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This undated photo made available in London Wednesday Feb. 16, 2005, was taken by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope of the planet Mars. (AP)
This undated photo made available in London Wednesday Feb. 16, 2005, was taken by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope of the planet Mars. (AP)

SOCIAL STUDIES

Looking for a job on Mars? You’re not the only one Add to ...

How bad is the job market?

“More than 78,000 people have applied for the chance to leave Earth forever and live on Mars for a reality TV project,” reports Orange Co. U.K. “The Mars One project aims to establish a human settlement on the Red Planet by 2023 and televise every aspect of the decade-long mission. Successful candidates must come through a two-year selection process and train for another seven before heading to Mars, never returning to Earth. Co-founder and CEO Bas Lansdorp said he expected more than half a million applicants to apply before the Aug. 31 deadline. ‘With 78,000 applications in two weeks, this is turning out to be the most desired job in history,’ he said.”

‘Lassie sent us an e-mail’

British scientists are designing computers that can be used by dogs so they can play, operate household appliances and even communicate with their owners, reports The Daily Telegraph. “The researchers hope the technology can make daily tasks quicker and easier for the animals in the same way it has transformed the lives of humans. The project is aimed at developing devices that can be controlled using touch screens and objects that can be shaken like an iPhone by dogs to control computers. The scientists at the Open University are working with several dog charities to train the animals and build ‘smart kennels’ that will have computers installed inside.”

Colonel’s nuclear crackdown

In an unprecedented action, a U.S. Air Force commander has stripped 17 of his officers of their authority to control and launch nuclear missiles, says CNN. The 17 are being sent to undergo 60 to 90 days of intensive refresher training on how to do their jobs. In his e-mail, Lt.-Col. Jay Folds, deputy commander of the 91st Operations Group in North Dakota, also told his unit:

Turn off the TVs.

Clean your patches, uniforms and get your hair cut.

Bring to my attention immediately any officer who badmouths a senior officer.

Comparing apples, pears

“European researchers report they’ve developed an electronic ‘nose’ so sensitive it can distinguish between the odours emitted by pears and apples,” says United Press International. “Scientists at the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain and the University of Gavle in

Sweden have created an electronic nose with 32 sensors that can identify the odours given off by chopped samples of the fruits.” The research is part of an effort to develop multisensor systems with increased capacity to differentiate complex mixtures of volatile substances. One use could be in the field of biomedicine. Some studies have shown that dogs can detect cancerous tumours by smelling a person’s breath. If an electronic nose can detect which substances the animals recognize, the disease might be diagnosed earlier.

Teen hacker blocks spoilers

“For people watching on-demand content, negotiating social media before they have watched their favourite show can be fraught,” says BBC News. “It inspired American teenager Jennie Lamere to create software designed to stop people finding out the plot lines of TV shows and movies on Twitter. The 17-year-old’s code blocks tweets mentioning preset keywords. Lamere recently won ‘best in show’ at a hackathon in Boston for her design. She beat professional developers at the TVnext Hack event and now plans to develop her plug-in Twivo commercially. Lamere came up with the idea the night before the competition and it took her 10 hours and 150 lines of code to complete. She said that she had grown tired of having her own favourite shows, Dance Moms and Pretty Little Liars, spoiled by mentions on Twitter.”

Thought du jour

“From a dog’s point of view his master is an elongated and abnormally cunning dog.”

Mabel L. Robinson, American children’s author (1874-1962)

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