Sunday, 21 October 2018

3D printers have ‘fingerprints,’ a discovery that could help trace 3D-printed guns, counterfeit goods

3D printers have ‘fingerprints,’ a discovery that could help trace 3D-printed guns, counterfeit goods

3D printers have ‘fingerprints,’ a discovery that could help trace 3D-printed guns, counterfeit goods.

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You’re Literally Sprinkling Plastic On Your Food

You’re Literally Sprinkling Plastic On Your Food

A study published this week in ‘Environmental Science & Technology’ sampled salt brands from across the globe and found 92 percent contained microplastics.

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How Men Stole Civilization

How Men Stole Civilization

Civilization is back. But it is no longer the preserve of “Renaissance man” or of “the West,” or even of literate societies. Civilization is a way of talking about human history on the largest scale. From the cave paintings of Lascaux to the latest MoMA exhibition, it binds human history together.

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How rare minerals form when meteorites slam into Earth

How rare minerals form when meteorites slam into Earth

The discovery of a rare mineral (reidite) at the Woodleigh meteorite impact structure in Western Australia was published this week by Curtin University honours student Morgan Cox and colleagues. Reidite – and other minerals – are sometimes formed when meteorites crash into Earth. This takes a particular set of circumstances. Only six prior discoveries of reidite had ever been reported.

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These Researchers Want to Send Smells Over the Internet

These Researchers Want to Send Smells Over the Internet

Electrical stimulation of cells in the nasal passages produces sweet fragrances and chemical odors

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Strange 'singing' heard coming from the Antarctic ice

Strange 'singing' heard coming from the Antarctic ice

Scientists have heard strange "singing" noises coming out of the ice shelf. The low-frequency noises – which sound a little like moaning when sped up – could help researchers track the ice shelves as they collapse. The singing tones come out of the surface of the massive Ross Ice Shelf when the winds blowing across the snow dunes cause it to vibrate. That means they produce the "tones" almost constantly, and now scientists have found they can listen to them.

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Free societies face emerging, existential threats from technology

Free societies face emerging, existential threats from technology

Silicon Valley is currently, and correctly, under fire for the failure of leading platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter to protect against the spread of disinformation, hate speech and efforts to disrupt our elections. I don’t know why these companies behaved as they did. But whatever the reason – naiveté, excessive focus on near-term profits, or simply a lack of proper attention on mind-numbingly complex problems – it’s clear they have to do a better job of making sure technology makes our world safer, freer and more stable rather than the opposite.

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Saturday, 20 October 2018

Exoplanet Hunters Have a New Plan to Spot Hidden 'Migrating' Worlds

Exoplanet Hunters Have a New Plan to Spot Hidden 'Migrating' Worlds

There's a telescope that can see thick rings of dust in distant star systems. These rings are huge — wide enough in some cases to encircle most or all the planets in our solar system. And they're the birthplaces of exoplanets. Understanding how they work could teach us about how the planets in our own solar system formed.

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What Do We Think About?

What Do We Think About?

Warning: The NCBI web site requires JavaScript to function. more...

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No Such Thing as Too Much Exercise, Study Finds

No Such Thing as Too Much Exercise, Study Finds

Too much of a good thing can be definitely bad for us. But a new study published Friday in JAMA Network Open suggests that exercise is a clear exception. It found that any level of cardiovascular fitness — including the kind you’d see from elite athletes — is linked to staying alive longer. That exercise is universally great for our health sounds like a no-brainer, sure. But in recent years, there’s actually been evidence that elite athletes and other heavy exercisers might paradoxically be at greater risk of some...

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Huge alien planets detected around baby star for first time ever

Huge alien planets detected around baby star for first time ever

In a discovery that raises questions about long-held ideas about how planets form, astronomers have detected several enormous planets in orbit around a young star — in this case CI Tau, a 2-million-year-old star about 500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. This is the first time multiple gas giant planets have been observed orbiting a "toddler" star. Our Milky Way galaxy is filled with stars that have been around for billions of years; our sun is about 4.5 billion years old.

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Halo of the Cat's Eye

Halo of the Cat's Eye

Not a Falcon 9 rocket launch after sunset, the Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) is one of the best known planetary nebulae in the sky. Its haunting symmetries are seen in the very central region of this composited picture, processed to reveal an enormous but extremely faint halo of gaseous material, over three light-years across. Made with data from ground- and space-based telescopes it shows the extended emission which surrounds the brighter, familiar planetary nebula. Planetary nebulae have long been appreciated as a final phase in the life of a sun-like star. But only more recently have some planetaries been found to have halos like this one.

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I pulled a 1,500-year-old sword out of a lake

I pulled a 1,500-year-old sword out of a lake

People are saying I am the queen of Sweden because of the legend of King Arthur

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First Evidence of Sleep in Flight

First Evidence of Sleep in Flight

For the first time, researchers have discovered that birds can sleep in flight.

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Artificial intelligence better than physicists at designing quantum science experiments

Artificial intelligence better than physicists at designing quantum science experiments

The quantum world defies logic: wrap your brain around instantaneous messaging between distant particles, or cats that are alive and dead at the same time. An Australian crew enlisted the help of a neural network — a type of artificial intelligence — to optimise the way they capture super-cold atoms.

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Bug-loving girl who was teased at school co-authors research paper

Bug-loving girl who was teased at school co-authors research paper

An eight-year-old amateur entomologist who was teased for her unusual hobby has featured in a research paper after the scientific community took her under their wing. Sophia Spencer, from Ontario, Canada, loves nothing more than showing off her latest insect find, but often finds herself the butt of jokes. After schoolmates mocked her “weird and strange” interest, “I really thought loving bugs wasn't the best hobby,” she told NPR.

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BlackFly ‘flying car’ to hit the market in 2019 for the price of an SUV

BlackFly ‘flying car’ to hit the market in 2019 for the price of an SUV

Hey, it's the future. We're supposed to have flying cars, right? Well, here's your flying car, sort of and again. It's slated to go on sale in 2019. It's called the BlackFly and the company manufacturing it, Opener, is backed at least partially by Alphabet's Larry Page, who's been rumored to have been tinkering with such craft for a while, working with a few partners. Alan Eustace, who's been on Big Think, is an Opener technical advisor.

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How modern cities could suffer the same fate as ancient Angkor

How modern cities could suffer the same fate as ancient Angkor

Research shows how ancient Angkor experienced the same challenges as modern urban networks. As we move further into a period characterised by extreme weather events, the resilience of our urban infrastructure will be tested. Will our cities go down like Angkor did? By Dan Penny.

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Friday, 19 October 2018

Can Robots Ever Feel Emotions?

Can Robots Ever Feel Emotions?

In the 2015 film Ex Machina, computer programmer Caleb Smith becomes romantically attracted to Ava, an artificially intelligent robot. Caleb believes that Ava is similarly attracted to him, and they plan her escape from the facility in which she is held. It is clear that Caleb thinks of Ava not only as highly intelligent but also as capable of emotional engagement with the world. But does she really like him? Could she like him? Could a robot ever experience the emotions that we typically think of as fundamental to the human condition?

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America's Private Space Revolution Left Europe in the Dust

America's Private Space Revolution Left Europe in the Dust

The United States space industry is booming, and not everyone is excited about it. The Europeans, who dominated commercial spaceflight before the rise of American upstarts like SpaceX, are suddenly worried that the America's effort “now represents a further strong challenge to European competitiveness and freedom to act in space.”

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'Wild west' of social media for medical journals needs more support to succeed

'Wild west' of social media for medical journals needs more support to succeed

Much of the published medical research goes unread by the general public and medical community, despite being largely funded by the federal government and private foundations. To reach more people, medical journals have begun using social media to promote new research. A new Northwestern Medicine study has found social media editors lack established best practices and support from their journals and home institutions, making it difficult for them to successfully promote new research.

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Eerie hum discovered in Antarctica

Eerie hum discovered in Antarctica

Scientists say this sound could be used to monitor how Antarctica's largest ice shelf is responding to climate change.

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I woke up unable to speak English

I woke up unable to speak English

Hannah Jenkins survived a cycling accident - but woke up no longer being able to understand English.

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New material could up efficiency of concentrated solar power

New material could up efficiency of concentrated solar power

Could allow us to generate electricity using supercritical carbon dioxide.

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A data-driven look at the devastating efficacy of a far-right judge-education program

A data-driven look at the devastating efficacy of a far-right judge-education program

More than 40% of US federal judges have attended Manne seminars, a notionally "bipartisan" educational conference presented by a Florida "Law and Economics" institute whose invited ideological allies explained to judges why pollution is good for minorities (polluted neighborhoods are cheaper and therefore affordable by poor people), unions are bad, monopolies are economically efficient, discrimination in punishment is economically efficient, insider trading is economically efficient, and so on.

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The Bosnians who speak medieval Spanish

The Bosnians who speak medieval Spanish

When Jews fled Spain during the Inquisition, they carried their language with them. Today, Ladino reflects the trajectories of the Sephardic Jewish diaspora, but can it survive?

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Pando, the Most Massive Organism on Earth, Is Shrinking

Pando, the Most Massive Organism on Earth, Is Shrinking

The grove of 47,000 quivering aspen trees in Utah is being diminished by mule deer, foraging cattle and human mismanagement.

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Adequate Consumption of ‘Longevity’ Vitamins Could Prolong Healthy Aging, Nutrition Scientist Says

Adequate Consumption of ‘Longevity’ Vitamins Could Prolong Healthy Aging, Nutrition Scientist Says

New review of nutritional science argues most American diets are deficient in a key class of vitamins and minerals.

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A Chinese City Wants to Replace Streetlights With an Artificial Moon

A Chinese City Wants to Replace Streetlights With an Artificial Moon

The Chinese city of Chengdu has a whimsical plan for conserving electricity. In 2020, it hopes to launch an artificial moon—or illumination satellite—that would complement the actual moon’s brightness to light up the city below, reducing the need for streetlights. This is according to Wu Chunfeng, chairman of the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute (CASC), who discussed the project at an innovation and entrepreneurship conference in Chengdu last week.

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Grandma Was Right: Sunshine Helps Kill Germs Indoors

Grandma Was Right: Sunshine Helps Kill Germs Indoors

All kinds of bacteria live with us indoors, and some can make us sick. A new study shows that rooms exposed to light had about half the live bacteria found in rooms that were kept in darkness.

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How the Finnish survive without small talk

How the Finnish survive without small talk

Their desire for avoidance is a predisposition so common that it’s become hard-baked into Finnish culture.

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‘Geek Girl’ gamers are more likely to study science and technology degrees

‘Geek Girl’ gamers are more likely to study science and technology degrees

Girls who play video games are three times more likely to choose physical science, technology, engineering or maths (PSTEM) degrees compared to their non-gaming counterparts, according to new research from the University of Surrey. The study, funded by the British Academy and published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour, found that 13-14 year old girls classed as ‘heavy gamers’ – those playing over nine hours a week – were three times more likely to pursue a PSTEM degree compared to girls who were non-gamers.

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How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers

How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers

Speaking truth to power has ruined Darin Jones, a former FBI contract specialist who reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties. He should be the last federal whistleblower victimized, writes John Kiriakou.

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Unexpected role of enzyme may help develop anti-cancer drugs

Unexpected role of enzyme may help develop anti-cancer drugs

A newly discovered role for the enzyme glutamine synthetase could have important implications for developing anti-cancer drugs according to a new UCL study. An intrinsic part of tumour growth is the sprouting of blood vessels, which supply cancerous tumours with the blood and energy that they need to survive.

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Molecular memory can be used to increase the memory capacity of hard disks

Molecular memory can be used to increase the memory capacity of hard disks

Researchers at the University of Jyväskylä have taken part in an international British-Finnish-Chinese collaboration where the first molecule capable of remembering the direction of a magnetic above liquid nitrogen temperatures has been prepared and characterized. The results may be used in the future to massively increase the storage capacity of hard disks without increasing their physical size.

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Raye Montague, the Navy’s ‘Hidden Figure’ Ship Designer, Dies at 83

Raye Montague, the Navy’s ‘Hidden Figure’ Ship Designer, Dies at 83

Despite facing racism and sexism, she became the first person to design a Navy ship using a computer program. She was recognized nationally only later in life.

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How Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Could Replace Traffic Lights and Shorten Commutes

How Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Could Replace Traffic Lights and Shorten Commutes

A Carnegie Mellon startup aims to manage traffic at intersections by harnessing the radios in tomorrow’s cars

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Thursday, 18 October 2018

Code hidden in Stone Age art may be the root of human writing [2016]

Code hidden in Stone Age art may be the root of human writing [2016]

A painstaking investigation of Europe’s cave art has revealed 32 shapes and lines that crop up again and again and could be the world’s oldest code

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These butterflies boost their hearing with an unusual strategy

These butterflies boost their hearing with an unusual strategy

Think of it as a biological antenna. Researchers have discovered a species of butterfly that enlarges its wing veins to pick up sounds it wouldn’t otherwise hear—a strategy that may be critical to its survival. Many butterflies possess tiny ears, often in the form of membrane-covered cavities at the base of their forewings. But scientists didn’t know the insects could boost their hearing with other parts of their bodies.

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Mad scientists flip the Earth’s spin in climate models, watch water go nuts

Mad scientists flip the Earth’s spin in climate models, watch water go nuts

A fun climate model experiment shows how much depends on Earth’s rotation.

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A Bose-Einstein condensate has been produced in space for the first time

A Bose-Einstein condensate has been produced in space for the first time

An international team of researchers has successfully produced a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) in space for the first time. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes creating a small experimental device that was carried on a rocket into space and the experiments that were conducted during its freefall.

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Death of a Fossil Hunter

Death of a Fossil Hunter

Junchang Lü was is one of the most important dinosaur researchers of the past half century

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Climate change and the 75% problem

Climate change and the 75% problem

Bill Gates shares his plan for fighting climate change.

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Antarctic ice shelf 'sings' as winds whip across its surface

Antarctic ice shelf 'sings' as winds whip across its surface

Winds blowing across snow dunes on Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf cause the massive ice slab's surface to vibrate, producing a near-constant set of seismic 'tones' scientists could potentially use to monitor changes in the ice shelf from afar, according to new research.

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NASA eyes ‘cloud city’ airship concept to explore Venus

NASA eyes ‘cloud city’ airship concept to explore Venus

NASA is considering a spectacular airship concept for Venus exploration. The space agency’s Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate (SACD) has posted potential designs of the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC) on its website. The airships have even been compared to a “cloud city” by Space.com.

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Are Black Holes Actually Dark Energy Stars?

Are Black Holes Actually Dark Energy Stars?

George Chapline believes that the Event Horizon Telescope will offer evidence that black holes are really dark energy stars.

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Spanish doctors 'eliminate' HIV from patient in stem cell transplant trial

Spanish doctors 'eliminate' HIV from patient in stem cell transplant trial

SPANISH scientists believe they may have managed to eliminate HIV from a patient using stem cell transplant treatment.  Scientists from the Institute for AIDS Research IrsiCaixa in Barcelona and the Gregorio Maranon Hospital in Madrid have managed to remove the virus from the blood and tissues of six patients using the treatment.

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Giant planets around young star raise questions about how planets form

Giant planets around young star raise questions about how planets form

Researchers have identified a young star with four Jupiter and Saturn-sized planets in orbit around it, the first time that so many massive planets have been detected in such a young system. The system has also set a new record for the most extreme range of orbits yet observed: the outermost planet is more than a thousand times further from the star than the innermost one, which raises interesting questions about how such a system might have formed.

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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Our Solar System Is Even Stranger Than We Thought

Our Solar System Is Even Stranger Than We Thought

New research shows a pattern of exoplanet sizes and spacing around other stars unlike what we see in our own system

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How did Titan get its haze?

How did Titan get its haze?

Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, is enveloped in a thick, hazy atmosphere. One new research collaboration has identified a chemical mechanism that could help to explain how the moon's haze formed. “Both space probes and land-based instruments have identified the chemical composition of the major constituents of the haze,” said Musahid Ahmed, a scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Chemical Sciences Division and co-leader of the study. “However, how some of heavier particles are formed from the lighter gases is still an open question.”

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