Lake Michigan’s Underwater Stonehenge – Episode 61


Today on the show: Star Trek Discovery, a HUD for your (current) car, ASUS starting a Pi fight, star dust on your roof, REM is good for your brain, Deathwatch, Content I Like, and Today I Learned!

Update on CBS’s Star Trek Discovery

  • The show is delayed until further notice. Not canceled, but no ship date. Originally, was supposed to be now — January 2017. Then it went to May 2017. Now maybe Decembruary two-thousand-and-never.
  • Also, in case you missed it the first time around, the show is going to be limited to CBS All-Access, the $6 a month streaming service, which means they aren’t married to a launch date. They can release whenevs.
  • We’ll see if this happens. They are still casting people, so that’s promising. At the same time, there’s been staff turnover.
  • Seems, overall, troubled and doomed to obscurity even if it runs. Unless they release it all at once so that I can binge on it for $6.

Your car wants a HUD!

  • HUDs are a more common feature on premium vehicles, but it’s hardly commonplace yet.
  • Navdy is a HUD that projects compatible information from your phone onto your windshield
  • Gesture controls
  • Audio controls
  • A click-wheel that mounts to your steering wheel
  • Offline map data for “dead zones”
  • $749 or $31/mo through their site.
  • Not for everyone, but a killer device for some folks.

Asus tinkers with a piece of the Pi.

  • Asus 90MB0QY1-M0EAY0 Tinker Board
  • The specs.
    • Quad core 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A17 CPU
    • 2GB Dual channel LPDDR3 memory
    • Gigabit LAN and Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR connectivity
    • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
    • 4x USB 2.0 ports
    • 40-pin Internal header with 28 GPIO pins
    • Contact points for PWM and S/PDIF signals
    • 1x 3.5mm Audio jack connection
    • CSI port for camera connection
    • DSI port supporting HD resolution
    • 1x HDMI 2.0 port to support 4K resolution
    • Micro SD port supports UHS-I
    • Supports Debian OS with KODI
    • Power supply: 5V/ 2A Micro USB (not included)
  • Asus is creating its own OS for the Tinker Board, based on Debian.
  • Available soon. Retailer CPC, a Farnell company in the UK, claims to have 59 in stock as of this writing.

Stardust turns out to be more than a song lyric.

  • Long thought that amateur astronomers that dust on their rooftops could contain extraterrestrial dust. That is, some of the dust fell from the stars.
  • Most scientists didn’t take this seriously over the decades, but Project Stardust decided to.
  • Jon Larsen, a Norwegian musician and artist, convinced many residents in Oslo to collect the debris from their roof gutters so that it could be sifted through.
  • He got 300 kilograms of material, including one oddball sample from Paris.
  • They sifted the debris by shape and with magnets.
  • The result was about 500 tiny, round micrometeorites just a few hundred micrometers across. They picked 48 for closer analysis, and all of them turned out to be winners.
  • The micrometeorites are made of the seven elements found in chondrites, the sort of junk you find floating in between planets.
    • They also have olivine, which forms during atmospheric entry and subsequent heating.
    • The lack sodium which usually boils away during the heat of atmospheric descent.
  • Probably, this happens all over the earth…but not at a high density. Says Ars, “every square meter of the Earth gets hit about twice a year.”
  • You could sift through your roof debris as well, but realize that Project Stardust sorted through about a kilogram of stuff to find a micrometeorite about 300 micrometers in size.
  • You should be able to see such a small object. A human hair is roughly in the 100 micrometer range — it varies widely according to the wisdom of the Internet. The human eye can see down to something between roughly 6 and 29 micrometers, also according to the wisdom of the Internet.

REM is maintenance mode for your brain’s neural connections

  • We’ve known for years that REM is critical for memory
  • Until now we haven’t really known why
  • First a little anatomy lesson: the anatomy of a neuron
    • Dendrites are the chemical receptors of a neuron
    • Dendritic spines are small outgrowths from the dendrites that cause stronger signal reception between neurons and cause links between neurons to be more solid.
    • This is critical for the forming and solidification of new and existing neural networks, respectively.
  • Dendritic spines are not permanent – they can be grown and “pruned” as the brain forms new connections, which is done while learning and forming memories.
  • Researchers trained mice on a treadmill style task
  • Then deprived some of the mice of REM sleep and studied the differences.
  • The dendritic spines formed on the neurons of those with proper REM sleep were found to be larger and stronger than those without REM sleep, indicating neural connections which were stronger.
  • In layman’s terms the brain performs pruning of less valuable dendritic spines and reinforces the more valuable dendritic spines during REM sleep.
  • This sheds light on why REM sleep is so critical to childhood development and learning in adults
  • A friend of mine once called sleep “brain defragging” …. It turns out he wasn’t that far off.
  • This is really interesting to me because I’ve often noted that when starting a new job, hobby, or sport where there’s a firehose of information for a sustained period of time, I feel exhausted until that firehose effect starts to scale back. I sleep more than usual, etc.


Update on Deathwatch favorite – TIDAL!

  • Deal was for $200M.
  • Not exclusive. As in, you won’t have to be a Sprint customer to get access to Tidal, at least not that it seems.
  • But does seem like access to Tidal in some way will be a special thing for Sprint users, although in what way is not clear, either. Not free, from what it appears so far.
  • Sort of like NFL for Verizon subscribers?
  • Maybe we should put Sprint on deathwatch if this is what they think is a wise investment. Because ain’t nobody switching to Sprint to get special access to Tidal.

Content I Like

Futurism’s “This Week In Science”

  • Weekly image with top headlines from the science world
  • Generally actual science headlines, not conjecture. Generally.

001 Trolling The Movie

  • Looks like it’s gonna be interesting in May 2017 when it comes out.

Today I Learned

TIL That there is a Stonehenge like structure at the bottom of Lake Michigan with a possible Petroglyph of a Mastodon on one of the boulders.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *