SciTech Briefs

Northern bald ibis getaway discovered

The winter home of the northern bald ibis was discovered last week. The discovery is good news for bird charities because the bird is a critically endangered species.

The finding is the result of three birds being tagged and followed by satellite from their summer resting place in Syria to the mystery location: Ethiopia.

The ibis is the rarest bird in the Middle East. It is estimated that fewer than 1000 ibises currently exist in the region.

Source: BBC News

Water filter is no ‘short straw’

The Danish textile company Vestergaard Frandsen, which operates under the ethos of creative “imagineering,” has developed a $3 water purifier.

Called “Lifestraw,” this water purifier is a seven-inch “straw” with meshes, filters, and holes that can be worn around the neck. Although not a perfect filter, the Lifestraw cleans out 99.99 percent of the bacteria and parasites that contribute to digestive and stomach problems.

Lifestraws that can filter out small viruses (such as polio) and metals (such as arsenic) are in development. Around 6000 people in third-world countries die each day from waterborne diseases.

Source: The New York Times

Fox uses mobile phone broadcasts

When a single-engine plane crashed into the side of a Manhattan apartment complex on Wednesday, Fox News Channel cameraman Scott Wilder didn’t break the story with his camera — he used his phone.

It was a hand-hend Palm Treo smart phone, to be exact, that sent streaming images directly to the Fox News control room. While the video from the crash wasn’t outstanding, it represented the first time that a network featued video captured from a cell phone live on air.

The technology could be useful in tightly-packed cities like Manhattan, where transmitting live videos with a camera requires a satellite truck. In densely populated cities, such trucks are often cumbersome and late in arriving. Cell phone footage is not intended to replace the camera, but it might provide an alternative for reporters on the go.

Source: Scientific American

Scientists teleport light successfully

Eugene Polzik and his team at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen were able to teleport information stored in a beam of light into a collection of cesium atoms.

By shining two lasers in succession on a group of atoms with identical unidirectional spins, the group was able to transfer the quantum state of the second beam into the cesium cloud.

Teleportation, essentially, is the transfer of quantum states between separate atoms. And there are even realistic application possibilities for the development of teleportation. The results could be used in the development of superfast computers.

Source: BBC News