feel Visual Art

Can you imagine what life would be like were you to lose one of your senses?  What if it was the sense that's so important, it's allowing you to read this right now?  For the blind, all visual artwork used to be abstract.  Until now...

The original and tactile 3D-printed versions of Van Gogh's "Dr Gachet."
Now you can both touch and be touched by art.
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Va-jamming: New Insertable Music Device Serenades Your Unborn Child

Happy New Years, baby!  Did you get some good partying done to ring in 2016?  Well, if you celebrated so hard that you'll be creating another human around September or so, have we got some rockin' news for you!

You can't shove a Fender Stratocaster up there, but this is the next best thing.
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Space Station Sunday: Happy Sixteen New Years!

Happy 2016, space fans!  It's looking like it'll be another great year for science, progress, and adventure aboard the ISS.  Let's see what's up...

The Rocky Mountains look like serene snowdrifts from space.
Fortunately no one has to worry about digging out the car in bad weather up there.
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly.)