Daily Orbit – Braving The Storms On Saturn

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,508
    10-26-12: On this episode of the Daily Orbit, Saturn weathers a massive storm, the pantless tree frog is evolving, and new smartphone and tablet technology uses your eyeballs!

    Emerald Robinson: What storm is making headlines? Why is the pantless tree frog making news? And how could a smartphone get any cooler? Just wait till you hear this. All that and more coming up on the Daily Orbit.

    Hi, I'm Emerald Robinson. Welcome to the Daily Orbit! There's a storm making headlines, but it's not hurricane Sandy headed towards the East Coast, this one is making science headlines and Saturn is its victim. NASA's Cassini spacecraft tracked the aftermath of a massive storm on Saturn that happens once every Saturn year, or 30 Earth years.

    The storm has majorly disturbed the planet's upper atmosphere with a temperature spike that's equivalent to going from the coldest cold of Alaska to the scorching hot summer in the Mojave Desert. The storm first detected on December 5th, 2010, grew so large that in Earth terms, it would blanket most of North America from north to south, and wrap around the planet.

    That storm makes Sandy look a little tame. And the pantless treefrog maybe in big trouble if, they don't put their pants back on. Okay, that was really corny I know, I just couldn't help myself.

    Most tropical frogs lay their eggs out of water to protect them from aquatic predators. However, these eggs are now at an increased risk of drying out as the number of rainy days during the rainy season has significantly decreased.

    But, scientists say that the pantless treefrogs can switch between laying their eggs in water or on leaves to respond to the climate change. Scientists believe they may better weather the changes we're seeing and rainfall over other species because of this ability to lay eggs in water, evolution at work, I find that kind of inspiring.

    Okay now this is uber cool! They keep making our smartphones more and more addictive. Now a Danish company hopes to develop a way for us to navigate our smartphones with our eyeballs. You could use it for basic controls like turning the next page in an ebook and playing games with your eyes. The software uses infrared light to track the movements of our eyeballs. This reflected light is sent back to the camera, which sends the instructions to the phone.

    This means we might one day open an app by looking up once and blinking twice. The developers are saying they're not trying to get rich! They plan to hand over the software for free to developers sometime next year. Listen Danish boys! I think you might want to rethink that. This idea sounds like gold! Call me, let's talk about this!

    I feel like we should just incorporate a section into the show called Outing Obesity or something. Nearly every day we bring you news on the perils of being overweight. A new study says that the longer people are overweight, the harder it's going to be to shed those pounds. And at some point, the body seems to flip a switch, and reprograms itself to a heavier set weight.

    Researchers say their findings demonstrate that obesity is in part a self-perpetuating disorder, and the results further emphasize the importance of early intervention in childhood to try to prevent a condition which can have life long effects. Just another call to wake-up America!

    Looks like Jurassic Park wasn't completely accurate with some of the dinosaurs in the movie. Remember that herd of scaly kind of bird-like dinosaurs being chased by the Tyrannosaurus Rex?

    Well, new research recently published says the real bird-like dinosaurs weren't all scaly, they had feathers and wings. Recovered from 75 million-year-old rocks in the badlands of Alberta, Canada, the ornithomimid is the first feathered dinosaur specimen found in the Western Hemisphere. Researchers found evidence of feathers preserved with a juvenile and two adult skeletons.

    They say that the dinosaur was covered in down-like feathers throughout life. But, only older individuals developed larger feathers on the arms, forming wing-like structures.

    Well, that's it for today's Daily Orbit! We'll see you right back here next time!