The Star that 'Nearly' Hit EarthAround 70,000 years ago, earth was a pretty bleak place. Homo erectus had just gone extinct, and we were all in mourning. But while we were distracted by things like the near-extinction ... More >
This Winter Is One Of The Warmest On RecordWinter on the East Coast of the United States has been brutal, and it isn't over yet. Freezing temperatures are predicted to break even more frigid records over the next two days. Boston has been ... More >
A Super Fast Test for EbolaToday, the World Health Organization gave the green light to doctors in West Africa to use the first ever rapid test for diagnosing the Ebola virus. More >
Thermal Solar Towers Are 'Vaporising' BirdsThe Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Nevada is set to come online in March. Once completed, it will use thousands of mirrors to focus sunlight on a tower, melting millions of pounds of salt ... More >
Farmers Eye Drones For The FutureEven though humans have been farming for thousands of years, there's always a new trick to learn or a new technology to try. In modern times, these tricks often come attached to small flying ... More >
From a distance, the Hydra looks like a jet ski that's lost its rider. The result of a partnership between Al Seer Marine and 5G International, the Hydra is an unmanned surface vessel (USV) or, in common parlance, a sea drone. The vehicle debuted at the International Defense Exposition in Abu Dhabi and completed its first sea trials.
Greenhouse gas emissions, particularly those from carbon dioxide, are on the rise. They have been for a while, to the alarm of governments, activist groups, and just about anyone vaguely concerned with environmental issues around the world. Greenhouse gases get their name because they have properties that make them act like glass in a greenhouse, keeping energy from the sun concentrated in our atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise. But until now, that particular effect hadn't been observed and documented in the scientific literature. Now, it has.
Two years ago, Elon Musk had an idea. What if, instead of traveling by road, rail, air, or boat, we all travelled in giant tubes that could move pods of people at up to 800 miles per hour? He called the idea the Hyperloop and released his idea to the world hoping that someone else would do the building part, while he worked on other massive projects like Tesla and SpaceX.
If you believe Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero, the first human head transplants are just around the corner. Canavero, from the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group in Italy, claims that surgeons will be able to transplant the head of one patient onto a completely different body by 2017. Canavero outlined his ideas on what the procedure could look like in a recent publication. He plans to announce the project at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons in June.
Volcanoes are cool, but it's hard to get close to them sometimes because they are literally made out of hot lava. Drones, with their ability to carry a camera, fly into places humans shouldn't go, and not feel pain, are a great alternative for exploring the molten floor of a crater. Humans have flown drones into volcano smoke plumes, sent a rolling robot into volcanic fissures, and casually piloted quadcopters over lava flows and around craters.
Over the past 24 hours, Internet users have been locked in an intense, friendship-ending debate… over a dress. A horribly blown out image (seen below) shows a formal dress that is bright blue with black lace, yet thousands swear that they see the dress as white and gold (including many totally wrong members of the Popular Science staff). How can so many people be divided on the same picture? Fortunately, AsapSCIENCE, a weekly YouTube channel dedicated to answering the most perplexing questions about science, took on the challenge of explaining the phenomenon, in the very good video above. Their answer? A phenomenon called color constancy.
Sad news today: Leonard Nimoy has passed away at the age of 83. Nimoy was many things—an actor, a poet, a singer of hobbit songs, and someone who understood what it was like to be alienated. At Popular Science, we, like many others, will remember him best as the science officer in Star Trek. In 1967, we expounded upon why the show was the “first good television science fiction.” You can read the full article below. To the man who helped transform sci-fi we say, Go in peace.
In the October 1952 issue of Popular Science, we wrote about the fascinating, but strange, project spearheaded by 20 MIT students. They were tasked with designing new products to export to the Methanians. Before you go looking up what tiny country Methanians might call home, know that you aren't that geographically ignorant. The Methanians were a breed of aliens thought up by John E. Arnold, a mechanical engineering professor at MIT. Supposedly, they live on the fictional fourth planet of the real star Arcturus, where gravity is such that everyone weighs 11 times more than they would on earth. Instead of water there's ammonia, and the atmosphere is made of methane.
Sony made the Aibo virtual home companion for seven years. For a piece of consumer technology, that's an eternity, but even by the truncated standards of a dog's lifespan it is far too brief. Now, their robotic pets discontinued but beloved, Aibo owners are greeting the end of the technology's lifecycle in a powerfully human way: funerals. For robot dogs.
Covering over three and a half square miles, Bruce nuclear generation facility on the Eastern shore of Lake Huron houses eight nuclear reactors. It's also home to a Canadian temporary nuclear waste storage facility containing over 50,000 tons of waste. Filmed from overhead by drone, it's a sprawling expanse of snow, ice, and nondescript buildings. A serene mundanity, almost.
With cameras and face-detection software everywhere these days, what's a privacy-loving citizen supposed to do? Anti-virus software maker AVG has a proposal: eyeglasses that thwart those technologies, thanks to infrared LEDs that are invisible to the human eye, but interfere with cameras' ability to see your face. (Want to see a simple version of this in action? Press a button on your TV's remote control while pointing it at your smartphone's camera.)