Australian Popular Science News news from, 1 Oct 2016 02:48:40 +100010China Says It Has Quantum Radar: What Does That Mean? China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), China's foremost military electronics company, has announced that its scientists have tested a quantum radar to the range of 100km, beating out known American and German competition by 500%. This is a significant claim to make, as a quantum radar would theoretically be able to detect stealth aircraft at long ranges.,438366Wed, 28 Sep 2016 10:21:10 +1000Watch Elon Musk Present His Plans For Humanity's Multi-Planetary FutureElon Musk probably writes "try to save the world" at the top of his to-do list every day, above running companies that are revolutionizing energy, transportation, and space travel. In the next decade, he's hoping to pioneer humanity's next great adventure: Interplanetary travel, and colonization of other worlds.,438304Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:11 +1000Photos Suggest Mercury Is Actively Shrinking Mercury can't get a break. Not only is it the smallest officially recognized planet in our Solar System, but it's also shrinking. In a study published in Nature Geoscience, new analysis of photos taken by NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft show distinct landforms that indicate the planet is still contracting as it slowly cools down from its molten early years at the start of the Solar System.,438303Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:10 +1000Now You Can Own A Transformer In Real LifeAs children, many of us sat in front of the television on Saturday mornings, wishing the characters from fantasy worlds would inhabit our own. Now, a Turkish startup called <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">Letvision</a> is working to make that dream a reality. They recently unveiled a Transformer-inspired machine that starts out as a mild-mannered BMW coupe, and with the work of hydraulics and servos it reveals its secret identity as a massive humanoid robot.,438302Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:10 +1000DroneSeed Company Could Replant Forests After Forest FiresAutomating forestry is an uphill battle. Trees grow well on slopes and steep inclines, which are difficult for farming equipment, adapted as it is to sweeping, gentle plains. This is especially hard for the replanting part of responsible forestry, where seedlings need deliberate, tender care so they can begin to replace their fallen predecessors. This is, right now, a human intensive process, but startup DroneSeed wants to turn over the entire process to, you guessed it, drones.,438301Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:10 +1000Hubble Finds New Evidence Of Water Plumes On EuropaHubble's view of huge plumes of water vapor in 2013, data shown superimposed on a photo of Europa,438300Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:10 +1000A Devil Frog Puked Up This New Ant Species Out of the belly of a bright orange frog, a mysterious species of ant appears.,438299Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:09 +1000Watch A UPS Drone Deliver Medical Supplies To An IslandUPS has over 100,000 cars, vans, tractors, and motorcycles in its delivery fleet, and over 500 jets owned or chartered. That's a massive fleet by any metric, and one with a tremendous amount of reach for the delivery giant. Yet it's a fleet with one major limitation: the jets need large runways to land, and the automobiles are all limited by land. This is fine for people on the mainland, but what if UPS wants to deliver something to a small island, one without the space for a runway or ferry? Drones. Drones are the obvious answer.,438298Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:09 +1000Riding A Roller Coaster Could Help You Pass Small Kidney Stones Every year around Spring Break there is a mass migration in which flocks of families from mid-Michigan flee the winter cold and head South, down to Orlando, Florida and the many theme parks there. They return a week later, satiated with fun and sun, cleansed of their worries by the vacation and their kidney stones by the roller coasters.,438297Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:08 +1000This Is The Rocket That Could Save HumanityTake a long, loving gaze into the fiery plume of a rocket that could someday save humanity. It's the kind of beautiful fireball you could get lost in.,438296Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:08 +1000How Little Vibrations Break Big RocketsAt 7 o'clock on the morning on April 4, 1968, Apollo 6 thundered off the launch pad. Everything looked perfect until the rocket started vibrating in flight so hard it was almost bouncing up and down. The so-called pogo effect (it's almost like the rocket is bouncing on a pogo stick) increased g-forces in the spacecraft and shook the rocket's frame so hard that loose structural panels on the lunar module adapter section fell off. The irregular launch also destroyed the flight path, leaving the spacecraft in a highly elliptical orbit rather than the planned circular one. Luckily Apollo 6 was unmanned, but the problem was bigger than one mission. NASA had spent years solving the pogo problem only to see it return, this time threatening manned lunar missions.,438295Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:07 +1000Exploring Obama's Seafloor Canyons by Mini&#160;SubAlong the walls of Oceanographer Canyon, fish dart in and out of colorful anemone gardens and sea creatures send up plumes of sand and mud as they burrow. Bill Ryan, an oceanographer at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, watched the scenes through the windows of a mini research submarine in 1978 as he became one of the few people to explore the seafloor canyons that President Obama has now designated a national monument.,438294Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:07 +1000DIY EpiPens, An Augmented Reality Diving Helmet, And More Can you see Saturn's moon Pan? Its that tiny white dot left of center, within Saturn's rings. Despite its size in comparison to the planet, the moon actually <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">plays a key role</a> in shaping Saturn's changing rings. NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this image on July 2 of this year from a distance of about 840,000 miles away.,438293Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:07 +1000An Incredibly Deep Ocean Could Be Hiding Beneath Pluto's Icy HeartPluto's shown us its heart, and its potential for vast liquid water ocean habitats so far from the Sun &#8212; on a cosmic body we demoted, no less &#8212; is mind-boggling in itself. To add to the "holy wow" of what Pluto can tell us, scientists now have reason to believe that the dwarf planet's ocean is incredibly deep.,438292Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:06 +1000Driverless Bus Gets Into Fender Bender In SwitzerlandRobots, too, can be bad drivers. As the world prepares for the coming future of driverless cars, there are bound to be a few accidents. Launched this summer, a trial of PostBus driverless shuttles in Sion, Switzerland was expected to continue through October 2017. Instead, one of the two shuttles hit a parked van earlier this week, sending the whole trial into a screeching halt.,438291Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:06 +1000New Drone Kit Turns LEGO Into Flying MachinesLEGO gets knocked down, and then it gets put back together again. It's what it does. Drones, with few exceptions, get put together, and are then gravely damaged beyond repair when they crash. Why not build on the repairability of LEGO bricks when making a hobbyist drone? That's the idea behind Flybrix.,438290Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:04 +1000NOAA Researchers Explain What It's Like To Fly Into A HurricaneMany people have lived through hurricanes, but very few have flown into them on purpose. On a <a href=";src=syn#bottom-comments" target="_blank">Reddit AMA</a> (ask me anything) today, Frank Marks, the head of NOAA's Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project and Commander Justin Kibbey, a NOAA pilot, took questions about what it's like to fly into hurricanes to gather data crucial to helping forecasters predict a storm's movement.,438289Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:04 +1000Travel Back In Time With These Amazing Historical GIFsHarpers Ferry Center created a compilation of over 550 sites for park interpretive centers and exhibits. The <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">series was created in 1970</a>, but some of the material used dates back to 1917. Here, people dance in a circle around a massive tree in Sequioa National Park. So jaunty.,438288Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:04 +10003D-Printed Gun Files Aren't Free Speech, US Court RulesThe first two protections in the US Bill of Rights guarantee freedom of speech and a right to bear arms, respectively. But what about when those collide?,438109Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:40 +1000This Is How Orion Astronauts Might Protect Themselves From Radiation StormsEveryone needs a good backup plan. Especially when you're hurtling through deep space months away from home in a small enclosed area with several other people. Then, you definitely need a backup plan.,438108Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:40 +1000We Don't Know Which 500 Million Yahoo Accounts Were HackedYour Yahoo password has probably been compromised, but it's going to be hard for you to find out.,438107Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:39 +1000With Bolt, HTC Might Be Next To Drop Headphone JacksAnd so the dominos begin to fall on the life of the headphone jack. The upcoming HTC Bolt is rumored to be announced later this year, and in the meantime it looks a lot like the current HTC 10 device, without one major development: a jack.,438106Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:38 +1000Your &#8220;Sixth Sense&#8221; Of Body Awareness Depends On This GeneScientists have identified a gene that helps us feel and keep tabs on our body's position in space.,438105Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:38 +1000A Driverless Lane Could Be Coming to a Highway Near YouCarpool lanes are for cars with multiple passengers, but a new lane type might make room for cars with no drivers, starting with a highway from Vancouver to Seattle. That's the new idea from several tech giants, including a board member of Amazon and a former Microsoft executive.,438104Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:38 +1000Bell Made A Tiltrotor Drone With Missiles For MarinesRunways are a hassle. Long, flat strips of unobstructed land are work to defend at the best of times, and can't always be found in rugged terrain or on small islands. Yet having a fixed-wing plane fly air support is useful, because plane bodies are faster and much more efficient than helicopters. What's the Marine Corps to do?,438103Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:38 +1000Obesity Might Not Have Evolved To Protect Us From Starvation Obesity now affects more than 600 million people worldwide and is increasingly becoming a serious public health problem. But despite this, we still don't completely understand what causes people to become obese. Scientists know it's an interaction between our genes and our environment, including the unique environment of microbes that live in our guts, but they are still unsure of how exactly these factors come together to cause someone to become overweight and eventually obese.,438102Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:38 +1000 &#8220;Water Stories&#8221; Is A Haunting Document Of Global Water IssuesThe Three Gorges Dam stands 185m high and 3,035m wide. Hydropower projects have had huge impacts on the Yangtze. The dam was designed to bene&#64257;t people by controlling &#64258;oods, generating power and aiding navigation, but it has upset the natural &#64258;ow of the river. WWF and others are working with the operators of the Three Gorges Dam to ensure enough water is being released at key moments, thereby restoring the natural pulse of the river and supporting the needs of wildlife downstream.,438101Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:37 +1000Listen To A Song Written By Artificial Intelligence, Inspired By The BeatlesThe Beatles may have ended decades ago, but AI is making good (if derivative) hits that sound an awful lot like something off "Revolver.",438100Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:37 +1000How Male Widow Spiders Avoid Sex CannibalismFor certain species of spider, sex culminates with the male getting eaten. But not all spiders go meekly into the jaws of their partners. Some males tie their mates up to avoid becoming a meal. Others copulate with females before they have grown into mature sexual cannibals, scientists <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">reported</a> September 20 in the journal <em>Biology Letters</em>.,438099Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:36 +1000Obama Orders Pentagon To Plan For Climate Change&#8220;Climate change poses a significant and growing threat to national security, both at home and abroad,&#8221; declared a memorandum from the White House to the heads of executive departments and agencies. With the United States about to enter its 15th year of fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan, and with the fight against ISIS in Iraq spilling over into Syria more and more, it may seem odd for the President to direct resources towards a less direct threat. Does it really make sense for the United States military to spend resources on fighting climate change instead of defeating ISIS?,438098Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:36 +1000We Know Why The Midshipman Fish SingsThe courtship song of the midshipman fish is a pleasure that can only be enjoyed by night. It turns out that these long, droning hums follow a daily rhythm that is set by light and the hormone melatonin. With enough light, singing fish can be made to quiet down, a condition that is remedied with a boost of melatonin, scientists <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">reported</a> today in the journal <em>Current Biology</em>.,438097Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:35 +1000Humans Can Make This Giant Arch VibrateEven remote rocky landforms feel the effects of human activities. In southern Utah, waves and earthquakes caused by people set the enormous Rainbow Bridge vibrating, indicates a study <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">published</a> September 21 in <em>Geophysical Research Letters</em>.,438096Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:35 +1000How To Watch The Presidential Debates If You Don't Have A TVWondering where to watch the presidential debates as Trump and Clinton finally face off? We've got good news: it'll be hard to miss them. Pretty much every social media app, network website, and news channel in broadcast and cable will have live coverage of the debates, starting next week.,438095Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:34 +1000NASA Is Investigating The Microbes Aboard ISSThere may soon be a field guide to the microbes of the International Space Station. NASA announced on September 21 that it is seeking research proposals to investigate tiny creatures ferried from Earth on the bodies of the more than 200 astronauts who have visited the space station.,438094Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:34 +1000Mercedes-Benz's Vision Van Concept Is A Nest For Delivery DronesA delivery van is a tiny warehouse on wheels. Away from the conveyor belts and simple machines of a warehouse, humans, usually two of them, do all the rudimentary tasks of delivery: driving, finding the packages in the back, and placing packages on doorsteps. Mercedes-Benz, in collaboration with drone delivery company Matternet, created a <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">concept Vision Van</a> that replaces this routine with an automated system, and adds two drones on top for speedy delivery.,438093Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:33 +1000China Sells a New Laser GunThe Low Altitude Guard II is a more powerful, mobile follow up to the laser turret, one with potential military applications that goes beyond just shooting down drones to possibly defending against mortar and rocket attacks.,438092Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:33 +1000People Want to Interact -- Even with an Autonomous CarSemcon, a product development company specializing in how humans actually use things, conducted a study on people's attitudes toward self-driving cars. People in Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany responded, and nearly half said they had very little trust in autonomous vehicles.,438091Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:33 +1000Plan To Save Humanity From Catastrophic Global Warming Gets A BoostToday, the Paris Agreement got a big boost. 31 countries ratified or accepted the Paris Agreement, an internationa climate change treaty</a>, an international climate change treaty that calls upon nations to reduce their total greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to try and stave off the worst effects of global warming, such as extreme temperatures and sea level rise.,438090Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:33 +1000Should You Build Your Own EpiPen?EpiPen is an increasingly expensive life-saving treatment for severe allergic reactions.,438089Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:33 +1000'Love Hormone' Also Boosts Feelings Of Spiritual EnlightenmentIt's not just the love hormone: oxytocin could prop up our spiritual lives, according to new research out of Duke University.,438088Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:33 +1000Your Fitness Tracker May Be Holding You Back From Losing WeightIf you're thinking a fitness tracker is going to help you lose weight, research says the tracker may actually impede your total potential for weight loss, assuming you're committed to making the changes already.,438087Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:32 +1000Used Coffee Grounds Can Clean Contaminated Water The foam filter made with used coffee grounds removes heavy metal ions like lead and mercury from contaminated water.,438086Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:39:32 +1000How NASA Goes to Space Without Leaving the EarthOn June 16, 1968, Joe Kerwin, Vance Brand, and Joe Engle climbed into and were sealed inside their Apollo command module. Over the next seven days they lived off their onboard systems and consumables as they slowly rotated to ensure even heating across the spacecraft's skin. They emerged seven days later bearded and tired but happy. Their mission had been, by and large, successful, though they hadn't left the Earth. The crew of 2TV-1 had &#8220;flown&#8221; their mission in a massive vacuum chamber.,437747Mon, 19 Sep 2016 15:24:13 +1000Prenatal Mercury Exposure Cancels Out Cognitive Benefits of ExerciseWe all know the benefits of a daily dose of physical activity by now. Not only does exercise tone your body so you can wear your favorite jeans, it even helps with your memory. But when it comes to retaining new information, working out may not do much for people who were exposed to high levels of mercury before birth, according to a new study that was just published in the <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">journal <em>Environmental Health Perspectives</em>.</a>,437746Mon, 19 Sep 2016 15:24:13 +1000Pigeons Can Read A Little Bit, New Research ShowsThey might not always know the difference between a straw and a french fry, but pigeons can judge each other's leadership skills. They might also be able to read the news about their fallen leaders. Well, almost. How they learn to recognize words could provide insights on the origins of language, according to a <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">study published in <em>PNAS</em></a>.,437745Mon, 19 Sep 2016 15:24:13 +1000A Primer On How Self-Replicating Robots Could Conquer The UniverseEver want to escape the earth? There are billions of other worlds out there, and while we don't know a lot about most of them, there's a good chance at least one is better than Earth itself. With the possible exception of Mars, it's extremely unlikely humans living now will ever make it to any of those distant worlds. What might, instead, is a Von Neumann self-replicating robot probe.,437744Mon, 19 Sep 2016 15:24:13 +1000North Korea Could Be 5 Years Away From Making A Nuclear MissileLaunching a ballistic missile is a solved problem. It was first solved in World War II, when German V-2 rockets flew over 220 miles to rain death on the <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">United Kingdom</a>. During the Cold War, the potential to deliver a nuclear attack with a missile fired from one side of the globe to another led to an arms race, a massive nuclear stockpile, and the category of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, or <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">ICBMs</a>. Building an ICBM is also a solved problem, requiring the expertise to make a nuclear warhead and to build a missile body that can effectively deliver it.,437743Mon, 19 Sep 2016 15:24:12 +1000Solar-Powered Helicopter Takes&#160;FlightThis year we saw a <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">solar-powered plane</a> circumnavigate the globe and a solar-powered boat gear up to do the same. As of last week, we can add to that list of clean energy marvels the first-ever piloted flight of a <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">solar-powered helicopter</a>.,437742Mon, 19 Sep 2016 15:24:12 +1000Driverless Ubers, Disappearing Stars, And MoreA new company called Skynet has made an anti-drone weapon shaped like a gun. It's really just a pair of big antennas that weigh roughly 12.5 pounds and have a range of 1.25 miles (without interference). But the anti-drone rifle can jam GPS signals to a quadcopter, and shut its camera off, causing the hovering drone to land. Read more about it here.,437741Mon, 19 Sep 2016 15:24:12 +1000Pigeons Know When They're Getting Bad Leadership AdviceSpeed wins over competence in the pigeon world: The fastest, not the smartest, pigeons become leaders of the flock. But a new study published in the Royal Society journal <em><a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">Biology Letters</a></em> shows potential for a coup in the coop when the head pigeon flies astray.,437740Mon, 19 Sep 2016 15:24:12 +1000