Technology

Two students launch a legonaut into space.
News Science Technology

Toronto Teens Send Legonaut Into (Near-) Space

Two teenagers in Toronto, Ont. have taken a giant leap – for themselves, and for one little Lego man.

The teens launched a Lego figure into near-space.

They hooked a helium weather balloon, a home-sewn nylon parachute and four cameras to the figure. And then they went out to a soccer field and let their contraption go.

The cameras were set to take pictures every 20 seconds.

When their figure came back to Earth, they looked at the pictures the cameras had taken.

They were shocked to see their little Lego figure, clutching his Canadian flag, with a picture of the curved horizon of the Earth in the background.

Lighter Technology

Google Offers Holiday Easter Eggs

If you type the words “let it snow” (without the quotation marks) into the search engine Google.com or Google.ca*, you probably won’t be surprised when Google gives you back a list of links to the classic Christmas song.

What might surprise you, however, is that it will also start snowing on your computer screen!

Eventually, so much “snow” will fall that your screen will fog up. But don’t worry, you can click on Google’s “defrost” button to clear it again. You can also use your mouse to “wipe” the screen clean.

Image of a padlock with cyber numbers on it
Lighter Technology

World’s Worst Password? “Password”

There are good passwords, and then there are passwords that are easy for hackers to crack.

But the worst password to use on the Internet is: “password.”

Many websites on the Internet require users to enter a password in order to use them. A password is a secret combination of letters, numbers and symbols.

“Hackers” are people who try to break into websites, in order to steal information or vandalize the site.

Hackers don’t guess at passwords. They use special computer programs that try tens of thousands of letter combinations very quickly to uncode a password.

When a person uses a simple password, the hacker can figure it out very quickly.

Canadian polymer $100 note; Image: With permission from the Bank of Canada
Science Technology

New $100 Canadian Bill Has A Window

The Bank of Canada introduced a new $100 bill recently – and it has a window in it.

It’s Canada’s first “polymer” (a type of flexible plastic) bill.

The new $100 bill features a picture of Sir Robert Borden, who was the Prime Minister from 1911 and 1920.

The back of the bill celebrates innovation in medical research, including the Canadian discovery of insulin, which is used to treat diabetes.

Touchpoint Pharmacy machine
Health Technology

Remote Community Gets High-Tech Pharmacy

Curve Lake is a First Nations community half an hour north of Peterborough.

People who live there no longer have to go all the way into the city when they run out of their medicine and need a prescription filled.

They can get their medicine from a machine, similar to a bank machine – except that what comes out isn’t money, it’s pills.

Curve Lake gets a lot of snow in the winter.

In bad weather, it can be difficult for the community’s residents to get to the nearest pharmacy if they run out of their medication.

Phobos-Grunt Russian space vehicle
News Science Technology

Phobos-Grunt Mission To Mars Misfires

In the 1970s, a space project called the Phobos-Grunt project was proposed by Russian space experts.

At the time, it represented a dream for the Russian space program. To build a vehicle that could go all the way to Mars, to collect information from one of its moons, Phobos. It would be Russia’s first deep-space mission, developed entirely in the post-Soviet era.

The project had lots of problems over the years. They include mismanagement, political issues and serious technical problems, according to Russian journalist Anatoly Zak.

However, the Russian space agency persisted, and eventually the Phobos-Grunt became a reality.

The Phobos-Grunt launched on Nov. 9.

Unfortunately, the unmanned vehicle would not make it to Mars.

Science Technology

Space Junk Re-Enters Earth’s Atmosphere

A bus-sized chunk of space trash fell out of the sky on Friday or Saturday, and NASA isn’t quite sure where it landed.

They say it likely landed in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of the United States. They are fairly certain that it didn’t cause any injuries.

The space junk was made up of fragments of a 6.3 tonne satellite that is no longer in use.

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) was sent into space in 1991 and hasn’t been used since 2005. Its job was to collect information about chemicals in the atmosphere.

As many as 26 pieces of the satellite weighing up to 135 kilograms likely survived re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Most fragments burned up before reaching earth.

Lightbulb
Science Technology

Faster Than The Speed Of Light

How fast does light travel? Scientists have known for a long time that light always travels at the same speed: 299,792,458 metres per second.

The speed of light is the fastest speed that all energy, matter and information in the universe can travel.

The speed of light is very important in science. Because it is always the same – it is a known constant – it defines many things, including the length of a metre.

Using the speed of light scientists calculate many things. The speed of light is part of Einstein’s famous theory of relativity, E=mc2.

That is why there was such a shock within the scientific community this week when it was announced that a group of scientists has been recording some particles going faster than the speed of light.

Lighter Technology

It’s DejaVu For Apple All Over Again

Last year, someone who worked at Apple, the company that makes computers and cell phones, made a big mistake.

They lost a top-secret prototype.

A prototype is a one-of-a-kind model they build of a new phone they’re thinking of manufacturing. It’s kept secret so no other company will find out what they’re doing and try to copy them.

The person who had the prototype accidentally left it in a bar. A journalist found it and put pictures of it on the Internet. It was a big scandal.

Well, it has apparently happened again.

Apple developed a prototype for the iPhone 5 they will be releasing soon. And once again, an employee has accidentally left it in a bar, according to technology website CNET.

Arts Entertainment Kids Technology

Pottermore Revealed… Sort Of

Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling has finally revealed some of what Pottermore.com will have on it.

But it will be a bit difficult to understand exactly what will be on the new website until it’s fully up and running and that won’t be until October for most people.

One million lucky Harry Potter fans will be able to test the Pottermore site in a sneak preview starting on July 31, Harry’s birthday.

In a YouTube announcement and during a media conference in London, England, Rowling revealed that Pottermore will:

•Include more information and “back story” on some of the Harry Potter characters including Professor McGonagall (her childhood, ministry career, early heartbreak and her long friendship with Dumbledore), and how Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon met (at work, apparently).

•Include more than 18,000 words about Harry Potter and the characters, written by Rowling.

•Include a Pottermore shop where you can buy Harry Potter ebooks (digital books).