China's Plan for Global WarmingPresident Xi Jinping of China announced today during a visit to the White House that China will start a national cap-and-trade program to limit greenhouse gas emissions in 2017. More >
SpaceX Test-Fires its Upgraded Falcon 9SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, which has launched satellites into orbit and carried cargo to the International Space Station and back again on multiple occasions, is getting a serious upgrade. It's ... More >
How to Build a Quantum TeleportTeleportation isn't real, at least not as it's depicted in fiction. No one has ever made a material object -- be it Harry Potter or Captain Kirk -- physically disappear from one location and ... More >
Your Seafood Might Contain Tiny Plastic ParticlesWhat goes around comes around, and that might be bad news for seafood lovers. We already know that eating fish comes with risks of ingesting metals like mercury and lead, or pesticides like DDT. A ... More >
The Army Wants To Enlist Robot MedicsThis is an understatement: Battlefields are unsafe. For troops wounded in combat, they need to get out of battle fast and to medical care. Historically that's been the role of human medics, who ... More >
A privately funded spacecraft is officially scheduled to launch to the moon in late 2017. The Google Lunar Xprize competition announced this morning that a team from Israel is the first to verify a launch contract to leave Earth. SpaceIL's spacecraft will ride to the moon on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
AVIC, the leading Chinese aviation conglomerate, unveiled a flying robot car during the September 2015 Third China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin. The Swift Gazelle (Sai Ling in Mandarin Chinese) currently weighs 100 kg, and uses its six side mounted, digitally controlled rotors to vertically takeoff and land, hover and fly, just like a helicopter. On land, the Swift Gazelle can speed off in pursuit of enemies. At its current small size, the Swift Gazelle is unmanned, which means that it can drive autonomously on the ground (and much cheaper for scouting missions), at least until a bigger Gazelle comes along for human use.
The wait is over for chemistry enthusiasts: today the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry prize was awarded to a trio of researchers, Tomas Lindahl of the Francis Crick Institute, Paul Modrich of Duke University and Aziz Sancar of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, for their mechanistic studies of of DNA repair.
Robots will be the farmers of the future. A company in Japan is building an indoor lettuce farm that will be completely tended by robots and computers. The company, named Spread, expects the factory to open in 2017, and the fully automated farming process could make the lettuce cheaper and better for the environment.
The vaginal microbiome is complex and mysterious; the bacteria that make it up vary widely between women, and change over time. One of the vaginal microbiome's functions, researchers have learned, is to stave off disease. But some are better than others at trapping pathogens. Now researchers may have discovered a particular bacterium that can stop HIV pathogens from infecting the body, which could lead to “bacterial condoms,” according to a study published yesterday in mBio, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Ever wondered who would be responsible if you were struck by a self-driving car? As of today, Volvo says it's their problem. Autoblog.com reports that if the car is a Volvo and it's running autonomously, the Swedish automaker has pledged to take on full liability for crashes in the future.
I've never piloted an aeroplane before. I've never even so much as sat in the cockpit of a moving aircraft. So I'm naturally a bit nervous when Kirk Hawkins, founder and CEO of Icon Aircraft, asks me if I want the stick. We're roughly 1,000 feet above New York's Hudson River in Icon's new A5 airplane, the Manhattan skyline rolling past on our left, the Statue of Liberty dead ahead.
Painkiller manufacturers are confused. Their drugs have maintained the same efficacy at relieving symptoms for the past 25 years, but the placebo effect has gotten stronger in drug trials conducted in the U.S., according to an analysis of 35 experiments published online ahead of print in the journal Pain. In 1996, a painkiller relieved symptoms in 27 percent more patients than a placebo; in a similar trial in 2013, it was only 9 percent, as Nature News reports. As a result, the drugs are appearing less effective during clinical trials, which means that fewer of them have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration; over the past 10 years, more than 90 percent of drugs designed to treat pain have failed in late stages of testing.
From asthma and acne to obesity and schizophrenia, the microbiome—the billions of bacteria that take up residence in and on our body—plays a crucial role in human health. However scientists are only just beginning to understand the influence that this powerful “organ” has on our bodies. The California biotech company, uBiome, has been working for several years to better understand the relationship between how much we weigh and the types of bacteria that reside inside our guts-- and is enlisting citizen scientists to help.
One of the factors that keeps electric vehicles from wide adoption is range anxiety. Though battery technologies have come a long way in the last decade, with 100 miles on a charge being common and Teslas easily topping 200 miles, people still want to know they can take off on a family vacation or a weekend away. Road trip!
For years, scientists have been trying to manipulate pig organs so that they could be transplanted into the 8,000 humans waiting for a life saving transplant. So far, that hasn't worked. But George Church, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of the biotech company eGenesis, hopes to change that; earlier this week he announced that he and his colleagues had used the gene editing tool CRISPR to modify an unprecedented number of genes in pig embryos in order to make them easier to transplant into humans. Church announced his team's work this week at a meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, which was reported by Nature News.
More patients are receiving genetic tests for mental illness to help their doctors identify which medications will be most effective. But the tests may not be all they're cracked up to be; an investigation by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, published yesterday in the Boston Globe, found questionable evidence and rife conflicts of interest in an industry unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The result, as one researcher wrote in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this year, are “claims [that] are not harmless and may be quite dangerous.”
Until now, Facebook's mission to beam internet connectivity to the world through its Internet.org philanthropic organization has been largely limited to piggy-backing on existing wireless networks on the ground. Sure, Facebook has tested Aquila, its experimental laser internet drone. But a huge announcement today by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg marks the first real piece of hardware that will bring internet to previously unconnected regions: a new satellite. That's right, Facebook is going to space.