• New Telescope Will Be World’s Largest

    The Hubble Space Telescope has produced some jaw-dropping images from space, such as the famous “Pillars of Creation” and the Horsehead nebula.

    But the Hubble will soon encounter some stiff telescoping competition from a ground-based telescope so large it has been dubbed “E-ELT,” aka the European Extremely Large Telescope.

    The telescope is being designed by the European Southern Observatory, which will begin construction on a desert mountain top in Chile as soon as Brazil’s parliament ratifies the ESO’s charter and becomes a member state.

    With a reflecting telescope that will measure more than 39 meters (127.95 feet) in diameter, the E-ELT will be the largest telescope ever made.

    According to Jochen Liske, an ESO astronomer, the E-ELT will probe for extra-solar planets with Earth-like masses and conduct direct imaging of larger planets. By analyzing light from distant galaxies, the E-ELT will help astronomers understand more about how stars are formed.

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  • Fitbit For Your Skin

    If you’re like me, you realize you’ve been in the sun too long only after your skin turns a pinker shade of medium-rare steak.

    But what if there was an app that could give us a head’s up before the sun’s ultraviolet radiation can do its damage? (Dramatic pause for effect). Of course there is.

    A Paris-based company called Netatmo has made a bracelet that measures sun intensity in real time. It relays that data to an app on your smartphone, which alerts you when you’re approaching your day’s limit. The app also gives sun exposure tips, tailored for your skin type and habits, and notifies you when you should apply sunscreen or put on a hat.

    Fred Potter, Netatmo’s CEO, said he first thought about making the bracelet, which is called June (after the calendar month with the longest days), after speaking with a woman who complained to him about sun spots. That conversation inspired him to market a skin-protection product for women in warm climates.


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  • Working At This Desk Burns Calories

    Is sitting at a desk for extended periods of time deadly? Several medical studies say “yes.”

    From obesity, heart disease and back problems, we face serious health risks by sitting for most of our work day. According to a longitudinal study by the American Cancer Society that tracked 123,000 Americans, men who sit for more than 6 hours a day face a 20 percent higher death rate than men who sit for 3 hours or less. The difference among women was worse: 40 percent.

    That study helps explain the appeal of height-adjustable desks: standing while working is productive and also burns calories. The only real downside is having to remove and put back all of your desk items -- monitors, keyboard, paper stacks -- whenever you want to raise your desk. But what if your desk could raise itself automatically without you having to go through any trouble?

    Check out the Stir Kinetic Desk, a desk I fell in love with at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. Not only does it sense

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