The Daily Flash -Sci, Space, Tech (2/18)

2ebfc0a5-7f75-4b89-a0a4-3cc219d07671-sycamorex The Mystery of the Missing Moon Trees

15 years after NASA astronomer David Williams started searching for them, hundreds of trees grown from space-faring seeds are still missing. The “moon trees,” whose seeds circled the moon 34 times in Apollo 14 astronaut Stuart Roosa’s pocket, were welcomed back to Earth with great fanfare in 1971. One was planted in Washington Square in Philadelphia as part of the 1975 bicentennial celebrations. Another took root at the White House. Several found homes at state capitals and space-related sites around the country. Then-president Gerald Ford called the trees “living symbol[s] of our spectacular human and scientific achievements.” And then, mysteriously, everyone seemed to forget about them.

 

 

 

Great barrier reef cruise tour Double punch threatens Great Barrier Reef

Queensland's mega cyclones are damaging the Great Barrier Reef, which has already been weakened by the massive floods that hit the Australian state earlier this year. According to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the destructive winds of cyclone Yasi hit around 13 per cent of the reef when it hammered into Queensland's coast earlier this month. "It is likely fragile coral was damaged and marine animals were affected," said the authority's chairman, Russell Reichelt, in a statement issued last week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandcentralstation-660x482 Apple on Track for Huge Store in New York’s Grand Central Terminal

Not content to have the highest-grossing store on the world’s most expensive street, Apple is set to open a gargantuan retail outlet inside Grand Central Terminal, the massive train station in the heart of Manhattan, according to a new report. Rumors of the deal have been circulating for a few days, but Apple sleuth Leander Kahney says he’s confirmed that Apple will be opening the store sometime in the fall, most likely in early September. It would reflect a change in the nature of Grand Central, a beloved, 140-year-old landmark on 42nd Street, turning it from essentially a transit point — albeit a gorgeous one — with scattered retail, into a full-fledged shopping destination.

Url23 Google Social Search Spreads to Fight Facebook

Google Feb. 17 said it will begin mixing its Social Search results throughout results pages based on their relevance, an effort to raise the profile of a feature that hasn't drawn much attention.Google launched Social Search in October 2009, adding blog posts, reviews and other content from searchers' contacts into search results. The idea was to offer content that could help inform searchers decisions about restaurants, trips and other plans.

 

Ibm-watson-jeopardy The buzzer factor: did Watson have an unfair advantage?

Does Watson have an unfair advantage over humans because it can signal its response instantly? It seemed that way in the three “Jeopardy!” TV shows this week, especially Wednesday night, as Watson proceeded to totally own the humans. It gets down to human vs. computer reaction time to the light that signals that players can press the button. (After the host reads the question, a light signals the contestants that the button is armed so they all have the same start cue.) According to one literature review, the accepted figure for mean simple reaction times for college-age individuals for light stimuli is about 190 ms (0.19 sec).  (You can test your reaction time to a traffic light change or dot color change.) What about Watson? Its reaction time is just five to ten milliseconds, according to a white paper provided to me by IBM and written by Dr. David Ferrucci, who heads up the Watson computer design team. That’s a 38:1 advantage!

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