Tech universe: Wednesday 1 February

By Miraz Jordan

DRIVING MARS: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have created a couple of interactive websites that let visitors 'drive around' on Mars. You have to install the Unity Web Player browser plugin, but once it's installed you have an interactive, 360 degree view to play with, tilting the view, zooming in and turning around. Go play on Mars. Gizmodo has more, plus there's Nasa's Curiosity and
Spirit pages.

LEANING TOWARDS MILAN: Normally if a building's on a lean you'd stay clear of it. Except in Pisa, Italy, of course. Now Milan has a pair of hotels that lean on purpose. The architect designed in a five degree lean on the pair of buildings that make up the NH Fiera hotel. It must have been a nightmare for the builders, trying to keep everything 'square'. More details here.

SCIENCE AND ART COLLIDE: In the past to test if a work of art was a forgery you'd have to take a physical sample and destroy it. Now nuclear physicists at the University of Notre Dame, USA, test using accelerated ion beams. The proton beam causes electrons to rearrange themselves and emit electromagnetic radiation that betrays what elements make up the work.

This helps identify the composition of pigments or other materials, revealing forgeries. It also helps explain where ancient artefacts derived from, revealing trading partners for example. Ah, an archaeological tricorder. Physics Today has more.

PRECISION DRONE: You'd think the Americans were the only ones to have drone military aircraft. But the Europeans are making headway too: the nEUROn is a technology demonstrator for a European Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle. It's the first stealth combat drone developed in Europe on behalf of half a dozen countries. One of its capabilities will be to drop Precision Guided Munitions. The maiden flight is expected in the middle of this year. Let's hope the precision extends to hitting real targets and not civilians. Details at The Aviationist has more.

FISH FEED: Last year's tsunami in Japan hit the fishing industry hard.
One fishing firm, Sanriku Toretate Ichiba, have installed web cams on their vessels. As they catch fish they sell them online, rather than simply bringing the catch to market in port. They hope to help make fishing more sustainable by matching supply and demand and reducing the quantity of fish that goes to waste. If you're buying from a seller you trust, why would you need a physical marketplace? New Scientist has more.

- Miraz Jordan knowit.co.nz

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 21 Apr 2014 12:22:30 Processing Time: 579ms