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  • Japan's Military Will Patrol Earth's Orbitals

    Japan's Military Will Patrol Earth's Orbitals

    Japan's military plans to take defense to the heavens in 2019. According to a report by Japan's Kyodo News Agency, Japan's Self-Defense Forces plan to add a space monitoring branch, to be ... More >
  • New Mars Rover Will Have Lasers, X-Ray Vision, And More

    New Mars Rover Does Cool Tricks

    The Curiosity rover (or Mars Science Laboratory, as NASA wonks call it) has been an immensely successful mission so far. But now NASA is planning the next mission to Mars, and today the agency ... More >
  • Milky Way Has The Mass Of 800 Billion Suns, Study Finds

    How Much Does The Milky Way?

    Astronomers have performed yet another checkup on our home galaxy, this time asking it to step on a scale. The Milky Way has a mass equal to 800 billion suns, according to the team of ... More >
  • How Did The Deadliest Strain Of Ebola Travel From Central To West Africa?

    How Ebola Continues to Spread

    Of all the strains of the Ebola virus, the Zaire strain (Zaire ebolavirus) is the deadliest. That's the species now infecting people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia; in the ... More >
  • 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 >
Lindsay Handmer
at 10:52 AM Aug 20 2014
Bompas and Parr
Science // 

British art and design duo Bompas and Parr love crazy cooking projects and lava seemed like the ideal way to give their steak a unique flavour. Teaming up with Professor Robert Wysocki from Syracuse University, they successfully cooked what they described as the best steak they have ever had. But how do you create lava, let alone control it enough to cook with it?

Francie Diep
at 09:31 AM Aug 20 2014

Maybe you've heard of King Henry VIII's tendency to blame his wives for giving birth to baby girls instead of male heirs. That the sex of a baby is somehow a mum's fault is a belief that's cropped up in a number of pre-scientific societies. It's total bull, of course. The sex of babies is random. For those conceiving in the old fashioned manner, there's no way to control the outcome.

John Silas Lankford
at 09:31 AM Aug 20 2014
Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons
Tech // 

When it opened in August 1914, the 48-mile Panama Canal provided a vital shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, transforming trade, transportation, and even wartime strategy. France began construction on the canal in the 1880s, but failed in part because malaria, yellow fever, dysentery, and other diseases claimed the lives of approximately 20,000 workers. The U.S. took over the project in 1904 and implemented some sanitation practices -- including draining wetlands and dumping oil into lakes, puddles, and streams to keep mosquitoes from breeding. Such practices would be frowned upon today, but apparently these methods saved thousands of lives in the early 1900s. In this essay from the September 1913 issue of Popular Science, Dr. John Silas Lankford from the University of Texas describes how "the country where death with grim terror reigned as king, queen and prime minister has yielded to modern methods of sanitation and has become the home of health and happiness." You can read it in its original format here.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 09:31 AM Aug 20 2014

The heavy, treaded, gun-swinging battlefield behemoths know as tanks haven't changed much since their invention a century ago. Using a crapload of armor, the tank is meant to keep soldiers inside safe from bullets and other projectiles, while shooting a cannon at anything that poses a threat. But the problem with all this armor is that it makes vehicles slow and therefore more vulnerable. DARPA wants to change that. Their new Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) initiative aims to get vehicles beyond armor, figuring out new ways to keep the people inside safe without sacrificing mobility.

Benjamin Wolfe
at 09:29 AM Aug 20 2014
Victor Kerlow
Science // 

At that moment, separated from the physical seashore by 150 miles, I began to ponder what actually accounts for the telltale flavors of the sea. People often describe the taste of uni as a meaty, in-your-face beach flavor. Nori has that green sea taste. And oysters are best when they append the bright brininess of their growing environment with their own sweet butteriness. What are the chemicals that actually create these ocean flavors?

Neel V. Patel
at 09:29 AM Aug 20 2014
Adam Rifkin/Flickr

Facial-recognition software cut its teeth on criminal mugshots, but now it offers an arguably more civic service: uniting people with potential life partners. Algorithms search for a match based on your prior dating or pet-ownership preferences. Friends accuse you of living in the past? Now you can relive it. 

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 09:29 AM Aug 20 2014
NASA Langley/David C. Bowman

Greased Lightning is part of a NASA program to make efficient hybrid-electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing aircraft. It's one of four concepts, and is the most conventional of the bunch. According to NASA, it recently flew while tethered, and untethered flight tests are planned for this fall.

Emily Gertz
at 09:27 AM Aug 20 2014
CSA/MDA/CCIN University of Waterloo

A newly released image of Antarctica offers the most complete, detailed view of the continent since 1997. The map is a mosaic of more than 3,150 individual, high-resolution readings, taken in the Southern Hemisphere's autumn of 2008, and tiled together into a coast-to-coast view of the entire continent with its coastal waters. And the results sure are pretty.

Francie Diep
at 09:27 AM Aug 20 2014
From an infographic for Foodborne Chicago by Payal Patel Designs

Those moules frites you had at the French bistro last night were delicious, but now you're feeling kind of funny. Worse than funny. Actually, you're trapped in your bathroom, suffering from food poisoning. Who are you going to tell about this?

Sarah Fecht
at 10:45 AM Aug 19 2014
Explore Mars Inc.

Mars almost definitely has water below its surface, and it’s possible that it might have life there too -- buried deep in the soil, where it’s protected from dryness, radiation and temperature extremes. Unfortunately, NASA doesn’t seem too interested in looking for it, preferring to look for "conditions" that might support life instead. But a group of aerospace and robotics engineers -- many of whom work for NASA, and one of whom even operates the Curiosity rover -- think NASA should be going with a more direct approach, and they're taking matters into their own hands.

Lindsey Kratochwill
at 10:45 AM Aug 19 2014
Brian Klutch
Gadgets // 

Fitness trackers use suites of sensors and algorithms to turn data from your training regimen into (hopefully) meaningful information about how race-ready you are. But for the rest of the time—when you’re sitting at a desk—there’s not much for devices to do. Spire, a clip-on tracker that looks like a small, silvery stone, monitors a more subtle aspect of your physiology: your breath. By measuring the small vibrations and abdominal movements caused by inhaling and exhaling, Spire’s analytics software can determine how stressed or focused you are, the company says. If you haven’t taken a deep breath in a while, Spire’s smartphone app will kindly remind you. It will even guide you through a calming exercise.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 10:45 AM Aug 19 2014
Aerosud & Paramount Group

Powered by a pusher propeller, covered in pixel camouflage, and furnished with stadium-seating for its two crew members, the Advanced High Performance Reconnaissance and Surveillance Aircraft (AHRLAC) looks like an alternate history version of a World War I fighter. The result of a collaboration between South Africa's Aerosud aviation firm and the Paramount Group, the AHRLAC is designed as a cheap alternative to the big name in military surveillance right now: drones.

Francie Diep
at 10:45 AM Aug 19 2014
Sahand Pirbadian et al., PNAS 2014
Nature // 

Power companies channel electrons around using copper wires. As it turns out, certain bacteria appear to do something similar. In the absence of oxygen, a number of common soil bacteria species grow tiny nanowires, along which they push electrons to nearby rocks. This movement of the electrons produces energy, which the bacteria use to make ATP -- the molecule all cells use to power everything they do. However, this energy production strategy is rather unusual; outside of these species, most cells, including human cells, produce their energy using internal processes, not external ones.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 10:45 AM Aug 19 2014
U.S. Navy photo taken by Mass Communications Specialist Seaman Apprentice Alex Millar

If the latest tests are any indication, humans and robots will soon fight alongside one another, against other humans and maybe other robots. Yesterday, the U.S. Navy announced the first "successful manned & unmanned aircraft flight operations" of its experimental X-47B drone. The tests were performed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt

Douglas Main
at 10:45 AM Aug 19 2014
Nature // 

I was recently alerted to a video showing a praying mantis attacking a hummingbird.

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