Excerpts from science, technology, environment and health reports from around the web.
Google and NASA launch quantum computing AI lab [http://www.technologyreview.com/news/514846/google-and-nasa-launch-quantum-computing-ai-lab/]
Quantum computing took a giant leap forward on the world stage as NASA and Google, in partnership with a consortium of universities, launched an initiative to investigate how the technology might lead to breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.
Why most snails coil to the right [http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2013/05/scienceshot-why-most-snails-coil.html]
When plucking a snail from the beach you'd be lucky to snag a left-coiling shell. That's because only 5% of all snails are "lefties," new research shows. Shell enthusiasts have long marveled at the lack of sinistral (left-coiling) snails among their collections.
Privacy in the digital age [http://www.nature.com/news/privacy-in-the-digital-age-1.12978?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20130516]
Some commercial efforts to mine and exploit data come across as creepy. The US retailer Target got so good at identifying expectant parents that it started to post them coupons for deals on baby clothes. Many people dislike Google’s practice of targeting advertisements based on analysis of private e-mails and web searches.
Weather on the outer planets only goes so deep? [http://www.rdmag.com/news/2013/05/weather-outer-planets-only-goes-so-deep?et_cid=3258934&et_rid=339200126&linkid=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rdmag.com%2Fnews%2F2013%2F05%2Fweather-outer-planets-only-goes-so-deep]
What is the long-range weather forecast for the giant planets Uranus and Neptune? These planets are home to extreme winds blowing at speeds of over 1000 km/hour, hurricane-like storms as large around as Earth, immense weather systems that last for years and fast-flowing jet streams.
A construction crew in Belize needed crushed rock for a road-building project, so it turned to a convenient mound nearby and went at it with excavators. Soon the Nohmul pyramid, a historically significant Maya temple near the Mexican border, was reduced to a stump.
On the science of a very bad tornado [http://ksj.mit.edu/tracker/2013/05/science-very-bad-tornado]
The tornado that struck in the region of Moore, Oklahoma yesterday was reportedly as much as a mile wide at points and reached peak wind speeds that topped 200 miles an hour. According to the National Weather Service, that classifies it as an EF-4 tornado on the widely accepted Fujita Scale. This is the second most powerful tornado classification on that scale; the worst is an EF-5, which can generate winds above 300 miles an hour.
A house with its own voice on Twitter [http://www.technologyreview.com/news/514941/home-tweet-home-a-house-with-its-own-voice-on-twitter/?utm_campaign=socialsync&utm_medium=social-post&utm_source=facebook]
As weird as a Twitter-enabled house might seem, it offers a glimpse of the future. As interest grows in the “Internet of things”—the idea of adding network connectivity to all sorts of normal objects—everything from desk lamps to ovens may soon come Internet-ready.