Staff Writers
at 05:54 AM Aug 20 2011
European Lung Foundation
Science // 

A dog can accurately detect the early presence of lung cancer by sniffing patients' breath, doctors in Germany say. While researchers have known for some time that dogs can sniff out the telltale signs of other forms of cancer, this is the first study that proves dogs can reliably smell this particular kind.

Staff Writers
at 02:55 AM Aug 20 2011
Tech // 

Digital recording binoculars aren't really new--there are some cheapie versions available--but Sony's new DEV-3 and DEV-5 binoculars lift that humble tech into some really impressive new places. Instead of taking a regular set of binoculars and cramming a cheap video recording device into them, Sony took its high-end HD camcorders and molded them into the shape of binoculars. That means they can both record in 720p (high-def) and in 3-D--these might be the perfect tools for birdwatchers and other nature-types (as opposed to snipers).

Staff Writers
at 00:00 AM Aug 20 2011
Young Naturalist Awards
Energy // 

Plenty of us head into the woods to find inspiration. Aidan Dwyer, 13, went to the woods and had a eureka moment that could be a major breakthrough in solar panel design.

Staff Writers
at 08:16 AM Aug 19 2011
John Mahoney
Mobile // 

Today, in an almost insultingly brief statement in the middle of a press release about something else entirely, HP killed off its most recent acquisition, and perhaps its most beloved platform: WebOS, the mobile OS designed by the scrappy gurus at Palm. It's a bitter, inconsequential end for an OS that in its own way paved as much ground as the iPhone, and that even in its current decrepit state is a damn fine platform. WebOS, you deserved better.

Lawrence Ulrich
at 06:28 AM Aug 19 2011
Cars // 

Brunico, Italy - A snowy K-Mart parking lot would have worked fine. But this being Ferrari, and the star its tradition-shredding FF - a $300,000 all-wheel-drive station wagon -- a little high-altitude showboating seemed in order. So with a boost from the Italian army's Chinook helicopters, Ferrari flew a pair of FF's to the windswept peak of Plan de Corones, a popular ski resort in its wondrous Dolomites, and told us to have at it. Ridiculous? Why, yes. But no more so than a 208-mph, 651-horsepower Italian pony that can carry four tall adults and cargo while galloping safely over snow, ice, dirt or puddles on the Pomona freeway.

Clay Dillow
at 05:26 AM Aug 19 2011
Julio Cortez / AP

As promised, Lockheed Martin finally put its SAMARAI monocopter drone on display at AUVSI's drone extravaganza in DC this week, for the first time flying it before a public audience as PopSci and everyone else in the air demo area looked on in awe. After all, the thing has just one rapidly rotating wing - it doesn't really look like it can stay aloft by itself. Seeing, however, is believing.

Staff Writers
at 04:33 AM Aug 19 2011
Space // 

If it's a space race the Russians want, a space race they shall have. But et tu, Europe? Russian news outlet Ria Novosti is reporting that the European Space Agency (ESA), long the ally of Cold War champion NASA, is teaming with Russia on a joint manned mission to Mars, and that their crew will be the first to set foot on the Red Planet.

Staff Writers
at 03:40 AM Aug 19 2011
Photo by Randy Montoya
Robots // 

At AUVSI's (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) massive robot conference in Washington D.C., in the U.S. this week there is no shortage of robots designed to seek out--and in some cases destroy--human targets. Sandia National Labs chose to go in the opposite direction with their Gemini-Scout, a remotely controlled rolling robot designed specifically to lead search and rescue efforts in the event of a mining disaster.

Staff Writers
at 02:05 AM Aug 19 2011

Last week, DARPA's HTV-2 (Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2) Falcon vehicle launched to near-orbital speeds aboard a Minotaur rocket before beginning what was designed to be a Mach 20 glide back to earth, demonstrating the kind of hypersonic capability needed to deliver a payload anywhere in the world in an hour. Then, a few minutes into its flight, HTV-2's data transmitters went silent and so did the DARPA news stream feeding us the play-by-play.

Staff Writers
at 00:30 AM Aug 19 2011
IBM Research Zurich
Tech // 

A pair of brain-inspired cognitive computer chips unveiled today could be a new leap forward - or at least a major fork in the road - in the world of computer architecture and artificial intelligence.

Staff Writers
at 07:18 AM Aug 18 2011
Ryan Somma via Flickr
Energy // 

Every year, about 15 million pounds of alligator fat is dumped into landfills as a byproduct of alligator meat processing. It would certainly be better to reuse this gloopy mess for a greater purpose, no? As it turns out, alligator fat is a prime candidate for animal-derived biodiesel, according to researchers in the United States.

Staff Writers
at 05:33 AM Aug 18 2011
jonny2love via Flickr
Science // 

In the future, all your government mail - jury duty slips, election notices, those Social Security earnings statements - may not come in the mail at all. Here in Australia, federal politicians are debating ditching snail mail entirely, giving all citizens a state-sponsored inbox where we would receive all government communications.

Staff Writers
at 04:30 AM Aug 18 2011
Matt Richardson
Make // 

It's become a refrain in this age of 24-hour news stations, media-starved talking heads, and hundreds of channels of stuff you don't want to watch. "Why won't they just shut up about (insert your least favorite abusive sitcom star, diminutive bepoofed reality star, brain-dead politician, or Kyle Sandilands here). The talking heads may never shut up, but that doesn't mean you have to listen to them--and some enterprising Makers created an Arduino-controlled gadget that'll make that even easier.

Staff Writers
at 03:17 AM Aug 18 2011
Cars // 

A German car nicknamed "heavy drinker" or "boozer" has set a new record for electric vehicle stamina: 1631.5 km on a single charge. The single-seat vehicle's aerodynamic shape, with the motors integrated into the wheel hubs, helped the car accomplish this feat.

Rebecca Boyle
at 01:56 AM Aug 18 2011
Space // 

A little less than six months after the final space shuttle launch, a private space company will launch a rocket carrying a cargo capsule bound for the International Space Station. SpaceX said this week that it plans a Nov. 30 launch date for its first rendezvous with the ISS - an encounter that will mark a major milestone in private space exploration.

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