New T. Rex-sized dino dubbed ‘Sauron’
BOLOGNA, Italy, Nov. 6 (UPI) — A dinosaur species that lived in North Africa 95 million years ago has been named for the demonic Eye of Sauron in the Lord of the Rings films, scientists say.
A single fossil of the species dubbed Sauroniops pachytholus, or "eye of Sauron" in Greek, was unearthed in southeastern Morocco in 2007.
Part of the upper skull included the eye socket, study leader Andrea Cau of the Museo Geologico Giovanni Capellini in Bologna, Italy, said in an email to National Geographic News.
"The idea of a predator that is physically known only as its fierce eye reminded me of Sauron, in particular as depicted in Peter Jackson’s movies," Cau said.
Sauroniops was a carcharodontosaur, a type of huge two-legged carnivore, and probably possessed "a long and deep skull bearing dozens of blade-like teeth," he said.
"The skull bone of Sauroniops is very broad and particularly thick: This suggests an animal as big as Tyrannosaurus [rex]," Cau said.
North Africa has yielded fossils of a number of large, carnivorous dinosaur species.
"Sauroniops lived along the banks of a large delta, under a hot and warm climate, very rich of fishes and crocodiles," Cau said. "The abundance of food may explain the abundance of predatory dinosaurs."
Microsoft said working on gaming tablet
REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 6 (UPI) — Microsoft is building a 7-inch tablet aimed at gaming and gamers, a number of sources familiar with the plan have told The Verge.
The device, likely to be dubbed Xbox Surface, is said to be based on a custom ARM processor and high-speed RAM designed specifically for gaming tasks, The Verge reported.
The device won’t run a full version of Windows, but instead will run a custom Windows kernel.
While messaging and other tablet functions may be supported, the devices main focus will be on gaming, The Verge said.
Specifications for an Xbox Surface 7-inch tablet, leaked in June, were apparently accurate and final work to bring the device to market is underway, sources said.
The Xbox Surface will probably debut ahead of Microsoft’s future Xbox console, they said.
Glow-in-the-dark roads will guide drivers
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Nov. 6 (UPI) — A smart road with glow-in-the-dark pavement and illuminated weather indicators will be installed in the Netherlands in mid-2013, its designer says.
Daan Roosegaarde says his design studio has developed a photo-luminescing powder that will replace road markings, charging up in sunlight to provide up to 10 hours of glow-in-the-dark time once darkness falls.
"One day I was sitting in my car in the Netherlands, and I was amazed by these roads we spend millions on but no one seems to care what they look like and how they behave," Roosegaarde told Wired.co.uk. "I started imagining this Route 66 of the future where technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of us."
Roosegaarde said special paint would also be used to paint markers like snowflakes across the road’s surface, images that will become visible when temperatures drop to a certain point, warning drivers the surface will likely be slippery.
The first few hundred yards of glow-in-the-dark, weather-indicating road will be installed in the province of Brabant in mid-2013.
Moon crater yields impact clues
GREENBELT, Md., Nov. 6 (UPI) — NASA scientists say an almost perfectly preserved crater on the moon should yield clues to the evolution of impact craters on Earth and other rocky bodies.
The focus of their attention is the Linne Crater, a small — just 1.4 miles wide — but extremely young crater formed just 10 million years ago, SPACE.com reported Tuesday.
Moon craters don’t erode as quickly as those on Earth, which are reshaped relatively quickly by wind and water, but Linne is remarkably preserved even for a Lunar crater, unmarked by any subsequent impacts.
A recently released NASA video highlights how the shape of Linne and its surrounding could reveal how craters start out on Earth and Mars before the effects of weathering begin.
"Without craters like Linne on the moon, we wouldn’t know how landforms evolve over time in the presence of weather, climate change and other factors," the video’s narration says.
Data and images of Linne were gathered by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.