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issue001march | 1 | 2013
    Realitybroker Frontiers of science
Robots with PhDs

Japan  Scientists working for the Fujitsu Company are building a robot that can pass the entrance exams for the University of Tokyo.

They are confident that the robot will be ready to compete with and eventually beat human applicants as early as 2021. It should be able to understand several foreign languages, calculate and argue.

Source:, Sept 12, 2012

The Thing, Val di Poschiavo, Switzerland, 2005
2005 by Kurt Koehler @

Vagrant wolves in the Canton of Bern

Bern, Switzerland Local authorities report a total of 8 wolf activities in the Canton of Bern for 2012. These activities make for almost one fourth of the 35 activities documented for the same region since 2006. However, it is unclear how many wolves are responsible for said activities. Some wolves are known to walk 1'550 kilometers in less than 50 days, even crossing motorways.
Little is known to date about how wolves migrate, dwell, socialize and breed. Wolves still challenge scientists, as they are considered to be very distrustful and discrete animals. Experts say that wolves are headstrong and resentful, which makes it difficult to monitor them over a longer period of time.
It is probable that the popularity of the Canton of Bern among wolves has a connection to the relatively low density of human population in the area. Conversely, not a single wolf activity has been reported in the Greater Zurich area for many years, one of the most densely populated regions of Switzerland.

Source:, 2012

Low life expectancy of solo artists

Scientists have published a study on how membership in a band as opposed to solo careering can have positive effects on life expectancy. According to the study, solo artists are twice as likely as band members to die prematurely. 1 in 10 European solo artists and even 1 in 5 North American solo artists dies early, the average age of death being 39 and 45, respectively. The study suggests that the social component of band membership has a protective effect on the individual members.

Source:, Dec 20, 2012
Printing out a Moon colony

One of the main problems with colonizing our Moon is one which many may not be aware of: It costs USD 100'000 to get just 1 kilogram of material from Earth to the Moon, which is why space agencies are constantly working on finding ways to make spacecraft lighter and to reduce the weight of cargo. Oxygen tanks and optical instruments are one thing, but filling a spacecraft with construction material from Earth would be a whole different story. How practical then that the Moon is covered with rocks and dust that would make ideal material for a lunar base. All that is missing now is a crew of construction workers adventurous enough to fly to the Moon.

The European Space Agency is currently experimenting with a cutting-edge 3D printer that has been programmed to "print out" a dome structure with highly supportive cellular walls, using soil that is similar to that on the Moon. A lunar base must be able to protect its inhabitants from micrometeoroids and radiation, so a "print" will have to undergo various tests.

Water constitutes a similar logistical challenge as building material for a permanent lunar settlement. In 2011, it was reported that there are substantial water reserves under the surface of the Moon. When science finds a way to access these reserves, Earthlings will be a further step closer to colonizing the Moon.

Source:, Jan 31, 2013

Sweden 2012 - Night sky in summer
2012 by Expedition I:T:L:I:E @

Max the Stork dies in Spain at 13

Born in Avenches, Switzerland in May 1999, the large bird was connected to a radio transmitter at an early age. In 2002, Max turned out to be a she. The satellite-linked transmitter enabled scientists to determine the stork's exact whereabouts and follow its migration patterns. Max was known to spend her winters in Morocco and Spain.

Max is the best-tracked animal to date. About half of the storks die before turning one. Internet users all over the world followed the migration of the famous stork with enthusiasm. In 2010, Max appeared on the cover of French magazine Nos Oiseaux.

Scientists found the dead bird in December 2012, but could not determine the cause of death, since scavengers had eaten most of its remains. The 22 gram tracking device was found near a power line.

Source: Musée d'histoire naturelle Fribourg

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