When light from an exploding star in the Large Magellanic Cloud reached Earth in 1987, it was the closest supernova explosion astronomers had witnessed in centuries. Now Supernova 1987a is making history again, this time as the youngest supernova remnant that can be seen from Earth.
A new base-jumping robot can climb vertical walls, flip open a parachute and jump off, parasailing to the ground while capturing video of the trip. It's the first compact robot that can both climb and fly, two characteristics that will serve it well when the robots take over the world and need to penetrate humanity's defenses.
Nike just announced that it's bringing the famed self-tying, light-up sneakers from Back to the Future II to market as a limited edition, under the name Nike Air Mag. They're not tech-free, boasting some flashy LED lighting, but everyone knows the main draw of the movie's shoes was the self-tying--and these shoes could have been so much more futuristic. It may not be 2015, the year depicted in the movie, just yet, but that doesn't mean we don't deserve self-tying shoes right now, dammit. Here are some possible routes to the true self-tying shoe.
When our planet was still forming, collisions with other planetesimals - and a Mars-sized object that sheared away the moon - turned the embryonic Earth into a roiling ball of molten rock. Iron and other heavy elements sank toward the core, and other iron-loving elements did, too. As a result, there's plenty of gold at our planet's center. So why, then, is there also gold in the hills? A new study supports the theory that it was all a gift from above.
After years of playing such numbers extremely close to the vest, Google today released figures spelling out exactly how much electricity the company's massive computing resources consume. Its data centres continuously draw 260 million watts - roughly a quarter the output of a nuclear power plant, says the NYT-to keep services like Gmail, search, Google Ads, and YouTube up and running around the clock and around the globe.
A German nonprofit, called MyMicrobes, is hoping you'll want to get your gut bacteria's genomes sequenced. It's expensive, but you'll get access to one of the most exclusive social networks around, where people worldwide can, um, talk about their gastrointestinal difficulties with like-minded people. Two grand seems cheap when we put it like that!
IFTTT, a very simple web tool that might end up becoming indispensable, has just opened to the public, with some new features in tow. IFTTT stands for "if this, then that," a common developer's phrase that indicates a relationship between two events. IFTTT takes that phrase and makes it simple to use for everyone. Want to automatically send your starred Google Reader items to Instapaper? Or get an SMS alert when your favorite comedian tweets that he's coming to your hometown? All easily done, with no development savvy required.
Vehicle-to-vehicle technology is about to get its first major real-world test in the US. The Department of Transportation awarded US$14.9 million to the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute last month, and the university is already moving forward with a plan to put 3,000 short-range radio equipped cars on the road in Ann Arbor over the next couple of years.
NASA is going back to the moon, sending off a pair of spacecraft that will help scientists learn the origins of our closest companion by studying its interior and its gravitational field. But beyond new lunar science, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, GRAIL, will also help cement NASA's legacy of lunar exploration in the public imagination.
IBM and 3M are collaborating on a new kind of semiconductor glue that will bind together future generations of 3-D semiconductor chips. The idea is to create a whole new kind of adhesive that hold things tightly together while also conducting heat and insulating at the same time.
The act of deception is probably as old as civilization - not long after humans began communicating, they began communicating lies. Shortly after that, they probably started trying to force others to tell the truth. Modern technology has given us a few options in this arena, from dubious polygraphs to powerful drugs - and now a new study suggests brain interference can work, too.
Cables made out of nanowires could be just as efficient as the copper cables we've been using for more than a century, but at a fraction of the weight, according to a new paper. Braiding billions of carbon nanotubes into a nanowire cable can efficiently replace copper in a light bulb circuit.
The idea of small, man portable, soldier-launched aerial drones has been catching on for some time now with military operations commanders, as they bring the unique situational awareness and reconnaissance capabilities of larger drone aircraft down to the platoon--or even the individual--level. Now, the U.S. Army is taking the idea to the next level, ordering its first batch of weaponised drones capable of launching from small, portable tube and suicide bombing a target from above.
Fermilab's Tevatron collider runs out of money and time at the end of this month, but physicists there say that they are on track to establish whether the Higgs can exist within the most likely predicted mass range before their September 30 deadline. That's not the same as actually finding the Higgs boson of course, but physicists say they'll either rule out the possibility of its existence or not by month's end.