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August will be graced with two full moons

Full moon usually occurs only once in a month, but the month of August will brings us two full moons.

The first will be seen on Wednesday (Aug.1), and will be followed by a second on Aug. 31, LiveScience reported.  Some almanacs and calendars assert that when two full moons occur within a calendar month, the second full moon is called a “blue moon.” The full moon that night will likely look no different than any other full moon. But the moon can change colour in certain conditions.

After forest fires or volcanic eruptions, the moon can appear to take on a bluish or even lavender hue.  Soot and ash particles, deposited high in the Earth’s atmosphere, can sometimes make the moon appear bluish.

Smoke from widespread forest fire activity in western Canada created a blue moon across eastern North America in late September 1950. In the aftermath of the massive eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in June 1991 there were reports of blue moons (and even blue suns) worldwide. The phrase “once in a blue moon” was first noted in 1824 and refers to occurrences that are uncommon, though not truly rare. Yet, to have two full moons in the same month is not as uncommon as one might think.  In fact, it occurs, on average, about every 2.66 years.  And in the year 1999, it occurred twice in a span of just three months.

 It was not until that “double blue moon year” of 1999 that the origin of the calendrical term “blue moon” was at long last discovered.  It was during the time frame from 1932 through 1957 that the Maine Farmers’ Almanac suggested that if one of the four seasons (winter, spring, summer or fall) contained four full moons instead of the usual three, that the third full moon should be called a blue moon.
 The next time we will see two full moons in a single month comes in July 2015 (July 1 and 31).

Blackcurrant can beat heart disease

The humble blackcurrant could be the key to beating heart disease, a new study has revealed.
The berry is full of potent antioxidants, which have been proven to help slash the risk of heart attacks, stroke and heart failure.
 Professor Michael Aviram led the research at the Rambam Medical Centre in Haifa, Israel, which discovered that the fruit could help cut levels of harmful fat in blood.
“To find such a high level of antioxidants packed into this super little berry is an exciting and significant breakthrough in heart health,” the Daily Express quoted him as saying.
The study was published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Food and Function.

Smartphone-driven car comes closer to reality

 If the vision of Griffith University robotics researcher Dr Jun Jo comes to fruition, one day your phone will drive your car.
Jo is about a year from completing the first self-driving car using a smartphone.
While car manufacturers like Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda and Volvo have built expensive prototype “robotic” cars and Google has already created an autonomous car that uses its navigation software, Dr Jo’s system will not only be cheap it will also be transportable to other cars.  “Ours is a vision-based system which is very economical,” News.com.au quoted Dr Jo as saying.

“When you get into a car, you will place your smartphone on the dashboard, facing the camera lens to the front.
“You can tell the smartphone where to go and make it automatically pay for the usage of the car when you get off,” he said.
 The system will use technologies that already exist in a variety of cars as the Ford Focus.
They include lane detection systems and laser detection and ranging sensor that will detect still or moving objects around the car.
“We will make the control system safe and stable, using both a PC and a smartphone,” Dr Jo said.

“Smartphones these days come with quad-core processors, which operate fast enough for vision analysis and car control. A PC runs the same program as well as the smarphone for safety backup, just in case the smartphone malfunctions,” Dr Jo said.

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