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  • The Whole Brilliant Enterprise: NASA’s First 50 Years In One Interactive Graphic

    50 Years of NASA in One Infographic

    Ever since NASA established its history program in 1959, the agency has periodically compiled the world’s aeronautics advances into a single report. Assembled mostly from ... More >
  • What Sort Of Weapon Shot Down Flight MH-17?

    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 Bomber

    The US Air Force Is Working On A New Bomber

    The 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 >
  • Five Questions About The Smallpox Vials Found In Maryland

    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 >
  • Meet The Scientist Who Might End The Climate Culture Wars

    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 >
Lindsay Handmer
at 10:01 AM Jul 30 2014
Kreosan
Science // 

Taking apart a microwave and building your own ray gun is a bad idea. A really really bad idea - especially when you use it to explode a radio. But thanks to YouTube, we can watch someone else do it with no danger to ourselves. So what is really going on in the video and why aren't they getting fried?

Sarah Fecht
at 08:41 AM Jul 30 2014
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI
Space // 

A map of more than 100 geysers on the surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus has helped scientists determine where those water jets are spouting from—and the results are encouraging for scientists who want to look for life there.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 08:40 AM Jul 30 2014
Google

India's Central Bureau of Investigation is questioning an open-source map project sponsored by Google. Google's possible crime: Revealing information about sensitive military installations. Relying on locals to document the area around them, Google's contest may have documented what was known to locals but unavailable on previous maps of India.

Alexandra Ossola
at 08:40 AM Jul 30 2014
Screenshot of amazon.com by A. Ossola
Gadgets // 

This week, Amazon announced its new 3-D printing store. We were immediately giddy, imagining the endless possibilities of being able to upload any design and, in Amazon fashion, have it shipped to us in solid form overnight. But the online book purveyor that has diversified to sell basically everything on the planet seems to have squandered its opportunity to transform the 3-D printing movement; the products in its new online marketplace are not customizable, fairly expensive, and slow to be delivered. 

Douglas Main
at 08:40 AM Jul 30 2014
Wikimedia Commons

When you get a vaccine, it's typically injected into the muscle below the skin with a needle. But vaccines administered through the skin can use smaller pin-prick methods that could be useful for those afraid of needles, such as children. These cutaneous vaccines have the potential to be relatively painless, and could also possibly require less vaccine material. Unfortunately, the chemical adjuvants used in intramuscular vaccines can cause scarring and ulceration, and therefore new adjuvants for cutaneous (skin-administered) vaccines are "urgently needed," as various researchers have written. Adjuvants are chemicals like aluminum salts and oils which work by mimicking components of pathogens (like bacterial cell walls) that the immune system has evolved to recognized and react to. 

Francie Diep
at 08:40 AM Jul 30 2014
AmeriFlux
Nature // 

Crop-munching caterpillars in Brazil are no longer put off by genetically modified plants designed to kill them, Reuters reports. The report is just the latest in a series that have emerged over the past few years.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 08:40 AM Jul 30 2014
U.S. Marine Corps, via Wikimedia Commons

Additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3-D printing, is inherently creative. Materials are layered together and built up, constructing an object from powder and heat and code. In the future, the U.S. Army wants to turn this innovation to far more destructive ends, by printing new warheads.

Douglas Main
at 08:40 AM Jul 30 2014
Juanedc via Wikimedia Commons
Science // 

Who doesn't love a good mystery, especially one that stumps researchers? 

Lindsay Handmer
at 13:11 PM Jul 29 2014
Amanda Le Couteur
Science // 

Last night Sydney enjoyed an amazing winter sunset that slowly faded between endless colours. While beautiful sunsets are common, this one was particularly long lasting and photogenic. Not surprisingly, Facebook and the internet was soon awash with pictures. But what made the Sydney sunset so spectacular?

Sarah Fecht
at 12:59 PM Jul 29 2014
Mark Burchell et al., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
Space // 

There’s some evidence that microbes living inside a rock could be blasted from their home planet, travel through space, and then crash-land on a new planet relatively unscathed. Throughout the ALH84001 debate, scientists assumed fossils could also withstand the grueling journey, but it looks like nobody actually set out to test ituntil now. 

Alexandra Ossola
at 07:17 AM Jul 29 2014
Alexandra Ossola

As a traditionally Catholic country, Peru has been slower than most to accept contraceptives. Over the past decade, most citizens’ ideology has gradually stretched to accommodate the need for birth control, but emergency contraception (AKA the “morning after” pill) is still highly controversial in Peru. Although some question the pill on moral grounds, others are starting to question it based on sinister scientific findings: some of the pills are not the pill.

Noa Younse and Jer Thorp
at 07:17 AM Jul 29 2014
Office for Creative Research
Space // 

For the July issue of Popular Science, we—the Office for Creative Research—created a data visualization celebrating NASA’s long history of aerospace innovation. Since 1959, NASA has published a document called “Astronautics & Aeronautics Chronology” nearly every year, compiling news coverage of science, technology, and policy at the agency. In these compilations, NASA is reporting its own history. What kinds of stories do these documents hold? How has their language changed over the last six decades? To explore these questions, we created “The Whole Brilliant Enterprise,” a text-based visualization drawn from—by our count—4,861,706 words of NASA history.

Katie Peek
at 07:17 AM Jul 29 2014
Office for Creative Research
Space // 

Ever since NASA established its history program in 1959, the agency has periodically compiled the world’s aeronautics advances into a single report. Assembled mostly from press releases and news stories, the documents recount coverage of budget negotiations alongside milestones like the shuttle program and the moon landing. Data illustrators at the Office for Creative Research distilled the trove of reports from 11,000 pages and 4.9 million words into just over 4,000 discrete phrases. Their illustration charts the frequency of some of the most important terms, colored by topic and arranged by time, and presents a new view of how NASA took humanity to the stars.

Emily Gertz
at 12:05 PM Jul 26 2014
CountyLemonade on Flickr, CC by 2.0
Cars // 

What if your car could sense when you were falling asleep behind the wheel, and wake you up before you caused an accident? That's the notion around a sensor device being developed by Harken, a public-private European consortium.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 12:05 PM Jul 26 2014
Yinan Chen, via Wikimedia Commons
Drones // 

Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft.

 
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