“Return to Paradise” Film Premiere in Palau on Earth Day

    President Remengesau presents the Pristine Seas team with a certificate of appreciation for their support of Palau's 2015 Earth Day events.

It was standing room only by the time the film got rolling on Earth Day last Wednesday night for the premier screening of “Return to Paradise” at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center in Koror, Palau. The President, ministers, governors, women’s network members, families, tourists and other members of the Palauan community packed the house in anticipation for the unveiling of the movie.

President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. presents the Pristine Seas team with a certificate of appreciation for their support of Palau’s 2015 Earth Day events.

The Earth Day Committee planned a lively program featuring a local dance troop “Capt Malii Stars”, awards for winners of an essay contest, and remarks by President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.

“Let me thank the National Geographic Society and its Pristine Seas project for such an exceptional film. It showcases Palau’s cultural identity and the value of safeguarding Palau’s assets which are its People, Culture and its Ocean. ”

Members of the Capt. Malii Stars dance troop perform at the Ngarachamayong Cultural center in Koror, Palau at the Earth Day premiere film screening of the National Geographic Pristine Seas documentary “Return to Paradise.” (Photo by Maggie Hines)

From the depths to the shallows, the film showcased beautiful footage of Palau’s majestic underwater world. More importantly, it told the human story – the strength of the Palauan culture and lessons learned from their long history of a symbiotic relationship with nature. One of the traditions highlighted in the film was the practice of ‘bul’ – Palau’s ancient way of declaring a moratorium on fishing to give fish stocks the opportunity to replenish.

From left to right: Maggie Hines and Monica Medina of National Geographic's Pristine Seas project with Zena of Palau's EQPB and Nanae Singeo of Palau Visitors Authority.
Some of —> Read More

Tiny Robots Use Gecko Power To Carry Heavy Weights

Don’t judge a tiny robot by its size because these petite powerhouses can pull up to 2,000 times their own weight.

A pair of Stanford University PhD students at the school’s Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Lab have developed what they call MicroTugs, or mini bots that use adhesive power similar to what’s found on the feet of geckos and ants to pull off incredible feats of strength.

One robot weighing less than a third of an ounce can carry a 2.2-pound weight vertically up a glass wall.

This is equivalent to a human climbing up a skyscraper while carrying an elephant,” David Christensen and Elliot Hawkes write on the lab’s website.

Another robot weighs less than half an ounce, but can drag 2,000 times its own weight on a flat surface.

“This is the equivalent of a human adult dragging a blue whale around on land,” the researchers note.

What’s even more amazing is that the tests are actually bound by the limits of the actuators in the robots, not the adhesive power of the feet. That, the research team said in the video description, should allow them to pull almost twice as much — or the equivalent of a human dragging two blue whales.

The tiny bots contain a battery, a winch, a processor, a motor, wheels and an adhesive layer on the belly. The adhesive layer contains small rubber spikes similar to the “setae” that cover the toes of geckos, NBC News reports.

As the video above explains, the adhesive layer doesn’t stick unless the bot is pulling a load with its winch. When it does, the wheels lift and the belly lowers to stick to the surface. Once an object has been pulled, the adhesive —> Read More

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