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September 24th, 2014
02:16 PM ET

ISS gets its first 3D printer

Life on the International Space Station may never be the same. The crew is now unpacking the latest cargo delivery, which includes the station's first-ever 3D printer.

"Having that on-demand capability is a real game-changer," says Niki Werkheiser, NASA's 3D Printing in Zero-G project manager.

Astronauts will test how the printer performs in microgravity. Samples will be brought back to Earth, to confirm that the technology works the same as on the ground.

If it's successful, the ISS crew will no longer have to rely on resupply missions to bring them the tools they need.

And down the line, a 3D printer would also be a key part of deep space exploration missions.

"We won't be able to launch every single thing that we might ever need with us," Werkheiser says. "So we'll have to have sustainable technologies that allow the astronauts to be able to adapt and use whatever resources are available to them for living and operations."

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Filed under: Space • Technology
June 6th, 2014
10:07 AM ET

"Tank Man" and other Tiananmen memories

To many people, it's the defining image of the Tiananmen crackdown: a single man staring down a line of tanks.

"Tank Man" photographer Jeff Widener recalls what it took to capture that moment.

"I had to get a bicycle and go all the way down past soldiers and tanks and sporadic gunfire in the distance," Widener says. "And then you had to get past secret police, who were using electric cattle prods on the journalists if they didn't give up their supplies."

Of course, getting the photo out to the world was also extremely difficult. Click here to find out how he did it.

Widener also remembers the sense of hope among those student protesters in 1989.

"What struck me as something very dramatic was the building of the Goddess of Democracy," he says. "Because there you have the symbol of freedom, which is basically a duplication of the Statue of Liberty. And that is facing right across the street from the Mao portrait at the Forbidden City."

But, Widener adds, that he and other journalists wondered how long it would be until the Chinese government refused to tolerate the face-off any more.

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Filed under: China
November 12th, 2013
03:10 PM ET

Philippine family fought to survive storm

Cristina Gonzales Romualdez says she didn't expect that much water.

She's a city councillor in Tacloban, which took a direct hit from Typhoon Haiyan. She's also the wife of mayor Alfred Romualdez.

But more importantly, on the day of storm, she's a mother of two.

Gonzales Romualdez says she and her daughters swam to safety. She told Kristie Lu Stout that she prayed the entire time, and fought to keep calm for her children.

Watch the video for her dramatic account how it all happened.

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Filed under: Weather
October 10th, 2013
08:32 AM ET

What's a space walk really like?

Say what you will about the science. The movie "Gravity" makes you feel like you're in space.

Of course, only a few people know that feeling firsthand. NASA astronaut Michael Massimino is one of them.

Massimino flew on two Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions. And he has logged more than 30 hours across four space walks.

That's exactly what the movie's main characters are doing when everything goes wrong.

So, what's it really like to spacewalk?

"You have to be methodical about what you do. You don't want to move too quickly," Massimino says. "You have to be very, very slow. You have to think about what you're doing. Work with your teammates, both outside the spaceship, inside the spaceship and the people on the ground."

Massimino admits it can be scary. But he adds, "I can't think of anything better to do for a living than go out and spacewalk and work out there in the beauty of space."

Find out what Massimino thinks of the movie, and George Clooney in particular, in the full interview above.

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Filed under: Movies • Space
March 6th, 2012
02:29 PM ET

Know Your Oreo

The News Stream team is fond of sweet treats; we often have a stash of chocolate sitting by our desk. So imagine our joy when we realised it was the humble Oreo cookie's 100th birthday, and we had a valid excuse to buy some packets.

It's a fairly simple recipe – two part chocolate biscuit, one part cream filling – but the Oreo has become the world's top-selling cookie, sold in more than 100 countries.

But here's the piece Oreo trivia you really want to hear:

50% of all Oreo eaters pull apart their cookies before consuming them, and women are more likely to twist them open than men.  FULL POST

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Filed under: General • Personal musings
February 14th, 2012
05:09 AM ET

Star Wars, Segmented


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... or rather in 2009 on the internet, the "Star Wars: Uncut" project was created. More than two years later, it has become a movie. It is a crowd-sourced remake of the original Star Wars film, "A New Hope".  FULL POST

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Filed under: Cult classics • General • Movies • Social networking
February 9th, 2012
10:59 PM ET

Syria's Cyberwar

Since media are strictly controlled by the Syrian government, the internet has played a key role in allowing opposition activists share images of alleged atrocities carried out by security forces. You can argue that a high-stakes war of information is being waged in Syrian cyberspace, and in one battle at least the hacking group Anonymous is claiming victory.

The purported emails of Syrian officials were released by the group on Sunday. (You can read and watch more about that here.) According to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, the documents were easy for Anonymous to access: they were protected only by the simple password "1-2-3-4-5".

Before Bashar al-Assad was Syria's president he headed the Syrian Computer Society and pushed the country's youth to become more web-savvy. While anti-government activists seeking to oust him are using the internet as a weapon against him, he's also using that experience to his advantage.  FULL POST

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Filed under: Arab Unrest • General • Social networking • Technology
Hang On A Leap Second
January 21st, 2012
07:52 AM ET

Hang On A Leap Second

A decision on whether to scrap the leap second has been postponed, for three years.

Let us bring you up to speed: Leap seconds were introduced in 1972. They are occasional, extra seconds added or subtracted from the world's atomic clocks to keep them synchronized with the Earth's rotational cycles. Tidal patterns, and the way our planet wobbles on its axis a little as it spins mean that some days end up a few milliseconds longer and shorter than others.

So, over long periods, the time based on hyper-accurate atomic clocks and the time based on the Earth's rotation drift apart. Over decades, that would amount to a minute; over centuries, that could add up to an hour; over millenia, you get the picture, dawn could end up as dusk.  FULL POST

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Filed under: General • Science
Occupy London: Terror Threat?
December 6th, 2011
04:47 PM ET

Occupy London: Terror Threat?

What do Occupy London protesters have in common with terror groups like al-Qaeda and Colombian rebels FARC?

They are all named on a letter warning of potential terrorist threats sent to businesses by the City of London police.

FULL POST

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Filed under: General
U.S. Troop Deployments: Digging into the data
November 17th, 2011
02:35 PM ET

U.S. Troop Deployments: Digging into the data

When U.S. President Barack Obama addressed Australian troops at a naval base in Darwin after promising to deploy 2,500 U.S. marines to northern Australia over the next several years, it got us thinking: which other surprising locations are American soldiers sent to?

So I found some statistics from the U.S. Department of Defense from December 2010, got hold of a couple of highlighter pens, and got to work.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Data • General • Personal musings
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