Ever had to do a surprise bit of work on your car? Now imagine doing it in space. From Fox News:
Astronauts making a rare, hastily planned spacewalk replaced a pump outside the International Space Station on Saturday in hopes of plugging a serious ammonia leak.
The prospects of success grew as the minutes, then hours passed and no frozen flecks of ammonia appeared. Mission Control said it appeared as though the leak may have been plugged, although additional monitoring over the coming weeks will be needed before declaring a victory.
Can you think of anything more stressful than that?
Ever had trouble "focusing" while using a public restroom? Imagine this one, from Oddity Central:
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to say goodbye to privacy in the place where it mattered most – the restroom. A wacky cafe in Vienna has installed see-through toilet doors that only turn opaque if the users lock them.
For a lot of people, using the toilet in public places is uncomfortable enough, but the owners of Cafe Diglas, in Vienna, Austria, decided to make it even worse for them by replacing the regular bathroom doors with transparent glass ones that allow anyone who walks in to literally catch them with their pants down. Luckily, it’s not really as bad as it sounds. You see, these are smart toilet doors that turn opaque at the turn of a switch. All the user has to do is lock the door when they’re inside and watch the see-through glass become opaque as a light above them projects a no-entry sign onto it. It’s a really cool trick, but the viral YouTube video that shows them in action doesn’t come with an explanation of the magic that makes them switch in an instant.
Shouldn't this be illegal?
Well, not quite. From CNN:
The West Wing of the White House, including the press area, was briefly evacuated Saturday out of an abundance of caution as authorities investigated the source of smoke coming out of a mechanical closet, a Secret Service spokesman told CNN.
Five fire trucks responded to the White House, including a ladder truck, but all departed shortly thereafter.
Is this even worthy of being a news story?
If you were ever deeply concerned about the earth's temperature, never fear! We now have a more accurate measurement, according to Discovery.
Earth's internal engine is running about 1,000 degrees Celsius (about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than previously measured, providing a better explanation for how the planet generates a magnetic field, a new study has found.
A team of scientists has measured the melting point of iron at high precision in a laboratory, and then drew from that result to calculate the temperature at the boundary of Earth's inner and outer core — now estimated at 6,000 C (about 10,800 F). That's as hot as the surface of the sun.
Has this changed your life forever?
There is some bad news if you know someone with HIV, the LA Times reports:
In another major setback for efforts to develop an HIV vaccine, federal researchers have shut down a key clinical trial after an independent panel of safety experts determined that volunteers who got an experimental vaccine appeared to be slightly more likely to contract the human immunodeficiency virus than those who got a placebo.
Investigators involved in recruiting volunteers and running the trial at 21 sites across the country were ordered Tuesday morning to stop immunizing volunteers with the genetically engineered HVTN 505 vaccine and to inform the nearly 2,500 people who participated in the study whether they got the vaccine or the placebo. All of the volunteers were men or transgender people who have sex with men.
Is risking people's lives to save others from HIV worth it?
From The Atlantic:
On Thursday, President Obama released a list of all the gifts he accepted in 2011 on behalf of the United States. For each gift, the PDF names the donor country, a description of the gift, an estimate of its value and a reason why Obama accepted it (typically something having to do with not wanting to make a scene by rejecting the present, even if they were just boring old "Witcher 2" DVDs). Faced with all this government data, there was only one thing to do with it: plug everything into a spreadsheet and see which foreign leaders outspent each other to impress the most powerful man in the world. The heat map above ranks countries according to the total value of their 2011 gifts to Obama, with darker colors representing more generous states.
Judging by how often they appear on the list (16 times), former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni at first seemed to have an easy lead on everyone else. But in fact, France was only the third-most generous country to the United States by the value of its gifts ($42,144.86). Coming ahead of it was Brazil ($43,802.46), which seemed really fixated on giving Obama rare soccer jerseys. But the award for Most Lavish Foreign Dignitary goes to the president of Gabon.
Should governments of the world be spending such lavish amounts on gift-giving?
Only in the New York Times...
When Jada Shapiro decided to raise her daughter from birth without diapers, for the most part, not everyone was amused. Ms. Shapiro scattered little bowls around the house to catch her daughter’s offerings, and her sister insisted that she use a big, dark marker to mark the bowls so that they could never find their way back to the kitchen.
“My sister wasn’t a huge fan,” she said on Thursday.
But “elimination communication,” as the diaper-free method of child-rearing is called, is finding an audience in the hipper precincts of New York City.
Ms. Shapiro, who is a doula, a birth and child-rearing coach, says it is practically now a job qualification to at least be able to offer diaper-free training as an option to clients. Caribou Baby, an “eco-friendly maternity, baby and lifestyle store” on the border of artsy Greenpoint and Williamsburg, has been drawing capacity crowds to its diaper-free “Meetups,” where parents exchange tips like how to get a baby to urinate on the street between parked cars.
Parents are drawn to the method as a way of preserving the environment from the ravages of disposable diapers, as well as reducing the laundering of cloth diapers and preventing diaper rash. Many of them like the thought that they are rediscovering an ancient practice used in other cultures, though they tend to gloss over the fact that many of those cultures had never heard of Pampers. But mostly, they say, they like feeling more in touch with their babies’ most intimate functions.
This is insane, right?
Think your dentist is the worst? Think again. Reuters has the news.
Blood tests conducted on patients treated at an Oklahoma oral surgery practice that has been closed over health concerns show that 57 have hepatitis C, three have hepatitis B and as many as three have HIV, the virus than can lead to AIDS, officials said on Thursday.
Health officials said it will take more investigation - including interviews with each patient and blood tests of the remaining patients - before they can determine whether the viruses were contracted at the dental offices, an extremely rare occurrence.
So what should his punishment be?
America might be sending robots instead of humans into space, but at least we aren't Russia. From Yahoo! News:
An intrepid critter crew of geckos, mice and gerbils and other animals launched into orbit Friday (April 19) to begin a month-long Russian experiment to study how space travel affects living creatures. The space mission, scientists assure, will return the animals to Earth alive.
The new animal astronauts launched into orbit at 6 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT) atop a Russian-built Soyuz 2 rocket that lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, in Central Asia.
So who's winning the modern space race?