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headed to tonight’s Yankee game!!! woot!!!!

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comaniddy:

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SuperPlanetCrash is planetary sandbox, so to speak.  It’s a solar system simulator posing as a fun computer game.  The simulator found here, challenges you to build your own solar system, and keep it stable!  

To do so, you must carefully place planets, ice giants, dwarf stars and various other celestial bodies within the system.  They all orbit around the large central star, but gravity’s pull definitely changes things.  Larger bodies like dwarf stars and giant planets have huge pull, and bodies the size of our Earth can easily get thrown off of their course.

Surrounding the central star is a habitable zone, usually determined by a temperature that can keep water in a liquid state.  Bonus points are awarded for the sheer number of planets that you can keep stable in that zone.  Point values are also affected by the “crowdedness level,” meaning that placing bodies closer together and risking planetary crashes, can earn you more points.  The ultimate goal is to create a stable system that survives for 500 years.

That is when the game ends, but win or lose, SuperPlanetCrash is a great conversation starter.  It gets you thinking, and talking about everything from gravity to eclipses. This hands on exploration of our universe and how it’s parts interact with one another would make a great teaching tool at NYSCI’s own Celestial Bodies exhibit in Mathematica!  Even if you’ve got the tiniest inner nerd, you should check out this game.

Source: Science News

GIF: comaniddy via Gigazine

This game is ASTRONOMICAL!
You should definitely check it out.

Source: explainers-nysci
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pretty cool Star Wars section at the Disney Store!

the Chewbacca notebook and the lightsaber pen really caught my eye

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SUPER EXCITED!!
got my first build-a-bear today!

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She’s a tree hugger!

Source: weirdlittledragon
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Look Ma…No Hands!

When you hear Google, you think search engine.  What about car engine?  That’s not usually at the top of the list, but one day it might be.  Google X is the company’s research wing, and it has been secretly developing a self-driving vehicle for the past year.

Most other models of self-driving cars are just modified sedans with a few computers in the trunk.  But just in case something goes wrong, there is a big red button on the dashboard that shuts off the computers and turns it back into a stock car.  Unlike these attempts at self-driving cars, the Google’s is daringly built without a steering wheel or any pedals.

Instead, the Google X car has technology that can detect information as far away as two football fields in each direction.  Driving at a whopping 25 mph, it has lasers to see geometry, cameras to see when color matters and radars to detect distance.  All of those gadgets are housed in the dome that sits above the car.  For this reason, the only rain wipers found on the car are not on the windshield, but on the roof.

A car that drives itself has been in the hearts and minds of everyone from scientists to civilians and all the television and movie people in between.  While Google won’t say how much it’ll cost, this summer, the hundreds of prototypes on the road will make the self-driving car a reality.  So say goodbye to a driver’s license, buckle in to the Google Car, and cruise into the world of computers and algorithms.

Source: All Tech Considered

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Printing the Future

You must be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of all the crazy things that 3D Printers can do.  There’s the normal stuff we see at NYSCI like printing small figurines or busts of our Maker Space crew.  There’s the criminally insane stuff, like printing guns, or turning the printer into an at home tattooing machine.  And then there’s the big stuff like printing artificial limbs or bioprinting kidneys using cells.  But placed in the right hands, 3D printers can be used to solve tons of real problems.

The latest development in 3D printing involves a little origami, and some very little life.  Dr. Manu Prakash is on a mission to equip the world with his Foldscope, a microscope assembled simply by folding the paper cutouts made with a 3D printer.  They cost less than a dollar, fit in your pocket, don’t require any external power, can project the slide’s image on the wall and have the potential to change the world.

With a cost efficient, go anywhere microscope, a local clinic in Africa can better diagnose bacterial diseases like tuberculosis and malaria. A farmer in Mongolia can show his community why they should pasteurize their milk.  Or a rural beekeeper in America can find out what microorganisms cause disease in her bees. 

This may sound like a cool new toy for science, but it’s much more.  For some, research equipment like a 3D printed microscope was only a dream, until now.

Source: New York Times

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Walk This Way

Just because NYSCI’s Human Plus exhibit has moved on to the Grand Gallery in Grapevine, Texas, doesn’t mean that all of the cool engineering ideas have gone with it.  Powered by her son’s cerebral palsy, Debby Elnatan designed an assistive device called the Firefly Upsee.  As pictured, children in the Firefly Upsee are harnessed to an adult’s legs, their feet are fastened into rubber shoes, and as the adult walks, the child moves with them.

It’s a way for children who as some doctors have said “don’t know what [their] legs are” can experience walking.  The device is not a cure for cerebral palsy or other debilitating diseases, but rather a solution to accomplishing everyday tasks with a toddler usually bound to a stroller or wheelchair. 

The Firefly Upsee opens up a whole new world for children.  Being able to stand upright and have their hands free allows for a different kind of play and exploration.  And hopefully it can be used to broaden the experience of children with physical limitations, and give them a better childhood.

The device was first developed when Debby’s now 19 year old son, was only a toddler.  Although doctors told Debby not to encourage her son to walk or crawl, she created the device behind their backs.  Now, for the first time, it is being produced in Ireland to be put on the market for close to six-hundred dollars.  Of course, all potential buyers should consult with a doctor before strapping their children to their legs, but optimism runs high for the Upsee.

Source: Daily News

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DIY Science Experiment #25 - Oreo Moon Phases!

Try this fun activity with any circular sandwich cookie to recreate the different phases of the moon. The best part of all is that its edible!

Materials: A package of oreo/sandwich cookies, popsicle stick, paper plate, marker

    1. Start off by familiarizing yourself with the different phases of the moon. The changing shape of the bright side of the moon that we see is called its phase. The moon reflects light from the sun. The part of the moon facing the sun is lit up, while the part of the moon not facing the sun is dark. The phases of the moon depend on the its position relating to the sun and earth. As the moon makes its away around the earth, we can observe the different phases from earth. It takes the moon about a month to completely cycle through all eight phases. Refer to the diagram and see if you recognize any of the phases.
    2. Open the cookie package and begin splitting the cookies apart.
    3. Use your popsicle stick to shape the creme of the cookie to match that of each phase of the moon. Then, place your cookie moon phases on the paper plate.
    4. Underneath where you placed each cookie, label each phase.
    5. Good job astronaut, now feel free to munch away!

CHECK OUT THIS AWESOME VIDEO TO LEARN MORE

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CITY CROWS

Crows, not to be confused with ravens, are all black from toe to beak, they make that eerie cawing noise, and as it turns out are quite intelligent.  They have the ability to manufacture and use tools, remember human faces, and they have no problem adapting to their environment.

 Their nests are typically made of interlocking twigs, with leaves or even pieces of wire woven in.  But when trees are few and far between, crows have to get creative to build their nests.  In a big city like Tokyo, these crows have resorted to stealing clothes hangers from nearby apartments.  The photograph above is just one of the many clothes hanger nests found in many cities.

 In Fukuoka, also in Japan, city crows aren’t even building their clothes hanger nests in trees, but on power lines.  This of course has led to a blackout or two, but the power company has retaliated.  They’ve actually put a team on crow patrol, to search for and dismantle nests on the power grid.

 The stolen hangers are assembled so intricately, the nests almost look like a work of art.  But creative nest building isn’t the only cool thing a crow can do.  Check out NYSCI’s latest exhibit, Wild Minds to see how crows and other animals put their brains to work.

Source: Amusing Planet

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