Australian Popular Science News news from, 11 Dec 2016 05:31:27 +100010New Cassini photos show the hexagon on Saturn's north poleCassini just entered the second-to-last phase of its mission, where it will perform so-called ring-grazing orbits (shown in yellow). The blue loops represent orbits that it made previously in its nearly 20-year mission. Next year, it will enter the grand finale phase, which will end with Cassini's destruction.,443988Thu, 8 Dec 2016 10:30:35 +1000This is what happens inside a battery right before it explodesFrom the fiery Note 7 debacles to exploding hoverboards, lithium-ion batteries aren't doing so hot lately. A new study helps to explain how these popular power sources can turn into safety hazards.,443987Thu, 8 Dec 2016 10:30:35 +1000Good news: It's safe to use drones to fly blood around Delivering objects via drone is a tempting notion bound by hard constraints: drones are small, so the cargo has to be small. Drones need power to fly, and any additional weight requires more power to cover the same distance, which further limits the size of the cargo. For a drone delivery to make sense, then, the small cargo has to justify both its weight and the urgency of a drone flight. Pound for pound and ounce for ounce, few cargoes match that limitation better than blood.,443986Thu, 8 Dec 2016 10:30:34 +1000New device would use electricity to plug gushing woundsFor centuries, if a doctor wanted to stop a bleeding wound, he would use the tourniquet method: Tightly wrap a piece of cloth around the area, which would essentially cut off blood flow to and from the wound. That ancient practice is still the go-to method today, and works well for most bleeding areas that are outside the body. But internal bleeding is much trickier to stop, and it can be just as life-threatening.,443985Thu, 8 Dec 2016 10:30:34 +1000A crack in Antarctica is forming an iceberg the size of DelawareAn iceberg the size of Delaware is starting to break away from Antarctica. It began with a small crack, but has now grown 70 miles long and more than 300 feet wide. When it reaches the edges of the ice sheet, the state-sized chunk will drift away into the sea.,443984Thu, 8 Dec 2016 10:30:33 +1000The mystery of Greenland's icy history could help us survive climate changeEighty percent of Greenland is covered by a wall of ice thousands of feet thick. If the wall melted completely, the water it contains would be enough to raise sea levels by over 20 feet.,443983Thu, 8 Dec 2016 10:30:33 +1000Bacteria resistant to a last-resort drug showed up on a US pig farm Bacteria carrying a gene that grants resistance against a powerful antibiotic have been found on a pig farm in the United States, researchers <a href=";keytype=ref&amp;siteid=asmjournals&amp;ijkey=bHPQciX8uIPd6&amp;keytype=ref&amp;siteid=asmjournals" target="_blank">reported</a> this week in the journal <em>Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy</em>.,443982Thu, 8 Dec 2016 10:30:32 +1000Spy-designed software can profile business teams to shorten sales timeBusiness-to-business sales are an opaque world, driven by profit, bounded by costs, and full of unknown, confounding variables. CaliberMind, a two-year-old company founded by two former Israeli intelligence officers and an NSA data scientist, exists to help businesses seal deals with other businesses better.,443981Thu, 8 Dec 2016 10:30:30 +10005 MacGyver hacks you should try at home&#8212;and 2 you really shouldn'tWant to spy on your neighbors from outside? In a similar situation, MacGyver rigs up a distant laser microphone. When a conversation goes on inside a room, it creates vibrations in the air&#8212;vibrations that carry to the glass of a window. All a would-be eavesdropper need do is point a laser at the window, aiming the beam so that it bounces off the glass and returns to hit a light-sensitive photocell. The photocell can detect fluctuations in the laser beam&#8212;and if you wire that photocell to a speaker, it will translate the window's vibrations back into sound waves.,443980Thu, 8 Dec 2016 10:30:30 +1000New study: Humans may falter when taking control of self-driving carsLong before we have fully autonomous cars &#8211; ones in which we can kick back and catch up on <em>Westworld</em> as our faithful robot delivers us safely to work &#8211; we'll live in a world of shared responsibility. Tesla Autopilot and other upcoming advanced semi-autonomous systems require the driver to stay alert, should a situation arise in which humans need to step in and take the wheel.,443832Wed, 7 Dec 2016 09:19:24 +1000This little robot can jump a metre in the airThe unparalleled acrobatics of the galago inspired the UC Berkeley team to design their robot in a similar way.,443831Wed, 7 Dec 2016 09:19:24 +1000Despite a bumpy beginning, NASA's Juno is hard at work exploring JupiterJunoCAM images of Jupiter's northern and southern polar regions.,443830Wed, 7 Dec 2016 09:19:24 +1000Gifts for the Amateur Mixologist,443829Wed, 7 Dec 2016 09:19:22 +1000This bird is wearing teeny tiny goggles for science Obi is looking fly in his custom eyewear. The orange safety goggles, adorned with tiny reflectors, fit securely over his little feathered head. But Obi the parrotlet isn't wearing these goggles to make a fashion statement. He's part of an experiment where he flies through a sheet of lasers so that researchers can see how the air around him behaves as he moves.,443828Wed, 7 Dec 2016 09:19:22 +1000There will be #NoDAPL at Lake Oahe. What now? On Sunday, the Department of the Army announced that they would not be granting an easement under Lake Oahe, halting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) a <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">1,172 mile-long</a> pipeline that is intended to connect the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to a storage and transfer facility in Illinois.,443827Wed, 7 Dec 2016 09:19:22 +1000Gifts for that girl who's way cooler than you We all have that one girlfriend who's effortlessly, impossibly cool. You might love her, you might hate her, or you might love to hate her&#8212;but she's on your holiday shopping list. And you've got to impress her. Don't worry. We've got you covered.,443280Fri, 2 Dec 2016 11:16:26 +1000Tornado outbreaks in the United States are on the riseIt's not your imagination: The tornadoes are ganging up on us. While the number of tornadoes per year hasn't changed, researchers have noticed that now, instead of their usual pattern of lone occurrences, tornadoes are popping up in packs.,443279Fri, 2 Dec 2016 11:16:26 +1000Those little magnetic balls are back on the market after a two year banWhen two or more buckyballs get together in your intestines, it's a bad time.,443278Fri, 2 Dec 2016 11:16:26 +1000Magic mushrooms help cancer patients deal with depression The past few years have seen marijuana become more accepted within the medical community as an increasingly useful pain treatment. But marijuana isn't alone. Groups of researchers across the country have also been studying the potential benefits of psilocybin, the hallucinogenic compound that gives so-called "magic mushrooms" their power. Soon the drug could become an effective medical treatment.,443277Fri, 2 Dec 2016 11:16:26 +1000Why wildfires are suddenly ravaging the US Southeast On Sunday,&#160;a NASA satellite caught a <a href=";id=89195" target="_blank">hypnotic&#160;image</a> of wildfire smoke threading its way&#160;up from the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina. The sight of wildfires raging throughout the Southeast is news for some, but for the region it's confirmation of what locals have been going through for weeks. Since October, <a href=";utm_term=.eee9a8a0d2fd" target="_blank">more than 150,000 acres have burned</a> throughout Appalachia. But why?&#160;,443276Fri, 2 Dec 2016 11:16:26 +100010 incredible space photos from astronaut Don Pettit's new book"To travel in space is to be awestruck, over and over and over."--Don Pettit, Spaceborne. Don Pettit and his crewmates flew into space three times, capturing about 600,000 photos from their shuttle missions and long-term stays on the International Space Station. In his new book, Spaceborne, the astronaut/photographer highlights some of the best of the collection, leading to page after page of mind-blowingly beautiful space imagery. This is a good one for the coffee table. Popular Science's photo director, Thom Payne, chose 10 of his favorite Spaceborne images. Here are his picks, with captions excerpted from the book.,443275Fri, 2 Dec 2016 11:16:26 +1000To find drugs and explosives, scientists take cues from dog nosesDogs have used their incredible sense of smell to help us find missing people, bombs, corpses, and drugs; detect diseases like cancer; and even aid conservation efforts by sniffing out <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">koala poop</a>. Now, their powerful noses may inspire better tools to detect traces of explosives, drugs, and other substances.,443274Fri, 2 Dec 2016 11:16:26 +1000Less wastewater injected into the ground means less shaking in OklahomaFor the past several years, every time a <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">single barrel of oil</a> gets pumped up from deep under the Earth's surface in Oklahoma, 10-15 barrels of salty, often contaminated wastewater gets pumped up with it. After being separated from the desired oil and gas, the water is injected back into the Earth, far enough down that the oil operators hope the watery byproduct won't contaminate groundwater supplies in the region. But, much like many toddlers, this part of the country hates injections.,443273Fri, 2 Dec 2016 11:16:25 +1000New evidence suggests our hominid cousin Lucy loved climbing trees"Lucy" has fascinated scientists ever since her 3.2-million-year-old skeleton was found in Ethiopia over 40 years ago. The exquisite <em>Australopithecus afarensis</em> specimen, one of the oldest and most complete human relatives ever found, gave researchers a glimpse back into a time when diminutive hominids, no larger than modern kindergarteners, took the first upright steps toward modernity.,443272Fri, 2 Dec 2016 11:16:24 +1000Luxury Dreamliner makes other private jets look like garbageBoeing's 787 Dreamliner is a massive jetliner, designed to comfortable carry 280 people across oceans and between continents. Or, for one special customer with millions to spare, it can carry <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">40 passengers</a> for 17 hours non-stop in what can only be fairly described as a sort of beige opulence.,442331Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:02:44 +1000Parkour athletes act like orangutans for scienceIf you're a large, tree-dwelling ape like an orangutan, what's the best way to get across a gap in the branches? Should you jump or swing across, or maybe climb down and cross the gap on the ground? Scientists suspect the ape's decision will depend on which method uses the least energy, but that has been difficult to study because orangutans are endangered and elusive. So a group of researchers in the U.K. turned to a different kind of ape: humans.,442330Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:02:44 +1000China is testing a new long-range, air-to-air missile that could thwart U.S. plans for air warfareThe VLRAAM is one of the world's largest air to air missiles. Its other advanced features include an AESA radar, a infrared/electro-optical seeker (under the yellow-orange cover on the forward section above the nosecone), and satellite navigation midcourse correction.,442329Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:02:44 +10003 Cool Cars at the 2016 LA Auto ShowThe Los Angeles Auto Show grows and gains in popularity every year, which means more auto manufacturers bring cooler cars and concepts to show off. Here are four of the most interesting cars at this year's show.,442328Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:02:44 +1000Four things you shouldn't buy this weekend (and one thing you probably should)Leaked Black Friday ads have changed the shopping game for bargain hunters, says Stephen Baker, veteran tech industry analyst at market research firm NPD Group. Now, he says, people who queue up hours before store openings can be better informed about what they're waiting in line for, and whether it's worth their time (and shivering).,442327Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:02:43 +1000A tsunami near Fukushima rattled Japan, but damage is minimalJapan was rattled yesterday by a large earthquake off the Pacific coast. It shook the nation and triggered a tsunami warning that sent people hurrying towards higher ground, waiting anxiously for the all-clear. The earthquake was large, but not monstrous. It attracted so much attention because it occurred just off the coast of Fukushima prefecture, where the largest recorded earthquake in Japan's history struck just five years ago.,442326Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:02:43 +1000No, teenage blood won't make you young and beautifulIn the past few years, a burst of media reports have suggested that young blood is some kind of medical panacea: Injecting it into an older person's body would provide a plethora of rejuvenating benefits, so the story goes. Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">has expressed interest in receiving infusions of young humans' blood</a>, and at least one company is working hard to create such treatments for aging moguls. But a study published Tuesday in the journal <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank"><em>Nature Communications</em></a> suggests that we've got the whole thing backwards. Teen blood might not be a medicine, but the blood of the elderly could be toxic.,442325Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:02:43 +1000Pluto's heavy heart may have tipped the entire worldTalk about a change of heart. Sputnik Planitia, the icy plain that forms part of Pluto's "heart," has dramatically changed places since it was created 4 billion years ago.,441747Fri, 18 Nov 2016 10:13:46 +1000How Jaguar cloned a legendary supercar from 1957In 1957, automakers simply did not make the engineering of its race cars available to the average (even supremely wealthy) driver. Jaguar did. In the 1950s, it let loose its classic XKSS, a model based on the D-Type that won LeMans three years running. It was the world's first supercar.,441745Fri, 18 Nov 2016 10:13:46 +1000China to Trump: Actually, no, we didn't invent climate changeDonald Trump, who's about to become the most powerful man in the world when he takes office in January, is a climate change denier, having tweeted that global warming was "created by and for the Chinese." Although he has also denied denying climate change is real, Trump spent his first week as president-elect appointing <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">other officials who think climate change is a hoax</a> and pondering the best ways to <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">take down the historic Paris climate agreement</a>. This week, one of China's foreign officials has called him out.,441742Fri, 18 Nov 2016 10:01:24 +1000How a rainstorm killed 61,000 reindeer In 2013, 61,000 reindeer died of starvation on a remote peninsula in Siberia, upending the livelihoods of reindeer herders in the region.,441741Fri, 18 Nov 2016 10:01:22 +1000This chatbot will deal with Comcast customer service for youComcast isn't exactly known for its great customer service. Much (metaphorical) ink has been spilled over representatives refusing to let customers cancel their service, data limits on home internet, and class action lawsuits fighting Comcast fees and allegedly false advertising. What's more, earlier this year a California assemblyman introduced legislation that would allow customers to get rid of the service with &#8220;a simple click of the mouse.&#8221;,441740Fri, 18 Nov 2016 10:01:22 +1000This pill delivers medication days or weeks after it's swallowedPeople with chronic conditions, like asthma or heart disease, often need to take medications on a daily basis. But that simple act of remembering each day is a huge problem for many. In fact, for certain conditions, less than 50 percent of people take their medications on time. But researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's hospital in Boston have come up with a solution: A single pill that sits inside the stomach and delivers medication over an extended period of time.,441739Fri, 18 Nov 2016 10:01:22 +1000China's deep spacecraft will be guided by X-ray pulses from distant starsAn x-ray pulsar forms when a dense neutron star's strong gravitational field allows it to suck in matter from the other star in the binary system. The impact of stellar material forms x-ray hotspots on the neutron star that shift as it rotates&#8212;that's what pulses are.,441738Fri, 18 Nov 2016 09:29:16 +1000One day the gunk on your phone might help put you in jail It's not just your cell phone that contains tons of information about you. The grime of daily life that coats it &#8211; that all-too-familiar greasy gunk &#8211; is basically just another unflattering selfie.,441737Fri, 18 Nov 2016 09:29:15 +1000Scientists just synthesized the deadly toxin of an adorable frog There's just around 170 milligrams &#8211; somewhere between the mass of a one-carat diamond and the amount of caffeine in a Monster Energy Drink. That's how much batrachotoxin (BTX) is left in the world, according to the most recently available figures. Found in the skin of the golden poison dart frog Phyllobates, this toxin is so potent that one milligram of it would be enough to kill between 10 and 20 humans. Its unique attack strategy makes it a promising subject of drug research, but the frog's endangered status makes wild collection difficult. (Plus, since the frogs only produce BTX as a result of eating their natural diet in the wild, captive-bred frogs are useless for research, though they do retain their cuteness.),441736Fri, 18 Nov 2016 09:29:15 +1000Balloon-Bodied Bipedal Bot Bounces BeautifullyWalking on two legs is one of the hardest ways to travel. Few creatures do it in nature, and when humans have made walking robots, the two-legged ones tend to fall down a lot. What if, instead of carefully calibrated bodies, a walking robot was simply built around a torso that defied gravity?,441735Fri, 18 Nov 2016 09:29:14 +1000Four things you can do to stop Donald Trump from making climate change worseThe next president of the United States is not likely to prioritize environmental protection. President-elect Trump has <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">claimed</a> that human-caused climate change is a hoax. During his campaign he's <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">threatened to</a> &#8220;cancel&#8221; United States participation in the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to within two degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels. He has said he <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">would</a> dismantle President Obama's signature Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants. He has <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">named</a> a climate change skeptic to lead the EPA transition team.,441309Mon, 14 Nov 2016 21:09:08 +1000Could A Black Hole Be Blocking The Light From That 'Alien Megastructure' Star?Between 2009 and 2013, the Kepler space telescope stared at a single patch of the sky, searching for exoplanets. Around the star KIC 8462852, it appears to have spotted something much stranger.,440588Wed, 2 Nov 2016 11:19:21 +1000Virgin Galactic Calls Off SpaceShipTwo's Glide TestIt is harder to learn to fly a second time. Virgin Galactic, the private spaceflight firm headed by billionaire Richard Branson, lost its first SpaceShipTwo in a pilot-caused crashed in 2014, setting back dreams of passenger spaceflight. The new SpaceShipTwo, named VSS Unity (and not SpaceShipThree), was unveiled in February. Today, slung beneath the wing of its WhiteKnightTwo mothership Eve, Unity took to the sky for its second-ever flight.,440587Wed, 2 Nov 2016 11:19:21 +1000What Is The Dakota Access Pipeline? Your friends have been checking in on Facebook at Standing Rock, North Dakota even though you know they're right down the street. You've seen the dramatic images of unarmed protestors facing down heavily armed police and security forces. But you're still confused. What is the DAPL anyways? Why are people so adamantly #NoDAPL? We're here to help.,440586Wed, 2 Nov 2016 11:19:21 +1000What is Gluten?Gluten is from the Latin word for "glue." Wheat plants use it to store carbon and nitrogen. When the proteins link together, they form a stretchy complex&#8212;just like proteins in tendons or in spider silk.,440585Wed, 2 Nov 2016 11:19:20 +1000The Quadsaw Is A Tool That Makes Square-shaped HolesThe circle has been the shape of choice for drills and their resulting handiwork, but Quadsaw seeks to change that. The tool created by London startup Genius IP augments the drill you already own with an attachment that allows you to put a square or rectangle opening in your wall.,440584Wed, 2 Nov 2016 11:19:20 +1000How NASA Found The Lost ExoMars Lander So QuicklyEurope's Schiaparelli Mars lander did not have had the smooth landing its team had hoped for on October 19, but at least it didn't stay missing for long. A high-resolution camera onboard a NASA satellite discovered the errant spacecraft's parachute and other fragments within days of impact. But not all lost Mars landers have been found so quickly&#8212;another European spacecraft, Beagle-2, disappeared for more than a decade, from the time of its failed landing in 2003 all the way until 2015.,440583Wed, 2 Nov 2016 11:19:19 +1000Cut Anything With WaterEver wanted to cut an outline of China out of a china plate, or to cut a wee knife out of a larger knife blade? A new tool lets you easily and cheaply cut just about any shape out of any material&#8212;using the power of water.,440582Wed, 2 Nov 2016 11:19:19 +1000The New Macbook Pro Tool Bar Is A Scab I Want To Pick OffIt's been four years, four months, and 16 days since Apple has released a major update on its beloved high end notebooks. Today we found out, what Apple spent their time on and TL;DR: it filled me with a reptilian urge. As someone who loves this company, I'm starting to worry that they are resting on their laurels and unable to make the hard decisions they were always known for.,440581Wed, 2 Nov 2016 11:19:17 +1000