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This ‘pseudo-satellite’ drone can fly 70,000 feet up in the sky

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A solar-powered drone that can stay aloft for weeks or months at a time could one day replace expensive satellites in space for certain tasks, such as monitoring the environment and snapping photos from super-high altitudes.

The latest model of the so-called Zephyr drone was revealed by Airbus last week. The drone embarked on a test flight on July 11 and has been circling high above Arizona, miles above the weather and regular air traffic, ever since. The drone is slated to land in early August.

Solar panels on the drone’s wings power its electric motors and charge its batteries during the day. At night, the motors are driven by the batteries alone.

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Image: Airbus Zephyr

Airbus’ Zephyr drone can stay aloft for at least a month. A company spokesman said future versions could fly for up to four months at a time.Ben Stansall / AFP – Getty Images

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Click link below for article:

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/pseudo-satellite-drone-can-fly-70-000-feet-sky-ncna894071

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Why this blind, catlike robot could transform search and rescue

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Scientists at MIT have created a four-legged robot that can climb debris-ridden stairs and leap almost three feet into the air, but the ominous-looking catlike bot — dubbed “Cheetah 3” — is intended not to hasten the robot apocalypse but to help bring about a new generation of first-responder robots.

As seen in a video released by the university, the 90-pound, retriever-sized robot navigates with touch sensors rather than cameras — a bit like the way humans feel their way when it’s too dark to see.

“Cheetah 3 is designed to do versatile tasks such as power plant inspection, which involves various terrain conditions including stairs, curbs and obstacles on the ground,” Sangbae Kim, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT and one of the robot’s developers, said in a statement.

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Cheetah 3

MIT’s Cheetah 3 robot can climb stairs and step over obstacles without the help of cameras or visual sensors.Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Click link below for article:

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/scientists-say-blind-catlike-robot-could-transform-search-rescue-ncna892116

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Puerto Rico Concedes Hurricane Maria Deaths Were More Than 1,400

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Puerto Rico has conceded that Hurricane Maria killed more than 1,400 people on the island last year and not just the 64 in the official death toll.

The government acknowledged the higher death toll with no fanfare in a report submitted to Congress this week in which it detailed a $139 billion reconstruction plan for the island.

That quiet acknowledgement was first reported Thursday by The New York Times.

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A man wades on the water while pushing his bicycle through a flooded street in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Catano, Pu

AFP Contributor via Getty Images
A man wades on the water while pushing his bicycle through a flooded street in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Catano, Puerto Rico on September 22, 2017.

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Click link below for article:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/puerto-rico-raises-death-toll_us_5b6b6d81e4b0bdd062062b0b

 

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Why scientists trained this tiny spider to jump on command

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Scientists in England trained a tiny spider to jump on command, but they didn’t do it just for the bragging rights.

The University of Manchester researchers trained the spider, a cute little arachnid they named Kim, because they wanted a better understanding of how spiders jump — so they can create spiderlike robots that one day might be used to kill crop-eating insects.

“There are lots of different spiders, and they are doing a good job in nature,” said Mostafa Nabawy, a roboticist at the university and the lead author of a paper about the research published May 8 in the journal Scientific Reports. “If we have armies of spider-inspired robots, instead of using harmful pesticides we can use them to hunt the pests.”

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Image: Jumping spider

By studying how a spider jumps, researchers can build robots that mimic the extraordinary abilities of arachnids.University of Manchester

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Click link below for article:

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/why-scientists-trained-tiny-spider-jump-command-ncna873396

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Rick Gates, testifying in Manafort trial, admits to affair, London apartment

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Rick Gates, the prosecution’s star witness in the federal fraud trial of Paul Manafort, testified Tuesday that he once had an extramarital affair that involved maintaining a London apartment.

The topic came up as Kevin Downing, Manafort’s attorney, tried to paint Gates as self-motived and untrustworthy by hammering away at his admitted practice of filing doctored expense reports.

Downing asked about “the secret life of Rick Gates,” inquiring whether Gates had kept an apartment in London and if he had engaged in an extramarital relationship there.

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Rick Gates departs after a bond hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington

Rick Gates, a former campaign aide to President Donald Trump, departs federal court in Washington in December 2017.Joshua Roberts / Reuters file

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Click link below for article:

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/rick-gates-testifying-manafort-trial-admits-affair-london-apartment-n898276

 

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Lombok quake: Thousands evacuated after dozens die on Indonesia island

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About 20,000 people have lost their homes and many moved to unaffected areas of the Indonesian island of Lombok after a powerful 6.9 magnitude earthquake left nearly 100 people dead.

Boats were sent to evacuate about 2,000 tourists from the nearby Gili islands.

Witnesses spoke of chaos and terror during Sunday’s quake, with thousands of buildings damaged, and power and communication lines cut.

Aid agencies said the priority was to provide shelter for residents.

Many are said to be too scared to return to their homes.

The agencies said the impact was far bigger than another quake that hit Lombok last week, killing 16 people.

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Moment the quake struck caught on camera
Image caption Moment the quake struck caught on camera

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/world-asia-45081508

 

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World’s largest king penguin colony declines by 90%. Lost summer for Greenland shore birds.

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The Crozet islands is located halfway between the southern tip of Africa and Antarctica. One of the islands in the archipelago, named Île aux Cochons, is home to the largest colony of king penguins on earth. The king penguin is the second largest penguin species on earth after the emperor penguin. The last time scientists counted the population there was an estimated population of 2,000,000 of the 3 foot tall highly specialized birds. Reviewing satellite images and other photographic evidence, Antarctic scientists report that the colony has collapsed to a population of only 200,000. This is significant because the Île aux Cochons represents one third of the earth’s King Penguin population. These birds do not make a nest on the treeless island, instead they “lay one egg at a time and carry it around on their feet covered with a flap of abdominal skin, called a brood patch”.

The University of Vienna describes the conditions on which this particular penguin requires for survival. Hint, they are not flexible.

King penguins are in fact picky animals: in order to form a colony where they can mate, lay eggs and rear chicks over a year, they need tolerable temperature all year round, no winter sea ice around the island, and smooth beach of sand or pebbles. But, above all, they need an abundant and reliable source of food close by to feed their chicks. For millennia, this seabird has relied on the Antarctic Polar Front, an upwelling front in the Southern Ocean concentrating enormous amounts of fish on a relatively small area. Yet, due to climate change, this area is drifting south, away from the islands where most King penguins currently live. Parents are then forced to swim farther to find food, while their progeny is waiting, fasting longer and longer on the shore. This study predicts that, for most colonies, the length of the parents’ trips to get food will soon exceed the resistance to starvation of their offspring, leading to massive King penguin crashes in population size, or, hopefully, relocation.

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King Penguin
A huge colony of king penguins on the Île aux Cochons in 1982

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Click link below for article:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/7/31/1784776/-World-s-largest-king-penguin-colony-declines-by-90-Lost-summer-for-Greenland-shore-birds?detail=emaildkre

 

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