• A new opioid could provide pain relief—without causing addiction

    Addiction-free Pain Relief At Last?

    Opioids come with a lot of downsides. They are highly addictive, and come with a slew of unwanted side effects like constipation, not to mention life-threatening ones like respiratory distress. ... More >
  • This is what America looked like before the EPA cleaned it up

    Here's America Before the EPA

    In 1970, Republican President Richard Nixon signed an executive order creating the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It was a time when pollution made many of our nation's ... More >
  • Will artificial intelligence ever actually match up to the human brain?

    Will AI Ever Match The Human Brain?

    Today's artificial intelligence is certainly formidable. It can beat world champions at intricate games like chess and Go, or dominate at Jeopardy!. It can interpret heaps of data for us, guide ... More >
  • Amazon Echo and the internet of things that spy on you

    Is Your Router Spying On You?

    Amazon's Echo is a robot that sits in your house and listens. The virtual personal assistant can be summoned into action by saying its name, Alexa, and will then act on commands, like ordering a ... More >
  • SpaceX wants to send two rich people to the moon by 2018

    SpaceX Could Send Two Rich People To The Moon

    SpaceX is already on track to make history by becoming the first private company to carry astronauts to the International Space Station in 2018. As if that wasn't ambitious enough, SpaceX CEO Elon ... More >
Sarah Fecht
at 11:54 AM Apr 24 2017
Illustration by NASA/JPL-Caltech
Space // 

After 20 years, thousands of gorgeous photos, and a whole lot of science, the Cassini spacecraft is finally ready to retire. But there'll be no relaxing days on the beach for this old spacecraft; instead, it will go out in a blaze of glory. More specifically, NASA's planning to crash it into Saturn's atmosphere, where it will melt and vaporize.

Kendra Pierre-Louis
at 11:54 AM Apr 24 2017
Science // 

The Arctic, in our popular imagination, is a frozen expanse teetering figuratively and literally on the edges of human culture. It remains primal and wild and unsullied by human contagions. It's a nice idea, but one that doesn't match reality.

Sara Chodosh
at 11:54 AM Apr 24 2017
Chevanon Photography

About one in five Americans believes that the Sun revolves around the Earth. And if you happened to collect 12 of those people on a jury in which the orbiting properties of our solar system were up for debate, the headlines about the verdict would probably read “Earth revolves around Sun, declares American jury.” But that wouldn't make it true.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 11:54 AM Apr 24 2017
Courtney "Coco" Mault, via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Language is all about repetition. Every word you're reading was created by humans, and then used by other humans, creating and reinforcing context, meaning, the very nature of language. As humans train machines to understand language, they're teaching machines to replicate human bias.

Cici Zhang
at 11:54 AM Apr 24 2017
Pexels

Your biological clock is probably the most reliable machinery in your body: it runs 24-7 to regulate vital functions from sleep to metabolism and remains stubbornly steadfast when you fly across time zones. Scientists still don't know exactly how this this internal clock works. But now researchers have identified a missing gear that could offer a cure for jet lag.

Corinne Iozzio
at 11:54 AM Apr 24 2017
Viryl Technologies
Gadgets // 

Just over two years ago, Rob Brown was transfixed by an eBay auction. He and colleagues Chad Brown (no relation) and James Hashmi were bidding on a record pressing machine. It was the only one the new entrepreneurs could find, and it was in the middle of nowhere—in Russia. No one knew if it worked, or could even be refurbished back into working order. Yet, the bidding was feverish: Brown's team walked away, but the press ultimately sold for some $60,000.

Sara Chodosh
at 11:54 AM Apr 24 2017
Wellcome Images

We eliminated measles in the U.S. in 2000. Somebody should tell the measles. Because even though the virus has no permanent home stateside, it keeps getting in—more and more, it seems.

Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer
at 11:54 AM Apr 24 2017
CNSA

At 7:41 p.m. local time, the Tianzhou 1 robotic cargo ship blasted off on a Long March 7 rocket from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on Hainan Island. Now in orbit, it will soon rendezvous with the Tiangong 2 space station, in yet another first for the Chinese space program.

Rob Verger
at 11:54 AM Apr 24 2017
Google

On Thursday, Google announced that its Home smart hub device can now recognize and identify up to six different users by the sound of their voice. It's an inevitable—but crucial—step in the development of smart home virtual assistants. The new skill means that different people in a household will be able to ask the Google Assistant questions about what's on their calendar, or what their commute looks like, and the Home device will know who is speaking to it and give tailored responses. It'll make it a more streamlined experience for families sharing a smart home speaker hub.

Sarah Fecht
at 11:54 AM Apr 24 2017
ESA/Hubble, NASA

Although the night sky often seems so peaceful and still, a closer look reveals constant movement and change. The Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) in California looks for ephemeral phenomena in the heavens, like stars that fluctuate in brightness, or planets passing in front of their stars.

Claire Maldarelli
at 11:12 AM Apr 18 2017
Pixabay
Science // 

Vegetables are an incredibly healthy source of fuel—nutrient-packed and light on the calories. There's no question about that. And they're jam-packed with essential vitamins. But like any food, there's perhaps a million ways one can eat them: raw, steamed, baked, and even fried. But some enthusiasts claim that the process of cooking vegetables causes them to lose a portion of their nutritious value. Is this true? What's the most nutritious way to eat your veggies?

Rachel Feltman
at 11:12 AM Apr 18 2017
Marvin Altamia
Nature // 

In watching the giant shipworm Kuphus polythalamia ooze out of its shell like Tim Burton's idea of cake frosting, a few words might spring into your mind. "Science fiction plague," perhaps, or "dear god, why have you forsaken us," or "put that thing back where it came from, so help me." But Margo Haygood, a research professor in medicinal chemistry at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy, gushes that the worm is "the prize, the unicorn" of the shipworm world.

Sarah Fecht
at 11:12 AM Apr 18 2017
OceanGate
Science // 

Stockton Rush wants to take explorers into the deep sea. Not just scientific researchers or military personnel, but regular (well, wealthy) travelers on a quest of discovery. But don't call them tourists.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 11:12 AM Apr 18 2017
Phil Schmitten, United States Department of Defense, via Wikimedia Commons

So, the Pentagon used a massive bomb against caves in eastern Afghanistan that currently house ISIS fighters, and previously housed insurgents fighting against British rule in the 19th century and mujahadeen fighting against Soviet control in the 20th century. For centuries, the caves of Afghanistan have made it difficult for outsiders to control the country. But in the early 21st century, the United States considered developing a brand new weapon to nullify these ancient defenses. The “Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator” was an earthquake in a can, a nuclear bomb designed to seal the caves once and for all.

Rob Verger
at 11:12 AM Apr 18 2017
Google Research

Google went big on art this week. The company launched a platform to help people who are terrible at art communicate visually. It also published research about teaching art to another terrible stick-figure drawer: a neural network.

 
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