Which Weapon Shot Down Flight MH-17?Earlier today, Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Eastern Ukraine, killing all 295 people on board. Following Ukraine's ouster ... More >
The US Air Force Is Working On A New BomberThe U.S. Air Force is quietly ramping up spending on a future bomber, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service published earlier this month. The Air Force also sent ... More >
Should We Worry About That Smallpox?Earlier this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced something surprising: Federal researchers discovered six 60-year-old vials with smallpox virus in them. The vials ... More >
Can This Scientist End The Climate Culture Wars?Texas Tech professor Katharine Hayhoe is among the American Geophysical Union's 2014 award-winners for science communication, announced on July 3. "She's someone who has been tireless in having ... More >
First Exosekelton Approved for SaleA motorized exoskeleton, designed to help paralyzed people walk again, just earned U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. It is the first such device to do so. The device, called ReWalk, ... More >
Putting his original bi-copter hoverbike design on hold for now, Chris Malloy has a new innovative overlapping quadcopter design nearing completion. Of course flight testing a hoverbike costs real money, so the team is raising funds by selling 1/3 scale models directly, as well as running a Kickstarter campaign. Well on the way to meeting their goals, we are already envisioning beating the traffic to work on our own hoverbike.
Gadzooks! The world's largest aquatic insect has reportedly been found in China. This cute/terrifying little creature, which is definitely worth writing home about, was found in the the mountains of Chengdu in Sichuan province, Scientific American reports. It boasts a wingspan of 8.3 inches. That breaks the previous record held by a species of South American helicopter damselfly, with a wingspan of 7.5 inches. (Helicopter damselflies, by the by, feed on spiders, one species of which makes fake spiders in its web, likely to scare the predators away.)
Generations before anyone came up with the idea of "citizen science," an 18-year-old Richard Hendrickson called in his first weather report to what was then the U.S. Weather Bureau. That was in 1929. Hendrickson is now 101 years old and has provided the National Weather Service with twice-daily observations from his Long Island farm for 84 years.
Following the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over separatist-held eastern Ukraine, Russian state-owned media started focusing a lot on a strange little plane. The Sukhoi Su-25 "Frogfoot" is a jet fighter from the late Cold War, designed to support ground troops from closer overhead, and in the MH17 tragedy, what the Su-25 can and can't do is a centerpiece of Russian denials.
Forty-five years ago, on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the first footprints on the Moon, and it was epic. Popular Science covered this enormous achievement with an article by Wernher von Braun– a German-born engineer, now known as "The Father of Rocket Science," who built the Saturn V launch vehicle that brought Apollo to the Moon. In our July 1969 issue, he described the plans for Armstrong and Aldrin's two-hour rendevous with the Moon.
Late last month, something extraordinary happened at the edge of the rainforest in Acre, Brazil. Members of an uncontacted Amazonian tribe voluntarily approached scientists from the Brazilian government, Science magazine reports. This is the first time in decades that an uncontacted community chose to meet with outsiders.
Desert woodrats are picky, but not in the way you might expect: several woodrat populations in the U.S. Southwest specifically eat a type of highly toxic creosote bush. Another group eats juniper, which is also toxic to many animals. This gives the woodrats (Neotoma lepida) a nice niche, allowing them to dine on a plant that others avoid. But how do they do it? A new study suggests that the microbes in their gut break down the toxic chemicals in the plants, which had been hypothesized but not clearly shown until now.
On Thursday, July 18th, Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 was struck by a missile. The United States believes the missile was a Soviet-designed Buk, and American infrared satellites pinpoint the location of that missile's launch to territory in Eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists. Is it possible that, while Cold War technology launched the missile, and modern technology identified where it was launched, future laser technology could shoot missiles out of the sky?
What is this fuzzy creature? Sadly, it's not pettable. This is a microscope image of a fruit fly embryo, showing the individual cells within it. That's 2,458 cells, to be exact. The bottom image shows each cell in a different color, with lines to show how those cells moved around.
Research strongly suggests that camels carry Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a viral illness that has sickened nearly 700 and killed at least 209 people as of early June, according to the latest update from the World Health Organization. For this reason, the government of Saudi Arabia recently warned people to stay away from close contact with camels, at least those that appear to be sick, which prompted some to defiantly post photos of themselves kissing camels on various social media sites.
Do you wonder what doing climate science in remote locations might be like? Read the Greenland Thaw blog, which is being updated regularly from the fjords of northwest Greenland, where the giant island's glaciers meet the ocean. With Greenland's ice sheets melting faster than ever, the study's scientists want to document and understand why the Alison Glacier, on Greenland’s northwestern coast, is flowing to the sea faster than other glaciers in the area.
Turns out, a few oral sunscreens already exist, based on the theory that antioxidants offer sun protection. Laboratory studies provide some evidence in support of this idea. When scientists feed vitamin E to hairless mice, the animals show less skin damage upon exposure to ultraviolet light. Dermatologist Salvador González Rodríguez has studied an extract made from a fern called Polypodium leucotomos. The substance, which is high in antioxidants, may decrease sun-related DNA damage in humans, he says. But as a consultant for a Spanish company that makes an oral sunscreen, Rodríguez has skin in the game, so to speak. And he admits that oral sunscreens don’t work that well when measured in the standard ways: “If we evaluate protection in terms of how conventional sunscreens are evaluated, then antioxidant-based oral sunscreens provide very low SPF.”
When it comes to thunderheads, lightning is the great equalizer. Essentially a giant spark, lightning relieves the charge differentials that build up in storm systems. But it’s also one of the greatest mysteries in atmospheric science. Recently, scientists have started to explore lightning’s lesser-known siblings, which appear in ash plumes, labs, and even on other planets.
In the most advanced prosthetics--such as this crazy mind-controlled robotic arm--electronic hardware interfaces directly with nerves and muscles in the human body. But getting living tissue to play nice with a circuit board is anything but easy, for a number of reasons. One fundamental obstacle you may not have considered: electronics send signals via negatively charged electrons, whereas many of the communications carried out in living tissues take place through the movement of positively-charged particles, such as calcium and potassium ions.