Australian Popular Science News news from, 1 Nov 2014 14:35:29 +100010Big Pic: China's Lunar Spacecraft Snaps Trippy Pic Of The Moon And EarthOn its trip around the Moon this week, China&#8217;s lunar test probe, Chang&#8217;e 5TI, snapped this mind-bending image of the Earth and its satellite,&#160;putting the objects in a unique perspective. The photo is taken from just beyond lunar orbit, and it gives the illusion that the Moon is actually the more sizable of the two, and that Earth is the tiny orbiter.,397439Sat, 1 Nov 2014 14:35:08 +1000China Plans To Put Floating Docks On Disputed IslandsWhat&#8217;s a country to do with a chain of disputed islands? One option is just &#8220;go ahead and build a dock to claim them,&#8221; and attach it to some of the islands. Shown off at the Shiptec China 2014 exhibition, China has a plan for floating docks it wants to put in the disputed Spratly Islands.,397438Sat, 1 Nov 2014 14:35:05 +1000Is The Human Species Still Evolving?What if there were an enormous war and all of our intercontinental means of transportation were destroyed? Perhaps then an isolated population of people would live apart from the rest of us for so long that they would no longer be able to successfully interbreed. Just listen to all the dialects we have for speaking English. When human populations are even a little bit separate, they start <a href="">talking differently</a>. Other bigger changes might happen with more profound separation. Perhaps this could happen somewhere beyond Earth, even, such as in a <a href="">colony on Mars</a>. Without geographic isolation, I am not sure we can get a new species of hominid, not ever. But that is not the same thing as saying that humans are no longer evolving, because we surely are.,397437Sat, 1 Nov 2014 14:35:03 +1000Scientists Listen In To The Seismic Soundscapes Of Human Activity Planes, trains and automobiles create the noisy background to our lives--especially in urban areas. In addition to getting us from point A to point wherever-we're-headed, the swift movement of transportation creates plenty of noise and vibrations. But the low-frequency noise of these vibrations is usually completely unnoticed by humans, until now.&#160;Scientists presenting their research at the&#160;Acoustical Society of America (ASA) meeting this week <a href="">announced</a> that they can monitor those vibrations using seismic networks.&#160;,397436Sat, 1 Nov 2014 14:35:01 +1000Meet A Woman Who Trains Robots For A LivingAndrea Thomaz, who directs Georgia Tech&#8217;s Socially Intelligent Machines Lab, teaches a one-of-a-kind student: a robot with light-up ears, named Curi. We asked Thomaz how she envisions life with robots unfolding.,397435Sat, 1 Nov 2014 14:34:58 +1000Scientists Hope To Extend Your Dog's Life With Anti-Aging PillThe latest pharmaceutical candidate on scientists&#8217; radar is called rapamycin, a drug typically used to suppress the immune system and prevent kidney transplant rejection. As an added bonus, the drug also appears to extend the lives of some mammals. Before humans can get their hands on it, though, the drug will be used on other patients first: pet dogs.,397434Sat, 1 Nov 2014 14:34:50 +1000Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashed During A Mojave Test Flight [Developing]There&#8217;s a growing, looming shadow over the private spaceflight industry. Virgin Galactic&#8217;s SpaceShipTwo, a suborbital rocket designed for tourists, crashed on Friday, Oct. 31 due to an &#8220;in-flight anomaly" during a powered test flight over the Mojave Desert.,397433Sat, 1 Nov 2014 14:34:42 +1000The Week In Drones: Saving Lives, Spooking Nukes, And MoreHere's a roundup of the week's top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft.,397432Sat, 1 Nov 2014 14:34:40 +1000How Sneeze Particles Travel Inside An AeroplaneAt first, the video displays the virtual insides of a crowded passenger airplane. Then all of a sudden, one of the passengers seated in the middle "sneezes." Hundreds of multicolored particles are jettisoned into the air, creating a rainbow-speckled cloud that lingers above everyone&#8217;s heads. The cloud dissolves, and the particles disperse, making their way to the unlucky few seated adjacent to the sick passenger.,397396Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:20:28 +1000What NASA Should Do Instead Of An Asteroid Retrieval MissionCriticism continues to grow for NASA&#8217;s Asteroid Retrieval Mission (ARM)&#160;-- the space agency&#8217;s plan to capture a 10-meter-wide piece of an asteroid and bring it into lunar&#160;orbit for further analysis. Among experts&#8217; complaints: The mission is expensive; it doesn&#8217;t really further our knowledge of asteroids; and&#160;it doesn&#8217;t help us get to Mars.,397395Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:20:25 +1000Researchers May Have Found A Fragment of Amelia Earhart's PlaneAmelia Earhart disappeared 77 years ago, but 2014 is turning out to be a banner year for her. Her namesake <a href="">completed a memorial flight</a> around the world, reenacting the original Earhart's infamous flight (without so much of a tragic ending). Now, a group believes that they have found a piece of Earhart's ill-fated plane.&#160;&#160;&#160;,397394Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:20:20 +1000How Many Lollies Can I Eat This Halloween?Bad news, trick-or-treaters: A new recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO) deals a serious blow to your annual candy binge. The guideline, set to be released this fall, drops the suggested daily intake of &#8220;free sugars&#8221;&#8212;those added to processed foods, such as high-fructose corn syrup, and those that result when naturally occurring sugars are refined, as with maple syrup.,397393Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:20:17 +1000How To Give A Mouse EbolaIf you give a lab mouse the mouse version of Ebola, it will die. But not in the same way humans with Ebola do. Lab mice infected with Ebola don't get hemorrhagic fever. They don't form tiny clots in their blood, like human Ebola sufferers do, even though the genetic sequence of the mouse Ebolavirus differs from human Ebolavirus in only 13 out of its nearly 19,000 DNA letters.,397392Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:20:14 +1000Movie Theaters Ban Google Glass One of the selling points of Google Glass is its ability to take pictures and video of anything within your field of vision, but when that field of vision is occupied by the latest major motion picture, your Google Glass now needs to be far, far away.&#160;,397391Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:20:11 +1000What Happens To A Body When It's 'Sleeping With The Fishes'?Forensic scientists often have to reconstruct the events leading up to and following a person's death, in case of foul play. The state of the body can reveal&#160;when the person died, how, and where the body was disposed of.,397350Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:44:57 +1000Lava Flow Swiftly Approaching Hawaiian TownCompared to most natural disasters, a lava invasion does not move all that fast. Nowhere is that more evident than the small Hawaiian community of&#160;Pahoa, where a lava flow has been approaching the town since June 27. Now, the lava has <a href="">finally arrived </a>on the outskirts of town, overrunning private property. In the picture above, the lava behind the fence is chest-high.&#160;Geologists are keeping a close eye on the progress of the flow, which currently seems to be headed straight for&#160;Pahoa Village Road, one of the village's main streets, and beyond that, for Highway 130, a traffic artery travelled by <a href="">10,000 cars a day</a>. It's already crossed over one road, Cemetery Road, and a cemetery (presumably the road's namesake).&#160;,397349Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:44:53 +1000Smallpox Samples Slated For Immediate Destruction Are Still IntactAfter U.S. government researchers<a href=""> discovered six forgotten vials of smallpox</a>&#160;in a freezer this past June, the plan was to destroy the vials. That's still the plan&#8230; but the demolition date has been pushed back, <a href="">Nature News reports</a>.,397348Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:44:47 +1000Your Washing Machine Could Charge Your Smartphone SomedayHanging out in the kitchen? Chances are, you&#8212;and your smartphone&#8212;are within five metres of the refrigerator. Right now, two companies are planning for a future in which that means you could get the charge on your phone topped off.,397286Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:18:42 +1000Plan To Save Great Barrier Reef Is 'Inadequate,' Scientists SayThe Commonwealth has been working on a plan for taking care of the Great Barrier Reef over the next four decades&#8212;but scientists say it's inadequate. The Australian Academy of Science released today an 11-page critique&#160;of the government's latest draft of its Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.,397285Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:18:39 +1000Shipping Containers Could Relay Quantum Information Across OceansPhysics says that if two particles are entangled on a quantum level, they are permanently linked -- a change in one particle will instantaneously affect the other one, no matter the distance between them. That&#8217;s something that could be fantastic for quickly transporting information across vast distances &#8230; but only if we can figure out how to use it.,397284Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:18:37 +1000Big Pic: Jupiter Gets An Eye In Its StormWhen the Hubble Telescope snapped this true-color image in April, NASA&#160;scientists&#160;found Jupiter staring right back at them. That black dot&#160;is Ganymede's shadow,&#160;crossing Jupiter's Great Red Spot, creating an eerily blank-looking eye. It is almost certainly&#160;the eye of a large and&#160;eternally amused monster (after all, Jupiter was, among other things, the "bringer of jollity").,397283Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:18:34 +1000Microscopic Robots Learn To Move Like White Blood CellsIn the 90s kids show&#160;<em>The Magic School Bus</em>, eccentric teacher Ms. Frizzle took her class for a wild ride in a sick student&#8217;s immune system -- only to be attacked by white blood cells. White blood cells tracked the bus using&#160;the same chemical traces they follow to find infected sites or navigate their way to viruses. If microscopic robots could replicate this complex navigation system, which is shared by many different cells and bacteria, doctors could use them to provide real-time updates on internal structures or distribute drugs to specific targets within a body.,397281Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:18:29 +1000Future Aeroplanes Might Replace Windows With OLED ScreensThere may be no such thing as a window seat on the airliners of the future. A concept released by the U.K.&#8217;s Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) envisions airliners with thinner walls, made by doing away with cabin windows altogether. In their place, CPI sees <a href="" target="_blank">OLED</a> screens lining entire interior walls, which would show passengers the sky around them.,397282Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:18:00 +1000Interstellar Travel Won't Look Anything Like The MovieChristopher Nolan's <em>Interstellar</em> imagines a human journey to planets beyond our star. But that kind of trip would seem impossible in today's terms. Fortunately,&#160;a DARPA-funded task force is already working to make it happen in the next century.,397287Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:18:00 +1000Chemists Find A New Chemical BondFresh evidence suggests there exists a type of chemical bond that nobody has ever seen before, <a href=""><em>Chemistry World</em> reports</a>.&#160;,397231Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:05:26 +1000'Littlefinger' Actor From 'Game Of Thrones' Stars In Rosetta Mission PromoWe&#8217;ve been telling you all along that <a href="">the Rosetta mission is incredible</a>&#8212;the spacecraft has&#160;traveled for 10 years and some <a href="">250 million miles</a>, and on November 12, it&#8217;ll become the first spacecraft ever <a href="">to land on a comet</a>. Now it appears that Aidan Gillen, the guy who plays &#8216;Littlefinger&#8217; on HBO&#8217;s <em>Game of Thrones</em>, is also getting behind the mission. In a sci-fi short named <em>Ambition</em>, Gillen's character explains why Rosetta is awesome.,397230Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:05:24 +1000Lifeguard Drone Ready For Mass Production [Video]In the not too distant future, swimmers in distress may look up to the sky for help and find, not a lifeguard, but a drone, delivering a life preserver in their moment of need. Designed by Amin Rigi and <a href="" target="_blank">RTS Labs</a> in Iran, the Pars drone is a robotic lifesaver. First demonstrated in 2013, Rigi is launching an RTS Labs offshoot, RTS London, to <a href="" target="_blank">mass produce the drones</a>.,397229Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:05:19 +1000Why Does My Dog Kick When I Scratch His Belly?It&#8217;s called the sweet spot. That perfect place on your dog&#8217;s belly or sides that, when scratched, causes your pet&#8217;s foot to go into crazy automatic kicking mode. Every dog owner knows where to find this magical region on his or her canine, as it usually offers up unmitigated joy.,397228Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:05:17 +1000'3D Cutter' Othermill Goes On SaleYou can think of an Othermill as the opposite of a 3D printer.&#160;Instead of building up objects from raw materials, Othermills create objects by cutting away a larger block of material into something smaller. They're like&#160;tiny robotic sculptors, similar to the artists who chisel away at a big block of marble until it becomes a work of art.,397227Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:05:13 +1000The Co-Robots In 'Interstellar' Are Gorgeous--And SillyWhen humans finally set foot on an alien world, they&#8217;ll be joined by robots. That&#8217;s not a bold prediction. It&#8217;s a statement of the obvious. Machines have already beat us to Mars and proven their worth as tireless scouts, surveyors, and sample collectors. A manned expedition will no doubt include at least one bot, if not a whole fleet of them.,397232Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:05:00 +1000These Real-Life Alien Worlds Could Become Humanity's New Home In 'Interstellar'In the upcoming film, <em>Interstellar</em>, a group of heroes blasts off from a dying Earth to search for a new home for humanity. For reasons that aren&#8217;t explained in <a href="">the trailer</a>, the solar system (including Mars) apparently cannot help. Instead, the extraplanetary explorers must seek out <a href="">Earth 2.0</a> in another star system.,397187Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:49:19 +1000Soon You Could Send A Text Or Call A Car With A Click Of Your HeelsIn the future, getting out of a sticky situation might be as easy as clicking your heels together. Design firm iStrategyLabs <a href="">just unveiled</a> a prototype system&#160;called Dorothy (yeah, <a href=""><em>that</em> Dorothy</a>) that will&#160;fasten to people&#8217;s shoes, allowing them to click their heels and end up safely back home in Kansas.&#160;,397186Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:49:16 +1000How To Fast-Track An Ebola VaccineThe World Health Organization said it will have Ebola vaccines ready to give to hundreds of thousands of West Africans by the middle of next year, <a href="">Reuters reports</a>. Right now, there's no approved vaccine for Ebola. Researchers worked on&#160;vaccines before, but trials stalled because the disease is rare and because it mostly afflicts poor countries, so companies <a href="">haven't been motivated to complete trials</a>.&#160;,397185Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:49:13 +1000Toxin-Secreting Stem Cells May Destroy Brain Tumors From Inside OutIn the realm of cancerous diseases, tumors affecting the brain can be particularly difficult to cure. Many are fast moving and take hold of key sections of the body&#8217;s most fundamental organ, rendering surgical removal extremely difficult or impossible.,397184Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:49:10 +1000Should NYC's Ebola Patient Have Been Quarantined?New York City has its first case of Ebola, and it's not surprising in the least. Months ago, <a href="">experts predicted</a> that, with the outbreak raging in West Africa, the&#160;disease would inevitably find its way into the major cities of the world. But the good news is, we have the infrastructure and resources to stop an outbreak in its tracks.,397183Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:49:08 +1000This Paper Ticket Holds A Tiny Biological MachineThe paper ticket you see pictured above is actually a little biology machine. It's a gene circuit stored on a slip of paper. To turn the gene circuit on, you simply wet the paper with a dropper and all of its microscopic components will come to life. Depending on what circuit scientists freeze-dry onto the paper, these slips could be used to detect disease-causing microbes or&#160;medically important molecules, such as glucose. They could even produce molecules scientists want.,397182Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:49:05 +1000Drones Are Tracking Monkeys To Spot Malaria OutbreaksIn the jungles on the island of Borneo, flying robots are following monkeys. These drones aren&#8217;t part of a sinister pre-emptive strike against the Planet of the Apes. Instead, they&#8217;re trying to find the source of new malaria outbreaks among the monkeys. It&#8217;s the best the future has to offer: humans using robots to save monkeys from disease.,397181Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:49:03 +1000A 57-Year-Old Computer Scientist Just Dove 135,000 Feet From The StratosphereWhen Feliz Baumgartner's dove 24 miles from Earth's upper atmosphere, he, along with his Red Bull sponsors, made sure millions of people would follow along. Today, Google vice president Alan Eustace dove from almost a mile higher&#8212;135,000+ feet above Roswell, New Mexico&#8212;with a fraction of the fanfare.,397180Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:49:00 +1000This Robot Pierces Your Cheek To Reach Your BrainIn the future, some forms of brain surgery may not require surgeons to drill through your skull.,397179Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:44:39 +1000The Week In Drones: Monitoring Macaques, Vineyard Helpers, And MoreHere's a roundup of the week's top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft.,397178Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:44:36 +1000Will Wormhole Travel Ever Be Possible?As a curious species, humans have long dreamed of traveling to the farthest depths of space.&#160;That's the major theme of the upcoming science fiction epic&#160;<i>Interstellar</i>, which will take&#160;Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway to the places we hope to one day reach ourselves.&#160;Except for that tiny hiccup called deep space travel.,397177Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:44:33 +1000This Week In Numbers: The World's Highest Freefall, A Paralyzed Man Walks, And Driverless Cars Learn To Speed<strong>135,000 feet:&#160;</strong>New&#160;<a href="">freefall&#160;world record</a>, set Friday morning over Roswell, New Mexico. That's 7,000 feet higher than the previous record-holder,<a href=""> Felix Baumgartner</a>.,397176Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:44:30 +1000Why Liberia Needs Help NOW To Prevent 98,000 Ebola CasesThe Ebola outbreak in West Africa is growing exponentially. The <a href="">latest reports</a> suggest that at least 9,915 people have been infected, and 4,555 have died. And this is just the beginning. Previously, the CDC estimated that a startling <a href="">1.4 million</a> West Africans could be infected by January. &#160;,397153Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:15:05 +1000Autonomous Cars May Change Our Lives In Unexpected WaysIn the future, we may not be dealing with the hassles and frustrations that come with driving cars everyday. Autonomous automobiles can make our lives better! But are cars that drive by themselves all that it's cracked up to be?,397136Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:53:44 +1000Scientists Retract Research On Dr. Oz-Endorsed Weight Loss PillThe scientists who published sham research on a useless weight loss supplement once called a "miracle pill" on the <em>Dr. Oz Show</em> have <a href="">retracted</a> their&#160;study.,397135Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:53:42 +1000New Microscope Makes Gorgeous 3-D Movies Of Living CellsThere's a new microscope in town and the images it produces are stunning. An international team of engineers and biologists is announcing it's&#160;made a microscope that's able to see phenomena such as single proteins diffusing through thickly-packed cells, and&#160;the movement of the fibers that pull cells apart when they divide. Everything remains alive and active under the microscope.,397134Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:53:38 +1000Can Robots Help Fight Ebola?Engineers make disaster-response robots precisely because robots are able to work in situations that are too dangerous for humans. Now the humans have got a new idea:&#160;Perhaps robots could carry off waste from Ebola patients, or bury the bodies of people who have died from Ebola in West Africa. Roboticizing such tasks would keep people from having to touch bodies when they're most infectious.,397133Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:47:56 +1000What Renee Zellweger's New Face Says About Your BrainActor and producer Renee Zellweger has a new face. So far, so Hollywood, right? But the usual blogs and clickbait sites have exploded with coverage, and inevitably other blogs have responded saying the actor's choice of plastic surgery is hers alone, and none of our business. But why are people so interested in yet another celebrity going under the knife? Could it be because of unique human brain biology?,397104Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:31:00 +1000Smart Ice Skate Measures Force Of Intense Triple AxelsOf sports played on ice, hockey tends to get the most attention when it comes to injuries. But figure skaters are also pretty&#160;<a href="">injury-prone</a>, and because of the aesthetic nature of their sport, most figure skaters <a href="">eschew pads and protective gear</a>&#160;while on the ice.&#160;This means avoiding&#160;injuries can be difficult for practitioners of the sport, in which skaters can exert forces of more than six times their body weight during a jump.&#160;&#160;,397022Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:37:47 +1000Moon Robot Will Broadcast In Virtual-Reality VideoA team of scientists at Carnegie Mellon have built a robot that will send video from the moon to the Earth. And the robot will be controlled by the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, with the 3-D camera on the robot turning to match the head movements of the user.,397094Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:37:44 +1000