GeekSpeak for 2010-07-17

Robots and Moon Milage

Miles is back from [TAM|The Amazing Meeting], Al covers some robot and human enhancing machinery, Lunokhod travels on the Moon, bad science and medicine on the Huffington post, and Lyle runs the board.

Rex Bionics Has The Technology

This is Rex. Not the man, he’s called Hayden—Rex is short for Robotic Exoskeleton, and it’s the name of the robotic pants Hayden’s wearing. Robotic pants that let him walk for the first time in five years.

There are a couple of minor issues with Rex in its current form—it moves very, very slowly, with the robotic legs taking an age to trundle slowly forward, plus there’s the awkward $150,000 price tag it’ll have when it launches internationally in 2011. But apart from that… it’s robot legs! Working robot legs! Here’s a video of Hayden & Rex joined together at the hip, thigh, knee and calf.

Lunokhod 2 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lunokhod 2 (Луноход, moon walker in Russian) was the second of two unmanned lunar rovers landed on the Moon by the Soviet Union as part of the Lunokhod program.

The Luna 21 spacecraft landed on the Moon and deployed the second Soviet lunar rover (Lunokhod 2). The primary objectives of the mission were to collect images of the lunar surface, examine ambient light levels to determine the feasibility of astronomical observations from the Moon, perform laser ranging experiments from Earth, observe solar X-rays, measure local magnetic fields, and study the soil mechanics of the lunar surface material.

Crazy USB: ChickenBurger

USB Chicken Burger 4-Port Hub allows you to connect 4 different USB devices. It’s another little fancy stuff on your desk.

The New NIMBY-Defeating Wind Turbine : CleanTechnica

Wind turbines? Dontcha hate them! Horrible things going round-and-round. Roundandroundandroundandround. They make a lot of noise, and bits seem to keep on falling off them. Dangerous.

Then there’s the NIMBY neighbours: “Oh, we don’t want one of those here,” they say. “Renewable energy: yes. Somewhere where it’s inconvenient: NO!” It’s as though they think a wind-energy solution can be integrated into every house with minimal visual impact.

No, Electric Vehicles Won't Bring Down the U.S. Power Grid

“Will electric vehicles bring down the U.S. power grid?
The answer, equally bluntly, is: No. They won’t.”

Solar plane completes historic 24-hour flight

“An experimental solar-powered plane landed safely Thursday after completing its first 24-hour test flight, proving that the aircraft can collect enough energy from the sun during the day to stay aloft all night.”

Galaxy Zoo: Hubble

Galaxy Zoo: Hubble uses gorgeous imagery of hundreds of thousands of galaxies drawn from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope archive. To understand how these galaxies, and our own, formed we need your help to classify them according to their shapes — a task at which your brain is better than even the most advanced computer. If you’re quick, you may even be the first person in history to see each of the galaxies you’re asked to classify.

Rex Bionics

The home page for Rex Bionics

The Good and the Bad

“Some people relax by doing crossword puzzles, watching movies or reading a good book. In his down time, often while flying somewhere, Energy Secretary Steven Chu relaxes by [tackling a scientific conundrum and stretching the limits of technology|http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38130342/ns/technology_and_science-science/].”

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post, in addition to its extensive and often excellent political commentary, gives a [soapbox to pseudoscientific medical treatments|http://www.scienceduck.com/2010/07/08/the-huffington-post-has-a-soft-spot-for-pseudoscience/]. It’s a shame more people don’t understand the principles behind the double [blind|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_experiment] experiment.


! Homeopathy

And we had a small debate about Homeopathy from a Huffington Post.

Listener Ed Sent in an Email:

“I was reaching for the radio to turn it off during the homeopathy call. It
is painful to listen to this nonsense. But before I could turn it off you
guys spoke up and clearly said what you said. Thanks for politely and
respectfully not humoring that stuff.”