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.

Nick Gilbert
at 13:24 PM Sep 30 2011
Jeff.Dlouhy, Flickr, used under Creative Commons
Science // 

Two Aussie scientists today pulled a couple of prizes from the annual IgNobel Prizeawards, one for studying why some beetles mistake beer bottles for their mates, and another for looking into how much the need to urinate impacts our ability to think.

Clay Dillow
at 13:15 PM Sep 30 2011
Fermilab via Ars
Energy // 

Tomorrow American high-energy physics centre Fermilab will power down their Tevatron particle collider for the final time, marking the end of an era. But for some, that era is so over anyhow. Hadrons, like last season's handbag, have had their time in the spotlight. The next hot trend in physics is muons, and all the cool kids know it. That's why Fermilab physicists are already taking a hard look at muon colliding technologies as a possible next move in the game of international physics research.

Clay Dillow
at 13:12 PM Sep 30 2011
Geiger et al. via arXiv

Atom interferometers are neat little devices that exploit the wave characters of atoms to make highly precise measurements of things like distance or the force of gravity. But because they are fickle by nature--even the smallest vibrations distort their results--atom interferometers have been mostly limited to highly controlled experiments that take place in either underground labs or in free-falling zero-g experiments. But a team of French researchers has announced today the first use of an atom interferometer to measure the acceleration of an airplane.

Clay Dillow
at 10:19 AM Sep 30 2011
CCTV via SPACE
Space // 

At 9:16 p.m. local time--that was at 9:16 a.m. eastern time here in the U.S.--China successfully lofted its first inhabitable space station module into orbit on the back of a Long March 2F launch vehicle, marking a milestone for both the People's space program and for the Party's geopolitical ambitions. China--the third nation (behind the U.S.A. and Russia) to independently launch manned missions into space aboard homegrown technology--now joins the old Cold War powers as the third nation to put a space station into orbit.

Nick Gilbert
at 09:44 AM Sep 30 2011
Kat m research, Flickr, Creative Commons

A new study has found that the number of cases in New Zealand of necrotising fasciitis, more commonly known by the much more homely name 'flesh eating disease', has climbed significantly over a sixteen year period.

Dan Nosowitz
at 09:12 AM Sep 30 2011
Improbable Research
Science // 

UPDATE: It's all over, folks. Having said that, you can watch the entire unedited showcase beneath the fold. Or, you can read about the Australian scientists who were IgNobel-ly awarded here.

 
Sign up for the Pop Sci newsletter
Australian Popular Science
ON SALE 01 FEBRUARY
PopSci Live