0004 Ever the Optimist – Cloaking Device, Deflector Shields, Fantastic Fails – Wyeth Digital

0004 Ever the Optimist – Cloaking Device, Deflector Shields, Fantastic Fails

Originally published 07-07-2013

ever_optimist_smlHello and welcome back to the ‘Ever the Optimist’ podcast. We’re back and working on some audio hang-ups, but let’s get going anyway! Remember, you can Like “Ever the Optimist” on Facebook and as always you can find links and discussions of show topics in our show notes at www.wyethdigital.com/optimist

Question of the Week
Nature.com reports that:

“electrical engineers have used lasers to create a cloak that can hide communications in a ‘time hole’, so that it seems as if they were never sent. The method, published today in Nature1, is the first that can cloak data streams sent at the rapid rates typically seen in telecommunications systems. It opens the door to ultra-secure transmission schemes, and may also provide a way to better shield information from noise corruption.”

So the obvious Question of the Week: Given that the NSA and other intelligence agencies have been data-mining and  tapping our communications, would you like to be able to hide your communications?

Future Tech
UPI.com takes us where no one has gone before with news that:

“the command ‘shields up’ to protect humans traveling in spacecraft from radiation may soon graduate from the realm of science fiction, British researchers say.

“Scientists at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory say they’ve been testing a lightweight system to protect astronauts from harmful radiation on long voyages, such as a round trip to Mars, who would be exposed to cosmic rays and high-energy particles from the sun contained in solar storms.” 

Make it so!

Future Fail
Web Urbanist fills my Amazon wish list with 10 fantastic inventions that failed. Flying tanks,  poison-gas spewing riot cars and telephone answering robots are but a few of the colossal failures that made the list!


Glass Half-Empty

Discovery News  cautions that warming oceans are putting puffins in peril. According to their article, which relies heavily on reporting from the AP:

“The AP’s Clarke Canfield reports that instead of feeding their chicks herring, the puffin parents were attempting to feed them butterfish, which were too big for the chicks to swallow. Butterfish is a more southerly species of fish that has become more abundant in the Gulf of Maine as waters have warmed, or perhaps more accessible to seabirds because it has moved higher up in the water column; according to Steve Kress of the National Audubon Society’s seabird restoration program, exceptionally warm water temperatures in the Gulf of Maine last year may have prompted an earlier-than-usual phytoplankton bloom, resulting in an early-season boost in numbers of butterfish.”

Puffins feeding their fledglings the wrong diet has resulted in plummeting populations of the sea birds, and dozens of emaciated birds washing ashore from New England to Bermuda.

Glass Half-Full
While worldwide coral die-offs are a global catastrophe-in-waiting, all is not without hope. ReadingEagle.com shares the story of divers volunteering to restore coral reefs. From their story:

“Ken Nedimyer likes to say that he breathes new life into coral reefs.
In fact, he’s been doing that for more than a decade, and recreational divers are volunteering in the effort.

Divers helping out with the work first get a crash course in everything about corals. They learn that coral reefs are experiencing a rapid decline, particularly in the Caribbean. ‘It’s not as magical as it once was and it’s going downhill,’ said Nedimyer.”

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