Clay Dillow
at 06:55 AM Oct 5 2011
University of Texas
Science // 

Get ready to witness some James Bond-esque, HALO-style active camouflage action. Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have cleverly tapped the unique characteristics of carbon nanotubes and the light-bending weirdness of the mirage effect to create a kind of invisibility cloak that can be turned on and off at the flip of a switch.

Clay Dillow
at 05:54 AM Oct 5 2011

Despite how easy they make it look on TV dramas, determining time of death for a body requires a lot of difficult guesswork (unless someone is there when the person passes, of course). A range of environmental factors and other mitigating circumstances make any declaration of time of death an estimation at best. But a team of Italian scientists think they've found a built-in clock in the human nasal cavity that ticks off the minutes after a body expires, and it could make estimating the time of death a more precise exercise.

Dan Nosowitz
at 05:42 AM Oct 5 2011
Apple
Gadgets // 

Today in Cupertino, USA, Apple announced the newest version of its bajillion-selling iPhone, to be named the iPhone 4S. Like the iPhone 3GS, this is a small, mostly internal upgrade over its predecessor - a new dual-core processor here, an improved camera there - though there is a major addition in the form of Siri, a voice-command service Apple bought awhile back that allows you to ask your phone questions, or tell it to do things, in natural language. Lots of things.

Dan Nosowitz
at 03:33 AM Oct 5 2011
National Geographic
Make // 

This week on the USNational Geographic Channel, the answer to that eternal question (providing "eternal" means "since 2009 when the movie came out"): Can we really build a house like the one from Pixar's Up, able to float by balloon power alone? On an episode of popular DIY show "How Hard Can It Be?" that aired this week, a team of builders (including frequent contributorto the US version of PopSci Vin Marshall) actually built a house capable of being lifted--with people aboard--by balloons.

Clay Dillow
at 02:12 AM Oct 5 2011
NASA HQ Photo
Energy // 

NASA has awarded the single largest prize handed down in aviation history to Team Pipistrel-USA.com for designing and demonstrating its Taurus G4 electric aircraft. Per the rules of the NASA- and Google-sponsored CAFE Green Flight Challenge, Pipistrel's Taurus G4 covered 320 kilometres in less than 2 hours and did so on the electricity equivalent of less than one gallon of fuel per passenger, scoring US$1.35 million for the effort.

Nick Gilbert
at 23:53 PM Oct 4 2011
The Nobel Foundation
Science // 

A scientist from the Australian National University has, along with two American scientists, been named a Nobel Laureate for his work charting the expansion of the known universe, in particular the discovery that said expansion is happening at an increasingly fast rate.

Rebecca Boyle
at 12:10 PM Oct 4 2011
Nature/Manney et al.
Science // 

A prolonged chill in the atmosphere high above the Arctic last winter led to a mobile, morphing hole in the ozone layer, scientists report in a new paper. It's just like the South Pole hole we all studied in school, but potentially more harmful to humans - more of us live at northern latitudes. Here are five things you need to know about it.

Rebecca Boyle
at 05:15 AM Oct 4 2011
ESO/ALMA

The world's largest astronomical facility has opened its eyes, turning nearly two dozen antennae toward the heavens to study the building blocks of the cosmos. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array consists of 20 radio antennae for now, but will contain 66 by 2013, giving it a higher resolution than the Hubble Space Telescope.

Clay Dillow
at 04:20 AM Oct 4 2011
JJ Harrison via Wikimedia
Robots // 

Micro air vehicles, or MAVs, make for a tantalising option for intelligence and surveillance agencies looking to surreptitiously gather information or deliver surveillance devices without being seen. But MAVs--usually modeled after small birds or insects-- are notoriously unstable in flight and difficult to manoeuvre in cluttered environments. So the Pentagon is handing out research contracts to make the DoD's little robotic bugs more stable by making them more bug-like. Specifically, the DoD wants big bulging bug eyes and hairy wings for its MAVs.

Julie Beck
at 03:35 AM Oct 4 2011
Wikimedia Commons
Tech // 

The idea of nanorockets zipping around your body delivering drugs sounds a little Osmosis Jonesy, but German researchers have developed a less toxic fuel that might make that possible.

Clay Dillow
at 02:00 AM Oct 4 2011
NASA
Space // 

Iran's ambitious 1960s-styled plans to send a live monkey into space aboard one of the Islamic Republic's Kavoshgar-5 rockets have been suspended indefinitely, a top space official told Iranian state television today, which pretty much dashes any hopes that we might see a primate hurled into suborbital space before year's end.

Rebecca Boyle
at 06:00 AM Oct 1 2011
ESA - J. Makinen
Gadgets // 

Adventure-seekers can use all kinds of emergency beacon tech to help themselves get found in case they go missing - but in many cases, this requires sticking something in your pocket, from which it could conceivably fall out. A new antenna could instead be sewn right into your clothes, ensuring rescuers can find you so long as you're wearing something.

Rebecca Boyle
at 05:00 AM Oct 1 2011
via YouTube
Robots // 

We just can't resist, so here's one more video from the maker of the military's robotic pack animals. Check out Boston Dynamics' new AlphaDog - which was previously nicknamed BullDog - in a newly released, DARPA-sanctioned video.

Rebecca Boyle
at 03:00 AM Oct 1 2011
Lasse Jakobsen & Coen Elemans
Science // 

The only mammals that can fly are also the only mammals with a larynx that flexes at ludicrous speed, a new study shows. As bats flip and whirl toward their prey, they chirp at an accelerating rate, increasing their echolocating calls to 160-190 chirps per second. This is possible because their laryngeal muscles can contract up to 200 times per second, researchers say.

Rebecca Boyle
at 00:10 AM Oct 1 2011
via YouTube
Tools // 

We all know takeaway food sometimes requires special utensils to be eaten properly. The same is true for fish. (The food they're eating, not takeaway fish.) Below, behold the first video of a reef fish using a tool - and traveling a great distance to find it.

 
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