Game

Seahawks, Broncos Gear up for Super ‘Green’ Bowl

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 30, 2014   View Article

Given the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado, this year’s Super Bowl featuring the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos has already earned a few chuckles as the “green” bowl. Pot jokes aside, the annual pigskin revelry has become progressively more environmentally friendly over the past 20 years, according to the National Football League.

“Every year we are trying to push harder to make this a greener event,” Jack Groh, who has directed the league’s environmental program since Super Bowl XXVIII in Atlanta, told NBC News. Whether Super Bowl XLVIII will be the most environmentally friendly yet is hard to say, he noted, but boasted that it will be “the greenest sports event that New York and New Jersey have ever hosted.”

Robotic boats have mind of their own on water

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 15, 2013   View Article

For all the anxiety and sleep deprivation they caused, the robotic boats plying a Virginia pond this past week might as well as have been carrying nuclear bombs instead of soft-foam projectiles to shoot through hula hoops in a bid for extra points.

“We’re talking Cuban missile crisis stress level,” Andrew Gray, an exhausted and slap-happy graduate student in the Machine Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Florida, told NBC News on Sunday after his team took top prize in the 2013 International Roboboat Competition at a pond at the Founder’s Inn & Spa in Virginia Beach, Va.

Seeking gamers: Document power plants, fight climate change

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 12, 2013   View Article

Sometimes, drinking a few beers after class can save the planet. A just-launched online “game” dreamed up during one such beer-drinking session aims to do that by encouraging people around the world to supply much needed data about the world’s power plants that burn fossil fuels.

While the general whereabouts of these plants is known, in much of the world details are fuzzy on the kind of fuel they burn and how much electricity they produce, explained Kevin Gurney, a senior sustainability scientist at Arizona State University.

Energy use plummets on Super Bowl Sunday, study finds

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 28, 2013   View Article

As millions of Americans huddle around TVs with friends and family this Sunday to watch the Super Bowl, they’ll neglect their laundry, skip vacuuming the carpet and abandon just about anything else that requires electricity, according to a new study. As a result, energy usage will plummet.

During the 2012 Super Bowl, which ranked as the most watched television broadcast in U.S. history with 111.3 million viewers, energy usage dropped 5 percent in the Western U.S. and 3.8 percent in the East, energy software company Opower reported.

Skip a stone on a mountain lake from your desk

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 11, 2012   View Article

Stuck in a cubicle but wish you were in the mountains skipping stones? So do I. And now we can, sort of, thanks to a promotional robot sitting on the side of a lake in Sun Valley, Idaho, waiting for you to play with it.

To do so, surf over to www.stoneskippingrobot.com and tell Skippy how hard and what angle to fling the stone. Skippy will do the rest. Just sit back and watch your stone skip across an idyllic mountain lake.

Golfers: How to sink more putts

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: June 13, 2011   View Article

Leave it to a golfing physicist armed with geometry to give all us duffers some simple advice that should make more of our putts fall.

The advice is this: instead of just lining up the putt at hand, take a little extra time and determine the target line for several equidistant putts a few steps to the left and right of the ball.

“What you’ll notice is that those target lines all sort of converge at the same place,” Robert Grober, a physicist at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., told me today. “It is as simple as that.”

To sink the putt, aim for this area.

Play a game and engineer real RNA

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 11, 2011   View Article

A new online game allows non-scientists to design molecules of RNA and then see how well the best of their virtual creations perform in a real-life lab.

The game, called EteRNA, breaks down a barrier that has long kept the virtual reality of video games separate from the real world and in the process may help scientists build ever more sophisticated RNA machines, according to the game’s creators.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach