Fridaygram: Humanitarian hacking, Shenzhou 9, robot seeks Martians

JUN 15, 2012
Author Picture By Ashleigh Rentz, Google Developers Blog Editor Emerita

The Googleplex is really buzzing this week with people furiously preparing for Google I/O!  As with any conference, there are physical limits on how many people can participate, so we’re striving to make the Google I/O Extended events around the world more interactive than just simple viewing parties.  Yesterday, we got to share the details of the Develop For Good hackathon contest sponsored by in conjunction with Google I/O Extended.

But this certainly isn’t the first time has engaged with developers to help make our planet a better place.  In fact, many Googlers recently participated in Random Hacks of Kindness Global, a twice-annual event where developers in 21+ cities around the world spark new ideas for making the world a better place through innovation and technology.  Among the many projects, one team in San Francisco worked on an algorithm for scanning textbooks and processing mathematical formulae in an accessible way for users with vision impairment.  Take some time this weekend to read the recaps and get inspired!

The Chinese space program may also make this an inspiring weekend when they attempt the country’s first manned docking mission, designated Shenzhou 9, and take off for the Tiangong 1 space laboratory on Saturday.  The attempt becomes even more inspiring since the three-person crew will include the first female Chinese astronaut.  We wish them godspeed.

Meanwhile, scientists at NASA in the United States are awaiting the arrival of a new Mars rover which will search for signs of life in a new way.  The rover, named Curiosity, is scheduled to land on the red planet in August, well ahead of any humans who might one day be en route.  Who can imagine what it might find there?

Even when Scott takes a well-deserved break, we bring you Fridaygram: a few items of Google and non-Google geekery to enjoy during the weekend. Ashleigh was our previous blog editor and now works behind the scenes on the Google Developers website. I write about space now; space is cool.