Rolling Helicopter Robot, Tornadoes and Jellyfish

We’re getting near to our 3,000th post here at Earthzine (this is about the 2,910th or so). And the Earth (along with the people and creatures on it) continues to astound. Like a robot that walks .. and flies, the record-breaking tornadoes of April, and a lesson on jellyfish diversity.  

Stairs Don’t Stop This Robot

Our friends at IEEE Spectrum featured this story of a little rolling robot that transforms into a helicopter. The creation, from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Distributed Robotics, is designed to traverse variable terrain for Earth observation efforts like detailed sensing. This is only a prototype; the next version promises to be more robust.
 

Speaking of Spinning

The Rachel Maddow Show featured this NOAA time lapse of the tornadoes of April, spinning across the United States. As noted by TreeHugger.com, April 2011 set a new record for the month with 875 tornadoes, beating a previous record of 267 tornadoes in 1974. That’s a huge difference, and some scientists say say it’s pretty easy to connect this to climate change. See also: “Will a Warmer World Be Stormier?” from the Earthzine archives. There’s no sound below, which makes this even more eerie.
 
 

The Plural of Jellyfish

  The word jellyfish can be both singular and plural.A group of them is called a smack of jellyfish. But how much do you know about these creatures? The popular BoingBoing blog links to this video from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Suffice it to say, “There’s no such thing as a jellyfish.” They just defy generalization. Try not to drool on your keyboard during this one.
 

  — Do you know of an Earth Observation video to highlight? Leave a suggestion in the comments and we’ll have a look. Or e-mail the author of this post at jkart@earthzine.org.  

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