GeekSpeak for 2009-09-26

Thirsty Robot Swallows the Moon

Water on the Moon and Mars, robots grade english papers and eat people, e-coli cleans uranium, and more geeky news.

Robot Eats People In Order To Save Them

We are all for sending remote-control robots into dangerous environments for search and rescue missions, but they may have a hard time convincing others with this demo video titled “Human body shredding machine in Japan”. Then there’s the whole thing about our body being fed into the belly of this beast on a conveyor belt.

Yeah. They need some serious PR help. But despite what it looks like, these are remotely-controlled rescue bots that will explore disaster sites, pick up injured people and get them to safety.

It's Official: Water Found on the Moon

Since man first touched the moon and brought pieces of it back to Earth, scientists have thought that the lunar surface was bone dry. But new observations from three different spacecraft have put this notion to rest with what has been called “unambiguous evidence” of water across the surface of the moon.

Computer to Grade English Essays

“Pearson, the American-based parent company of Edexcel, is to use computers to “read” and assess essays for international English tests in a move that has fuelled speculation that GCSEs and A-levels will be next."

Robo-gladiator guided by operator's thoughts

TOYAMA — There will be some new and nasty competition this year here at the 16th Robo-One robotic gladiatorial tournament: a warrior robot steered by its controller’s neural signals.

The bipedal ’bot, which will see its first bouts when the combat tournament opens Saturday, is operated by Taku Ichikawa, a fourth year student at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo. He controls the robot through a set of electrodes applied to his head that measure his neural activity, making it possible to control the 50-centimeter tall, 2 kilogram robot just by thinking.

Google Brings Chrome's Renderer to IE

“Google plans to drag Internet Explorer into the world of modern Web browsing with a new open source plugin that will inject Chrome’s renderer and JavaScript engine into Microsoft’s browser.” As a bonus, you’ll be [surfing the web much faster|http://news.techworld.com/networking/3202572/internet-explorer-8-runs-ten-times-faster-with-google-chrome-plug-in/] with the plugin installed.

Electric Cars are Too Silent

A campaign backed by automakers and some lawmakers to make electric or hybrid cars noisier in a bid to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists has taken a strange, “Blade Runner”-type twist.

Nissan sound engineers have announced that the Leaf electric car set for release next year will emit a “beautiful and futuristic” noise similar to the sound of flying cars — or “spinners” — that buzz around 2019 Los Angeles in Ridley Scott’s dystopian thriller based on a Philip K. Dick science fiction novel.

“We decided that if we’re going to do this, if we have to make sound, then we’re going to make it beautiful and futuristic,” Toshiyuki Tabata, Nissan’s noise and vibration expert, told Bloomberg. “We wanted something a bit different, something closer to the world of art.”

Radar Map of Buried Mars Layers Matches Climate Cycles

New, three-dimensional imaging of Martian north-polar ice layers by a radar instrument on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is consistent with theoretical models of Martian climate swings during the past few million years.

New Images Reveal “Pure” Water Ice at Low Latitudes on Mars

Images of recent impact craters taken by the HiRISE Camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed sub-surface water ice halfway between the north pole and the equator on Mars.

While the Phoenix lander imaged subsurface ice where the top layer of soil had been disturbed at the landing site near the north pole, these new images – taken in quick succession, detecting how the ice sublimated away — are the first to show evidence of water ice at much lower latitudes. Surprisingly, the white ice may be made from 99 percent pure water.

Using Waste To Recover Waste Uranium

“Using bacteria and inositol phosphate, a chemical analogue of a cheap waste material from plants, researchers at Birmingham University have recovered uranium from the polluted waters from uranium mines. The same technology can also be used to clean up nuclear waste.”

Cool Hunting

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! Stuff We Mentioned

[Snow Crash|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash]