Australian Popular Science News news from, 2 Aug 2015 20:17:09 +100010Obama Calls For U.S. To Build World's Fastest SupercomputerYesterday, President Obama signed an executive order to establish the National Strategic Computing Initiative, intended to advance American research efforts that require high-capacity computing (HCC). The main thrust of the program, according to <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">a blog post</a> from the White House, would be to create the world's fastest supercomputer, which would be 20 times faster than today's fastest supercomputer, China's Tianhe-2. The machine would be called an exascale computer--capable of making a billion billion&#8212;or one exaflop&#8212;calculations per second.,407307Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:25:55 +1000It Looks Like Someone Drew On Saturn's Moon Tethys With A Red CrayonEnhanced-color images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have revealed long, reddish streaks across one of Saturn's moons.,407306Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:25:53 +1000Insect-Like Robot Can Jump On WaterSince Biblical times, people have been fascinated with the idea of walking on water. Now researchers have built a robot that can jump on it.,407305Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:25:47 +1000Military Drone Looks For Missing School TeacherFor over a decade, drones have hunted men abroad. Overseas, Predators and Reapers have flown over war zones, their powerful cameras below looking for threats. Back home, the Air National Guard deployed a Reaper for a far more humanitarian manhunt: a search to find a lost teacher.,407304Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:25:44 +1000Watson Can Help You Treat Your DiabetesPeople with diabetes may need emergency care if their sugar levels dip too high or too low; those with heart disease must be rushed to the hospital should they have a cardiac event. Now CVS Pharmacy and IBM's cognitive computing system Watson have teamed up to scour the medical records of people with chronic conditions and identify patients most likely to need emergency care&#8212;hopefully to prevent it.,407303Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:25:41 +1000Google Will Start Mapping Pollution The Same Way They Map StreetsThe latest news with Google's Street View cars isn't about mapping for its eventual autonomous successors, or even taking new photos of the world: it's about pollution.,407302Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:25:37 +1000Ride Along With The Philae Lander As It Crashes Into A CometThe European Space Agency has <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">just released</a> a slew of new images from Philae, the little lander that was supposed to touch down on a comet earlier this year. But the <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">history-making moment</a> didn't go quite as planned. After <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">failing to anchor</a> into Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the spacecraft bounced around a few times until finally skidding to a halt on the rim of a crater. The Rosetta mission team hasn't managed to get a <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">stable communication link</a> with the battered lander.,407301Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:25:33 +1000Facebook Finally Reveals Its Own Internet Drone, And It's HugeWhile <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Project Loon found an initial home in Sri Lanka</a>, Facebook has its own update for its plan to provide wireless internet from the skies.,407300Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:25:29 +1000Science Finally Understands How Cereal Gets SoggyYou'd have to be crazy not to love cereal in milk. But the longer those crispy puffs or flakes sit in that milky bowl, the soggier they become, and our enthusiasm gives way to disgust. Now a researcher from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst has figured out when and how that happens, according to <a href=";jsessionid=641BC656C292367096A1952C7D047C95.f04t01?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">a review study</a> published yesterday in <em>Journal of Food Science</em>.,407299Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:25:25 +1000Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Ferry Coming To Bay AreaHydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are beginning to hit California roads in small numbers, and soon one or more will be traversing its waters too.,407298Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:25:22 +1000Watch NASA Destroy A Plane For ScienceYesterday, in Hampton, Virginia, about three hours south of Washington, DC, NASA researchers slung a plane into a harness and then sent it crashing into the ground. The researchers were specifically testing Emergency Locator Transmitters, which notify rescuers in the event of a crash. And what a crash they got!,407297Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:25:16 +1000A Super Hot, Rocky Planet Has Been Discovered Just 21 Light Years AwayThe galaxy is a pretty big place, so <a href=";feature=4672">NASA's announcement today</a> that scientists have discovered a solid, rocky planet located just 21 light years away from our own solar system is the cosmic equivalent of suddenly noticing a longtime neighbor just down the street. The world, unflatteringly named HD 219134b, is 1.6 times the size of Earth, but it's 4.5 times as massive. And it's much hotter, with a surface temperature estimated to be about 800 degrees Fahrenheit (427 Celsius), as <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">the <em>AFP</em></a> reported &#8212; far too hot to support life as we know it.,407296Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:25:09 +10004 Things We Learned About Comets From The Busted Philae LanderThe little spacecraft that couldn't quite land on a comet has nevertheless sent back a wealth of data. The Philae lander was supposed to become the first spacecraft to touch down on a comet in November, after a 10-year journey, but things didn't go as expected. The spacecraft bounced away from its original landing site, eventually coming to rest in a dark area near the edge of a crater. Without enough sunlight to charge its solar panels, Philae operated for about 60 hours on battery power, then entered a long hibernation.,407295Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:25:06 +1000Space: Not Just For Rocket Scientists Any MoreFor a long time now, space exploration has been the preserve of a tiny group of highly specialized and highly trained people, funded almost exclusively by public sector organizations. This is in large part due to the fact that space exploration has been prohibitively expensive, but it is also, according to innovators like Burt Rutan and Elon Musk, because politics and bureaucracy have stifled the innovations that would see costs come down.,407118Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:44:51 +1000China Practices Pacific D-Days with Tanks and HovercraftIn July 2015, one of China's Zubr hovercraft provided the quick and protected transport of a ZTZ-96 main battle tank onto the beach, turning the tide of the amphibious invasion attack in favor of the Chinese Marines.,407117Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:44:47 +1000Ouya's Sale Is The End Of The Crowdsourced ConsoleOuya, the <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">most-crowdfunded video game console ever</a>, has officially been sold to Razer, and the dream of a crowdfunded console has gone along with it. To truly prove that a internet-supported, fourth-party game console could enter the mix, Ouya needed to stand on its own two legs; this acquisition by a company best known for computer peripherals shows they just couldn't do it.,407116Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:44:40 +1000Finding Out How Boa Constrictors Kill (It's Not How You Think)It's a nighmarish situation: A gigantic snake slowly curls around your body, enveloping you in its slithery embrace. You begin seeing stars, and start gasping for breath. But your life will not end because you're suffocating. Actually, it's more like you're having your insides squeezed shut.,407115Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:44:34 +1000Watch The Royal Navy Launch A 3D Printed Drone From ShipBefore the first warship ever set sail, its crew was faced with a serious constraint: limited space. Through centuries, navies have improved on that front, with dense foods, hammocks or bunkbeds layered tight, and with careful planning of what precisely is needed, plus a fleet of logistical resupply ships to fetch spare parts as needed. On that last front, the future offers a bold possibility: 3D printing what's needed, storing only the raw material for the printer instead of a highly specialized selection of one-use parts.,407114Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:44:31 +1000Scientists Can Now Turn Organic Cells Into Tiny LasersIn the past few months we've seen <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">laser internet in the sky</a> and <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">laser-generated holograms</a>, but now lasers are going where they've never gone before: inside us.,407113Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:44:28 +1000Voyager's Golden Record For Aliens Now Available On SoundCloudWhen the twin Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977, they carried with them two Golden Records encoded with the sounds of Earth. As the spacecraft flew past Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and out to the edge of interstellar space, the Golden Records were intended to serve as a greeting to any extraterrestrials the spacecraft might encounter along the way&#8212;like a "bottle in the cosmic ocean," as the late astronomer Carl Sagan put it. Among the sounds selected to represent all of humanity were recordings of rain, a mother and child, stone tools, a heartbeat, and more.,407112Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:44:22 +1000Milestone In Nigeria: One Year Polio-FreeAs of 1988, there were more than 125 countries harboring polio. If Nigeria is able to reach total eradication, only two countries&#8212;Pakistan and Afghanistan&#8212;will remain on that list.,407059Mon, 27 Jul 2015 09:37:19 +1000Could We Give Criminals Corrective Brain Implants?In <em>A Clockwork Orange</em>, the narrator, Alex, commits a heinous crime. In prison, Alex is offered a behavior modification program in exchange for a shortened sentence. The treatment takes away Alex's ability to make his own decisions&#8212;his violent nature is conditioned out of him.,407058Mon, 27 Jul 2015 09:37:16 +1000Aston Martin Vulcan Will Race TomorrowThis weekend is the Spa 24 Hours, the highlight of the Blancpain Endurance Series, and this year a number of teams will be competing using the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 race car. Another Aston Martin will be present at the Belgian race, though, and that's the <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">limited edition Vulcan track car.</a>,407057Mon, 27 Jul 2015 09:37:14 +1000Latest Pics From New Horizons Reveal Flowing Ices, Spectacular Detail, And Pluto's Dark SideBeamed across billions of miles and a very narrow bandwidth, the latest images from the Pluto flyby were worth waiting for. One reveals the view from New Horizons after it sped past Pluto and looked back to study its atmosphere. &#8220;This is our equivalent on New Horizons of the Apollo 11 earthrise,&#8221; says New Horizons' Alan Stern.,407056Mon, 27 Jul 2015 09:37:10 +1000Kindergarteners Who Share May Be Successful in the Long RunFor decades, researchers and parents have wondered which attributes for kids led to a happy, successful life and which put kids on a path to a darker future. Now, they may be one step closer to figuring out how to set young children on the path to attainment &#8211; and it looks a lot like sharing, listening and cooperation.,407055Mon, 27 Jul 2015 09:37:07 +1000World's First Malaria Vaccine Takes Another Step ForwardThe world's first malaria vaccine was given a positive opinion by the European Medicines Agency--Europe's drug regulator, comparable to the FDA--according to an announcement</a> made today by GlaxoSmithKline, the vaccine's maker.,407054Mon, 27 Jul 2015 09:37:03 +1000Suspected Meth Lab Explodes In US Government BuildingYesterday, Congress requested more information about a July 18 explosion in one of the buildings operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology outside Washington, D.C. There's reason for Congress to raise an eyebrow; based on evidence collected at the scene, investigators suspect that the room was being used to develop illegal methamphetamines.,407025Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:19:36 +1000A New Crew Heads To Space Station To Harvest Space CropsExpedition 44 <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">launched</a> from Kazakhstan around 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday and arrived at the International Space Station at 10:45 p.m. ET. It takes more time to get from New York City to LA than it does to get to space. Unbelievable.,407023Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:19:28 +1000Scientists Want To Use Drones To Capture Whale SnotWhales are awesome and important. But because they are so big and sensitive to sound, researchers have a hard time collecting all the data they need without freaking them out. Now, whale biologists from the nonprofit <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Ocean Alliance</a> have teamed up with students from the Olin College of Engineering to create drones that can capture one of the most important biological materials--a whale's snot--without disturbing the animals. They've launched a <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Kickstarter campaign</a> to help fund their research.,407022Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:19:22 +1000Nano-Sized Synthetic Coral Could Suck Up Ocean's PollutantsCorals are great at absorbing toxic heavy metals, which is one of the <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">many reasons</a> they are dying off. Now researchers have created synthetic corals that use these same properties to soak up the pollutants instead.,407021Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:19:19 +1000Software To Predict Exactly What Happens When You Edit A GeneGenetics researchers are really excited about CRISPR/Cas9, an enzyme that has made it easier than ever for scientists to target a particular strand of DNA, snip part of it out, and replace it. And though its use in humans is still in its infancy, many experts predict that engineering the human genome is inevitable.,407020Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:19:15 +1000HyperSciences Wants To Drill Into The Earth With A Huge GunIt's no secret&#8212;there's a lot of energy held just a few thousand feet under Earth's surface. To harness any sizable amount of our planet's underlying geothermal energy for steam power, we would have to bore more than two miles into the crust. Unfortunately, the current drilling process is prohibitively expensive for most interested parties, ranging <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">from $5 to 20 million</a> depending on the depth desired.,407019Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:19:12 +1000How Worried Should You Be About Your Car Being Hacked?Miller and Valasek plan to release a paper on their work and present it at the Black Hat conference, which focuses on digital security issues, in August. The vulnerability, according to the <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Wired</a> article where the hack was revealed, is in the Uconnect system used by Fiat Chrysler in several models. The company has released a patch for the vulnerability.,407018Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:19:07 +1000Dogfights Of The Future Will Be UnmannedAmerican air dominance has long rested on staying technologically ahead of the enemy. With high-speed stealth design, advanced avionics, and integrated computing, the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II is built to keep that edge for the United States and its allies. The problem&#8212;aside from a spate of cost overruns, malfunctions, and delays&#8212;is that other countries are no longer far behind.,407017Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:19:04 +1000Kepler 452b Is The Most Earth-Like World YetIt's a big galaxy, and there are a lot of planets out there. The Kepler Space Telescope has already discovered more than 4,175 possible planets, and today it's adding another 500 to the list--including an Earth-like world that could show us a preview of our planet's future. Some of the exoplanet candidates may turn out to be just sunspots or other anomalies, but an estimated 80 percent are expected to be real planets.,407024Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:19:00 +1000XPrize Winner Garners $1.5 Million To Fix OceansOcean science nerds cleaned up nicely for the announcement of the winners of the second <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Wendy Schmidt Ocean XPrize</a> on Monday night, their fancy attire a far cry from the salt-encrusted clothing they wore as they stepped off the R/V Kilo Moana after the final round of trials. In an XPrize first, one team took first place in both purses, pulling in a total of $1.5 million.,406959Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:54:39 +1000Acupuncture May Work Like Drugs To Relieve StressThe thought of having needles inserted into your body may sound stressful. But to those who regularly receive acupuncture treatments, it's quite relaxing, though scientists haven't really been sure why. Now researchers from Georgetown University have found that needles placed at just the right parts of the body interrupt the transmission of stress hormones&#8212;the most robust evidence yet to indicate that acupuncture's positive effects go beyond just placebo.,406958Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:54:29 +1000Do You Have A Mellow Music Brain Or An Intense One?Although there's no doubt that music preferences change over time and are shaped by social factors like what our friends listen to and where we live, research has shown that our musical preferences is closely linked to our personality&#8212;from how conscientious to how neurotic we are.,406957Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:54:25 +1000Tweaking One Enzyme Doubles A Worm's LifespanFrom the second we're born, our cells are given their marching orders for how to grow, mature, and maintain our bodies. But at a certain point, the repairs become faulty, and we age and eventually die. Now a team of Korean researchers has found a way to modify a particular type of enzyme in roundworms to double their lifespan&#8212;and they suspect the same mechanisms might work in humans.,406956Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:54:22 +1000Computer Software Folds DNA Into Bunny Shapes3D printing on the nanoscale--which could lead to new methods of drug delivery--just became a lot closer to reality. Folding DNA into tiny 3D shapes usually requires manual adjustment, but now a research team has developed a new way of folding DNA that's done entirely by software. They've already tried it out by folding DNA into the shape of a miniature bunny figurine and other small shapes. They new, more efficient method was published today in <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication"><em>Nature</em></a>.,406955Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:54:19 +1000A Bug Swarm So Big It Shows Up On Weather RadarWeather radar has picked up thousands of insects flying over Knox County, Texas, according to the National Weather Service of Norman, Oklahoma.,406954Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:54:16 +1000Twitter Turns Down The CRISPR HypeThe gene editing technique CRISPR was launched from relative public obscurity to the mainstream today when <a href=";vertical=default&amp;f=tweets&amp;src=tren&amp;vertical=default&amp;f=tweets">#CRISPRfacts</a> began trending on Twitter, quieting some of the hype surrounding a <em>Wired</em> story.,406953Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:54:13 +1000'Windbot' Probes Designed To Explore Gas Giants Jupiter and Saturn are two of the least explored worlds in our solar system. As gas giants, they have no surfaces to land on, and their atmospheres are crushingly heavy and violently windy.,406952Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:54:11 +1000NASA Chip Reflects Wi-Fi To Save Your Smartphone BatteryOur modern world rests squarely on the shoulders of wireless communications; phones, computers and wearables all rely on a select few wireless protocols, like Wi-Fi. Upgrading one of these protocols means a potential upgrade to the way the world interacts.,406951Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:54:08 +1000New Drugs Mimic Genetic Mutations To Make Humans More SuperSteven Pete can't feel pain. Timothy Dreyer has bones several times thicker than the average human. Both conditions were caused by a combination of genetic mutations. While both conditions have negatively impacted the men's health at various points in their lives, researchers at pharmaceutical companies are paying through the roof to have access to their DNA, and that of others like them. If the researchers can develop drugs that mimic the effects of the mutations, they may be able to create treatments to solve some of the most challenging disorders.,406950Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:54:03 +1000Another Reason Not To Eat Sea Turtles: Antibiotic Resistant BacteriaTurtles may not have gained the human fascination of other sea animals, particularly the shark, but these <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Triassic</a> reptiles continue to be adored by many. In the wild, these creatures continue to be the target ecotourism excursions and seeing these slow moving creatures can make any snorkeling adventure complete.,406893Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:46:21 +1000New Antibody Fights Several Flu Strains At OnceResearchers have recently discovered a unique antibody that can kill several different types of the flu virus, which could help them develop more powerful flu shots, according to <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">a study published today </a>in <em>Nature Communications</em>.,406892Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:46:17 +1000Software Now Better Than Humans At Recognizing What You Were Trying To DrawArtifical neural nets have been all over the news in the last few weeks&#8212;<a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">they dream</a>, <a href=";dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">nightmare-ify music videos</a>, and now they can beat you in Pictionary.,406891Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:46:15 +1000Dreamscope Provides Deepdream Filters When Instagram meets DeepDream, we barely even know what's going on any more.,406890Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:46:10 +1000Chemical In Marijuana Could Build Strong BonesStep aside milk. Punching a few cones could be could be the next big thing in bone health.,406889Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:46:06 +1000