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What is the Color of Music?

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What is the color of music?

Could the “water of life” exist on Mars?

A high-tech romance is in the air…

And shame on me! On today’s Daily Orbit!

“With every beat of my heart—doctors are getting a little closer to a new heart monitor!”  Okay, I thought we’d start Friday off with a little fun but in all seriousness professors have developed a heart monitor thinner than a dollar bill and no wider than a postage stamp.  It is flexible and skin-like and can be worn under an adhesive bandage on the wrist.  It is sensitive enough to help doctors detect stiff arteries and cardiovascular problems.  The fact that it is virtually noninvasive makes it ideal for newborns and high-risk patients who would be at risk of infection from current monitors that are inserted directly into the artery.  Doctors are now working to make it completely wireless, allowing for constant monitoring with data sent directly to your doctor’s cell phone!  Talk about a heart connection with you doc!

And when I started out singing that pop song from the 90s what color did you see? Just as music lifts our mood and helps us cope, it colors our world.  A new study from UC Berkeley found that our brains are wired to make music-color connections based upon how the melodies make us feel.  The study conducted in the US and Mexico found that people share a common emotional palette, linking the same pieces of classical orchestral music with the same colors. Participants tended to pair faster-paced music in a major key with lighter, more vivid, yellow colors, whereas slower-paced music in a minor key were more likely to be teamed up with darker, grayer, bluer colors.  Researchers say the findings might have implications for creative therapies, advertising, and more fun music stuff. (soundbyte)  I’m seeing purple- my favorite color.

There’s a new Hi-Tech “It-Couple” in town.  Google and NASA have joined a consortium of Universities to form a quantum computing artificial intelligence lab, using the most advanced commercially available quantum computer, the D-Wave Two.  The AI lab will focus on machine learning, which is how computers note patterns and information to improve their outputs.  Google believes quantum computing could improve web search and speech recognition technology and NASA will use it for a lot of stuff like simulating planetary atmospheres. The D-Wave will be installed at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley and will be able available to government, industrial, and university research later this year.

And maybe NASA can use the D-Wave Two to simulate the possibility that newly found billion-year-old water might indicate life on Mars.  Studying deep pockets of water under Ontario, Canada that have been isolated for billions of years, scientists found abundant chemicals known to support life.  The water was teaming with dissolved gasses like hydrogen, methane, and various isotopes of noble gases such as helium, neon, argon and xenon.  Scientists say that studying this water will give us insight into how microbes evolve in isolation, which is central to the question of the origin of life.  They say that IF there are microbes in the water sample, it will show that life can sustain regardless of how inhospitable surface conditions may be, and will have implications for how we look for life on Mars.

“It ain’t my fault!  Did I do that?”  Yes, it is our fault says a new study.  Surprise—scientists think human activity is causing climate change!  Wait, I am wrong but didn’t we already know that?  A team of scientists and citizen scientists from three countries poured over the abstracts of 12,000 scientific papers on climate change published between 1991 and 2011 and it was almost unanimous—well 97% being pretty close—that scientists believe human activity is the naughty culprit behind our changing environment.  I feel like we need to pin a scarlet letter on ourselves and walk around in shame.

Well that’s it for the Daily Orbit. (Pin a scarlet letter on) Have a great weekend!

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