In January 2016, Professor Mike Brown, the California Institute of Technology researcher who demoted Pluto to dwarf status, reported that he and some colleagues had discovered evidence of a ninth planet in our solar system. Dubbed Planet X, the gaseous giant believed to be two to three times the size of Earth, purportedly has a highly elliptical orbit and takes over 20,000 earth years to revolve around the sun. Though exciting, the find was based on computer simulations, which means that no one has ever seen this mysterious planet.
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Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have tremendous potential to deliver emergency supplies to remote or disaster-struck regions. However, they are expensive to mass produce and often require special pads to launch and land safely. Additionally, the need for the aircraft to maintain enough battery life to return, cuts the delivery distance to half. But these issues may be history, thanks to an affordable and disposable drone that is designed for a one way journey.
On February 11, thousands of people, many dressed in costumes and masks, gathered at the Rio de Cannaregio in Venice to watch the spectacular water show that marked the opening of the Carnevale di Venezia, or Carnival of Venice. The brainchild of the creative minds at Corona Events artist company, it featured colorful floating structures and acrobatic performers, many of whom were dressed as sea creatures.
In retrospect, 2016 was a banner year for exploding devices. The trend began when hoverboards — two-wheeled self-balancing motorized devices — randomly began to burst into flames, hurting riders and causing millions of dollars in property damages. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 mobile phone, which debuted to stellar reviews in August faced similar issues and was withdrawn from the market by October. It turns out that all the mishaps were the result of malfunctioning lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries used to power the devices.
Every February 14, people worldwide demonstrate their affection for family members, friends, teachers, and significant others with a gift or two. However, this display of love does not come cheap. The National Retail Federation say that 55% of Americans will celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, spending an average of $136.57 USD each. Though lower than the $146.84 USD expended in 2016, it will add a respectable $18 billion USD to the economy! It is no wonder that retailers love the holiday.
Pichaporn Sapsittiporn and Sasinuch Lapwongpaiboon, who co-own the i-Creamy Artisan Gelato shop in Sydney, Australia, take great pride in creating some of the tastiest gelato using the best possible ingredients. However, the award-winning Asian-inspired flavors are not the only reason people line up outside the creamery, even on cold winter nights. They are also here to admire and devour the beautiful gelato roses that are crafted before their eyes.
At the recent Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, Korean car manufacturer Hyundai unveiled three battery-powered Iron Man-inspired robotic suits. Though the stylish exoskeletons developed as part of the company’s “Next Mobility” initiative, will not enable users to soar in the skies like the superhero, it will give them earthly “super powers” like mobility, strength, and endurance.
Mention the word refugees, and the image that comes to mind is that of humans that have been forced to leave their countries due to war, persecution or natural disaster. Botswana, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, is facing a different kind of refugee crisis – one caused by the hundreds of thousands of elephants that have fled their homelands to escape ruthless poachers.