The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (3/08)

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Captain Kirk Wakes Up Discovery Crew for the Last Time

On the day of Discovery's final return to Earth, its crew and the crew of the International Space Station had an amazing wake up call from Captain James T. Kirk himself. "Space, the final frontier," actor William Shatner began in his 3:23 a.m. call to the snoozing astronauts.
Reprising his role as James Kirk, caption of the fictional Starship Enterprise from the original "Star Trek" TV series, Shatner milked the melodrama of the moment. "These have been the voyages of the space shuttle Discovery," the 79-year-old actor intoned. "Her 30-year mission: To seek out new science. To build new outposts. To bring nations together on the final frontier. To boldly go, and do, what no spacecraft has done before," As Shatner spoke, the "Theme from Star Trek" played in the background. Alas, the Discovery won't be boldly going anywhere after this, it's final scheduled mission.

WhaleShark1-thumb-425x283 Costa Rica Creates Huge New Cocos Island Marine Park Paradise

Costa Rica has just announced the creation of a large new marine protected area (MPA) around Cocos Island National Park. This new MPA–called the Seamounts Marine Management Area–encompasses a group of deep seamounts located 35 miles south of Cocos, plus other important waters for shark and tuna nearby. Announcement of the new MPA came after more than a year of discussions between the Costa Rican government and conservation organizations, including National Geographic. An expedition by the Geographic and local NGO partners in 2009 revealed that Cocos Island National Park has some of the highest abundances of large ocean predators (such as sharks) found anywhere in the world. The expedition team also concluded that illegal fishing inside the park and encroaching fishing pressure outside the park are threatening the biodiversity of this World Heritage Site.

Arctic-ice-climate-changejpg-3bb2d2ad7bd225f4_large Robot Spy Cameras Have Captured Truly Awe-Inspiring Images In the Arctic Circle

Did anyone catch 60 Minutes with Bob Simon—who always seems to get the really interesting international assignments—was invited to go along on a polar bear expedition at the top of the world. What he saw there was amazing and…robotic? Yes! Robots. Robot spy cameras, to be precise, that were used to capture truly magical scenes in the wild without any fear of taint or manipulation by human hand. One of the cameras used during an older documentary in Africa was even smothered in dung before it was deployed to the center of an annual wildebeest migration. The polar bear segment at the end, when the team gets its first glimpse of a baby polar bear emerging from its den for the first time, is reason enough alone to give this a view (and a read).

MyLincoln03_610x521 Ford’s Future: Voice-Activated Gadgets in Electric Cars

Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel is Ford’s mantra as it brings its voice-activated Sync infotainment system to Europe and responds to polemics about the dangers of distracted driving.
CEO Alan Mulally kept repeating the mantra this week as Ford finally brought Sync to Europe. It only took three years. Sync has been wildly successful in the new world since appearing in 2007, and Ford expects to sell 2 million Sync’d vehicles in the old continent by 2015.
Regulators are casting increasingly nervous glances at all the gadgets in our vehicles, and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood among others is making distracted driving a pet issue. Mulally, who delivered the keynote at the CeBIT tech show here, told us Ford wants to be part of the solution, not the problem.

03_MMOD_Broadband_gamecenter_LeadTracker March Madness Live Streaming Comes to iPad

From every NCAA men’s basketball tourney game being broadcast in its entirety for the first time, to free live streams of each matchup on the web and iOS devices, the second half of March is pretty much booked for college basketball fans. Hopefully, their loved ones and bosses will understand. Last year the NCAA signed a new deal with CBS and Turner Sports to share the tournament broadcast rights for the next 14 years. So starting this season, in addition to watching games on CBS, fans can tune in to TBS, TNT or truTV as well to catch the game they want to see most. Turner Sports also built on the existing March Madness On Demand online platform — available at mmod.ncaa.com and Apple’s iTunes Store — to create live streams with enhanced statistics and social media integration for every contest, from the play-in game through the Final Four.

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