Tech Talk

• Vice President Mike Pence says the National Hurricane Center will improve its storm surge warnings this season thanks to three new satellites.

After touring the center in Miami on Tuesday, Pence also said that for the first time the center will send timely storm surge warnings to Puerto Rico, which was devastated by hurricanes in 2017. Pence said the Federal Emergency Management Agency will boost the pre-positioning of storm supplies in response to storm predictions.

U.S. weather officials are predicting a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season, with nine to 15 named storms in the season that runs from June through November.

Pence said this year’s storm prediction seems like better news than last year’s, but that “Americans must remain vigilant.” He says it only takes one hurricane to cause a catastrophe.

• A group of children at a Chilean school for the blind used sound and braille Tuesday to experience conditions that resemble a total solar eclipse.

The project at the Hellen Keller school in Santiago comes a week before a July 2 solar eclipse that will plunge parts of South America into darkness.

Thousands of tourists and scientists will gather in northern Chile, which will be among the best places in the world to watch the next the eclipse. The phenomenon will also be appreciated in other South American countries.

The blind children heard different tones using special headphones and LightSound, a tool to experience the variation of light intensity during a solar eclipse through sound. They also read the book “Open your senses to eclipses: South America,” using braille.

The experience of touching and hearing a solar eclipse was possible thanks to a joint initiative by NASA, the Chilean Aeronautics and Space Agency, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Chile’s Diego Portales University and the Giant Magellan Telescope.

“Being able to explain basic concepts of astronomy, being able to explain eclipses ... it’s an effort that we must continue,” said Miguel Roth, an astronomer at the Giant Magellan Telescope.

A book in braille and a dozen units of the LightSound technology will also be available to children in other Chilean cities, said María Ximena Rivas, director of the SENADIS national office for disability.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, and scores a bull’s-eye by completely blotting out the sunlight.


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