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Apollo 17: A Stereo View from Lunar Orbit

Get out your red/blue glasses and check out this awesome stereo view of another world. The scene was recorded by Apollo 17 mission commander Eugene Cernan on December 11, 1972, one orbit before descending to land on the Moon. The stereo anaglyph was assembled from two photographs (AS17-147-22465, AS17-147-22466) captured from his vantage point on board the Lunar Module Challenger as he and Dr. Harrison Schmitt flew over Apollo 17’s landing site in the Taurus-Littrow Valley. The broad, sunlit face of the mountain dubbed South Massif rises near the center of the frame, above the dark floor of Taurus-Littrow to its left. Beyond the mountains, toward the lunar limb, lies the Moon’s Mare Serenitatis. Piloted by Ron Evans, the Command Module America is visible in orbit in the foreground against the South Massif’s peak. via NASA

Get to know our next spacecraft launching to the Red Planet this year: @NASAInSight lander! Join us live at 10pm ET as we dig deep into how the mission will study the Martian interior – the planet’s crust, mantle and core. Tune in:

This #WinterOlympics, our researchers are hoping for what a lot of athletes want in PyeongChang: precipitation & perfection. Get the details on how & why our scientists are measuring the quantity and type of snow falling at the 2018 Winter Games:

Martian moons Phobos and Deimos were observed by our Mars Odyssey orbiter on Feb. 18. The celestial bodies appear to be in motion but the fluctuation is due to progression of the camera’s movement during the 17-second observation. Take a look:

Our universe is expanding and @NASAHubble Telescope has just made the most precise measurements of the expansion rate. The intriguing results are forcing astronomers to consider that there may be new physics to help explain these findings. Discover why:

Books to Make You a Smarter Person books-to-make-you-a-smarter-person-guide-hero-cathy-mu

Everyone likes to feel smart — not just because it means they know things, but because it makes them a more interesting person.

One of the hallmarks of intelligence is having an insatiable curiosity about any number of subjects. In today’s entry in our Books to Make You a Better Human guide series, we’ll be sharing a handful of books to spark your curiosity, teach you a few new things, and generally expand your mind — perhaps in ways you don’t expect.

* * *

What If? by Randall Munroe.

What If? by Randall Munroe.

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions »

Randall Munroe, creator of the mega-popular xkcd webcomic, gets asked a lot of weird questions:

  • What would happen if the Earth and all terrestrial objects suddenly stopped spinning, but the atmosphere retained its velocity?
  • What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light?
  • What would it be like if you traveled back in time, starting in Times Square, New York, 1,000 years? 10,000 years? 100,000 years? 1,000,000 years? 1,000,000,000 years? What about forward in time 1,000,000 years?
  • What is the farthest one human being has ever been from every other living person? Were they lonely?

The questions themselves are amusing, but the real fun comes when he attempts to answer them seriously using hard scientific data and analysis. In What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, he collects together a bunch of these eminently readable pieces — many of which have never been published on the webcomic.

As one Amazon reviewer put it:

If you have even a passing interest in science and ever enjoy daydreaming about the fantastic or the ridiculous, this book is for you. If you don’t think that you enjoy those things, this book will prove to you that you do.

The things you pick up from this book will not only open your mind to information you didn’t even know you needed to learn, it’ll also make you more entertaining at parties.

Get the book in these formats:

The Origin of (almost) Everything by Graham Lawton and Jennifer Daniel of New Scientist.

The Origin of (almost) Everything by Graham Lawton and Jennifer Daniel of New Scientist.

The Origin of (almost) Everything »

Whereas What If? teaches you a variety of things through humor, New Scientist’s The Origin of (almost) Everything presents a similarly fascinating set of facts and difficult concepts in more of an “almanac-y” (but no less engaging) format:

Did you know, for instance, that if you were to get too close to a black hole it would suck you up like a noodle (it’s called spaghettification), why your keyboard is laid out in QWERTY (it’s not to make it easier to type) or why animals never evolved wheels? New Scientist does.

And now they and award-winning illustrator Jennifer Daniel want to take you on a colorful, whistle-stop journey from the start of our universe (through the history of stars, galaxies, meteorites, the Moon and dark energy) to our planet (through oceans and weather and oil) and life (through dinosaurs to emotions and sex) to civilization (from cities to alcohol and cooking), knowledge (from alphabets to alchemy) ending up with technology (computers to rocket science).

Helpful diagrams and infographics abound throughout this book. Its foreword was also written by Stephen Hawking, so if you have even a passing interest in science, you know you’re in for a treat.

Get the book in these formats:

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Thinking, Fast and Slow »

If you want to improve your intuition and reasoning abilities, it helps to understand how the mind itself works so you can bypass cognitive bias and stop jumping to irrational conclusions in your life. Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow breaks it all down at a technical level and teaches the importance of “slow thinking” for better decision-making:

[Kahneman] takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation―each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

Get the book in these formats:

The Information Diet by Clay A. Johnson.

The Information Diet by Clay A. Johnson.

The Information Diet »

Being smart isn’t just about knowing a lot of things; it’s also about filtering out the crud. The aim of Clay Johnson’s The Information Diet is to help people consume content better by being more selective about what information they allow into their lives. In preventing yourself from falling victim to “information glut”, you’ll increase your attention span, improve your literacy, and boost your critical thinking skills immeasurably.

Get the book in these formats:

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.

Why We Sleep »

One of the largest impacts on mental ability is the amount of sleep you get. Neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker has noticed some disturbing sleep deprivation trends over the past two decades, and wrote Why We Sleep to help people better understand why sleep is so important — not just for mental health and critical thinking, but in every aspect of our lives:

Walker answers important questions about sleep: how do caffeine and alcohol affect sleep? What really happens during REM sleep? Why do our sleep patterns change across a lifetime? How do common sleep aids affect us and can they do long-term damage? Charting cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and synthesizing decades of research and clinical practice, Walker explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood, and energy levels; regulate hormones; prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes; slow the effects of aging; increase longevity; enhance the education and lifespan of our children, and boost the efficiency, success, and productivity of our businesses.

Get the book in these formats:


Anchor 3.0 1*xHpaePCwq_zx8ZrOqh1jcA

Anchor 3.0 was launched today for iPhone and iPad. With this new update, Anchor is aiming to simplify the entire podcast experience. From recording, editing, and publishing, Achor 3.0  is aiming to make it easier for everyone with something to say.

With 3.0, they have overhauled their “call in” feature to allow for direct conversations with up to ten people. After the call, you can easily edit or rearrange the content. Our friends at Relay.FM also have a new show called Subnet that is hosted on Anchor.

Along with their app update, Anchor has released a new web dashboard to help you publish your podcast to Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, etc. If you want to learn more about the new update, check out the Anchor announcement.

You can download Anchor 3.0 on The App Store.

Buy Now


Apple’s Elk Grove Repair Facility Makes ~20 Accidental 911 Calls a Day Repair technicians who work at Apple’s repair facility in Elk Grove, California make frequent accidental 911 calls when testing Apple devices, Elk Grove police dispatcher Jamie Hudson told a local Sacramento news site.

The influx of calls started back in October of 2017, which coincides with the introduction of the Emergency SOS feature that was added to the iPhone with the launch of iOS 11.

"We’ve been seeing these calls for the last four months from Apple," said police dispatcher Jamie Hudson.

Dispatchers say the calls started back in October of 2017, and typically there’s no one on the other line.

To activate Emergency SOS, iPhone 8 and iPhone X simply owners need to press and hold on the Side button while also holding the two volume buttons at the same time, or rapidly press on the side button five times. Older iPhone users simply need to press the Sleep/Wake button five times in rapid succession to call emergency services.

An Emergency SOS feature is also available on the Apple Watch and is activated by pressing on the side button of the device. It’s not clear which devices are making the accidental calls, but placing a 911 call can be done with simple button presses on either device.

Elk Grove Police have received an average of 20 accidental 911 calls per day from Apple, adding up to about 1,600 calls since October. Police dispatcher Hudson says the calls take "valuable seconds" away from real 911 calls that could be life and death situations.

"The times when it’s greatly impacting us is when we have other emergencies happening and we may have a dispatcher on another 911 call that may have to put that call on hold to triage the incoming call," he said.

It’s not just the Elk Grove Police department that’s affected — the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Communication Center has also received 47 accidental 911 calls since January 1, and sometimes, dispatchers can hear technicians working in the background. There is a loud tone and a countdown that plays when Emergency SOS is activated with the auto call feature, but it may be that repair technicians are not able to hear it.

In a statement, an Apple spokesperson said the company is aware of the 911 calls coming from the repair facility and is working with law enforcement officials to put a stop to it.

"We’re aware of 911 calls originating from our Elk Grove repair and refurbishment facility. We take this seriously and we are working closely with local law enforcement to investigate the cause and ensure this doesn’t continue."

Emergency SOS is a feature that’s enabled on every iPhone and Apple Watch by default, and it can’t be disabled, so Apple may need to come up with a unique solution for its repair facilities.

While Emergency SOS can’t be turned off, there are settings that can be turned on to cut down on accidental calls. On Apple Watch, "Hold to Auto Call" can be disabled by opening up the Watch app, choosing the "General" section in "My Watch" and then selecting "Emergency SOS."

On iPhone, auto call can be disabled by opening up the Settings app, navigating to "Emergency SOS" and toggling off "Auto Call."

With Auto Call disabled on iPhone or Apple Watch, the same button presses will still activate emergency services, but you will need to use physical interaction in the form of a finger sliding across the screen to call 911 (or other emergency services numbers depending on your country).

Emergency SOS was recently credited with saving a woman and her 9-month old baby after she was hit by a drunk driver. The woman lost her phone in the collision, but was able to use the SOS feature on her Apple Watch to make an emergency call.

In addition to contacting 911, Emergency SOS serves another important purpose on the iPhone — it quietly and discreetly disables both Touch ID and Face ID, allowing iPhone users who are being threatened to lock down their phones and require passcode entry instead of biometrics.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

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LIVE NOW: Meet the artists that help create illustrations of distant worlds we aren’t yet able to visit. Watch and ask them questions on Facebook Live:

Employment Questionnaire and Two Signatures From Steve Jobs Going Up for Auction An auction site is set to sell off three pieces of Steve Jobs memorabilia, including a rare employment questionnaire filled out by the former Apple CEO.

Jobs filled out the application in 1973, just after dropping out of Reed College, where he attended school for approximately six months and then audited classes for another year and a half.

On the document, Jobs lists "english lit" as his major, and Reed College as his address. He lists "Computer" and "Calculator" as skills, along with "Design" and "Tech," and says that he has special abilities that include "Electronics" and digital "Tech or Design Engineer."

Auction site RR Auction expects the questionnaire to fetch upwards of $50,000 at auction.

Along with the questionnaire, the site also plans to auction off two documents that feature a rare Steve Jobs signature. The first is a Mac OS X technical manual that Jobs signed back in 2001, and there’s a short story that goes along with the signature, obtained in a parking lot following an Apple training session in Cupertino.

"It was afternoon, the end of my training day and I just got into my car when I saw Mr. Steve Jobs walking into his car. I rolled down my window and called up his name. He asked me whether he knew me. I told him I certainly knew who he was and immediately asked him if he would be kind enough to sign my Mac OS X Administration technical manual. He refused and said ‘I feel weird doing that.’ I refused to back down. After a bit of cajoling on my part, he finally told me to hand over the manual and pen. He said ‘give me those’ and he autographed my manual," in a letter of provenance from the consignor.

The signed manual is expected to go for approximately $25,000 when it’s placed up for auction, and it’s being compared to a signed magazine cover that sold for $50,000 back in October of 2017.

The third document is a newspaper clipping from 2008, which features an image of Steve Jobs speaking at the Worldwide Developers Conference where the iPhone 3G was introduced. Jobs signed the newspaper at the Fraiche Yogurt shop in Palo Alto, California where he was eating frozen yogurt with Tony Fadell, who also signed the document.

Steve politely declined several times, stating that everything at Apple was a group effort, so he didn’t like to sign and take credit for everything. My mom is pretty persuasive and was eventually able to convince Steve to sign; but under Steve’s condition that the person sitting with him would have to sign it as well. That friend turned out to be Tony Fadell, known as the Father of the iPod, who was working at Apple during that time and instrumental in the design and development of the first iPod which later morphed into the iPhone.

The signature on the newspaper is expected to fetch somewhere around $15,000 when it is auctioned off.

The three Steve Jobs auctions will kick off on March 8 and will end on March 15 at RR Auction.

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