60 Years On: The Silver Ball That Shook the WorldIt was 8:07 p.m. on a Friday night in Riverhead, Long Island, when the operators at an RCA Communications outpost picked up a signal that had never been heard before on Earth. A sharp, insistent ... More >
How Your Smartwatch Tracks Your SwimLast week I splashed into an underground university pool with an Apple Watch Series 3. As the company's wearable has matured, Apple has marketed it more and more as a fitness device, one that's, ... More >
The Radio Pulse No Astronomer Can ExplainLong ago, 15 bright radio pulses emerged from a dwarf galaxy about 3 billion light years away from Earth. Last Saturday, a telescope in a remote area of West Virginia picked up those signals from ... More >
Is This The First Maths Textbook?Some researchers say the Babylonians invented trigonometry—and did it better. A long-debated tablet known as Plimpton 332, featuring 3,700-year-old scrawls from a Mesopotamian scribe, is the ... More >
Does Science Think You're An Alcoholic?The trouble with alcohol is that it's everywhere. We don't treat any other drug the way we treat alcohol, marijuana included, and in part that's because we mostly don't think of it as a drug. It's ... More >
Before any medication, vaccine, or other drug therapy reaches human use, it goes through extensive testing in the lab—often in animals, and typically in mice. This step in the evaluation process is extremely important. The way a drug affects a cluster of cells in a Petri dish often has little to do with the way it will behave inside a living organism, where multiple organ systems are at play.
The problem with dogs is that they're a lot like babies that never grow up. This is both a great strength and a huge annoyance, mostly because they can't talk. Researchers who study infant learning and behavior have to rely on other cues, like how long subjects look at an object, because asking them questions is just a big waste of time. Dogs are the same, and that makes it very difficult to come to definitive conclusions about their behavior and what it means.
Hollywood's latest disaster flick, “Geostorm,” is premised on the idea that humans have figured out how to control the Earth's climate. A powerful satellite-based technology allows users to fine-tune the weather, overcoming the ravages of climate change. Everyone, everywhere can quite literally “have a nice day,” until—spoiler alert!—things do not go as planned.
Every year at its Max conference, Adobe gives "sneak peeks" at new tech that will one day make its way into apps like Photoshop, and its video editing software Premiere. These demos gave us our first look at Adobe's seemingly magic Content Aware Fill tool, which automatically replaces objects when you Photoshop them out. This year's tech demos show off some truly impressive image editing feats, all of which is powered by the machine learning tech Adobe calls Sensei. Here are some of the most impressive.
Before the mile run each year in middle school, on the dreaded walk down from the classroom to the course, my classmates would argue over the best way to prevent a side stitch. More so than turning an ankle or coming in last, that repetitive stabbing pain is what the majority of us dreaded most. Our cures ranged across the map from taught techniques, like breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth and not eating for three hours prior, to my favorite: Punching yourself in the stomach at the slightest hint of pain (don't try it, it doesn't work).
Earlier this year, the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations reported that a cold case of nearly 14 years had finally been cracked. In 2015, a woman who was attacked by her Air Force instructor in 2000 had been able to describe a family portrait she noticed in his home. The instructor denied that it had ever hung on his wall—until the prosecution projected a photo of his family sitting on their living room sofa with the portrait visible behind them.
Bugs, well, bug a lot of people. There's nothing quite as irritating as a fly buzzing around a room (except, perhaps, the constant itching of a bug bite). It's hard to look at a mosquito, with its habit of spreading diseases like malaria and Zika, and not think we'd be better off without them.
Your smartphone is powered by a chip. The new iPhones, including the upcoming iPhone X, use one called an A11 Bionic, and other handsets, like the Pixel 2, pack a Snapdragon 835. But chips in modern phones are not homogeneous pieces of silicon—they have specialised components, or hardware blocks, on them. Because of these multiple elements, processors like these are referred to as a “system on a chip.” One of those blocks is the image signal processor, which takes the data from your camera and makes it into a photograph. Another part of the chip is the graphics processing unit, or GPU, and it's responsible for an increasing number of your phone's fanciest features.
Two city-sized orbs dance through their galaxy. Their dense mass, each equivalent to a star, spins the partners as they get closer and closer together, grazing the outer limits of their other half's being. For 100 breathless seconds, their pas de deux of anticipation sends gravitational shivers through the universe.
This month, Northern California experienced some of the worst fires it's ever had, killing dozens of people and leaving thousands without homes. The ongoing fires started in Napa and Sonoma counties and spread to Mendocino and Solano, all regions world-renowned for their wine. While it's certainly far from the biggest concern in the midst of such tragedy, some are wondering how the local grapes—and the local wine industry—will fare in the wake of the fire.
Back in the film photography days, different films produced distinct “looks”—say, light and airy or rich and contrasty. An experienced photographer could look at a shot and guess what kind of film it was on by looking at things like color, contrast, and grain. We don't think about this much in the digital age; instead, we tend to think of raw digital files as neutral attempts to recreate what our eyeballs see. But, the reality is that smartphone cameras have intense amounts of processing work happening in the background. Engineers are responsible for guiding that tech to uphold an aesthetic. The new Google Pixel 2 phone uses unique algorithms and a dedicated image processor to give it its signature style.