Alphabet’s Loon balloons are helping scientists study gravity waves

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The research could lead to better models for predicting the weather.

 In between beaming internet to people in developing countries and sometimes passing for UFOs, Alphabet’s Loon balloons have been busy helping scientists study how our planet works. A team led by Stanford professor Aditi Sheshadri recently published a report on gravity waves, ripples created by gravity when it pushes down on air forced up into the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

To compile their report, professor Sheshadri and her team used data that Alphabet’s Loon balloons collected over 6,811 separate 48-hour periods between 2014 and 2018. “This was just a very lucky thing because they weren’t collecting data for any scientific mission. But, incidentally, they happened to be measuring position and temperature and pressure,” the researcher told Stanford News.

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Mood-forecasting tech could help stop bad moods even before they strike

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Wearable devices might even help prevent suicide by giving a heads-up about worrisome behavior.

Watch for sports with smartwatch. Jogging training for marathon.

The same technology that is used to track physical activity could be used to track our psychological health.

Imagine an app or wearable device that could tell a day in advance that an at-risk individual would experience suicidal thoughts — and alert the person and their trusted contacts. That might soon be a reality, thanks to the nascent field of mood forecasting.

We’ve become used to fitness trackers and other electronic devices that monitor our physical activity, and now scientists say similar technology can be used to track our psychological health in ways never before possible.

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2 gonzo ideas for slowing down a hurricane that might actually work

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Scientists are looking into ways to weaken hurricanes early on.

Hurricane Michael is expected to bring life-threatening winds and storm surge to Florida’s Gulf Coast.

As heavy winds from Hurricane Michael begin to lash Florida’s Gulf Coast, forecasters are urging residents of the panhandle, Big Bend, and Nature Coast to prepare for life-threatening storm surge and flooding.

With so much potential devastation, one may wonder whether anything can be done to stop Michael in its tracks.

It’s quite a daunting challenge, given that the average hurricane’s wind energy equals about half of the world’s electricity production in a year. The energy it releases as it forms clouds is 200 times the world’s annual electricity use.

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Now You Can Feel Wind and Temperature While in Virtual Reality

Realistic visuals and audio are essential to shaping an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience. But these researchers from the National University of Singapore believe VR shouldn’t just cater to sight and sound. For the ultimate VR experience, other senses should come into play as well.

Last year, Nimesha Ranasinghe and his team demonstrated how electrodes can be used to add a sense of taste to VR. Their latest accessory, Ambiotherm, adds another element of realism to the experience: atmosphere.

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Stanford Engineers Invent High Tech Mirrors that Beam Light into Space

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A new ultrathin multilayered material can cool buildings without air conditioning by radiating warmth from inside the buildings into space while also reflecting sunlight to reduce incoming heat.

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Stanford engineers have invented a material designed to help cool buildings. The material reflects incoming sunlight, and it sends heat from inside the structure directly into space as infrared radiation (represented by reddish rays).
Stanford engineers have invented a revolutionary coating material that can help cool buildings, even on sunny days, by radiating heat away from the buildings and sending it directly into space.

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Hurricane Sandy deals blow to medical research, wiping out NYU lab mice

Researchers at NYU worry the mice they use to study human disease may have perished in the flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy.

It has been reported that the New York University Hospital has lost thousands of laboratory mice to Hurricane Sandy  This will setback research that could take years to correct, according to scientists.

 

 

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2012 drought reaches proportions not seen since the ‘Dust Bowl’ era

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Over 50% of the U.S. is under drought conditions.

More than half of the United States is under drought conditions right now, putting 2012 in the same category with some of the worst droughts in the nation’s history. This makes 2012 the sixth worst drought on record with a 54.6 percent figure (not counting Alaska and Hawaii) in terms of area covered, behind only the brutal droughts of the mid-1950s and the “Dust Bowl” era of the 1930s. Other more recent droughts — such as 2000, 2002, and 1998 — saw a greater percentage of the country suffering from the “severe” or “extreme” drought categories. However, even by that standard, June 2012 still ranks among the top 10 worst droughts of all-time.

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