Light Friday: Singing Astronaut Returns Home
Chris Hadfield
Chris Hadfield

Plus:
Installing the World Trade Center Spire
How to Spot a Liar
A.I. Works Hard So We Can Relax


The astronaut who made space cool for a new generation of Earthlings has returned home, but many are excited that his personal insight into space travel will inspire increased interest in STEM education and space travel.

On Monday, Canadian Space Agency Commander Chris Hadfield returned to Earth from his five months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on a Soyuz capsule that hit the earth “like a car crash,” he explained. Despite exercising two hours every day of his voyage, Hadfield’s muscles have atrophied to the point that he can barely stand up.

Commander Hadfield became something of a social media celebrity during his time orbiting Earth, with more than 1 million fans following his tweets about zero gravity phenomena, viewing his awe-inspiring photos of our planet, and watching his educational videos. Viewers on Earth even got to listen in as @Cmdr_Hadfield chatted with fellow Canadian space commander William Shatner.

Hadfield’s Internet popularity has many excited about space travel. The former test pilot and Canadian military veteran participated in a wide range of educational sessions with students via video link during his time on the ISS, generating excitement for space travel and fundamental STEM education. Hadfield realized that while rocket launches and space docking videos may be cool, the human element of his self-shot photos and whimsical clips are the stuff that make human beings dream of going to space.

“[M]aybe everyday wonders stacked on top of each other will never add up to a moon landing, but it’s enough to make some of the jaded dream again,” Gizmodo notes. “For that, we owe a big thanks to Chris Hadfield.”

Check out the following video of Hadfield covering David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” while floating in outer space:

Installing the World Trade Center Spire

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently released a new video showing construction workers installing the final two sections of One World Trade Center. Together, these sections form the 408-foot steel spire crowning the building, which stands a symbolic 1,776 feet high and is the tallest building in the Western hemisphere, as well as the third tallest in the world.

“Using a crane located high above street level, ironworkers lifted the final two pieces off a temporary work platform on the roof of One WTC and attached them to the previously installed 16 sections of spire,” the Port Authority explained. “During the installation, ironworkers set and tightened 60 bolts at an altitude of 1,701 feet in the air.”

Here’s an extraordinary look at the dizzying heights and sophisticated engineering involved:

How to Spot a Liar

Negotiations are a crucial part of business, but knowing when someone is being dishonest or omitting important information can be tough. Fortunately, researchers have recently pinpointed several key signs that reveal when a person is lying in a business deal.

Professors from Harvard Business School and the University of Wisconsin conducted an experiment to measure the “Pinocchio effect,” examining the linguistic differences between a flat-out lie versus deception by omission. The team had 104 participants play the ultimatum game, a popular tool among experimental economists, in which an allocator and a receiver must engage in complex negotiations to divide a sum of money. Ultimately, the receiver has to decide whether the proposed allocation is fair and honest based solely on a conversation with the allocator. Thus, the allocator must be either a fair person or a good liar to complete the game.

“As it turned out, 70 percent of the allocators were honest, telling the receivers the true amount of the endowment and/or offering them at least half of the pot,” Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge blog reports. “The remaining 30 percent of allocators were classified either as liars (meaning they flat-out lied about the amount of the endowment) or as deceivers by omission (meaning they evaded questions about the amount of the endowment, but ultimately offered the receiver less than half).”

After analyzing the linguistic content of the matchups, the researchers were able to determine various language cues that indicate deception in a deal. Among the findings:

  • Flat-out liars tend to use many words than truth-tellers, presumably in an attempt to win over suspicious receivers;
  • Allocators who engaged in deception by omission, however, used fewer words and shorter sentences than truth tellers;
  • On average, liars used more swear words than did truth tellers, particularly when recipients expressed suspicion;
  • Liars used many more third-person pronouns than truth tellers or omitters; and
  • Liars spoke in more complex sentences than omitters or truth tellers.

The next time you’re in a tricky negotiating situation, remember these signals—they could help you keep your counterpart honest.

A.I. Works Hard So We Can Relax

Although we have yet to develop a fully thinking machine, robots and artificial intelligence programs have already made life extraordinarily easier and more efficient. A new infographic from ClickSoftware illustrates just how big an impact automation technology has had on the modern world.

For example, there are 1.1 million robots working in the world today, 80 percent of auto production is completed by machines, and industrial robotics is responsible for supporting 3 to 5 million jobs worldwide.

infographic

Credit: ClickSoftware

Have a great weekend, folks.

 

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