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Matt’s Favorites: Michigan Connection To Lake Erie Study, Rocket Launch From Space, Summer iPhone, And Much More

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Residents of the International Space Station had a unique perspective when a Russian Soyuz rocket carrying three new space station crewmembers blasted off within eye shot of the orbiting outpost as it started its journey to the station. / CANADIAN SPACE AGENCY/CHRIS HADFIELD

Residents of the International Space Station had a unique perspective when a Russian Soyuz rocket carrying three new space station crewmembers blasted off within eye shot of the orbiting outpost as it started its journey to the station. / CANADIAN SPACE AGENCY/CHRIS HADFIELD

What else is new, exciting, fun, troubling and a bunch of other adjectives in the wonderful world of high tech? Here’s the latest fun…

* My bad. I missed the major Michigan connection to that research reported by CBS Monday as being from Stanford about bad times ahead for Lake Erie algal blooms. Eighteen University of Michigan co-authors from various departments and schools
contributed to the study, as did two from Michigan Technological University.

* Rocket launches aren’t just amazing sights for people on Earth. They wow astronauts in space, too. The latest example comes from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who captured a surprising view of a Russian Soyuz rocket launching to the International
Space Station blasted off on March 28. From Hadfield’s viewpoint on the space station, the Soyuz rocket appeared as a bright orange glow rising from the Earth’s surface. (Oh, and Hadfield, obviously a bit of a ham, is also happy to show you how you brush your teeth in microgravity, where you can’t just spit into a sink.)

* The last time Apple held a summer iPhone introduction, it was 2010′s iPhone 4. The company now may be returning to that calendar timetable as The Wall Street Journal has reported that “a possible summer launch” is in the cards for the next
version of its flagship device.

* The premiere of hit HBO series “Game of Thrones” garnered a total of 6.7 million viewers Sunday, breaking last year’s record number of viewers. But, in a more questionable achievement, the show also smashed records for online piracy.

* A climate change mystery that has been puzzling researchers for years is how it’s possible that Antarctic ice shelves are melting at rapid rates, but nearby sea ice is expanding. Logically, it just does not make sense. However, scientists now believe they have figured out the connection. Essentially, the just-barely-above-freezing meltwater from the ice sheet forms a layer of cold water atop the sea, which freezes, while the warmer seawater is trapped below the surface — since freshwater is more buoyant than saltwater.

* Charlie Rose, co-host of “CBS This Morning” and host of PBS’ “Charlie Rose” sat down for a candid conversation Tuesday morning and he was the one answering the questions, for a change. Rose took to link-sharing site Reddit to field questions from Reddit users on a range of subjects — from his favorite meal, to early career aspirations, to his “remarkable” dog Barclay.

* Mozilla has released Firefox 20.

* Famous NASA climate scientist James Hansen is quitting the space agency to devote himself to the fight against climate change. Hansen’s retirement concludes a 46-year career at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, but he plans to use his time to take up legal challenges to the federal and state governments over limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

* Speaking of Hansen, he worked on this: A new study shows nuclear power has prevented some 1.8 million air pollution-related deaths globally and could save millions of more lives in coming decades. Nuclear power is also far closer to zero-greenhouse than anything fossil.

* Here’s more news on Scotland’s first spacecraft. It’s tiny, but it’s got a lot of really cool science packed into it.

* And here’s some fun. A California sea lion named Ronan may represent the only non-human species that can keep a beat. Scientists at the University of California at Santa Cruz have found the first evidence that the sea lion can bob its head to the groove of a disco beat, without having to be able to sing along.

* Google’s new privacy policy is under legal attack from regulators in its largest European markets, who want the company to overhaul practices they say let it create a data goldmine at the expense of unwitting users. Led by the French, organizations in
Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Italy agreed Tuesday on the joint action, with the ultimate possibility of imposing fines or restrictions on operations across the entire 27-country European Union.

* NASA has received a relatively paltry $75 million to start working on a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa, an icy body where tidal forces may have created a vast underground ocean of warm water… which might be a great spot for life to emerge. (Or
maybe not, lots of radiation, too.)

* Dan Porter is leaving Zynga a year after the online game maker bought his company, OMGPop, for $183 million. Zynga Inc. said Tuesday that Porter has left Zynga’s New York office. Sean Kelly has been named as the studio’s head.

* Here’s a beefy keyboard solution for the iPad.

* President Obama unveils a $100 million brain research project.

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