An Inside Look at DS2DIO- The Dance-Oriented YouTube Channel

Internet empire Google has long been working to bring quality content to its subsidiary YouTube. Their efforts appear to be working.

This past June, “Step Up 2: The Streets” director Jon M. Chu teamed up with Hulu’s “The Legend of Extraordinary Dancers” web series to launch DS2DIO- a YouTube channel focused on dance lifestyle programming.

DS2DIO just released a schedule for several dance-related reality shows, as well as ‘The Floor’, which is based in L.A.

The Wall Street Journal’s SpeakEasy recently interviewed partners Chu and Hieu Ho regarding their project:

SpeakEasy: I hear that Miley Cyrus was a sort of catalyst for your first web series LXD. How did she get involved?

Chu: After finishing “Step Up 2: The Streets,” we made a little video for YouTube in 2006 that challenged Miley Cyrus to a dance battle. One of the 14-year-old stars on Step Up has a crush on her so we got all of these dancers together and ended up getting 200,000 views in the first couple of days. Miley answered a few days after that with all of her dancers and we responded back. The video faceoffs got all of these followers who became interested in the dancers and that’s where it started. We needed funding to take our ideas further so ended up developing an idea that turned into LXD for Hulu.

SpeakEasy: Do you think there’s enough interest to support a dance only channel?

Hieu Ho: There definitely is. It’s crazy to see how popular dance has become with shows like “America’s Best Dance Crew” and “Dance with the Stars.” In the past ten years alone, there have been 26 dance shows. Sixteen of the most viewed videos of all time had dance in them, so we were excited to continue telling these dance stories, particularly in the online space.

Chu: There’s an interactive part that allows us to have conversations with our audience. One thing that I learned working with Justin Bieber is that online conversations can really engage. People are talking, learning, work shopping and we wanted to become the hub for that. If you live in Hawaii or Japan, we can connect you with the people we know here and you can interact with us as well.

Scientists Discover Tiny Photosynthetic Insect

A Pea Aphid

Scientists have discovered what might be one of the only creatures to use photosynthesis like a plant. Called the pea aphid, this tiny insect seems to turn sunlight into energy for daily use.

While most animals rely on energy from food to obtain adenoise triphosphate, studies have suggested that the pea aphid traps sunlight within its body to generate ATP. This complex is the cellular energy that enables the body to perform biochemical processes.

Aphids are already recognized as different from most animals in that they produce their own carotenoids- pigments that are generated by plants, microorganisms and fungi. Though the ability was originally attributed to a gene swap between the bugs and fungi, new information implies that the substance is related to the aphid’s photosynthetic abilities.

Carotenoids are one of the primary factors in an aphid’s color. Recent research has found that the aphids’ color, and carotenoid production, changes depending on environmental factors. Colder temperatures result in greener aphids with high levels of carotenoids, optimal conditions bred orange aphids with medium levels of carotenoids, and oppressive, limited environments bred white, pigment-less aphids.

A test of ATP levels in each color of aphid showed that the green ones produced more than the white, while the orange produced more when exposed to sunlight than when kept in the dark. A detailed report was published in the Scientific Reports journal just this month.

NASA’s Curiosity and Its Implications

One of the hottest topics in the science and tech world today is the recent landing of NASA’s rover ‘Curiosity’ on Mars. Here, the Washington Post’s Marc Kaufman explains why the project is considered “the mission of the decade.”


Another video reflects just how monumental the landing was, as the NASA staff erupts in celebration:

South Korean Builds Homemade Satellite to Inspire Others to Pursue Their Dreams

In an effort to encourage people to pursue their dreams, 34-year-old Song Hojun built a satellite in his basement.

The South Korean spent years collecting pieces from back-alley electronic stores to create his $500 OpenSat, which will be launched into space later this year.

“Making a satellite is no more difficult than making a cellphone,” Hojun claims. “I believe that not just a satellite, but anything can be made with the help of the internet and social platforms. I chose a satellite to show that symbolically.”

Though universities and other science-focused organizations have launched ‘homemade’ satellites in the past, Hojun believes his is the first that was completely designed and funded by an individual.

Hojun is known to combine art and technology, seeing as he is an engineering student in university. He was inspired to begin his Open Satellite Initiative, which incorporates the two fields, after working for a private satellite company. He explained that the fact that he was just one guy actually helped him throughout the process.

“I’m just an individual, not someone working for big universities, corporations or armies, so they open up to me and easily give out information,” he said of the space professionals that he contacted around the world.

Hojun’s satellite will be launched, with the help of technology company NovaNano, from Kazakhstan in December.

Forget Tweets- Meet ‘Chirp’!

A new app called ‘Chirp’, developed by Animal Systems, enables iPhones and iPads to share images through a short burst of sound. Animal Systems is a spin off of the computer science department of University College London, and the lead developer on the app was Daniel Jones.

Jones explains that the biggest challenge was “making sure that we had a system that would work equally well in environments that are particularly noisy. So, in  a pub, or on a bus… to be able to work in all sorts of different real-world places.”

Jones adds that the capability is similar to Bluetooth- one advantage though is that once the app is installed, devices do not need to be paired in order for the transfer to work. Though the technology is only available for iPhones and iPads today, Jones and Animal Systems hope to expand the program to radios, tvs and PA systems. Any device capable of sound should be able to ‘read’ a Chirp.

Learn more with Matt Cowan of Reuters:

Saying Goodbye to a Legend : Sally Ride

The national mourns today as California native Sally Ride passed away yesterday at the age of 61. Passing away from pancreatic cancer, Ride will long be remembered as the first American woman to make it into space.

But she wasn’t always shooting for the moon. Studying physics and English at Stanford University, Ride was actually also a nationally ranked tennis player. She chose to stick with academia rather than to pursue a tennis career. She applied for NASA’s training program on an impulse in 1978, and soon became one of six women who were chosen for the 35 training spots.

During the space shuttle’s second mission she was a capsule communicator at mission control. During the space shuttle’s seventh mission in 1983, she was given the privilege of becoming the first American woman astronaut.  The Challenger took off on June 18, 1983.  She was also on the thirteenth space shuttle flight of the Challenger.

Sally Ride was the only astronaut appointed to the Presidential Commission that investigated the tragic explosion of the Challenger in January of 1986.  After this experience, she worked for NASA and created the Office of Exploration.  Leaving NASA in 1987, she taught physics at Stanford and then at the University of California at San Diego.

Ride’s organization Sally Ride Science said, “”Sally’s historic flight into space captured the nation’s imagination and made her a household name.”

As NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said,

“Sally Ride broke barriers with grace and professionalism — and literally changed the face of America’s space program. The nation has lost one of its finest leaders, teachers and explorers. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sally’s family and the many she inspired. She will be missed, but her star will always shine brightly.”

Hearing about her passing, President Barack Obama said,

“Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve, and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come.”