Automakers are doing all sorts of things to cars to make them smarter and more autonomous, as regular readers are aware. Here's a new one: General Motors wants to take self-parking cars to a new level, letting them drop off their drivers and go off in search of empty spaces on their own. It'll be more fuel-efficient than having humans circle the block waiting for a spot to open up, GM says.
The brain is one of the most enigmatic and incredible organs in the human body, and so is unsurprisingly one of the hardest ones to explain. When you're trying to explain how it works towards kids, though, you have an even harder task ahead of you. Scientists recently tried their hand at making videos to help teach children about the brain in new and effective ways. And also by using rap music.
Our growing space junk problem could become an orbiting spare satellite parts sale if DARPA has its way. The DoD's research arm has launched a new program, appropriately titled Phoenix, to create new satellites from the decommissioned and dead satellites currently sitting idle in geosynchronous orbit some 35,000 kilometres above the Earth.
Even hermit crabs aren't immune to swings in their own ecological economies. A global shortage of shells is leaving the entire species short on housing, and the DIY design community over at Makerbot isn't having it. Stepping in to bring shelter to the shell-less, Makerbot has launched Project Shellter along with artist in residence Miles Lightwood to crowdsource new shell designs that can be fabricated on Makerbot's 3D printers.
A majority of people surveyed in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States support studying ways to reflect sunlight as a method to cool the planet, according to a new study. Researchers at Harvard and two Canadian universities say nearly three-quarters of survey respondents approved research into geoengineering.
Last year, as climate change deniers were up in arms over the so-called "Climategate" controversy involving alleged manipulation of climate data, one sceptical scientist proposed taking a fresh look. Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California-Berkeley and a self-described climate skeptic, undertook to review the temperature data underlying most global warming studies. Now his team has wrapped up their work, and it apparently solidifies the other studies' findings.
Smart young people may want to pay close attention to the latest research coming from Britain on the topic of IQ - one newly released study is indicating that the intelligence quota of a teenager can shift up and down over time based on how different parts of their brain develop.
He was the infamous leader and self-proclaimed “King of Kings”, whose 42-year dictatorship was condemned by the world. For the last few months of his life, while the Kingdom of Libya was in civil turmoil, Colonel Gaddafi never made a phone call - until right before he was killed.
Early every morning, before dawn if he can, Hashim Al-Hashimi goes running. Six miles, rain or shine, summer heat or bitter Michigan cold (Al-Hashimi works at the University of Michigan in the US). His chosen route is hilly for a reason. Just at the uphill crests-when the muscle pain is sharpest and the body most wants to quit-that's when his mind is sharpest. "Most of my thinking is at the top of a hill," he says.
Now here's a fun little thing - while those of us in NSW are still wondering about the long term viability of the household solar cell rebate scheme, it's good to know you can at least make a little money by green charging your phone, thanks to gadgets like the Changers solar charger.
Two scientists at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, U.S.A discussed the state of xenotransplantation--the use of cells, organs, or tissue from one animal in another--in a review in The Lancet. In that review, they touch on the history of one particular subject: pig-to-human transplants. Their conclusion? Clinical trials of pig-to-human transplants could begin in just a few years.
China may only have 30 percent of the rare earths in the world, but they essentially have a monopoly--which the rest of the world has been tirelessly trying to work around. (To wit: Japan looks to Vietnam, the U.S. looks to California and Missouri, everyone looks under the sea.) In a slightly devilish business move, China sought to tighten their grip and raise prices by eliminating all sales to its major buyers, the U.S., Japan, and Europe, for one month.
When it comes to planetary formation, water is often one of the trickiest questions scientists find themselves trying to answer. Where is space did it come from, and how on earth did it end up on... well, Earth? It seems we might have the glimmering of a solution, after scientists observed a nascent solar system surrounded by a cloud of water vapour – enough to populate several thousand Earths.
Robert Bigelow is not a small name in the space world. His company Bigelow Aerospace is a pioneer of inflatable spacecraft, and the company has made waves with its plans for an inflatable, orbiting space hotel (not coincidentally, Bigelow's fortunes come from his ownership of the Budget Suites motel chain). So when he says something about the future of space travel, we listen. On the other hand, when he says that China is planning to take over the moon circa 2025, we listen, but with scepticism.