Science & Technology

Pluto Flyby

Jul 10, 2015
NASA/New Horizons

It’s taken nine years for the NASA spaceship New Horizons to travel nearly 3 billion miles – to a far corner of our solar system, but later this month, it will fulfill its mission.  

On July 14th, just before 8 a.m. New Horizons will begin a fly-by of Pluto, the dwarf planet named for the Roman god of the underworld.  The space craft has traveled faster than any other launched from Earth, but after nine years, it won’t be able to stop for a visit.

Broadening Virginia's Broadband

Jul 8, 2015
Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Today, access to high speed Internet is considered as essential to modern life as electricity was, generations ago.  But most areas in rural Virginia still don’t have that level of access…and where there is high speed Internet, prices often remain high.  

“If you live in the country side it is very difficult to get it,” says Birdie Moye, Director of the Pearisburg Public Library. “Some days all our computers are booked up and a lot of them come in here to do resumes, looking for jobs, even do online schooling.”

Creative Commons

The latest trends, whatever they’re surrounding, can be anything from fun and fabulous…to awful and appalling.  And it turns out, there’s a reason behind what’s popular at any given moment -- just think of the phrase, “birds of a feather flock together.” A new study by the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute shows people really care what their peers think and take that information into account when making their own decisions. 

A Kinder, Gentler Shark Tank

Jun 23, 2015

Lots of people dream of starting their own businesses. But how many of those table  top discussions actually go on to the next phase?  Taking a cue from the popularity of the “Shark Tank” TV show, spin-off tanks are springing up.  Communities are  using them to help launch local businesses in Virginia. 

If TV’s Shark Tank is for the big fish, Floyd’s was more like a school of small fish.  Instead of venture capitalists looking to invest it was area economic development experts doing the judging.

Bioprinter at UVA Designed to Print Tissue and Organs

Jun 19, 2015
Sanjay Sunchak/University of Virginia

Organ donation saves millions of people each year, but the fact is that there aren’t enough organs to go around.  Now, scientists, engineers and students at the University of Virginia have begun using a machine that could someday make replacement parts for humans. 
 

The bioprinter is a small, table-top robot with a couple of tubes that contain human cells.  Guided by a computer that has analyzed images of a body part, the device lays down layer after layer of sticky material or gel and cells that are genetically programmed to work in certain ways. 

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