All Nippon Airways Announces ‘Star Wars’ Project With R2-D2 Painted Jet

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“Help me gate agent, you’re my only hope.”

So might open the conversation with All Nippon Airways, if you’re one of the fans who attempt to book a seat aboard the Japanese airline’s new “Star Wars” jet coming this fall. In honor of the iconic movie series, the airline will paint one of its brand-new Boeing 787s with an R2-D2 motif.

An apparent video rendering of the R2-D2 plane, released on YouTube Thursday, shows the nose of the plane decorated with R2-D2’s signature blue and white stripes, along with graphics depicting the robot’s various ports.


!!!!!AllNipponAirways1“Star Wars” jet Boeing 787s with an R2-D2 motif



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Face It, Your Brain Is a Computer

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SCIENCE has a poor track record when it comes to comparing our brains to the technology of the day. Descartes thought that the brain was a kind of hydraulic pump, propelling the spirits of the nervous system through the body. Freud compared the brain to a steam engine. The neuroscientist Karl Pribram likened it to a holographic storage device.

Many neuroscientists today would add to this list of failed comparisons the idea that the brain is a computer — just another analogy without a lot of substance. Some of them actively deny that there is much useful in the idea; most simply ignore it.

Often, when scientists resist the idea of the brain as a computer, they have a particular target in mind, which you might call the serial, stored-program machine. Here, a program (or “app”) is loaded into a computer’s memory, and an algorithm…

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The Mouth Is Mightier Than the Pen

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Few methods beat email for sending communication blasts, getting a note in front of a far-flung sales prospect or employer, or attaching pictures and documents.

Too bad about the downside: You may not sound your smartest.

New research shows that text-based communications may make individuals sound less intelligent and employable than when the same information is communicated orally. The findings imply that old-fashioned phone conversations or in-person visits may be more effective when trying to impress a prospective employer or, perhaps, close a deal.


!!!!!TheMouthIsMightier1Michael Waraksa



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Scientists Build Case for ‘Sixth Extinction’ … and Say It Could Kill Us

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Even conservative calculations show the world is in the midst of a sixth mass extinction that’s being caused by our species — and is likely to lead to humanity’s demise if unchecked, scientists reported Friday.

The scientists’ analysis, published in the open-access journal Science Advances, follows up on more than a decade’s worth of warnings about a rapid loss of global biodiversity. Many experts say the loss has risen to the scale seen during five previous global extinction events — the most recent of which occurred 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs died off.

The claims provide the theme of Elizabeth Kolbert’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Sixth Extinction.” But such claims have drawn skeptical responses as well. The skeptics say it’s difficult to judge the “background rate” of extinctions, as well as the current rate of species extinction.


!!!!!ExtinctAnimals1An Imbabura tree frog (Hypsiboas picturatus) perches on a finger at the Jambatu Center for Research and Conservation of Amphibians in Quito, Ecuador. Amphibian species have been particularly hard-hit by environmental threats. Guillermo Granja / Reuters



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Dear World: Here Are Some Drought Fixes. Love, California

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When it comes to drought, California is getting all the attention these days. This makes sense. The Golden State is huge—in area, in population, in business, in culture, in agriculture—and it all relies on water. But the state’s problems are a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to the developing world’s water woes.

Globally, drought affects more than 1.5 billion people in the developing world. And with some of the world’s largest underground aquifers running low, many more face huge shortages. But California’s drought could be a boon for dried-out developing countries.


!!!!!CaliforniaWaterShortage129 Jul 2014, 30 inch water pipe burst under Sunset blvd, producing a geyser of water that flooded the UCLA campus. Ted Soqui/Corbis



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Airbus to build satellites for OneWeb to beam Internet from space

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Europe’s Airbus Group will design and build about 900 satellites for privately owned OneWeb Ltd, which plans to offer high-speed, space-based Internet access to billions of people worldwide, company officials said on Monday.

About 700 of the satellites, each of which will weigh less than 330 pounds (150 kg), will be launched into orbit around Earth beginning in 2018. The rest will stay on the ground until replacements are needed, said OneWeb, based in Britain’s Channel Islands.

Bankrolled in part by Richard Branson’s London-based Virgin Group and chipmaker Qualcomm Inc, the project will cost between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, OneWeb founder and Chief Executive Officer Greg Wyler said. 





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Scientists have figured out how to pit viruses against superbugs

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Here’s how a hijacked superbug could be made sensitive to drugs again.

As infectious bacteria become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, researchers are looking for new ways to combat the so-called ‘superbugs’ that are predicted to kill 300 million people by 2050 if we don’t find a solution.

And now a team of microbiologists at Tel Aviv University in Israel has devised a way for bacteria-killing viruses – known as phages – to make superbugs become sensitive to our antibiotics once more.


!!!!!ScientistFiguredOut1Image: Bacteriophage infecting bacteria. Credit: Andrea Danti/Shutterstock.com



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