News for Nerds - The 'My Kingdom for a Horse' Edition

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  • Posted by: Dom Testa|
  • 2/8/2013 |
  • 10:00 am
News for Nerds - The 'My Kingdom for a Horse' Edition

Welcome back to News for Nerds. This week we check out a moth that can drive a car, a spider that sounds like a motorcycle, and a number so weird that only a mathematician could love it. But first, here are your headlines.

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It's not unusual to stumble across some interesting items in parking lots: keys, wallets, jewelry. I once found a $20 bill outside a Target. But apparently if you want to find the extra-cool lost items, you have to look under the actual parking lot.

That's what happened last September, when a team of archaeologists found what they believed to be the long-lost remains of England's King Richard III, buried beneath a city council parking lot. Sure enough, it was announced this week that those bones do indeed belong to King Richard, who is best known to history through his fictional Shakespearean doppleganger.

Despite being dead for more than 500 years, Richard has made quite a comeback. A 3-D reconstruction of his face has been generated using a scan of his skull. The bust is said to be incredibly true-to-life: 70 percent of the face's surface should have less than 2 millimeters of error, according to the 'professor of craniofacial identification' that created it.

Cue the video:

- story from The Sydney Morning Herald

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"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic man."

Move over, astronaut Steve Austin. Meet the world's first real bionic man: a six-and-a-half foot tall artificial human with synthetic blood, robotic limbs, and artificial organs. His name is Rex, and he's giving us an astonishing glimpse into the future of prosthetics.

Rex's organs and body parts -- including a pancreas, spleen, trachea, and kidneys -- were built at 18 different universities and companies before being assembled at the headquarters of London-based company Shadow Robot. He is capable of simple conversation via an artificial intelligence program, though experts say his intellect is no match for the IBM supercomputer Watson. Not yet, anyway.

Valued at about $1 million -- a bargain when you consider what the government paid for Steve Austin -- Rex will be on display at the London Science Museum through March 1. After that he'll make a brief stop at the Smithsonian in Washington, and then he will be permanently disassembled, his parts shipped back to the suppliers.

Something tells me, however, that when it comes to a new generation of bionic body parts, this is only the beginning

- from NBC News

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Here are a few other cool science stories that you might enjoy:

  • A mathematician from the University of Central Missouri has discovered the largest prime number known to man -- and it's 17,425,170 digits long.
  • A team of scientists in Tokyo found a way to let a moth drive a robot car. Don't laugh; there are actually some legitimate practical applications for this.
  • And finally, check out this spider that makes a noise like a motorcycle. There probably aren't any legitimate practical applications for this, but it sure is fun.

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That's all for now! I'll be back with more News for Nerds next week, but be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, and to sign up for the free e-Newsletter so that you can properly get your nerd on every single month! And please send any juicy News for Nerds tips to me right here!

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