This is not an article about a future movie plot. It would seem that as we become more and more aware about the universe we only just start to understand just how little we actually know about what could happen in the vast emptiness of space. The White House’s National Science and Technology Council seem to understand this as they have released their strategic plan for “extreme space weather events” that could potentially disable or even destroy spacecraft and satellites.
Two terms that will be used a lot in this article are Solar Wind and Earth’s magnetic field. The former, Solar wind, is the term used to describe particles that the sun admits on an almost regular basis. While the latter, the Earth’s magnetic field, is a natural field that is generated around the earth (your compass uses it to help point you to north). The magnetic field normally acts as a protective barrier and stops the solar winds from breaching into the atmosphere.
With estimates of $2 trillion in damages for a single ‘monster’ surge, ten times more than any other natural disaster in recorded history, and a 12% chance given by NASA that one could happen within the next decade, it would seem that preparing for this event is just one of the many things we should be looking at.
There are three stages to any disaster, and it would seem that we are starting to work on all of them for this particular scenario.
The first stage is knowing when it might happen, for this we have the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Centre who monitors the sun for any signs that something abnormal, like a ‘monster’ solar wave, could be emitted. With an estimated window of only 15-60 minutes to act, the likely hood of being able to act effectively comes from preparation more than reflection on the information given.
Boston Dynamics, a company now owned by Google, has a new robot to join their other creepy animal-like bots. He/she/it is called Spot, just like the name you might give to a dog. Spot is much smaller compared to their other robots and it also has a body quite similar to that of a dog.
The new bot is much more nimble across rough terrain compared to its older brother, ‘BigDog’. Spot can also climb stairs and run at quite a fast pace. It’s also pretty good at taking kicks from evil humans, recovering, quite eerily, in much the same way a dog would. Well, a dog would probably try to attack back, while Spot can’t (for now, that is).
Watch the video below to see Spot alongside some of its family members, all of them in training before they take over the human race.
Google are very well-known for their daily doodles and interactive headlines that top their home page nearly every day, but whilst these are a one day only affair, their main company logo is what most users tend to see. Over the years the corporate logo has seen a number of changes and alterations to the font, colours, patterns and so on, but the latest revision is so small that it’s very hard to see.
As seen from the GIF above, the alterations have been made to the second ‘g’ and ‘l’, where the ‘g’ has moved a whole 1 pixel to the right and the ‘l’ sees more of a change moving a whopping 1 pixel to the right and 1 pixel lower down.
Apparently a few people have commented previously to say that the ‘l’ and ‘e’ did not line up properly and this must have got on the nerves of one particular graphic editor, forcing him to make the changes. In addition another viewer has apparently noted a change to the second ‘o’ where the yellow saturation has been increased – but this is not possible to see with the eye, but a Photoshop investigation does show a variation in the two logos.
No matter how slight the change is, one saying goes ‘it’s the small changes that make the big things happen’. This change probably won’t affect Google in any way, although one person is probably going to sleep better, now that they know everything is lined up as it should be.