Students help NASA control robots from space

Publication:   Date: March 16, 2012   View Article

Astronauts on missions to Mars and other worlds will almost certainly bring along a few robot helpers. A team of industrial design students is helping NASA make sure those robots are easy to control from the comfort of a spaceship.

Astronauts aren’t lazy, they are “extremely busy,” Maria Bualat with the Intelligent Robotics Group at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, told me.

Pictures: 12 Ancient Landmarks on Verge of Vanishing

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 23, 2010   View Article

Damaged frescoes in the Church of St. Gregory of Tigran Honents tell a story of neglect in the medieval city of Ani, now part of Turkey.

Sitting in a militarized zone near the current Turkish-Armenian border, the city is one of 12 cultural sites on the verge of collapse, according to a report released this week by the San Francisco, California-based Global Heritage Fund.

Seven priceless treasures lost to war

Publication:   Date: October 11, 2010   View Article

During the fall of Baghdad in 2003, thousands of artifacts were taken from the Iraqi capital’s National Museum, whose holdings documented the rise of civilization in ancient Mesopotamia. Scholars called the losses a tragedy for all of humanity.

Since the looting, about 5,000 artifacts have been recovered and returned to Iraq, including the antiquities shown here that were seized by Syrian authorities after they were smuggled across the border. About 600 of the artifacts that had been returned went missing once more – and were found again just this month, misplaced among kitchen supplies at the Iraqi prime minister’s office.

Experts believe more than 15,000 artifacts remain at large.

Check out six more historical and archaeological treasures lost to wars and conflict, from the invasion of Iraq to a 17th century attack on the Parthenon. Some treasures have been restored or replicated; others are gone forever.

Headless Man’s Tomb Found Under Maya Torture Mural

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 12, 2010   View Article

The tomb of a headless man adorned with jade has been discovered beneath an ancient Mexican chamber famously painted with scenes of torture.

Found under the Temple of Murals at the Maya site of Bonampak, the man was either a captive warrior who was sacrificed—perhaps one of the victims in the mural—or a relative of the city’s ruler, scientists speculate.

Pictures: Best Micro-Photos of 2009 Announced

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 8, 2009   View Article

An image of the mustard plant’s male reproductive organ, enlarged 20 times under a microscope, took top honors in the 2009 Small World Photomicrography Competition, announced October 8.

Doing DaVinci: A timeline of da Vinci’s life and work

Publication: SwitchYard Media/Discovery Channel   Date: April 9, 2009   View Article

Leonardo da Vinci, the artist, scientist, inventor, engineer, and well, the intellectual and cultural genius who many scholars consider the archetypical Renaissance man, was born on April 15, 1452. Check out a timeline of his life and work.

Master Puppeteer Honored for Lifetime Achievement

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 10, 2003   View Article

Tamao Yoshida, a puppeteer designated as a living national treasure of Japan, recently agreed to appear in 136 bunraku performances in Osaka and Tokyo over the next year. He is 84.

“As you get older, I think it is important to keep active, to keep my body healthy,” he said through a translator.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach