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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Science headlines this week so far

Parque O’Higgins

Kanye West performing at Lollapalooza in Chile in 2011. A student developed a program capable of producing Kanye-like verses.

So far this week in the world of science features a rapping robot and a giant chicken. Keep reading to find out other things you may have missed in the week of March 20.

Artificial Intelligence can rap like Kanye West

West Virginian high school student Robbie Barrat created an AI program that can rap like Kanye West, and he did it on a dare in just a week. 

The 17-year-old is part of his high school’s programming club, and when he said he believed AI could complete tasks better than humans, the club challenged him to prove it. 

Taking on the very-human field of music, Barrat used open-source code and 6,000 Kayne West lines to build a program that mimicked a neural network in a human brain. The program can now actually write original lyrics with semi-accurate pauses. Barrat is working to refine the program further. 

RELATED: Conference helps young latino students explore engineering

Welcome, Spring

March 20 was the spring equinox, meaning spring is officially here. There are two equinoxes per year, which are points where both the Northern and Southern hemispheres receive exactly the same amount of daylight. 

Usually, due to the Earth’s tilt, the amount of sunlight each hemisphere receives is uneven. However, regardless of the date, places like Tucson are already into temperatures in the mid-90s, while the East Coast continues to get snow and ice. 

Food for thought: compost into tires?

Researchers at Ohio State University have devised a way to turn food waste like tomato peels and eggshells into a replacement for petroleum in rubber, making products like tires much more sustainable. 

This new method not only makes the rubber stronger; it doesn’t reduce the flexibility, a problem that occurred in previous attempts to find petroleum alternatives. Right now, 30 percent of every tire is composed of petroleum filler, so the replacement could be big news for the planet. There wouldn’t be a shortage of eggshells or tomato peels either. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said nearly 100 billion eggs and about 13 million tons of tomatoes are consumed by Americans each year.

RELATED: Canine cognition center explores dog smarts

Myth busting: huge chicken seen in viral video is real

A video of a larger-than-average chicken shook up Twitter this week, with many people calling fowl on the size of the bird. However, the Brahma chicken is a type of domestic chicken that does grow much bigger than most birds. Brahma chickens can weigh up to 18 pounds, though most don’t get much heavier than 12 pounds. These massive birds originated in China and were recognized as a breed in the U.S. by the American Poultry Association in 1874. 

Brahma chickens are sometimes called “The King of All Poultry” for their size—a well-deserved title, as the birds are also quite hardy in cold climates, produce large eggs and can provide ample quantities of meat compared to their smaller yardmates.

Follow Marissa Heffernan on Twitter.

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