science tech week_in_review saturn wifi panda_cam architecture nature
Txch This Week: Panda Cam Returns, WiFi Goes Underwater, and Monkeys Have Conversations


by Ysabel Yates

There were many transformations this week on Txchnologist. Wind turbines became self-aware, bicycles got smart and robots turned into bartenders. Some things did stay the same: Humanoid robots are still awesome, Geocities is still dead (although we did see it come back as a “digital Pompeii”) and we’re still bringing you the top science and tech news of the week.

Click through to see the developments we’ve been following.

The government shutdown ended on Thursday, which means that the FDA can come back to inspect our food, federally funded research can get back on track, NASA employees are returning to work and the National Zoo’s panda cam is back.

In “Monkeys are just like us” news, marmosets are found to carry on conversations like humans, while young bonobos are believed to comfort other bonobos who are stressed out, via Wired and The Verge.

An animal in the Himalayan mountains that locals believed was a Yeti turned out to be an ancient hybrid of a polar bear and a brown bear, according to the results of a genetic analysis. i09 has the story.

A team of researchers are testing out underwater WiFi. Unfortunately it’s not for Instagramming your scuba dive (yet). The researchers believe the development could be useful in detecting tsunamis and other disasters, via the BBC.

The best science writing we read this week is “Why Our Brains Love Curvy Architecture" by Eric Jaffe and published in Fast Company. In it, neuroscience meets architecture and design as Jaffe outlines the reasons why our brains seem to prefer round designs to linear ones.

Top image: This mosaic of Saturn in unprecedented detail was created by software developer Gordon Ugarkovic using images from the Cassini spacecraft’s recent flyover. You can read more about how it was created at Phil Plait’s blog on Slate.
Courtesy: NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute / Gordan Ugarkovic.

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