STEAM to Fuel Your Weekend: May 13

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Between school, homework, practice and spending time with loved ones, it’s easy to miss out on the latest in science, technology, engineering, art and math. But don’t worry, Thinkery’s got you covered. Here are some of our favorite STEAM discoveries from the previous week. It’s fuel for your weekend.
STEAM to Fuel Your Weekend: Atopodentatus
Photo credit: © Y. Chen, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.

Ever wanted someone else to do your chores? What about a marine reptile? We know just the creature! Announced last week, the 242-million-year-old Atopodentatus was one of Earth’s earliest hammerheads. When the crocodile-sized reptile would swing its head, its jaw would swing out sideways—causing the reptile’s head look like a vacuum cleaner.

Another interesting discovery? Its mouth worked like a vacuum, too. How, you ask? The answer’s all in its name, Atopodentatus—Latin for “unique strangely toothed.” While the Atopodentatus’ jaw was shaped like a hammerhead, it had two different types of teeth. The Atopodentatus had a sharp, chisel-like row of teeth for scraping algae off rocks, and a needle-like layer for suctioning and sifting. Due to this configuration, it’s probable that the reptile was an herbivore—making the Atopodentatus the world’s first plant-eating marine reptile.

STEAM to Fuel Your Weekend - Mover Kit
Photo credit: Technology Will Save Us.

There’s a cool new wearable device that teaches children how to code. Technology Will Save Us, a London-based startup, recently released its Mover Kit, the first wearable kids make and code themselves through active play. Combining digital and physical technologies, the Maker Kit has motion sensors, compasses and rainbow lights that respond to movement. Whether you’re crafting, programming or inventing, it looks like tons of fun for future inventors everywhere!

STEAM to Fuel Your Weekend
Photo credit: Discovery.

Did you know that brittle stars are closely related to starfish? There are more than 2,000 species of brittle stars alive today, and most can be found in deep ocean sea floors. What about the impressive and intricately-branched basket stars? Did you know they can live up to 35 years? Timothy O’Hara, deputy head of marine sciences at Museum Victoria, and his team recently mapped the worldwide distribution of deep sea-dwelling brittle and basket stars. The results—and these photographs—will leave you starry-eyed.

Photo credit: Matt Kang.
Photo credit: Matt Kang.

The first full-scale demonstration of Hyperloop technology took place this week. The brainchild of Elon Musk, a potential Hyperloop transportation system would propel pods filled with passengers and cargo through tubes at speeds of more than 700 miles per hour. You could travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco in about 30 minutes. New York to China? You’d get there in just two hours.

Though its first public test lasted only two seconds, it was still enough to demonstrate that the Hyperloop’s electromagnetic propulsion system is possible. There’s still a long way to go—and many more theories and technologies to test out—but it’s fun to see this first small step into the future.

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