This takes location golfing to a new level.
If 18 holes on Kauai or Tenerife is old hat, grab your clubs and head to Saturn’s moons.
The NASA team behind the Cassini orbiter periodically release troves of gorgeous images of Saturn and its dozens of moons, revealing the gouges on Enceladus and the lakes of Titan. The drool-worthy vistas just beg to be explored, and you can now do just that with a nifty little Flash game developed by Diamond Sky Productions called Golf Sector 6. The game takes players through several 9-hole courses across a variety of Saint-Exupéry-esque moons, whose cratered surfaces are patched together from Cassini’s images. As Saturn drifts by in the background, you can relax, put your feet up, and bat a small pink ball toward the hole with your mouse. But beware of that pesky escape velocity: it’s different on every moon, and it’s way, way less than Earth’s.
It wasn’t your typical American Museum of Natural History crowd: yesterday evening, a handful of kids and the standard science nerds were joined in the Hall of Ocean Life by ping pong aficionados.
Five ping pong tables—courtesy of co-host SPiN ping pong club—were set up in the hall for the event, “This is Your Brain on Ping Pong.” The evening included time for guests to practice the sport, as well as a panel discussion moderated by museum icthyologist Melanie Stiassny.
The evening’s attempts to connect ping pong and science were, well, a little weak. Stiassny ran through a brief history of life on Earth, with references to the sport dotting her speech like product placements: 500 million years ago the first organisms with nervous systems are on the scene—hey, you need a spinal cord to control a ping pong paddle! “Clearly evolution has a purpose, and that purpose is ping pong,” said Stiassny.
One panelist was legendary actress Susan Sarandon, perhaps most beloved for her role as Janet in Rocky Horror; she’s also an investor in SPiN. Why does she think SPiN is so popular? Sarandon claimed that it’s all about the romance: “You play it facing someone, maybe your date,” she said. “I see some people nodding, people here on dates.”
Ever felt the inclination to go all Armageddon on the whole planet? Well now you can let those feelings loose through a new asteroid impact simulator from Purdue University and Imperial College London.
“The calculator is a critical tool for determining the potential consequences of an impact…. It is widely used by government and scientific agencies as well as impact research groups and space enthusiasts around the world.”
The simulator is actually an update to the basic tool already used by astronomers and governments to study how an impact would change Earth, to plan for post-disaster scenarios, and to explore asteroid- and comet-deflection technologies. When our planet was young many more space objects crashed into the Earth; while the barrage has slowed, small bits of debris still frequently fly into our atmosphere, says Time:
PCs are typically the first place forensic scientists look when they suspect suspicious activity. That’s why many criminals are storing anything they don’t want people to know about on their Xboxes—and, according to authorities, that includes plenty of child pornography.
To combat this problem, computer scientist David Collins at Sam Houston State University developed a tool that can read the game consoles for illegal hidden materials, which he calls XFT. This the first tool designed to read Xboxes for strictly forensic purposes.
The original Xbox hard drive can be modified so that the game console behaves like a PC—and there’s no physical evidence that the system has been changed. While it’s normal for law enforcement officials to confiscate a suspect’s Xbox, forensic scientists must then make a copy of the hard drive to analyze its contents (which is the same process that is used when digging for clues on PCs). Without the interface that Collin’s tool provides, the bit-for-bit information on an Xbox remains buried, unable to be read by current forensics software.