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  • How You'll Die On Mars

    How You'll Die On Mars

    We're on our way to Mars. NASA has a plan to land astronauts on its surface by the 2030s. Private spaceflight companies like SpaceX have also expressed interest in starting their own colonies ... More >
  • Could This Hydrogen-Powered Drone Work?

    Could This Hydrogen-Powered Drone Work?

    The biggest physical constraint on small drones is their power supply. Batteries can only hold so much energy, and as adding more batteries to a drone also increase the weight of that drone, there ... More >
  • Brain-Controlled Bionic Legs Are Finally Here

    Brain-Controlled Bionic Legs Are Finally Here

    For a full decade, Gudmundar Olaffson was unable to move his right ankle. That's because it wasn't there. Olafsson's amputated lower leg was the delayed casualty of an accident from his childhood ... More >
  • US Air Force Wants Planes With Laser Cannons

    US Air Force Wants Planes With Laser Cannons

    According to the Air Force, the future of war in the sky is lasers. Lasers on new jet fighters are a future goal, but there's lower-hanging fruit in the world of science fiction weapons that the ... More >
  • Will This Be The Year 4K Catches Fire?

    Will This Be The Year 4K Catches Fire?

    People have a tendency to simplify things down to numerical comparisons. If you cast your mind back to the 1990s, you might remember the "Megahertz Wars," where PC manufacturers seemed to debut a ... More >
Jason Tetro
at 11:31 AM May 27 2015
Source: Wikipedia; Modifications: Jason Tetro

Long before rapid analysis of bacterial cultures, the most common way to quickly determine the nature of a bacterial culture was to smell it. Just open up the petri dish or the test tube, inhale and the odors would provide some clues as to which species were growing inside. Pseudomonas aeruginosa has a distinct grape smell. Escherichia coli has a distinct fecal odor. Then there are the staphylococci. Staphylococcus aureus smells like decomposition while S. epidermis smells like old sweat.

Dan Moren
at 11:31 AM May 27 2015
Panasonic
Gadgets // 

People have a tendency to simplify things down to numerical comparisons. If you cast your mind back to the 1990s, you might remember the "Megahertz Wars," where PC manufacturers seemed to debut a machine every few months with an ever faster processor. A similar war has been waged—and continues to this day—in digital cameras, where every successive generation of device boasts more megapixels, despite the fact that other factors—such as the lens or size of the sensor—now bear much more heavily on the ultimate quality of the image.

Mary Beth Griggs
at 11:31 AM May 27 2015
Nature // 

Last week, a swarm of 150 bats was released near a cave complex in Hannibal, Missouri. Each of the furry fliers was a medical marvel--they were survivors of the devastating fungal infection known as White-Nose Syndrome, which has killed millions of bats since it emerged 10 years ago.

AthertonKD
at 11:31 AM May 27 2015
Witold Mielniczek, via Kickstarter
Drones // 

Armored sarcophagi crawling over road and ruin, impervious to the slings and arrows of their foes, tanks are defined by their weight. Aircraft, by the very necessity of flight, are lighter affairs, balancing the need for powerful engines with a body that can get off the ground. Still, that hasn't stopped people from dreaming of flying tanks. Now, thanks to a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, tank-bodied quadcopters exist.

Loren Grush
at 11:31 AM May 27 2015
NASA
Space // 

At the beginning of the year, NASA got some exciting news from the Obama Administration: The space agency is finally getting funding to send a probe to Jupiter's moon Europa by the mid-2020s. With a subsurface ocean suspected to be lingering underneath its icy crust, Europa is one of the top candidates in our solar system for finding extraterrestrial life. And NASA hopes its probe can figure out if conditions are right for little aliens to exist.

Mary Beth Griggs
at 11:31 AM May 27 2015
Energy // 

Renewable energy is the future. All over the world cities and countries are vowing to go quit fossil fuels and commit to getting their energy fix from 100 percent renewable sources.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 11:31 AM May 27 2015
Duncan W. Haldane, and Ronald S. Fearing
Robots // 

Ever turned on a light at night in summer and watched roaches scatter, and then subsequently thought, “You know, what I'd really like is if these roaches were both faster and robots”? Well, weird-thought-haver, you are in luck. Made by researchers at UC Berkeley, the X2-VelociRoach is the super-fast robot roach of your dreams (or nightmares). Oh, and it can launch other flying robots, too.

Mary Beth Griggs
at 11:31 AM May 27 2015
Science // 

People have taken inspiration from ancient Egypt for years. There's something about the papyrus, pyramids, and pharaohs that have an indescribable allure. Then again, it might just be that we are fascinated with mummies.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 11:31 AM May 27 2015
William Cho, via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

According to the Air Force, the future of war in the sky is lasers. Lasers on new jet fighters are a future goal, but there's lower-hanging fruit in the world of science fiction weapons that the Air Force hopes to reach first: why not mount the lasers on heavier and relatively more spacious gunships?

Loren Grush
at 11:31 AM May 27 2015
REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout

We're on our way to Mars. NASA has a plan to land astronauts on its surface by the 2030s. Private spaceflight companies like SpaceX have also expressed interest in starting their own colonies there, while the infamous Mars One project has, if nothing else, demonstrated there are thousands of people willing to sign up for a one-way trip.

Chandra Clarke
at 11:31 AM May 27 2015
Photo Credit: Barry Peters via Wikimedia Commons
Nature // 

Sharks: Fast, fierce, and fascinating, they, and their ocean-going relatives, chimaeras and rays, are an important part of the marine ecosystem. But they are also greatly misunderstood and feared; some species have declined to near extinction in recent years. A new website called SharkBase wants to help change that.

Sarah Fecht
at 11:46 AM May 26 2015
NASA
Science // 

Thousands of Chicagoans will take to the streets next week to celebrate the 2,600th anniversary of science.

Alexandra Ossola
at 10:32 AM May 25 2015
Tech // 

In what has been called an “act of evil,” four people were murdered on May 14 in a mansion in Washington, D.C. At first glance, the crime appeared to be motivated by money and seemed to be random, so investigators didn't have much information to go on when trying to identify a suspect. But then, a stroke of luck: Police uncovered a box of Domino's pizza, one of two that was delivered to the house when the victims were being held hostage.

By Jason Cipriani
at 10:32 AM May 25 2015

The whole point of virtual reality is to offer up the feeling of being transported into another world. But currently, avatar facial expressions fail to live up to VR's promise. Interacting with another human in a VR realm has more closely resembled a conversation with Zoltar, the infamous robotic fortune teller.

Brooke Borel
at 10:32 AM May 25 2015
Nature // 

When my book Infested came out last month, I got an email from a reader in Toronto—an entomologist named Sam Bryks. He generally liked the book, he said, but he wished I had focused more on a process called Integrated Pest Management.

 
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