1. Some Recently Discovered Moons of Jupiter are Weirder Than Others
Scott Sheppard’s astronomy division at the Carnegie Institution for Science hunts for objects in very distant parts of our Solar System. Sometimes, however, they’re able to scour areas closer—depending on the orbit of planets intersecting with their work. When the latter scenario arose with Jupiter, Sheppard and his colleagues discovered 10 new moons—bringing the grand total of satellite bodies to 79. A few of these 10 happen to be quite distinct: all of them measure between one and three kilometers across and seven of them travel in a rotation counter to the planet’s—making them retrograde moons. One lone moon–of the group of 10–travels in opposition to the aforementioned retrograde moons. Because of this, a collision could be in its future. These discoveries are quite telling with regard to the formation of the planet itself. Read more at Nature.
2. NYC Expands the Role of the Library Card
Three library card systems divide New York City: the New York Public Library (for Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx), the Queens Library and the Brooklyn Public Library. Membership cards at all three will now offer a “culture pass” program granting free admittance to 33 museums and cultural institutions across the city. Cardholders can reserve two tickets at a time, with no limit on the number of visits. As a model for the future of library cards, even more cultural access bestowed upon holders is something beneficial to libraries and curious individuals that may have avoided museum until now.
3. Succulent-Saving Six-Legged Robots
Adapted from the robot HEXA, developed by Beijing-based technology company Vincross, this moving flower pot prototype not only holds small succulent plants, it changes locations to address whether a plant has too little or too much sunlight. In addition to scuttling, it dances if the plant needs water and swipes at people passing by. Vincross CEO Tianqi Sun explains that the robot was developed in response to the death of sunflowers at an exhibition. Head over to The Outline to learn more and watch the robot move.
4. Lego’s Replica of James Bond’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5
Including both a working ejector seat and also hidden machine guns, Lego’s 1,290-piece 1964 Aston Martin DB5 contains many surprises. The real-life car—driven by Sean Connery’s James Bond in “Goldfinger”—has curves that Lego couldn’t quite match, but every detail inside hits the mark. It’s an exciting replica, and when it goes on sale in August (for $150), there will be guaranteed demand. Read more at io9.
5. Quadrillions of Tons of Diamonds Discovered by Sound Waves
Within Earth’s cratonic roots—thick “inverted mountain” sections of rock beneath most continental plates—quadrillions of tons of diamonds rest, well below where we’ve ever been able to excavate or drill. This is according to a new study, led by MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences and other universities, that employed sound wave technology to ascertain geological composition. Read more about the method undertaken—and the forging of diamonds—at PHYS.
6. The Last Blockbuster Video Store in America
From 9,000 stores in 2004 to just one last hold-out today, Blockbuster has suffered under the hands of digital rentals and modern consumer habits. Located in the central Oregon city of Bend, Sandi Harding’s Blockbuster isn’t just there for pictures—she’s actually renting out films. She insists that not so much has changed, saying “IBM computers are running the same floppy disks from the 1990s,” according to the Washington Post. The novelty factor has led to an uptick in traffic of late but most of Harding’s customers are loyal regulars. You can read more about the store, and the shrinking of the behemoth chain, at the Washington Post.
7. Designer Oscar Viñals Imagines the Future of Flight
A wildly ambitious visual and technical exploration, Barcelona-based designer Oscar Viñals (whose background is graphic design for competitive motor racing teams) has proposed a series of concept aircraft for the future. Perhaps surprisingly, his lack of formal education in aerospace engineering grants unfettered imagination. And beyond the triple-decker structures or blended wings that simply don’t exist yet, he’s also touched upon everything from portable nuclear fusion to zero carbon emission and artificial intelligence developments. All of the concepts have been built off of substantial research and hope to act as an inspiration for vehicles to come. See more at CNN.
8. Star Architect Renzo Piano’s TED Talk
“As an architect, at 10 o’clock in the morning, you need to be a poet, for sure,” star architect Renzo Piano explains during his 2018 TED Talk. “But at 11 you must become a humanist, otherwise you lose your direction,” he continues. And “at noon, you need to be a builder.” Piano magnificently delves into the ideas behind the art of housing people. He even goes so far as to offer that universal “beauty will save the world.” From his voice, and the mind behind it, it’s easy to believe it all. Watch the entire talk over at TED online.