Matt’s Favorites: LTU Event, Twerk In The Dictionary, Spy Satellite Launched, And More

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The biggest rocket in the U.S. inventory, the 235-foot-tall Delta 4 Heavy, takes off Wednesday with a big spy satellite on board. CBS photo.

The biggest rocket in the U.S. inventory, the 235-foot-tall Delta 4 Heavy, takes off Wednesday with a big spy satellite on board. CBS photo.

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What’s the latest and greatest from the fast-moving world of science and technology? Well, check out these dandies for a Thursday morning — the long holiday weekend is near!

* First of all, here’s the link to the Tech Report home page, the Tech Report Page 2, and today’s event listings. Good stuff at all those links, so I’ll give you a few minutes to go read them. I’ll just wait here until you get back. Okay. All done? Well then, let’s move on….

* Also, don’t forget that we start our new year of morning tech get-togethers at Lawrence Technological University on Thursday, Sept. 12. The opening event is “The Business of Energy,” with lots of information on how you can use high-tech lighting, heating, cooling, building controls, and solar and wind power to save tons of green by going green. More at http://www.cbsdetroit.com/techevents.

* Oxford University Press announced Wednesday the latest update to its free online dictionary of current English. Keeping up with Internet speech, colloquial words like “selfie,” “twerk,” “phablet,” “emoji,” “TL;DR” and “srsly” have been added to the Oxford Dictionary Online.

* A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 “Heavy,” the most powerful rocket in the U.S. inventory, thundered away from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Wednesday on a classified mission to boost a National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite into orbit. If I told you any more I’d have to remotely destroy your computer.

* According to several reports, Apple is set to launch the first-ever iPhone trade-in program, allowing iPhone owners to swap their old phones for a discount on a new phone at Apple retail stores. The tech giant gas not made an official announcement regarding the program or on the next iPhone release, but tech experts predict the latest model will be revealed Sept. 10.

* As the initial Aug. 31 deadline approaches, the Mars One program hatched by Dutch engineer Bas Lansdorp and  Arno Wielders of the European Space Agency (ESA) has more than 165,000 applicants. Mars One will be a one-way trip to colonize the Red Planet, hopefully by 2023 at a cost of $6 billion.

* Miniature human brains have been grown in a lab in a feat scientists hope will transform the understanding of neurological disorders. The pea-sized structures reached the same level of development as in a nine-week-old fetus, but are incapable of thought.

* Here’s a fascinating look at why we’re not doing more about climate change. It’s not just the oil-soaked propaganda. An understanding of what human beings fear — and what they do not — helps to explain why nations haven’t insisted on more significant emissions reductions.

* Sure, I’m going to ask the folks at ITC what they think of this: Facebook can lose a few users and remain a perfectly stable network, but where the national grid is concerned simple geography dictates that it is always just a few transmission lines from collapse. That is according to a mathematical study of spatial networks by physicists in Israel and the United States.

* The periodic table may soon gain a new element, physicists at Lund University in Sweden announced Tuesday. A team of Lund researchers is the second to successfully create atoms of element 115. Officials from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry will now review the experiment to determine if Element 115 deserves an official spot on the periodic table of elements.

* On Wednesday afternoon, NASA engineers crashed a helicopter — with more than 35,000 viewers watching live online. The planned crash took place at NASA’s Landing and Impact Research Facility and was intended to gather data to improve aircraft safety. Loaded with 13 test dummies, the former Marine helicopter was lifted about 30 feet into the air, swung like a pendulum and slammed into a dirt field, crashing at about 30 miles per hour. The speed was chosen to mimic a real-world, survivable impact, NASA said.

* It took 376 days, but NASA has cut the umbilical cord on Mars rover Curiosity. On Tuesday, the exploration vehicle completed its first self-guided mission. As it covered nearly 33 feet of terrain, Curiosity crossed a surface depression that Earth-based engineers had not been able to analyze ahead of time. The autonomously navigated segment of the trip was just a fraction of the full 141 feet covered on Tuesday.

* The whole point of Apple was always to think the unthinkable. So it’s always lovely when co-founder Steve Wozniak says what he’s thinking, in what always seems like an unfiltered way. In an interview with Reuters in Singapore, Woz confronted the issues facing Apple and mused that specific products might have to be created for certain parts of the world.

* Here’s yet another way 3D printing will revolutionize manufacturing: rocket parts.

* Name the errand and the Facebook campus likely has it covered — whether you need to see a doctor, apply for a home loan, or get a quick trim. CNET’s Sumi Das visits the social network’s HQ and speaks to the woman behind the lavish perks.

* And here is a righteous screed against Silicon Valley startup culture. At least here in the Rust Belt, most of our tech involves actually making stuff, not what they used to call vaporware.

* Twitter has acquired Trendrr, a social media analytics company that focuses on television and serves big brands like ABC, MTV, Telemundo, and Univision. Trendrr posted the announcement on its blog Wednesday, saying that it’s joining Twitter because of its emphasis on real-time data. The 5-year-old company, which helps media companies understand how people use social media while watching TV, said it will honor its existing contracts, but won’t be renewing them in the future.

* A Google Glass-wearing surgeon transmits video of major knee surgery to colleagues and students. It’s a first-of-its-kind moment in the United States and a big step for wearable tech.

* Dell is adding to the flourishing selection of Windows 8-compatible monitors with a new trio. The three touch-screen HD monitors feature multitouch capabilities and relatively affordable pricing. The new Dell Touch models are the 19.5-inch E2014T, the 23-inch P2314T, and the 27-inch P2714T.

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