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4 Coolest Things About NASA’s New Discovery

Posted by cirvine on February 22, 2017

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It is seriously one of the coolest times to be alive. Today, NASA’s Spitzer Telescope revealed a monumental, ground-breaking discovery: the existence of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting around a single star.

Orbiting around an “ultra-cool dwarf star” that is smaller than Jupiter, these exoplanets exist in what’s commonly called the “Goldilocks zone”. That is, they exist in a fairly unique bit of space that’s not too cold, not too hot, but just right to be potentially habitable and most likely to have liquid water (aka Earth-like). Three out of the seven planets have the highest potential for liquid water, and the other four might too, depending on their atmospheric conditions.

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So this system of exoplanets (and by that I just mean any planets that don’t exist in our solar system), is called TRAPPIST-1, named after The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope in Chile. In May 2016, TRAPPIST announced they had discovered three planets in the system. Then, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope confirmed the existence of two of them and actually found five additional ones which were published today.

As if this entire discovery wasn’t cool enough, there are some pretty neat things to mention about these particular exoplanets.

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They are all REALLY close together. If a person was on one planet, they could potentially see geological features or clouds of neighbouring worlds, which would sometimes be larger than our moon. Can you imagine looking up and seeing the clouds of Venus and then nearby, the rings of Saturn? How cool!

1_main_pia21423-png.pngCredits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Half day, half night worlds. These planets are all tidally locked to their star, which means that the same side of the planet is always facing the star. Therefore, each side is either in perpetual day or perpetual night. The ramifications of that kind of boldly contrasting environment are mind-blowing.  I wonder what kinds of creatures would live in the dark half, and which live in the light? Star Wars fans would have a field day there.

It’s Pretty Close To Us. If you were travelling at light speed (670 million miles per hour), it’s a mere 39 years from Earth. That sounds pretty far, but it’s actually relatively close to us in space-terms.  Hop, skip and a jump really!

The Art. I just love how when these events happen, NASA provides really cool art and tools that  really get across the impact and emotional response of these findings. I've included a lot of them in this post, but the retro-looking one below (of which there are many more you can print out and hang on your wall), is probably my favourite!

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If you want to take your space exploration to the next level but don’t see yourself becoming an astronaut any time soon, check out this free desktop app from NASA. Using the “Eyes on Exoplanets” program, you can zoom to the outer reaches of our universe and explore new worlds, including TRAPPIST-1. 

Until the next mind-blowing space discovery, happy exploring and keep looking up at those stars!

 

Sources:
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/6270-ssc2017-01b-Abstract-Concept-of-TRAPPIST-1-System
https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-telescope-reveals-largest-batch-of-earth-size-habitable-zone-planets-around
https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/trappist1/

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Candice Irvine, Blogger, Marketing Specialist, Graphic Designer


I'm addicted to games of all kinds: boardgames, video games, card games, mind games... nah, just kidding about that last one. Or am I?


Live Streaming of Kittens is the Cutest Reality TV Show

Posted by cchalkley on February 16, 2017

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Reality television shows can be quite the guilty pleasure for a lot of people. Now here is the cutest reality show that you can stick your little peepers on today. Keeping Up with the Kattarshians follows 4 kittens living in a small dollhouse. This kitty cam created in Reykjavik, Iceland not only has the best title ever, but the doll house set up almost makes it look like the Big Brother set.

This kitty cam is produced by a local news site called Nútíminn along with The Icelandic Cat Protection Society. The goal of this project is to create awareness about stray cats and to get them adopted. These kittens are 9 weeks old and named Guðni, Stubbur, Briet and Ronja. 3 cameras are set up to watch these kitten play, jump and even sleep in their cat-sized bunk beds.

If you don’t have the time to binge watch these 3 live stream channels, you can catch the highlights on the Keeping Up with the Kattarshians Facebook page.

Now if you’re crazy for animal cams and want to watch different kinds of animals, you can check out Animal Planet’s Live  or the Explore.org website. These websites feature many different live streams, such as pandas, sharks, penguins, an African watering hole, chicks and bunnies! You can even watch a family of cockroaches! EW!

via GIPHY

Here’s a live stream of Magellanic penguins that live at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California.

So now that I have you hooked on watching Keeping Up with the Kattarshians, good luck on being productive I think this is a totally purrfect and pawesome way to be spending your time. Your kids will probably love it too… I know what I’ll be showing my daughter tonight! 

Reference:
http://mashable.com/2017/02/16/kattarshians-kardashians-kittens-big-brother-live/#i3OOMm06SkqM

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Christine Chalkley, Marketing Coordinator


I love things that make me laugh including sitcoms, sketch comedy and anything my kid does. When it comes to parenting I take Amy Poehler’s advice: “Always remember where you put your kid. Don’t let your kid drive until their feet can reach the pedals. Use the right size diapers... for yourself. And, when in doubt, make funny faces.”


Best, Worst, and Weirdest Grammy 2017 Moments

Posted by cirvine on February 13, 2017

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Didn’t have a chance to watch the biggest night in music? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. From the red carpet shenanigans, to the hosting, to the performances, the 2017 Grammy Awards were nothing if not good, bad, and weird. So with that in mind, let’s break it down!

Best of the Night

Beyoncé

Beyoncé. That’s pretty much all you need to say now after any event she performs at, because that single word is synonymous with a unique, near-perfect, heart-bursting performance.  This year was no exception, because despite having not one, but two babies in her belly, she gave us a golden, glittery showcase of “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles”, two of the more vulnerable songs from her hit album, Lemonade. It was the perfect follow up to a recent Instagram post where she revealed her and Jay-Z’s pregnancy.

The whole performance was goddess-inspired—a symbolic representation of divine motherhood. And like any deity, she literally defied gravity (and almost gave me a heart attack), as she tipped all the way back to a horizontal position on a wooden chair.  I can’t say enough about this performance—her vocals were spot on, her wardrobe was godly, her dancers were ethereal, and she even included her mom and daughter in the performance, noting three generations of womanly awesomeness. Her amazingness doesn’t stop there though. We’ll get back to Queen Bae before this post is out.

Katy Perry

I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of Kitty Kat, but last night’s performance was one of the best of the night. She didn’t knock it out of the park on the vocals, but the artistic set design and well thought-out message behind the performance was quite unique. She danced around a rotating square stage lined by a picket fence that changed from white to mirror-faced. Her dancers moved her and the set around so that it played tricks with your eyes, and the effect was mesmerizing. In the end, the set “exploded” into a million shapes, and the Declaration of Independence was cast on the leftovers of the picket fence. Pretty cool way to get your point across, Katy! Also, this song is REALLY growing on me.   

Bruno Mars and the Prince Tribute

Although Bruno isn’t quite at Beyoncé’s showmanship level yet, you can be sure that when you hear he’s performing, it’s going to be incredible. His second performance of the night was a tribute to Prince, who died in April of last year. The songs delivered by Bruno Mars and The Time were a perfect representation of Prince’s funky style, funky sass, and funky… FUNK! It’s hard not to dance to this performance. I think the best and most surprising part (for me at least), was when Bruno Mars lit up that white guitar with a face-melting solo! Um, am I the only one that didn’t realize that Bruno Mars could WAIL on the electric guitar?  This guy has too much talent for one man.

Chance the Rapper

If you want to see a strong, high-energy, performance with ultra-poignant lyrics and some insane backup vocalists, look no further. Not only did Chance and gospel singer Kirk Franklin put on an incredible show, but Chance’s music will go down in history as the first streaming-only releases considered for Grammy awards. Kudos to you, Chance!

And now we come to The Worst of the Night…

grammyshow1302v3.jpgPhoto courtesy of: http://www.standard.co.uk

Carpool Karaoke Crashed

I get the feeling that James Corden was trying to do his own version of Ellen’s hugely popular Oscar tweet as he grabbed a bunch of celebrities and put them in a cut-out version of his Carpool Karaoke van. But the only thing people are saying about this little stunt was how awkward it was that no one knew the words to Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline! If there was a script, it went like this:

James Corden: Take it away, Faith Hill!

Faith Hill: (silence, awkward smiling)

James Corden: Alright never mind, take it away, John Legend!

John Legend: (silence, awkward smiling)

James Corden: (Internally) You guys are the worst.

Seriously, though. How does everybody not know the lyrics to this song??? I bet James Corden is asking himself the same question today.

Technical Flubs

Speaking of James Corden, his opening gag of technical flubs (his riser stopped rising mid-way, he fell down the stairs, etc.) seemed to be a premonition of an awkward night of this stuff happening for realsies.  Metallica and Lady Gaga (aka Metalligaga) had it the worst, as lead singer James Hedfield’s mic was broken, leaving him singing silently to the crowd before joining up with Gaga on her mic. Thank goodness she wasn’t using a headset or he might have been in real trouble. Then, Adele experienced difficulties in her tribute to George Michael, and eventually had to restart the song.  I’m not sure if that was a technical flub or a singer not grabbing the right first note, but either way, it led to an unprecedented restart of a performance, as well as an awkward F-bomb on live TV. Sheesh…

Adele

While we’re on Adele, I just have to express my disappointment with her performances. The tribute to George Michael was an obvious disaster, but she ended up redeeming herself to a point. That being said, it was coupled with an underwhelming performance of “Hello” to open the show, which is a song we’ve heard a million times by now. Why not spice it up a bit or show us something different? She was also fairly pitchy and after last year’s lackluster Grammy performance (where she also experienced technical difficulties), you would think she would want to truly knock it out of the park this time. All I’m saying is, maybe a bit more rehearsal was needed? She is not like other pop stars who can rely on dancing or set design to get by. She is known for her amazing voice. But if she can’t deliver on that… I know she can though, so hopefully she redeems herself in future award shows or performances.

Beyoncé NOT Winning

And ANOTHER THING! Uh oh, this rant is continuing. I really do love Adele, I swear! But I think everyone pretty much agrees that Beyoncé should have won for the album of the year with Lemonade. I think even Adele knew it, as she gushed over Queen Bae through a large portion of her acceptance speech and even brought B. to tears. She pretty much Kanye Wested herself. “Imma let you finish Adele but… !”

And Now the Weirdest Stuff of the Night…

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Cee Lo Gold?

The weirdest things are always the outfits, and the person who won the Weirdest Outfit award this year was… Cee Lo Green of all people. Cee Lo, you’re doing gold wrong. You might want to hit up Beyoncé for tips on that.


Took Too Many Pills in Ibiza

Mike Posner, the singer behind “Took a Pill in Ibiza”, won the bizarre interview award as he decided not to reply to his interviewers, but rather speak through his collaborator, known as “Blackbear”. The fact that they were both sporting Jokeresque neon-green hair was the least weird thing about them. Check out the below video and try not to squirm with awkwardness too much.

Twenty_One_pilos.jpgPhoto courtesy of: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARASSource:Getty Images

Twenty One in Undies

This was weird, but kind of cute (ish?) when you hear the story behind it. So Twenty One Pilots won for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and promptly took their pants off and accepted their award in their underwear. Yes, their underwear - the reasoning behind it? They told the audience that they used to watch the Grammys in their underwear at home, and they promised each other that if they ever won, they would accept the award just the same way. I can only imagine the head shaking their parents are doing.

These weird moments might be the reason Rihanna brought a flask to the show.

 

There you have it folks: another year of Grammy Awards for the books. We hope you enjoyed this run-down of the best, worst and weirdest moments of the night. See you next year!

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Candice Irvine, Blogger, Marketing Specialist, Graphic Designer


I'm addicted to games of all kinds: boardgames, video games, card games, mind games... nah, just kidding about that last one. Or am I?


Pizza ATM’s are the Future of Pizza

Posted by cchalkley on February 9, 2017

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February 9th is National Pizza Day. Are you as excited about this as I am? So what better way to honour this wonderful day then to talk about the future of pizza. Paline’s Pizza ATM could be coming to a university campus near you. Yes, you read that right— an ATM that instead of dispensing cash, dispenses pizza, 24/7. This is just want a student needs, access to hot pizza at any time, day or night. This kind of pizza would have been a hot commodity while I was going to school. Back when I was a student I probably would be ordering this pizza maybe once, twice or quite possibly everyday of the week. *blush*.Please don’t judge me; pizza is just delicious, ok?

Here’s how it works: a pizzeria would prepare and pre-cook the base of the pizza. The pizzas are put in boxes and up to 70 pizzas can be stored at a time in the Pizza ATM. When someone purchases a pizza from the ATM the pizza would cook in the convention oven for 3 minutes. Once the pizza is cooked it will come out of the dispenser ready to eat. Quick and easy! The computer also manages the best before dates and once a pizza has met the best before date it cannot be distributed. Customers can also purchase uncooked pizza and take it home to cook themselves.

Pizza ATM Diagram

Paline’s Pizza ATM currently has about 300 locations available in Europe. Xavier University in Cininnati, Ohio was the first location in North America to have the Pizza ATM installed. With interest from other schools from North America, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Canada gets their first location.

Pizza ATM

So on this special day of national pizza affection, go grab yourself a slice, or even a whole pizza – I won’t judge!  Mmm,  I’m pretty hungry now--so does someone want to go get me a pizza?

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Christine Chalkley, Marketing Coordinator


I love things that make me laugh including sitcoms, sketch comedy and anything my kid does. When it comes to parenting I take Amy Poehler’s advice: “Always remember where you put your kid. Don’t let your kid drive until their feet can reach the pedals. Use the right size diapers... for yourself. And, when in doubt, make funny faces.”


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Apparently some people played football at Superbowl LI this weekend but I was too busy being set on fire by Lady Gaga’s halftime performance to notice. Not only did she actually sing the entire set (no lip-synching for her), and entirely on her own (no guest performances either), but she also propelled down from the ceiling, danced almost non-stop for 13 minutes, and jumped off a ladder in heels while catching a football. I feel tired just writing that.

One of the best parts of the performance wasn’t achieved by Gaga at all, but by science! And by that, I mean the 300 drones that floated behind her at the start of her set while she sang God Bless America. Though only there for a couple minutes, those little robots performed their own perfect show in the sky: first sparkling like stars, then like the Pepsi symbol, then like the American flag.

 

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So who’s behind this technology? Well, that would be Intel, and it’s called their Shooting Star drone squad. They recently finished a three-week run at Disney World and last year they flew 500 synchronized drones over Sydney, setting a new world record for most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne at the same time.

Take a look at Intel’s video showing off their 500 Drone light show below:

Pretty incredible right? I want to go to a drone show ASAP. I love how they can float like fairies at one moment, and then in another sync up to create a flawless design like the Intel logo.

As Wired’s recent post details, each drone is about a footlong square, weighs just over eight ounces, and has a foam body to soften any inadvertent blows. Their LEDs have a potential four billion colour combinations and “dance” according to the coding from a central computer that each drone communicates with. Before the show, this computer checks each drone’s battery level and GPS signal strength and assigns it a role accordingly. If any of them fail, there are backups ready to fly into place. You can see how this kind of technology could be limitless, and I wouldn’t be surprised if instead of fireworks on our national holidays, we start seeing drone-works.

That being said, there are laws concerning drones, including where and how high you can fly them. That’s why the drone display you saw yesterday was actually filmed a week ago, so as not to harm any potential fans below.

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When you realize the planning and combined efforts that must have gone into that first couple of minutes of this performance, you realize how huge the Superbowl halftime show has become. I can only imagine where it will go in the future.

Not to mention where this drone technology will go. Intel envisions them being used for search and rescue missions or commercial applications like inspecting hazardous construction sites.  Personally, I see their creative potential, and can envision spectacles of art and “sky graffiti” lighting up the night. I just hope they don’t fall on anyone’s head.

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Check out Lady Gaga’s full halftime show here.

 

Sources: https://www.wired.com/2017/02/lady-gaga-halftime-show-drones/

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Candice Irvine, Blogger, Marketing Specialist, Graphic Designer


I'm addicted to games of all kinds: boardgames, video games, card games, mind games... nah, just kidding about that last one. Or am I?