‘Featured Science Fact’ Category

USS Enterprise To Be Decommissioned In February 2017

USS Enterprise To Be Decommissioned The first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the world, the USS Enterprise, will be decommissioned. The retirement of the Enterprise represents the end of an era; the ship has played a part in major historical events including the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 and the recent US conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the past several years, the USS Enterprise has been at Newport News Shipbuilding being defueled and dismantled; the shipyard is the same one where the Enterprise was built and refueled when it was in service. The carrier was inactivated in 2012 in a ceremony at the nearby Norfolk Naval Station following the 25th deployment of the “Big E,” as it was known by its crew. The decommissioning ceremony on February 3rd is not open to the public, but video will be posted on the Navy’s Facebook page. About 100 people will be present at the ceremony at Newport News Shipbuilding. The carrier was the 8th vessel to be named the Enterprise, with predecessors dating back to the Revolutionary War. The USS Enterprise was first commissioned in 1961 and the carrier has a veteran’s group dedicated to preserving the history of the vessel. The Navy has already announced that there will be a Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier commissioned in the future which will also bear the name Enterprise. Members of the Enterprise’s crew put together a time capsule using parts from the ship; the capsule will contain mementoes and notes from sailors who have served on the USS Enterprise. The capsule will be opened by the commanding officer of the yet to be commissioned USS Enterprise when that new aircraft carrier is built and enters service.

The Universal Translator Is Coming!

Foreign Languages Just Got Easier Have you ever found yourself baffled on vacation, being completely unsure of how to order a meal or ask for directions in a foreign language? As Douglas Adams said, Don’t Panic. If you’ve ever wished for something like the Babel Fish in Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you may not have to wait much longer. A new in-ear translation device whose developers claim that it can translate speech will be released soon. Called Pilot, the device includes two earpieces which can be worn be two people who otherwise could not converse – a mobile app handles the translation and transmits it to the users’ respective earpieces. The makers of Pilot, Waverly Labs, say that this is the world’s first “smart earpiece” translation device. A Waverly Labs spokesperson stated, ‘This little wearable uses translation technology to allow two people to speak different languages but still clearly understand each other.’ At this time, information on exactly how the device works is still sparse. Waverly Labs says only that the device uses app-based “translation technology.” Translator Video Available A video demonstrating the device shows the Pilot translating between English and French with a small lag, but only a small one, still allowing the users to converse with relative ease. It appears that this first generation of in-ear translators only work when talking to another Pilot earpiece wearer. Advancing this technology could allow users to receive translations of any speech within range, eliminating the need for pairs of earpieces. The device works offline, so if you’re worried that you’ll rack up a fortune in data roaming charges, don’t be. The New York-based Waverly Labs says that the two earpieces can also be used by a single user for listening to music or other audio content from a paired mobile device. Andrew Ochoa, the founder of Waverly Labs says that he was inspired to create the Pilot after meeting a French girl and wishing he could converse with her. Initially, the device will support English, Spanish, Italian and French, with plans in the works for Hindi, Arabic and other languages. Some languages may only be available to users who purchase add-on language packs. Don’t expect perfect translation of every conversation, however; as the video warns, “Every language has various dialects and the earpiece is designed to translate common dialects, although thick accents could disrupt this.” Waverly Labs plans to crowdfund the device via Indiegogo, where the device can be preordered for $199. The expected retail price for the Pilot will be in the $250 – $300 range. Pre-orders are currently available. The devices will ship as soon as this fall or possibly as late spring of 2017. The Pilot will be available in three different colors and includes two earpieces, a portable charger and the Pilot app, which allows users to download languages for the earpieces. Unsurprisingly, other companies are also poised to get into the wearable translation market. Microsoft UK’s chief envisioning officer Dave Coplin has said that the… 0

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