Here they are — the most visited stories from the past week. A real-life terminator robot; creating mathematical patterns; species that will survive Earth’s sixth mass extinction; the 25th First Annual Ig Nobel Prizes; stunning, crystal-clear images of Pluto; and approval of radar for Nefertiti’s tomb quest are all among the top stories.
Egypt approves Radar for Nefertiti Tomb Quest
An Egyptian official says the Antiquities Ministry has given initial approval for the use of non-invasive radar to verify a theory that Queen Nefertiti’s crypt may be hidden behind King Tutankhamun’s 3,300-year-old tomb in the famous Valley of the Kings. Mouchira Moussa, media consultant to the antiquities minister, said September 22, 2015, that final security clearance will probably be obtained within a month.
Stunning, Crystal-clear Images of Pluto – But What do They Mean?
The more we find out about Pluto, the more perplexing it seems. For several weeks after its July 14 fly-by, NASA’s probe New Horizons was too busy doing science to transmit data to Earth. During that time we had to content ourselves with the few “taster” images that were beamed back immediately after it passed Pluto. However the probe has now begun the year-long process of transmitting its vast haul of fly-by data.
10 New 2015 Ig Nobel Prizes Awarded
The 25th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony took place on September 17, 2015, at Harvard University. This year’s ceremony introduced 10 new Ig Nobel Prize winners — each has done something that makes people laugh, then think. Winners traveled to the ceremony, at their own expense, from around the world to receive their prize from a group of “genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel Laureates,” in Harvard’s historic and largest theater.
Which Species will survive the Earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction?
Scientists recently suggested that the Earth’s sixth mass extinction has begun. As terrifying as that sounds, surely humans are too smart and too important to get wiped out? Palaeontologists have long tried to shed light on this question by looking for general rules that might predict the survival of a species. While this is not exactly a straightforward exercise, research so far indicates that the odds are not in our favor.
Patterns are Math We Love to Look At
Why do humans love to look at patterns? I can only guess, but I’ve written a whole book about new mathematical ways to make them. In Creating Symmetry, The Artful Mathematics of Wallpaper Patterns, I include a comprehensive set of recipes for turning photographs into patterns. The official definition of “pattern” is cumbersome; but you can think of a pattern as an image that repeats in some way…
Real-life Terminator Robot to Seek Out and Eliminate GBR Scourge
COTSbot is a new robot that has the scourge of the Great Barrier Reef in its sights. Roboticists have developed the world’s first robot designed to seek out and control crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), responsible for 40 percent of the reef’s total decline in coral cover. It is equipped with stereoscopic cameras to give it depth perception, five thrusters, GPS and pitch-and-roll sensors and a unique pneumatic injection arm.