Saturday, 29 April 2017

PowerPoint and LED projector enable new technique for self-folding origami

PowerPoint and LED projector enable new technique for self-folding origami

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Peking University have found a new use for the ubiquitous PowerPoint slide: Producing self-folding three-dimensional origami structures from photocurable liquid polymers.

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Victorian Marine Biologist Margaret Gatty’s Stunning Drawings of Seaweed

Victorian Marine Biologist Margaret Gatty’s Stunning Drawings of Seaweed

The tenderness of feathers meets the grandeur of trees in the otherworldly life-forms of the seas, which offered an unexpected entry point for women in science.

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How to have a better death

How to have a better death

IN 1662 a London haberdasher with an eye for numbers published the first quantitative account of death. John Graunt tallied causes such as “the King’s Evil”, a tubercular disease believed to be cured by the monarch’s touch. Others seem uncanny, even poetic. In 1632, 15 Londoners “made away themselves”, 11 died of “grief” and a pair fell to “lethargy”.

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Intestinal worms 'talk' to gut bacteria to boost immune system.

Intestinal worms 'talk' to gut bacteria to boost immune system.

Researchers have discovered how intestinal worm infections cross-talk with gut bacteria to help the immune system!

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Huge Arctic report ups estimates of sea-level rise

Huge Arctic report ups estimates of sea-level rise

Report prompts warnings that the polar region is 'unravelling'. By Jeff Tollefson.

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Goodbye Search, Google Is Becoming "A.I. First"

Goodbye Search, Google Is Becoming "A.I. First"

Think the name “Google,” and for most, the first thing that comes to mind is the company’s founding, eponymous product: Google Search. But it soon might be A.I. Google’s first, and still most profitable venture has become so popular for web searches that its name is now the verb to search, and yet in a call to investors Thursday, reporting the company’s Q1 2017 earnings, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company’s in translation.

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United Airlines' policy changes include paying bumped passengers up to $10,000

United Airlines' policy changes include paying bumped passengers up to $10,000

United Airlines will offer up to $10,000 when a traveler voluntarily gives up a seat on an oversold flight, part of a policy overhaul following the passenger-yanking video seen around the world. The Chicago-based carrier is adopting 10 policy changes in response to the outcry over the April 9 incident, recorded by other passengers, during which aviation police pulled David Dao from his seat after he refused to exit the plane. Dao was one of four fliers selected to give up their seats to make room for airline employees.

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The decline of bees threatens plant evolution, stunting plant growth and muting scents

The decline of bees threatens plant evolution, stunting plant growth and muting scents

The feared demise of bumblebees could bring the evolution of the plants they pollinate grinding to a halt – leaving them vulnerable to new diseases and other threats – a new study suggests. Researchers in Switzerland tested what happened when field mustard plants were pollinated solely by bumblebees or hoverflies over nine generations. The results were dramatic: the bee-pollinated plants grew taller and produced twice as much scent.

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Friday, 28 April 2017

It’s Time to Let Certain Animals Go Extinct

It’s Time to Let Certain Animals Go Extinct

Conservationists don’t have enough money to save all the endangered species. How do we decide which ones live, and which ones die? A controversial new system for choosing may be coming to America soon.

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North Korea's Nuclear Tests Could Trigger A Deadly Volcanic Eruption

North Korea's Nuclear Tests Could Trigger A Deadly Volcanic Eruption

North Korea’s underground nuclear weapon blasts may be accidentally destabilizing a deadly volcano. Mount Paektu has been known to catastrophically

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The science of laughter – and why it also has a dark side

The science of laughter – and why it also has a dark side

When you hear someone laugh behind you, you probably picture them on the phone or with a friend – smiling and experiencing a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Chances are just the sound of the laughter could make you smile or even laugh along. But imagine that the person laughing is just walking around alone in the street, or sitting behind you at a funeral. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so inviting.

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Elon Musk’s giant tunnel boring machine arrived at SpaceX – first pictures

Elon Musk’s giant tunnel boring machine arrived at SpaceX – first pictures

With the recent launch of Elon Musk’s latest company, Neuralink, we almost forgot that the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX also recently launched yet another startup: the Boring Company.

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Why we need to start listening to insects

Why we need to start listening to insects

You may not think of the buzz and whine of insects as musical, but the distinctive pitch of mosquito wingbeats could tell us how to fight malaria.

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We’re Getting Closer to Mass Production of Bones, Organs, and Implants

We’re Getting Closer to Mass Production of Bones, Organs, and Implants

The hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone, and they’ll both be made by 3D printers.

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Google is super secretive about its anti-aging research. No one knows why.

Google is super secretive about its anti-aging research. No one knows why.

In 2013, Time magazine ran a cover story titled Google vs. Death about Calico, a then-new Google-run health venture focused on understanding aging — and how to beat it. “We should shoot for the things that are really, really important, so 10 or 20 years from now we have those things done,” Google CEO Larry Page told Time. But how exactly would Calico help humans live longer, healthier lives? How would it invest its vast $1.5 billion pool of money? Beyond sharing the company’s ambitious mission...

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Female dragonflies fake sudden death to avoid male advances

Female dragonflies fake sudden death to avoid male advances

Female dragonflies use an extreme tactic to get rid of unwanted suitors: they drop out the sky and then pretend to be dead. Rassim Khelifa from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, witnessed the behaviour for the first time in the moorland hawker dragonfly (Aeshna juncea). While collecting their larvae in the Swiss Alps, he watched a female crash-dive to the ground while being pursued by a male. The female then lay motionless on her back. Her suitor soon flew away, and the female took off once the coast was clear.

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Scientists Just Transplanted Small Rat Heads Onto Bigger Rats

Scientists Just Transplanted Small Rat Heads Onto Bigger Rats

Researches successfully avoided brain-damaging blood loss while the donor head was being attached to the recipient rat. The world has been gifted, or maybe cursed, with the latest iteration of creepy head transplant experiments.

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Was the Solar System Previously Home to Another Intelligence?

Was the Solar System Previously Home to Another Intelligence?

When astronomers talk about the search for life elsewhere in our solar system, they usually talk about microbes, simple and resilient forms of life known to exist in the most extreme temperatures and conditions. Space probes have mapped enough of the sun’s planets and moons to show there are no civilizations lurking in this star system, save for the one on Earth. But what if we’re not done looking yet? What if there are indeed signs of an ancient intelligent species right here, on the worlds in our own backyard, waiting to be found?

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NASA is running out of space suits — and it’s years away from having new ones ready

NASA is running out of space suits — and it’s years away from having new ones ready

The state of NASA’s space suit supply looks bleak in a new report from the space agency’s auditor. NASA is still “years away” from having a new space suit ready for future deep-space missions, the report claims, even though the agency has invested close to $200 million on space suit development since 2007.

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How nostalgia made America great again. When the present looks bleak, we reach for a rose-tinted past.

How nostalgia made America great again. When the present looks bleak, we reach for a rose-tinted past.

Make America great again. Clearly the message resonated. In 2016, prior to the presidential election, the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan group, published its annual American Values Survey. It revealed 51 percent of the population felt the American way of life had changed for the worse since the 1950s. Further, 7 in 10 likely Donald Trump voters said American society has gotten worse since that romanticised decade. Of course America today has its problems, but by many standards of living, the general population is better off now than it was 60 years ago. So why do so many people see the past as better than today?

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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Martian Soil Could Be Used to Build a Colony

Martian Soil Could Be Used to Build a Colony

In all likelihood, a Martian colony won't resemble a silver city rising in stark contrast to the planet's signature red soil. Instead, it will blend right in, especially if a new, intriguing discovery pans out. Engineers from the University of California in San Diego have created bricks composed of simulated Martian regolith (soil). Amazingly, these basic building blocks turned out to be stronger than steel-reinforced concrete!

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U.K. startup uses recycled plastic to build stronger roads

U.K. startup uses recycled plastic to build stronger roads

The innovative process replaces much of the crude oil-based asphalt in pavement with tiny pellets of plastic created from recyclable bottles.

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Dog family tree reveals hidden history of canine diversity

Dog family tree reveals hidden history of canine diversity

Genetic map showing how dog breeds are related provides a wealth of information about their origins.

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Starting school 15 minutes later offer significant benefits for kids, says study

Starting school 15 minutes later offer significant benefits for kids, says study

It sounds like a child’s dream come true: starting school later may be more beneficial for kids than forcing them to embrace the early morning grind. According to a study published in the journal Sleep Medicine, delaying school start time by just 15 minutes could do wonders for adolescent mental health—and it all has to do with preventing sleep deprivation.

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People whose 'brain age' is older than their real age more likely to die early

People whose 'brain age' is older than their real age more likely to die early

Doctors may be able to warn patients if they are at risk of early death by analysing their brains, British scientists have discovered. Those whose brains appeared older than their true age were more likely to die early and to be in worse physical and mental health, a study by Imperial College London found. The research found a way of predicting someone’s “brain age” that could help to spot those at risk of dying young.

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Retailers Are Going Bankrupt at a Record Pace

Retailers Are Going Bankrupt at a Record Pace

Department stores, electronics sellers, and clothing shops are most at risk. Retailers are filing for bankruptcy at a record rate as they try to cope with the rapid acceleration of online shopping. In a little over three months, 14 chains have announced they will seek court protection, according to an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence, almost surpassing all of 2016. Few retail segments have proven immune as discount shoe-sellers, outdoor goods shops, and consumer electronics retailers have all found themselves headed for reorganization.

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Alberta sun temple has 5,000-year-old calendar

Alberta sun temple has 5,000-year-old calendar

An academic maverick is challenging conventional wisdom on Canada's prehistory by claiming an archeological site in southern Alberta is really a vast, open-air sun temple with a precise 5,000-year-old calendar predating England's Stonehenge and Egypt's pyramids.

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I Am A Number. Am I Prime?

I Am A Number. Am I Prime?

On the search for an efficient algorithm to tell if a number is prime. By Kaneenika Sinha.

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Is Quantum Theory About Reality or What We Know?

Is Quantum Theory About Reality or What We Know?

Does the quantum state ultimately represent some objective aspect of reality, or is it a way of characterizing something about us, namely, something about what some person knows about reality? By James Owen Weatherall.

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How the Discovery of Two Lost Ships Solved an Arctic Mystery

How the Discovery of Two Lost Ships Solved an Arctic Mystery

The Franklin expedition and all its crew disappeared in 1848. By Simon Worrall.

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LSD microdoses make people feel sharper, and scientists want to know how

LSD microdoses make people feel sharper, and scientists want to know how

What we do — and mostly don’t — know about tiny doses of hallucinogens. By Stephie Grob Plante.

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Zapping the Brain at Certain Times Improves Memory

Zapping the Brain at Certain Times Improves Memory

When researchers delivered electrical stimulation stimulation to the brain at very specific times, the participants’ memory improved. By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe.

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How The FBI Used Murder And Blackmail To Thwart The Civil Rights And Antiwar Movements

How The FBI Used Murder And Blackmail To Thwart The Civil Rights And Antiwar Movements

They conducted illegal actions against U.S. citizens for two decades and got away with it. By Richard Stockton.

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Treating depression is guesswork. But brain scans and machine learning programs are paving the way to a breakthrough.

Treating depression is guesswork. But brain scans and machine learning programs are paving the way to a breakthrough.

Here’s a frustrating fact for anyone who has been prescribed medication or therapy for depression: your doctor doesn’t know what treatment will work for you. The two main treatments are cognitive behavioral therapy, a talk-centered approach that gets patients to readjust their habits, and anti-depressant medications.Both are about equally effective. Around 40 percent of patients will get better on either. But no one treatment reliably works for everyone. And it’s not just about talk therapy versus drugs. Even in the realm of medication, available drugs like Zoloft and Cymbalta will work for some but not others. Enter “precision psychiatry".

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Lazy fit animals: How some beasts get the gain without the pain

Lazy fit animals: How some beasts get the gain without the pain

Wish you could get fit without the effort? Make like a goose and just sit around and eat, says Richard Lovett.

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The Living Disappeared

The Living Disappeared

During Argentina’s military dictatorship, some 500 babies were born in secret torture centers or kidnapped. A group of grandmothers spent the next four decades searching for them. One was named Martín. By Bridget Huber.

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Icelanders Seek to Keep Their Language Alive and Out of ‘the Latin Bin’

Icelanders Seek to Keep Their Language Alive and Out of ‘the Latin Bin’

The people of Iceland, a rugged North Atlantic island settled by Norsemen about 1,100 years ago, have a unique dialect of Old Norse that has adapted to life at the edge of the Arctic. Hundslappadrifa, for example, means “heavy snowfall with large flakes occurring in calm wind.” But the revered Icelandic language, seen by many as a source of identity and pride, is being undermined by the widespread use of English, both in the tourism industry and in the voice-controlled artificial intelligence devices coming into vogue.

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Would these hyper-realistic masks fool a facial recognition system?

Would these hyper-realistic masks fool a facial recognition system?

Some would definitely be duped. Landon Meier, a designer and sculptor based in Colorado, makes hyper-realistic masks of famous people. He’s created masks of Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin, and more. They look disturbingly real, if a bit uncanny. Now the three masks mentioned above are on sale on eBay, with bids at thousands of dollars and counting. Looking at photos of people wearing one of the freakily realistic masks, it’s hard to tell it’s not a real face. That got me wondering: If it can fool my brain, could it fool a facial recognition algorithm?

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Lectins Could Become the Next Gluten

Lectins Could Become the Next Gluten

Plant proteins called lectins are an emerging source of confusion and fear. Is there any actual cause for concern?

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The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks

The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks

Where other cells would die, Mrs. Lacks' cells doubled every 20 to 24 hours. Today, these incredible cells— nicknamed "HeLa" cells, from the first two letters of her first and last names — are used to study the effects of toxins, drugs, hormones and viruses on the growth of cancer cells without experimenting on humans. They have been used to test the effects of radiation and poisons, to study the human genome, to learn more about how viruses work, and played a crucial role in the development of the polio vaccine.

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Astronaut Peggy Whitson Sets New NASA Record For Most Days In Space

Astronaut Peggy Whitson Sets New NASA Record For Most Days In Space

Nearly 15 years after her first space launch, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has now spent more time off-planet than any other American, at more than 534 days. Whitson, 57, is a biochemist who has twice commanded the International Space Station. "It is one of those rides that you hope never ends," Whitson tweeted last night. "I am so grateful for all those who helped me on each of my missions!"

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Exercise 'keeps the mind sharp' in over-50s, study finds

Exercise 'keeps the mind sharp' in over-50s, study finds

The brain is fed with more oxygen and nutrients, boosting thinking and memory skills.

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Monday, 24 April 2017

[U.S.] Lead Hazards Afflict Thousands as Trump eyes funding cuts

[U.S.] Lead Hazards Afflict Thousands as Trump eyes funding cuts

Reuters uncovers hundreds more U.S. areas with child lead-poisoning rates double that found in Flint. Yet cities worry as President Trump plans funding cuts. By M.B. Pell, Joshua Schneyer and Andy Sullivan.

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Why Can Some Blind People Process Speech Far Faster Than Sighted Persons?

Why Can Some Blind People Process Speech Far Faster Than Sighted Persons?

Books fly from the shelf as Superman fans the pages in a blur devouring the information at blinding speed. Superhuman mental powers, including his extraordinary sense of hearing and blazing speed-reading, are as vital to Superman as his bullet-beating velocity and steel-bending strength. But it seems Superman isn't the only being with the gift of quickness.

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Introducing the Kitty Hawk Flyer

Introducing the Kitty Hawk Flyer



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Remarkable Image Shows a Martian Crater With NASA's Garbage Still Inside

Remarkable Image Shows a Martian Crater With NASA's Garbage Still Inside

When NASA’s Opportunity rover landed on Mars in 2004, it settled at the bottom of a crater in an interplanetary hole-in-one shot that would make even a golf champion jealous. When the rover trundled out of its unexpected hole, it left behind its landing platform. Now, 13 years later, we’ve caught our best glimpse yet of this historic landing site and the crap NASA left behind.

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Naked mole-rats ‘turn into plants’ to survive without oxygen, scientists find

Naked mole-rats ‘turn into plants’ to survive without oxygen, scientists find

It may have missed out on good looks, but the naked mole rat is once again amazing scientists with its fascinating super-powers. By Sarah Knapton.

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Delightfully trippy vintage illustrations of futuristic space colonies

Delightfully trippy vintage illustrations of futuristic space colonies

Four decades ago, researchers imagined the self-sufficient, Earth-orbiting spacecrafts of our future

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Bayes' Theorem: the maths tool we probably use every day, but what is it?

Bayes' Theorem: the maths tool we probably use every day, but what is it?

The decisions we make in life often come down to Bayes' Theorem, but most of us don't even realise what it is. So how does it work?

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Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2: a scientist's review

Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2: a scientist's review

The Guardians of the Galaxy team are rocking the universe again in the latest volume of the science fiction blockbuster. But how does the science stand up to some number crunching?

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