The Christian ScientistEditor's note: Our profile of Bill Nye [September 2014] elicited an impassioned response from readers. We received more than 100 letters, many from readers grappling with how to reconcile ... More >
Ebola Patients Need More Than MedicineThe dusty hills around Lima sprout concrete at all angles. There are many words here for the gray delineation of poverty-struck areas: áreas tugurizadas (slum zones), the less formal tugurios ... More >
Space Combat Won't Look At All Like 'Star Wars'If humanity brings war into space, what will those battles look like? Well, if our understanding of physics is anything close to correct, they won’t look at all like Star Wars. In this six ... More >
Climate Week 2014: The Wrap-UpAs Climate Week NYC slips into the rearview mirror, what can we take away? Did anything, you know, happen? More >
Wi-Fi Drones the Size of 747sIf a new Facebook plan is successful, the easiest way to access the cloud may be ... in the clouds. Facebook wants to spread Wi-Fi Internet to unconnected parts of the world with drones, and ... More >
Sure, Apple's new smart watch brings smartphone features to users' wrists, but can it fly free and take video in the air? The Nixie, which has none of the features of a watch other than wrist-wearability, is a drone for people who like robots as fashion statements, as well as aerial photography.
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 3D printer--which you may through your local library or community center--this is something you could put together in 15 minutes.
Remember those old sea monkey kits, with the pictures that made it look like you could raise tiny mermen in a fish tank? My parents never bought me one (despite my best efforts), but apparently a lot of kids were severely disappointed when their freeze-dried eggs hatched and looked like this instead:
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 waves. Then they build up in a noisy, near-constant chorus. Finally, they fade off in waves again. Take a listen:
Just when you wondered if climate change news couldn't get much worse, along comes proof that it's affected one of the fundamental forces of nature: The ice sheet covering West Antarctica lost enough mass between 2009 and 2012 to cause a measurable dip in the region's gravity field.
Every mechanic knows that moving parts break down over time, and David Weiner, founder of Priority Bicycles, knows it better than most. Weiner spent six years as a bike mechanic in his hometown of Walnut Creek, California, and much of his job was spent fixing the same handful of problems: tuning derailleurs, adjusting brakes, greasing chains, and replacing flat tires.
Editor's note: Our profile of Bill Nye [September 2014] elicited an impassioned response from readers. We received more than 100 letters, many from readers grappling with how to reconcile scientific concepts like climate change with religion. We asked climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian, why science doesn't have to conflict with faith.
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 be fascinating, even if some of them are not applicable to everyday life… yet.
Inspecting a ship’s cargo is a dull, tedious, time-consuming task. So a pair of researchers at MIT, including graduate student Sampriti Bhattacharyya and her advisor Harry Asada, created a small robot that resembles a squished foam ball to inspect ship cargo quickly, cheaply, and silently. They presented their findings earlier this month at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.
Cryan's research, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that certain species of tree-roosting bats are more likely to be killed by wind turbines when the blades are moving at low speeds. By tracking the bats with thermal surveillance cameras, near-infrared video, acoustic detectors, and radar, the researchers discovered that bats tend to approach turbines from downwind, particularly when the turbines spin slowly relative to the wind speeds around them. This led researchers to theorize that the wind currents around slow moving turbines may resemble those created by trees, where the bats gather to roost and hunt insects.