Science & Technology

Reports focusing on the latest science and technology news and trends along California's Central Coast.

The March for Science is taking place on Saturday, April 22. In what is now a global event, scientists and those who support science-based evidence will be hitting the streets in mass marches, similar to the Women’s March on January 21. In a mission statement, organizers say the event “champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity.” 

April 12 on the Cal Poly campus, there is a free public presentation by one of the world's foremost astronomers, Dr. Fran Bagenal. KCBX invited Cal Poly astronomy professor Dr. John Keller and Joseph Carro, the president of the Central Coast Astronomical Society, to the studio to hear more about Dr. Bagenal and her presentation, learning astronomy at Cal Poly, and stargazing on the Central Coast. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

 

A Cal Poly professor and his research team were given a grant from the US Department of Agriculture for almost half a million dollars last week to study solutions to food waste.

Cal Poly economics department chair Steve Hamilton said his research team aims to reduce food waste not only at the consumer level, but at every step of the process, from farmers, to retailers and to consumers. 

Vandenberg Air Force Base


 The Atlas V rocket on Vandenberg Air Force Base launched successfully this morning.

 

The rocket carries the WorldView-4 imaging and data satellite into orbit.

DigitalGlobe

A rocket launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base that was delayed back in September because of a wildfire is now scheduled to be launched this Friday, Veterans Day.

NPR

NPR's hit podcast, Hidden Brain, explores the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior. There's several new episodes coming out this fall. KCBX's Bree Zender sat down with Shankar Vedantam, Hidden Brain's host and creator, to talk about making the podcast.

Can Slow-Moving Art Disrupt Our Hectic Routines?

Sep 16, 2016

Part 6 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Gabriel Barcia-Colombo's TED Talk

Early in his career, video artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo noticed the way people breeze past works of art. He describes how his deliberate, slow-moving installations encourage people to stop and think.

About Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Tim Urban's TED Talk

Blogger Tim Urban explains his process of extreme procrastination in which his brain wages war between instant gratification and the moment of pure panic just before a deadline.

About Tim Urban

Dinosaurs at Texas Tech university
Thomas Wilmer

    

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer reporting from the Museum of Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Come along and join Dr. Gary Morgan CEO where he shares his passion for the multidisciplinary showcase of everything from giant dinosaurs to a premier collection of Southwest and Native American Art. 

Channel Islands National Park

Archeologists are excited about what's being described as an "unusual find" on one of the Channel Islands. 

What Can We Gain By Writing A Letter By Hand?

Aug 26, 2016

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Lakshmi Pratury's TED Talk

Lakshmi Pratury reflects on the dozens of letters she received from her father, while he was alive, and on the painstaking time it takes to pen a letter.

About Lakshmi Pratury

When Was The Last Time You Did Absolutely Nothing?

Aug 26, 2016

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Andy Puddicombe's TED Talk

Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe says one path to happiness is ten minutes, each day, to stop and enjoy the sensation of doing nothing.

About Andy Puddicombe

Can Slowing Down Help You Be More Creative?

Aug 26, 2016

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Adam Grant's TED Talk

Despite being a self-described 'pre-crastinator, psychologist Adam Grant says those who slow down — even procrastinate — tend to be more creative, original thinkers.

About Adam Grant

Jay Thompson - Cal Poly

Scientists at Cal Poly are headed back to the drawing board after a semi-successful test this afternoon of a space craft prototype known as a LightSail. 

Skatebiker at English Wikipedia

There is a plan in the works to visit Alpha Centauri, the nearest star beyond our own Sun. It's a journey of some 25 trillion miles. 

Geovanni Ximénez-García

Space debris and the location of satellites is a top concern for the U.S. military's missile program which is why leaders from the Department of Defense are working closely with scientists in Cal Poly’s CubeSat program. 

Cal Poly, Dennis Steers

Cal Poly recently received a five-year, $2.6 million grant for its regenerative medicine program from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

Still from video posted by @elonmusk Instagram

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said this week that fog at Vandenberg Air Force Base may be partially to blame for the company's failure to bring its Falcon 9 rocket safely back to earth on Sunday. 

Musk posted information on his Instagram account saying one of the rocket's legs didn't latch properly, causing it to tip over. 

"The root cause may have been ice buildup due to condensation from heavy fog at liftoff," Musk said.

Video of the rocket landing attempt shows the Falcon 9 setting down on target, but then slowly toppling over and exploding on impact.

Satellite to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base will measure world's rising sea levels

Jan 15, 2016
NASA

Several agencies at Vandenberg Air Force base are preparing to launch a satellite Sunday that will measure the effects of climate change on the world's oceans. 

UC Santa Barbara

A local professor is receiving the nation's highest honors in science and technology.

The White House announced Tuesday UC Santa Barbara's Arthur Gossard, Ph.D., will receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. 

City of Santa Barbara

Residents and visitors to Santa Barbara could hear some unusual sounds in the coming weeks as the city works to improve its sewer system.

Flickr user: Emilian Robert Vicol

A local professor and his team are waiting for companies to license their recently-patented product. It's an anti-browning formula that extends the shelf-life of sliced fruits and vegetables. 

SLO PD to launch body camera pilot program

Sep 15, 2015
San Luis Obispo Police Department

The San Luis Obispo Police Department will begin testing the use of body cameras over the next year. The department says it will start the pilot program with ten cameras, given to officers in varying positions. 

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

UPDATE: Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 6:11 p.m.

Engineers at Cal Poly are celebrating a win in Utah this week as their LightSail project was named "Mission of the Year" Thursday  afternoon at the Small Satellite Conference at Utah State University.

Original story:

Cal Poly’s satellite programs are now the talk of the space industry with some of the most cutting-edge technology destined for launch pads, and already circling the planet. 

Finding a parking space in downtown Santa Barbara just got easier. 

Flickr member Image Editor

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, located beneath the border of France and Switzerland, was restarted this spring with a goal of making scientific history—once again.

The facility achieved that goal a few years ago when researchers found evidence that the Higgs boson, or “god particle", exists.

United Launch Alliance video still

Lompoc City Council members are expected to vote Tuesday, May 19, on a proposed multi-million dollar space center near Vandenberg Air Force Base. Vandenberg sits adjacent to the City of Lompoc. If approved and completed, the facility could dramatically alter Lompoc's future.

The city council is set to vote on whether to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with the California Space Consortium. The consortium hopes to build a space center there that would include a museum, hotel, restaurant and a viewing area for rocket launches.

Flickr member Dave Nakayama

The international awards are piling up for the UC Santa Barbara professor who helped create energy-saving LED lighting.

UCSB's Shuji Nakamura was named this year's Global Energy Prize Laureate, announced Thursday in Moscow. Nakamura is being recognized for his lighting invention that's helping to save billions of dollars in energy costs worldwide.

LEDs had been around for decades, but not the white light versions that are currently replacing incandescent and fluorescent bulbs.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA's new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite, launched from Vandenberg on January 31, 2015, has already sent back its first global maps.

The satellite focuses on soil moisture—liquid or solid—and will likely help develop more accurate long-term forecasts. The images could also help California track the state's ongoing drought conditions.

The SMAP mission is designed to help scientists understand the links between the Earth's water, energy and carbon cycles.

Flickr member Liz Foreman

Statistics show the most Americans are extremely lazy when it comes to creating secure, unique passwords. According to SplashData's annual list for 2014, these are the five most popular passwords found on the Internet:

  1. 12345
  2. password
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. abc123

Easy-to-break passwords like these—and many other variations—are a weak link in your overall web security.

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