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Top Stories for the Week of October 2, 2019

  • Episode 627
  • October 2, 2019

Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday October 2, 2019


Chinese police have arrested a fugitive who'd been on the run for 17 years, after they used drones to spot his cave hideout.

Chinese police have arrested a fugitive who'd been on the run for 17 years, after they used drones to spot his cave hideout.

The 63-year old had been jailed for human trafficking, but escaped from a prison camp in 2002. He had been living in a tiny cave cut off from human interaction for a number of years.

Yongshan police received clues about the man's whereabouts in early September. Those clues led them to the mountains behind his hometown in Yunnan province in south-west China.

After regular searches failed to find anything, authorities sent additional drones to help the officers.

The drones eventually spotted a blue-coloured steel tile on a steep cliff as well as traces of household garbage nearby.

Police then moved in on foot and found Song in a small cave where he'd been hiding.

According to the police, the man had been living in seclusion for so long that it was difficult for him to communicate with the officers.

State media said the man had used plastic bottles to get drinking water from a river, and branches of trees to make fire.

He has been sent back to jail.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


The World's Most Freakishly Advanced Robot Dog Is Now For Sale.

The World's Most Freakishly Advanced Robot Dog Is Now For Sale.

We've watched the Spot robot quadruped grow up and evolve, from its earliest days as a larger, more cumbersome beast to a carefully refined machine capable of pulling trucks. Now maker Boston Dynamics is putting the robo-dog on sale.

The idea is not to provide a friendly pet that curls up in front of the fire each evening, though. Spot is designed for industrial use, whether that's carrying goods through a warehouse or inspecting a remote site that human operators would find it difficult to get to.

With that in mind, you can't just put down your cash and walk away with a Spot. Instead, Boston Dynamics will lease the Spot bot to companies with genuine uses for it: prices vary and are on request, but think in the tens of thousands of US dollars.

A nimble robot that climbs stairs and traverses rough terrain with unprecedented ease, yet is small enough to use indoors," is the description on the Boston Dynamics sales page.

"Built to be a rugged and customisable platform, Spot autonomously accomplishes your industrial sensing and remote operation needs."

For your money you get a robot that can operate for 90 minutes between charges, with a maximum speed of 1.6 metres-per-second (about 3.5 miles-per-hour). It can work in temperatures of between -20°C (-4°F) and 45°C (113°F), and has 360-degree camera vision that enables it to avoid obstacles.

Spot can operate in the rain, too, and is able to carry payloads of up to 14 kilograms (that's nearly 31 pounds). Buyers can add bespoke sensors and hardware modules to Spot to adapt it for a variety of tasks.

Source: www.sciencealert.com

Sent to us by: Bekah Ferguson


American entrepreneur Elon Musk has given an update on his Starship and Super Heavy rocket system.

American entrepreneur Elon Musk has given an update on his Starship and Super Heavy rocket system.

He plans to use the new vehicles to send people to the Moon and Mars, and also to move them swiftly around the Earth.

The SpaceX CEO is in the process of building prototypes and plans to start flying them in the coming months.

The Mk1 version of his Starship would begin high-altitude tests in the next one to two months, he said.

The entrepreneur told an audience gathered at the company's Boca Chica, Texas, facility where the prototype has been assembled, "This is the most inspiring thing I've ever seen. This thing is going to take off, fly to 65,000ft, about 20km, and come back and land. So that giant thing, it's really going be pretty epic to see that thing take off and come back."

The 50m-tall Starship will eventually fly atop its booster, the Super Heavy, and both parts of the new rocket system, which together will stand 118m tall on the launch pad, are being designed to be fully reusable, making propulsive landings at the end of their mission.

Mr Musk, who is well known for his aggressive scheduling said, "This is going to sound totally nuts, but I think we wanna try to reach orbit in less than six months. Provided the rate of design improvement and manufacturing improvement continues to be exponential, I think that is accurate to within a few months."

While the scheduling often slips, eventually he does tend to deliver.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


An injured tortoise who lost its shell in a fire has become the world's first recipient of a 3D-printed shell.

An injured tortoise who lost its shell in a fire has become the world's first recipient of a 3D-printed shell.

When it comes to animals who are vulnerable in a forest fire, tortoises probably aren’t the first to come to mind. However, they've been among the many victims of a fire in Brazil.

One of the turtles who was injured in the brush fires was in desperate need of medical attention. They call him "Freddy." He was badly burned, and his shell was actually destroyed from the fire. Turtles depend on their shells, so Freddy not having his was a big problem.

A group of veterinarians, a dental surgeon and a designer had only recently formed a group called the “Animal Avengers” that help animals who have been struck by tragedy. Freddy was their first patient, and has been saved through the innovative use of technology.

Freddy now lives at the home of one of the veterinarians who helped with the prosthetic.

Source: www.buzznick.com

Sent to us by: Bekah Ferguson


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