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Showing posts from October, 2015

People's Choice Award: Light for education

A photo of a 5-year-old boy studying in a dark hut, with only natural morning light streaming through a small window, has been selected for the People's Choice Award in the SPIE International Year of Light Photo Contest.
The contest was sponsored by SPIE Professional, the quarterly magazine of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, as part of the International Year of Light observance. SPIE is a Founding Partner.
Captured by Javanese travel and landscape photographer Handi Laksono, the winning photo was taken after Laksono hiked three hours to the remote village of Wae Rebo on Flores Island in Indonesia.
Wae Rebo's only lighting source is solar, either direct sunlight or a few small solar panels, Laksono said. He noted that the solar panel in the house he visited powers a single light bulb that is used only for a few hours in the evening.
"For the children who wish to study in their houses in the morning, the light from the small windows is the opti…

Cars on Mars: following Curiosity and getting excited about science

If it wanted to, NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover could stretch its 7-foot arm up from its 10-foot-high body and slam-dunk a basketball.
Admittedly, it isn’t likely that any of NASA’s Rovers -– cars on Mars, as some call them –- will find any basketball hoops on the Red Planet.
But the space agency’s newest robotic Mars explorer, the Curiosity, has found evidence of ancient lakes, captured images that reveal the composition of rocks on the planet’s surface, and done something many of us have done: taken selfies to post on FaceBook.
Curiosity’s discoveries are far from over. The robot is just now reaching the foothills of the lofty (5.5 km, or 18,000 feet) Mount Sharp, with its mission to scale the peak and report back about what it finds along the way.
That in itself is amazing. On top of that, the telling of that story by scientists such as Melissa Rice, a member of the Curiosity team and a professor at Western Washington University, turns out to be a powerful way to get kids interested …