Posts

October 16, 2014

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6:01 PM | A Look At The Sun Beneath The Corona
IRIS View of the Sun, December 2013 NASA Human eyes can't (or at least shouldn't) look directly at the sun, but NASA's IRIS can. The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph mission is the latest to fly into space to observe the solar atmosphere. Now, a little more than a year after it launched, the satellite has sent back a complex picture of a special region of the sun, just below its corona. IRIS observes the sun's ultraviolet radiation, which can't be seen by […]

October 15, 2014

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9:15 PM | Program That Mimics Fish Schooling Fools Fish Experts
Opening Screen from the Fish School Game Can you tell the difference between robot fish and real ones? You can take this online test to find out. Here's the catch: For every question, both fish schools are rendered as green dots on the screen. It's just that one set of dots corresponds to the actual movements of Pacific Blue Eye fish researchers filmed. The other set of dots moves according to algorithms researchers wrote. The algorithms are based on everything the researchers […]
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6:45 PM | Scientists Want To Try Electrical Stimulation In More Paralyzed Patients
Study Volunteers Andrew Meas, Dustin Shillcox, Kent Stephenson and Rob Summers in the University of Louisville lab where they get specialized training to work with electrical stimulation to move parts of their bodies below their spinal cord injuries. Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation More than 30 people who have been paralyzed by spinal-cord injuries could soon get an experimental treatment that involves sending electric currents to their spines. The […]
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4:45 PM | Another U.S. Healthcare Worker Contracts Ebola
Ebola Healthcare Workers Healthcare workers wear protective equipment in a clinic in Monrovia, Liberia, on September 22, 2014. Morgana Wingard/USAID The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that a second healthcare worker has contracted Ebola after treating a patient in the United States. News of a second worker's illness is not necessarily surprising after one Dallas nurse was confirmed to have Ebola on October 12. Both workers […]
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2:00 PM | Nearly Half Of American Adults Talk To Their Phones Every Day
Teens and Adults, Talking to their Phones Google Who talks to their phone? Google recently commissioned a little survey to find out. Below are some of their most interesting findings. Note: The report that Google shared split up its research population into two age groups, 17 and under, and 18-plus, so that's why we've reported them that way. The majority of Americans ages 13 to 17 talk to their phones every day (55 percent), as do a large proportion of American adults 18 […]

October 14, 2014

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5:45 PM | Big Pic: The Sun Gives Off A Jack-O'-Lantern Leer
Active Regions on the Sun, October 8, 2014 NASA/GSFC/SDO The sun got into the Halloween spirit a little early this year, producing active spots that look like a jack-o'-lantern leer on October 8. The active spots give off more light and energy than the rest of the sun's surface. This visualization shows the sun's activity in two wavelengths of light, 171 Angstroms and 193 Angstroms. Both wavelengths are in the extreme ultraviolet portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, […]
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4:00 PM | How Flies Are Responsible For Beer's Tasty, Fruity Smells
Mmmmm, beer Martha Harbison It's a love story—so who cares if the lovers are a little unattractive? We can't all be Snow Whites and Prince Charmings. I'm talking about the love affair between fruit flies and brewer's yeast, which scientists so kindly described in a paper published last week in the journal Cell Reports. In a series of experiments, biologists from several institutes in Belgium demonstrated that brewer's yeast makes fruity, floral smells […]

October 13, 2014

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7:30 PM | This App Turns Your Phone Into A Cosmic Ray Detector
One Source Lower-energy cosmic rays sometimes originate from supernova remnants, like the Crab Nebula, pictured here. NASA/ESA/ASU/J. Hester Want to turn your smartphone into a cosmic ray detector? Well there's an app for that. Cosmic Rays Found in Smartphones, or CRAYFIS, uses smartphones' and tablets' standard camera equipment to detect some of the super-rare particles that shower down on the Earth when a high-energy cosmic ray hits the atmosphere. CRAYFIS […]
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4:05 PM | Australia's Invasive Cane Toads Have Evolved To Hop Even Faster
Hello Cane Toad Photo from Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 Cane toads in Australia have evolved to hop straighter and farther than ever before, Australia's ABC News reports. That means they're spreading faster than ever through Australia, sparking worries that they'll harm native species in places where they've never lived before. Twenty-six years after the debut of Cane Toads: An Unnatural History, it seems scientists are still struggling to control the large, […]

October 10, 2014

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2:00 PM | Popular Science's Strange Reporting Of The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic
Chicago Street Sweepers Wear Masks To Protect Against Spanish Flu Popular Science, December 1918 This year marks the centennial of the start of World War I. To honor it, Popular Science is combing through our archives to bring you the best of our original war coverage--from the emergence of tanks, airplanes, and other military tech, to essays examining the relationship between war and eugenics.  Just as the First World War was winding down, another […]

October 09, 2014

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4:00 PM | Sense Of Touch Recreated For Amputees In Their Prosthetics
A Light Touch Study volunteer Igor Spetic wears an experimental prosthetic arm, plugged into his electrode implant. Russell Lee Years after they had lost parts of their arms in industrial accidents, Igor Spetic and Keith Vonderhuevel once again felt sensations -- such as the fuzz of a cotton ball, or a trickle of water -- seemingly on the backs of their prosthetic hands. The touches were lab-created, done as part of a study on how to electronically […]

October 08, 2014

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6:20 PM | Watch This Morning's Eclipse Happen In One Minute
Eclipsed Moon, October 8, 2014 Chad Horwedel on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Used with permission. Early this morning, Americas time, the moon underwent a total eclipse. The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles trained its telescope on the moon for the event, then made this wonderful one-minute video out of five and a half hours of footage: The sudden flick from white to red in the video occurs because the Griffith staff adjusted the "gain" on their camera, making it more […]

October 07, 2014

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7:55 PM | For The First Time, Baby Born From A Transplanted Human Uterus
Feet for Little Shoes Bay County, Michigan After getting a uterus transplant, a woman in Sweden has carried and given birth to a baby boy. She's named the baby Vincent, which means "to conquer," signifying his parents' tough path to this moment, the Associated Press reports. Vincent is the world's first baby to be born from a transplanted uterus. The operation itself had only been tried twice before this January, when the Swedish doctor treating the new, milestone-setting […]
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5:00 PM | Why A Blue LED Is Worth A Nobel Prize
LEDs! PiccoloNamek on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 Three scientists have jointly earned the Nobel Prize in physics for their work on blue LEDs, or light-emitting diodes. Why blue in particular? Well, blue was the last -- and most difficult -- advance required to create white LED light. And with white LED light, companies are able to create smartphone and computer screens, as well as light bulbs that last longer and use less electricity than any bulb invented […]

October 06, 2014

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10:27 PM | Scientists Want To Test Lab-Grown Penises In Humans
A Lab-Made Urethra From the same lab as the engineered penis described below Courtesy Wake Forest University Are you ready? A team of scientists say they're getting ready. They want to implant lab-grown penises onto human volunteers within the next five years, the Guardian reports. The pensies are designed to work for people who have lost theirs due to birth defects, cancer treatment, or injury. The team will seek approval from the U.S. Food and […]
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6:19 PM | Hundreds Of Bluetooth Beacons Secretly Track New York City Passersby
Man Stands Inside a Pay Phone Booth to Use his Cellphone, New York City, 2014 Phil Roeder on Flickr, CC BY 2.0 Update: New York City officials have told Titan to remove its tracking beacons from city phonebooths, Buzzfeed reports. The removal request came just hours after Buzzfeed pubished its story on the beacons. A company has installed beacons inside hundreds of downtown New York City pay phones that ping the smartphones and tablets of New Yorkers walking by, […]
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3:39 PM | Map-Making In The Brain Wins Nobel Prize In Medicine
Place Cells vs Grid Cells The illustration on the left shows how "place cells" light up when a rat is in a certain place in a room. The teardrop gray shape is supposed to be the rat, while the lines show where the rat traveled while exploring the room. The illustration on the right shows how "grid cells" light up in a regular pattern to make a mental grid for a rat while it explores a room. Illustration by Mattias Karlén for the Nobel Prize Committee for […]

October 02, 2014

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6:00 PM | Evidence Found Of A Particle That Is Its Own Antiparticle
Measure Here Closeup of the interior of the scanning tunneling microscope at Princeton University Princeton University, Office of Communications, Brian Wilson There's a particle that physicists theorize exists that acts simultaneously as both matter and antimatter. Whoa! The particle is called the Majorana fermion, and a team of physicists is announcing today that it's seen some evidence of its existence. The announcement is part of a recent flurry of research […]

October 01, 2014

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8:00 PM | How The U.S. Will Contain The Spread Of Ebola: Good Old Legwork
Training Ebola Contact Tracers CDC The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced yesterday that a patient with Ebola has been identified in the U.S. He apparently got infected while in West Africa, boarded a plane before he had any symptoms, and then visited a U.S. hospital when he fell ill. He's now getting care at a hospital in Dallas. If you're one of the 300-plus million people who live in the United States, there's a vanishingly small—but not […]

September 30, 2014

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9:15 PM | Setting Insect Data To Music Helps Scientists Find Patterns
Sparkly! Face of a Henicopsaltria eydouxii cicada Photo by Toby Hudson on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 AU Well, it certainly sounds nicer than real cicadas would otherwise. To help them analyze data they had recorded about when cicadas sing, a team of scientists set their data to music. The musical notes—which replace recordings of actual cicada screeching—make the pattern in cicada-calling clear. The little bugs sing less intensely at first, and in […]
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7:05 PM | Use A 3-D Printer To Turn Your Smartphone Into A 1000X Microscope
DIY Microscope at Work The phone screen here shows onion cells magnified 350X. On the right is a pile of 3-D printed plastic housings. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has released printable files that will help turn your smartphone into a microscope of up to 1000X magnification. If you have access to an  3-D printer--which you may through your local library or community center--this is something you could put […]
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1:08 PM | Robot Learns To Grab Objects By Asking The Internet
The BarrettHand The researchers tested their robot-training regimes on this commercially available, three-fingered robot hand. Barrett Technology Some things are just harder for robots to do. You know, things like appreciating literature, or writing music. Or grasping objects with their fingers. There are a lot of elements that go into grasping. A general grasping robot has to first figure out the important properties of what it's trying to hold, using whatever […]

September 29, 2014

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5:37 PM | Designing Technology For Our Animal Friends
Orangutan Plays With iPad, 2012 Orangutan Outreach Human-computer interaction is a fast-growing field of study that examines questions like how people feel about robots, or what people choose to click first when they visit a webpage. With some clever setups, researchers are even able to investigate scenarios aren't quite technologically possible, such as how people react to a robot that begs not to be put away. The results of human-computer interaction studies can […]
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5:00 PM | Portal 2 Improves Cognitive Skills More Than Lumosity Does, Study Finds
Fun with Physics Screenshot from the game Portal 2 Valve Corporation Like many people, Val Shute likes playing video games. But while she's gaming, she doesn't exactly think about the same things the average person does. For example, Shute loved playing the video game Portal 2 when it came out in 2011. "I was really just entranced by it," she tells Popular Science. "While I was playing it, I was thinking, I'm really engaging in all sorts of problem-solving." […]
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