Fridaygram: tech for nonprofits, immortal animal, Martian moons

AUG 23, 2013
Author PhotoBy +Scott Knaster, Google Developers Blog Editor

In 2011 Points of Light and Google got together and started HandsOn Tech, an organization designed to help US nonprofits learn to use technology in their work. HandsOn Tech connects nonprofits with expert volunteers who really want to help make the world better.

Devin Rucker and Marcia Webb-Hayes at a HandsOn Tech training

HandsOn Tech helps with all kinds of programs, including improving literacy and making information accessible. This fall, HandsOn Tech starts its third year of programs. Want to volunteer? You can apply to join the team until August 31. If you’re selected, you’ll receive a week of training here at Google in Mountain View, California. If you make it, let us know when you’re in town by sharing a post with +Google Developers.

You could do a lot of good if you lived forever. While that might not be feasible yet, scientists are on it with research into Hydractinia echinata, an Irish sea creature that doesn’t age and can regenerate any part of its body. Dr. Uri Frank of NUI Galway says the marine animal is “perfect for understanding the role of stem cells in development, aging and disease”. Humans are probably too complex to regenerate body parts this way, according to Dr. Frank, but there’s lots to be learned from humble Hydractinia.

Finally, here’s a sight that previous generations could only dream of viewing: Phobos crossing in front of Deimos, as seen from the surface of Mars. The video, poetically titled “Two moons passing in the Martian night”, was shot from Mars by the Curiosity rover. It’s short, so you can enjoy it over and over again.

This week Fridaygram notes a couple of spacey milestones: happy 5 years in low-earth orbit to the Fermi Space Telescope, and congratulations to NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which passed the halfway point on its journey to Jupiter: 1,415,794,248 kilometers down, 1,415,794,248 kilometers to go.