Europe's Mars Lander Is Probably DeadMars has apparently claimed another robotic explorer. Europe's Schiaparelli Mars lander is most likely dead on arrival, after something went wrong during its parachute flight and its hover-rockets ... More >
Kodak Will Make A Camera-Focused SmartphoneWhen you think of Kodak, the words "Android smartphone" don't usually come to mind. But that may change: the camera company is shifting its gaze from film and disposable cameras to letting you ... More >
Speech Recognition Hits Human LevelsSpeech recognition software isn't perfect, but it is a little closer to human this week, as a Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research team reached a major milestone in speech-to-text ... More >
Maybe Alien Life Runs On Cosmic RaysEarth is very much powered by the sun. Beams of photons shoot down at us, dumping their energy into green plants. Then we eat the plants, or we eat the animals that eat the plants (or so on, up ... More >
Loading the Dice for Megadrought RiskAs the American Southwest grows hotter, the risk of severe, long-lasting megadroughts rises, passing 90 percent likelihood by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their ... More >
Astronomers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Arizona State University are developing the most sensitive millimeter-wavelength polarimetric camera on Earth, called TolTEC. The camera will use 7,000 detectors across three different bands in the electromagnetic spectrum. When it's completed, it'll be coupled with the 164-foot diameter Large Millimeter Telescope, the world's largest single-dish steerable millimetre-wavelength telescope, which is located in Puebla, Mexico.
If climate change were an action thriller, CO2 would have a starring role as the fallen hero. A judicious dose of the heat-trapping gas keeps our planet cozy. Over the last century, CO2 has grown in power and slipped towards the dark side — flooding cities, shriveling farmland and conjuring up über-powerful storms.
There are few better infiltrators that insects. Small, flexible, and ubiquitous, bugs are easy to overlook. Surely, one might think, there's a way to turn that creepy-crawly ability into a military surveillance tool. DARPA, the Pentagon's future-projects wing, has decades of experience looking into insects, or insect-sized robots, as spy machines, and not only that, this investigation predates DARPA.
By this time of year, most gardeners in the United States have pulled out their summer annual flowers like vincas and petunias to make way for the showy fall pansies and violas. Perennials such as asters and stonecrops, on the other hand, are thriving exactly where they were planted years ago. While the annuals take extensive effort in terms of harvesting, planting and fertilizing, perennials need only be cut back after they die, springing back up, unbidden, year after year.
Iridescent flowers are common in nature. Their sparkly petals attract bees' attention, tempting them to come over and pollinate the flower. But why would leaves be iridescent? This is the question Heather Whitney, a plant scientist at University of Bristol, asked while studying iridescent flowers.
In August, astronomers revealed that the nearest star system to the sun, Alpha Centauri, possesses a world roughly 1.3 times Earth's mass. Alpha Centauri consists of three stars — Alpha Centauri A, Alpha Centauri B, and a small red dwarf named Proxima Centauri — and this newfound planet appears to call Proxima Centauri home.
If you were on the internet this week, as you may have been if you're reading this, then you probably noticed some sites are having trouble loading, and others are not working at all. There's a good reason for that. Well, not a good reason, but a clear, obvious reason: someone is attacking the internet, and they're succeeding.
City dwellers' favorite scruffy friend, the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), causes $19 billion dollars in damages around the world every year. Yet for an animal that is responsible for so much havoc, we know surprisingly little about it. Including how it came to own the globe (we just think we're in control). So a team of researchers from Fordham University conducted the first ever large-scale genomic study of the brown rat, and created a rough map of the routes the rodent immigrant took to every continent except Antarctica. It was published this week in the Royal Society's journal Proceedings B.
At some point in our evolutionary history, our Homo sapiens ancestors had sex with Neanderthals. Those cross-species trysts are the reason why almost everyone has a little bit of Neanderthal DNA in them today. Now, a new study published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution suggests that in addition to genetic material, the ancient hominids may have given us a common sexually-transmitted infection: A version of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that also causes cervical and oral cancers.
If you're a tech company, you know you've screwed up bad when President Obama is taking shots at your latest product. Samsung's newest handset, the Galaxy Note 7, was released to stellar reviews followed by its very sudden downfall. While many claim the phone was Samsung's best yet, reports of the device catching fire tainted the company's image. Then, a recall was hampered by the "fixed" phones also catching on fire. Samsung may have to wait until the 2017 release of their Galaxy S8 before it can salvage from the flames whatever is left of the brand. But in the meantime, POTUS will have something to say about the South Korean company.
For decades, people have used medical marijuana (or just plain toked up a doob) to ease chronic pain. But can sick pets get the same relief from weed? Several companies now sell cannabis-based products intended for our best friends, according to a New York Times report. It seems pet owners are administering these products to relieve pain, limit seizures, and even reduce anxiety (however that's measured) in dogs, cats and other species.
In the Jiangnan Changxing shipyards, one of China's largest shipyards, the next generation of Chinese warships is taking shape. The first Type 055 destroyer began construction in 2015 and is expected to have a full displacement of over 14,000 tons. This would make it the largest non-capital surface warship built in Asia since the World War II era Imperial Japanese Tone class cruisers. The Type 055 will be launched in late 2017 or early 2018, making it not just one of the most powerful warships in Asia, but the world.