Future Olympic Tech & Fast Cheetahs | SciByte 58

Future Olympic Tech & Fast Cheetahs | SciByte 58

We take a look at the possibilities for future Olympic technology, land speed records not at the olympics, discoveries from Flickr, spacecraft updates, Curiosity update and as always take a peek back into history and up in the sky this week.

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Show Notes

A horse is a horse

  • The low down
  • The first successfully cloned horse was born in 2003
  • Today, there are only a few hundred equine clones, created mainly for breeding
  • In 2007 the FEI’s general assembly decided that cloning was "potentially against the spirit of sport in that it was unfair
  • Significance
  • July 2012 the Féderation Equestre Internationale (FEI) lifted a ban on cloned horses and their progeny competing in the Olympic Games
  • The FEI has been careful to emphasize that cloning is a breeding technique only
  • A key factor in the decision was the high price of cloning, which has since come down
  • The federation determined that the clones were only 98 percent copies of the originals, the 2 percent margin was what ultimately caused the FEI to overturn the ban
  • Currently the American Quarter Horse Association won’t allow clones, neither does the Jockey Club, which registers thoroughbreds in North America
  • A key factor in the decision was the high price of cloning, which has since come down
  • The federation determined that the clones were only 98 percent copies of the originals, the 2 percent margin was what ultimately caused the FEI to overturn the ban
  • Currently the American Quarter Horse Association won’t allow clones, neither does the Jockey Club, which registers thoroughbreds in North America
  • A top stallion for in vitro fertilization can go for tens of thousands of dollars
  • The cloning process can cost more than a hundred thousand U.S. dollars, and there are no guarantees that the clone will match the talent of the original
  • The most common use for cloned horses is to perpetuate genetic material, while the original horse can travel and compete
  • Most male horses in high-level competitions are geldings and a mare can bear only so many foals
  • Of Note
  • In the end only 300-odd horses compete in the Olympics, and clones would have to battle their way to the top just as traditionally bred horses do.
  • Needless of any cloning ruling it is widely agreed that environment, training, nutrition, and relationship with the rider have an incalculable impact on the horse’s performance
  • Multimedia
  • IMAGE Prometea the world’s first cloned horse with her mother in 2003 | National Geographic, Photograph by Giovanna Lazzara, AP
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Cloned Horses Coming to the Olympics? | National Geographic

— NEWS BYTE —

Possible Olympic tech for the future



Credit: John MacNeill | Credit: John MacNeill

  • Holographic Obstacles
  • In Olympic equestrian events 100 riders are injured in eventing falls every year, and when a multi million-dollar horse goes down, even a minor injury like a twisted ankle can end its career
  • Line-of-sight infrared beams could monitor the edges of the obstacles; if the horse breaks the beam, the system would instantly alert the judges, and the crowd, to the fault
  • Smart Landing Pads
  • Scoring the exact length of a long or triple jump can be imprecise and time-consuming when landing in a sand pit
  • Researchers at Arizona State University have developed a 2,016-pressure-sensor array to map where an athlete hits the ground
  • Underneath the sand in the landing pit, a dozen or so of the mats could record the exact point of touchdown where computer could automatically calculate the length of the jump
  • Head-up Goggles
  • During events swimmers are not able to see where they stand in the event
  • With an integrated head-up display could broadcast a live view of the competition and help racers to better pace themselves
  • Automatic Goalkeeper
  • German researchers have developed an automated goal-tracking system for american soccer (football)
  • Actuators around the net generate a magnetic field across the face of the goal.
  • When the ball passes through that field, a chip embedded in the ball sends a signal to the ref’s watch within one tenth of a second.
  • Retractable Diving Board
  • On a good day, a diver’s head misses the board by a couple of inches
  • In the one second a typical diver is airborne above the plane of the board, it could retract as much as three feet
  • Multimedia
  • IMAGE | PopSci.com Credit :John MacNeill
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Summer Olympics: 2020 – How technology is going to make the 2020 Olympics better, safer, and more exciting | PopSci.com

Land speed record



YouTube channel : NationalGeographic | Credit: Ken Geiger, National Geographic

— TWO-BYTE NEWS —

New species on Flickr

  • The low down
  • While randomly flipping through images posted on the online database an entomologist spotted a previously unknown species of lacewing
  • The new lacewing, which has a 30-millimeter wingspan, were taken in a forested park north of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, by an amateur photographer and then posted online
  • The entomologist suspected the creature was an undescribed species; however, the the photographer had released the insect after taking its picture
  • Researchers had to wait until the shutterbug revisited the area and collected a specimen before they could officially write up their discovery
  • Multimedia
  • IMAGE New Lacewings species, Semachrysa jade | Credit: Guek Hock Ping
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • ScienceShot: New Species Discovered, Thanks to Flickr | http://news.sciencemag.org

– SPACECRAFT UPDATE –

Slowly but surely inch by inch Voyager 1 eyes the edge of the Solar System

Morpheus setback

  • The low down
  • The Morpheus project is what one former project manager called ““Home Depot engineering”
  • They are designed as low-budget projects using off-the-shelf parts to build something very quickly that gets 80 percent of the answer and allows the project to keep moving forward
  • These type of projects partner with non-traditional aerospace companies
  • Significance
  • The Morpheus is designed to deliver about 1,100 pounds (500 kg) of cargo to the moon, burn liquid oxygen and methane fuel
  • Designed and built by engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, the insect-like vehicle, had previously made several flights attached to a crane before the attempted free-flight on August 9, 2012
  • The engines, appeared to ignite as planned, lifting the vehicle into the air. But a few seconds later, Morpheus rolled over on its side and plummeted to the ground.
  • Of Note
  • An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube Morpheus Landing Explodes on First KSC Free Flight Test | SpaceVidsNet
  • Social Media
  • Morpheus Lander @MorpheusLander
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Project Morpheus
  • Morpheus Lander Crashes and Burns | UniverseToday.com
  • NASA’s Morpheus lander in fiery crash at Cape Canaveral | Reuters.com

– CURIOSITY UPDATE –

Curiosity Rover Update



Credit: JPLnews | Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

SCIENCE CALENDAR

Looking back

  • Aug 19, 1887 : 125 years ago : Eclipse by baloon : Mendeleeff observes eclipse | Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev (1834–1907) used a balloon to ascend above the cloud cover to an altitude of 11,500 feet (3.5 km) to observe an eclipse in Russia. He made the solo ascent above Klin without any prior experience. While his family was rather concerned, he paid no attention to controlling the balloon until after he had completed his observations, at which time he worked out how to land it. Mendeleev is the Russian chemist known for the ordering of the Periodic Table of the Elements. Yet, he was interested in many fields of science. He studied problems associated with Russia’s natural resources, such as coal, salt, metals, and the petroleum industry. In 1876, he visited the U.S. to observe the Pennsylvania oil fields.

Looking up this week

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