Australian Popular Science News news from, 11 Feb 2016 08:56:36 +100010This Device Reads Your Mind Through Your VeinsIn recent years, scientists have been developing new and creative ways to put electronics in the brain. These devices are useful for paralyzed patients to control prosthetic limbs with their minds, to help locked-in patients communicate with the outside world, or to help researchers better predict seizures in epileptic patients. But implanting them requires opening the skull, an intrusive procedure. Now researchers from the University of Melbourne have created a device that can be inserted into the brain through the blood vessels, no invasive surgery required. The <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">study was published</a> this week in <em>Nature Biotechnology</em>.,414943Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:30:10 +1000Tesla Model S, I Summon Thee!Last year, Tesla Version 7.0 was sent over the air to Tesla Model S computers as they were sleeping snug in their garages. When the cars woke up, they had Autopilot features that assisted their humans with highway driving, particularly lane keeping, lane changing, and active cruise control features. Version 7.0 had the ability to scan for an open parking space and parallel park on command.,414942Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:30:06 +1000Nerf's Newest And Most Powerful Bow Is Specifically For Girls This week Nerf is announcing a behemoth addition to one of its iconic series: a bow measuring 4 feet in height, with totally redesigned, 27-inch composite arrows that can fire up to 100 feet, and aims truer with the first adjustable sight for the line. It's the largest bow ever from the company by more than a foot, and it fires arrows the farthest of any toy they've ever made.,414941Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:29:58 +1000US Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Obama's Clean Power PlanThe Supreme Court voted 5-4 to issue a <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">temporary stay</a> on President Obama's Clean Power Plan. The move blocks the plan's implementation until a lower court can hear objections to the plan in June.,414940Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:29:48 +1000Google's Driverless Cars Will Be Legally Treated Like Human DriversThe automation of cars has been a long time coming. Mechanized functions like anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and even automated parallel parking have been mainstays in modern cars for decades.,414939Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:29:40 +1000Actually, You Can Teach An Old Dog New TricksChaser&#8212;the border collie who knows more than 1,200 words&#8212;has been called the world's smartest dog. Could she lose her title as she enters her teen years? Researchers in Vienna <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">studied</a> aging dogs' cognition, and the results are promising.,414938Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:29:36 +1000HIV-Positive Patient To Receive Organ Transplants From HIV-Positive DonorSurgeons at Johns Hopkins will perform the first-ever organ transplant between a HIV-positive donor and recipient.,414937Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:29:26 +1000An Apollo Lunar Landing Told Through Vintage ArtIn the 1960s, NASA created concept art showing every phase of an Apollo mission. The timing of mission events varied from flight to flight, particularly since later missions spent more time exploring the Moon's surface. For a sense of just how much longer the later missions were, Apollo 11 splashed down 195 hours and 18 minutes after launch and Apollo 17 was longer by half; the spacecraft splashed down 301 hours and 51 minutes after leaving the Earth. But following along with the time of Apollo 11 mission events works for putting these beautiful images into context.,414936Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:29:17 +1000Twitter Is Now Showing Tweets Out Of OrderTwitter, the social media service built around a reverse-chronological list of posts, is switching things around.,414935Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:29:12 +1000NASA's Retro-Future Posters Want To Send You An Interplanetary VacationPlanning your next vacation or a honeymoon? Perhaps you should look up. NASA's Jet Propulsion Labs is "booking tours now", according to three interplanetary travel posters they recently commissioned.,414880Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:46:03 +1000How The Earth Could Lose Every Drop Of Water It HasThink of it as extreme global warming.,414879Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:45:59 +1000Hungry Sea Lion Pup Found In San Diego RestaurantSomeone's got good taste. A hungry sea lion pup wandered into <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">a beachfront restaurant</a> in San Diego last week, charming the chef and taking a seat (and a nap) in one of the booths.,414878Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:45:53 +1000Can We Prevent Zika From Becoming The Next "Fearbola"?Two and a half months after the announcement of the <a href=";List=8db7286c-fe2d-476c-9133-18ff4cb1b568&amp;;ID=1329&amp;List=8db7286c-fe2d-476c-9133-18ff4cb1b568&amp;Source=http%3A//" target="_blank">Zika virus outbreak in Brazil</a>, concern over the effects of infection seem to be spreading faster than the virus. This incredibly rapid rise of worry is justified as the virus continues to demonstrate potential links to a variety of serious conditions. In the last few weeks, in addition to the original reports of microcephaly, the virus appears to be implicated in the potentially fatal Guillain-Barr&#233; Syndrome. Now there is evidence of the virus in saliva and urine, suggesting human to human transmission may also occur.,414877Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:45:49 +1000These Leaked Photos Might Be Samsung's Galaxy S7The Samsung Galaxy S7 release date is still a mystery, but the fog is clearing. The company revealed their Galaxy S6 smartphone last year back in March and followed with updates to the Galaxy Note and Tab mobile products. Now the company's ready with the 2016 version of the flagship phone: the Samsung Galaxy S7.,414876Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:45:45 +1000President Obama Wants $3 Billion To Help The US Get More CybersecureCybersecurity is a huge point of contention between the public and private sectors. Tech companies vie to stay unregulated in the services and level of encryption they provide to their customers, while the government seeks to mandate certain benchmarks they feel would keep the country's data safe.,414875Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:45:42 +1000Green Slime Can SeeYou don't need eyes to see--at least, not if you're a cyanobacteria.,414874Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:36:55 +1000Zombie Apocalypse? Use Amazon's Game Engine SoftwareIn the event of a zombie apocalypse, Amazon wants to make sure users are still able to use its new 3D game engine software.,414873Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:36:50 +1000See Inside NASA's Claustrophobic Asteroid Trip Simulator In 360-Degree VideoSince <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">2014</a>, NASA has had a rotating crew of four people living in the close quarters of a fake spacecraft for 30 days at a time, in order to simulate a 715-day trip to a near-earth asteroid. The four crew members only communicate regularly with each other and mission control and have no access to internet.,414872Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:36:47 +1000Can Twitter's New 'Trust & Safety Council' Curb Online Abuse? On Tuesday, Twitter announced the formation of the <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">Twitter Trust &amp; Safety Council</a> in a <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">blog post</a> by <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">Patricia Cartes</a>, Head of Global Policy Outreach. The council will serve as an advisory board to Twitter, that will help the company to &#8220;develop products, policies, and programs&#8221; in their field of expertise.,414871Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:36:43 +1000China's Experimental Fusion Reactor Hits Major MilestoneA Chinese fusion reactor managed to sustain plasma at temperatures of over 90 million degrees for 102 seconds, according to <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">an article published</a> in the <em>South China Morning Post</em>. That's over a minute in which a machine sustained an electrically charged gas with a temperature approximately <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">three times hotter</a> than the core of the sun.,414870Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:36:41 +1000Chocolate Like You've Never Seen It: Magnified 5,000 TimesIt's February, and the cupids are fluttering about, their tiny composite bows trained upon unwitting victims. Amongst the relentless onslaught of red-colored stationery comes another assault, one to which I will always surrender: that of chocolate. No matter how strong your curmudgeonesque gripes with Valentine's Day, it's hard to hate chocolate.,414868Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:36:34 +1000This Is The Cover Of A New Book On Robot LawWho will the courts blame when the first driverless car kills someone? That's &#8220;when&#8221;, not &#8220;if&#8221;, as deaths from driverless cars are a near certainty, and the logic behind *who the car decides to kill* is a good introduction to the fascinating and terrifying world of our coming robot future.,414867Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:36:32 +1000SpaceX's Next Launch May Not Include A Landing AttemptSpaceX wants to be able to land its reusable Falcon 9 rockets anywhere, anytime. And although the company has successfully landed on solid ground, it's still working on nailing the landing on an ocean platform. Several rockets have been harmed in these experiments.,414866Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:36:27 +1000You Can Now Stream Torrents In Your Web BrowserThere are a multitude of ways to consume video content online. Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go and more have offered more ways than ever to binge shows and movies over the internet in legal fashion. For those looking to watch shows online that aren't easily available, many turn to torrenting. While using torrents for large file downloads isn't illegal in itself, there are a multitude of websites that offer illegal copies of films and TV shows, among them, The Pirate Bay and Kickass Torrents (Before we go any further, it's worth mentioning that <em>Popular Science</em> does not endorse illegally downloading <em>anything</em>.),414865Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:36:24 +1000Researchers Have Preserved An Entire Rabbit BrainFive years ago, a non-profit organization called the Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF) challenged the world's neuroscience community to a tough task: to preserve a mouse brain (or a mammalian brain of equal size) for extreme long-term storage. All the neurons and synapses within it would have to remain intact and visible while viewed under a special electron microscope. If achieved, the accomplishment would allow scientists not only to have a better way of studying and possibly treating brain diseases, but it would also pave the way to the idea that we might someday be able to preserve the memory stored in the brain's trillions of microscopic connections.,414864Wed, 10 Feb 2016 09:36:21 +1000Israeli Defense Company Unveils Robot WarshipA minefield is the last place where a human should be. Unfortunately, for as long as humans have built explosives and floated them underwater, it's been up to human-crewed boats to get close and do the work of disarming the deadly weapons. Elbit, an Israel-based defense company, today unveiled a new unmanned surface vessel dubbed the &#8220;Seagull,&#8221; designed to face danger in the ocean without any humans on board.,414827Tue, 9 Feb 2016 11:13:40 +1000This Is Why We SighTiredness, sadness, and relief all feel very different, and yet sighing somehow seems to complement each emotional state. But why do we do it? There have been lots of theories, but no one is quite sure. Now researchers have filled in an important piece of the puzzle: They have discovered the neurological pathways responsible for the frequency of sighing, independent of regular breathing. <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">The study</a> was published today in <em>Nature</em>.,414826Tue, 9 Feb 2016 11:13:37 +1000You Can Finally Switch Between Accounts On InstagramInstagram users rejoice! The photo-sharing platform has heard our plea, and announced in a <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">blog post</a> that it is <em>finally</em> releasing the ability to switch accounts within the app this week. Here's how it works:,414825Tue, 9 Feb 2016 11:13:35 +1000Obama Wants To Allocate US$1.8 Billion To Combat ZikaToday, President Obama requested $1.8 billion in emergency funding from Congress for preparedness and research into the Zika virus, according to a <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">White House press release</a>. Though the president emphasized that people shouldn't panic about Zika, it should be taken seriously especially because of its link to the birth defect microcephaly.,414824Tue, 9 Feb 2016 11:13:32 +1000This Roach-Inspired Robot Crawls Even When SquishedCockroaches slip through the cracks. While this is a huge problem for anyone trying to keep the insects out of their home, it makes roaches a great subject of interest for robotics research. If humans could make a robot that worked like a cockroach, it could slip into places otherwise inaccessible, aiding rescue workers and potentially saving lives after earthquakes or other disasters. By studying just how roaches work even after they've been compressed, researchers made a robot that can slip through an opening half its height.,414823Tue, 9 Feb 2016 11:13:26 +1000Sensor-1 Is A Personal, Portable Security SystemHome security systems are great for knowing when people are entering your home or even for preventing them from doing so. But they don't really protect what's inside and they aren't exactly portable. You can't take them with you to a coffee shop to protect your laptop when you are standing in line ordering a drink.,414822Tue, 9 Feb 2016 11:13:23 +1000What You Need To Know About Indian Point Nuclear Plant's Groundwater AlertIndian Point Energy Center, an aging nuclear power plant located just 25 miles away from New York City, recently detected elevated amounts of radiation in groundwater near the plant, according to news alerts published on Saturday by the <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">facility's parent company Entergy</a> and by <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">New York Governor Andrew Cuomo</a>.,414821Tue, 9 Feb 2016 11:13:20 +1000Did A Meteorite Just Kill Someone In India? There are some early reports that a <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">bus driver</a> in India may have died by meteorite.,414820Tue, 9 Feb 2016 11:13:15 +1000Small Doses Of Opioids Could Prevent SuicideFor the <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">million Americans</a> that attempt suicide every year&#8212;and the 40,000 or so that succeed&#8212;it's hard to find a fast enough way to quiet thoughts of self-harm. Behavioral therapy and antidepressants often require weeks to take effect, and there's no treatment available for people at imminent risk. But a few years ago, researchers hypothesized that opioids, drugs that reduce the perception of pain by binding special proteins to the brain's pain receptors, might quiet feelings of emotional pain.,414819Tue, 9 Feb 2016 11:13:10 +1000What Do We Know About North Korea's Latest Satellite Launch?Yesterday morning, at around 9:30 a.m. Pyongyang time, North Korea fired a rocket into space. On the East Coast, the news broke at about 7:30 Saturday night. Earlier this month, North Korea announced they would launch a satellite in February, but no one really expected it to happen so quickly. We followed the updates live as they came in. Now that the dust, literal and metaphorical, has started to settle, what do we actually know about the rocket North Korea used, and about the object they hurtled into space?,414818Tue, 9 Feb 2016 11:13:06 +1000Would You Vote For A Supercomputer As Prime Minister?While we might have already seen <a href=";src=syn#7BBPuwWZhOqr" target="_blank">our first robot in the 2016 US presidential election</a>, a serious supercomputer is hopping in the fray.,414817Tue, 9 Feb 2016 11:13:03 +1000AMNH's Titanosaur Fossil And Blue Whale Fossil Have Been Texting Each OtherIn January, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City unveiled its new, 70-ton dinosaur named Titanosaur. And as any good child would do (or, who am I kidding, I do this), AMNH has created an adorable social media personality for its new fossil.,414796Mon, 8 Feb 2016 16:24:03 +1000See Blue Origin's Controlled Rocket Landing From The Rocket's Point-of-ViewBlue Origin, the private spaceflight company founded by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, made history in November when it landed its New Shepard rocket gently on the ground of the company's Texas test site.,414795Mon, 8 Feb 2016 16:23:59 +1000Northrop Grumman Ad Teases 6th-Generation FighterIf this Northrop Grumman ad is any indication, we haven't seen the last of the piloted fighter jet. The defense giant is best known for its long line of flying wings, including the iconic B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and the yet-to-be-unveiled Long Range Strike Bomber. Their new 30-second clip doesn't show us any new details about that bomber, which remains under wraps in ads even after winning a major Air Force contract. Instead, it gives us a trio of arrow-head-shaped grey wedges, all stealthy jet fighters with room for human pilots on board.,414794Mon, 8 Feb 2016 16:23:56 +1000Elon Musk Cancelling A Customer's Tesla Order Makes No SenseIt's been a few days since the big Musk-vs-Angry-Tesla-Customer flap livened up our Twitter feeds, and having spent that time mulling the brouhaha and reading&#8212;and rereading&#8212;the two <a href=";src=syn#.kcv78lhgo" target="_blank">Medium</a> <a href=";src=syn#.au76e6kev" target="_blank">posts</a> from venture capitalist Stewart Alsop about how Elon Musk personally canceled his Model X order over a bit of online snark, I have just one question: Is there something I'm missing?,414793Mon, 8 Feb 2016 16:23:53 +1000Malaria Found In US White-Tailed Deer White-tailed deer throughout 10 states in the southeast are infected with low levels of malaria, according to research published today in the journal <em>Science Advances</em>. Until now, researchers thought the parasite had been largely eradicated in the United States.,414792Mon, 8 Feb 2016 16:23:49 +1000How NASA Broadcast Neil Armstrong Live from the MoonApollo 11's lunar landing and specifically Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon was, arguably, the biggest television event of the 20th century. Knowing the impact a live broadcast would have on the world, Deke Slayton went so far as to push NASA to include an erectable antenna on the LM so Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin wouldn't have to wait for a tracking station to come within range before stepping outside. NASA's live broadcast of Apollo 11's landing was nearly a decade in the making, and required some stunning feats of engineering.,414791Mon, 8 Feb 2016 16:23:45 +1000First Phase Of Giant Solar Power Plant In Morocco Turns OnThe giant concentrated solar power plant in Morocco switched on its first phase this week. Known as Noor I, the 160-megawatt power plant is the first of three phases (named Noor II and Noor III, of course) of a concentrated solar power house situated in the Ouarzazate province.,414790Mon, 8 Feb 2016 16:23:41 +1000It's Meaningless To Say Something Is 'So Big You Can See It From Space'A large garbage fire in Mumbai has been burning for days. The noxious smoke is choking the city with 21 million residents, and it's not going to be easy to put the fire out. It's a big fire, and big deal. But the bajillion headlines saying the fire is "so big you can see it from space" are kind of annoying.,414789Mon, 8 Feb 2016 16:23:35 +1000The US National Archives Released A Free Coloring Book Of Weird PatentsThe National Archives of the United States just released a coloring book full of strange patents. It's all available now as a <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">free PDF</a>, and it's 17 glorious pages of sheer inventive weirdness. The patents range for chicken goggles to a hat that automatically salutes to the landing craft used in D-Day. It's an utter delight.,414788Mon, 8 Feb 2016 16:23:31 +1000Watch A Robot Sink A Hole-In-OneHitting a hole-in-one in golf is a feat that doesn't happen every day. According to <em><a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">Golf Digest</a></em> an amateur's odds of hitting that shot are about 12,500 to 1.,414787Mon, 8 Feb 2016 16:23:28 +1000Google DeepMind's Algorithm Can Now Explore 3D MazesGoogle DeepMind thinks the best way to teach machines how to learn about the world is to place them in a virtual one, namely in video games. Since the entire experience is virtual, it's easy to reproduce exact scenarios and get a nearly unlimited amount of data from a single game. In the past, DeepMind has developed algorithms to learn from (and beat) 2D Atari games like <a href=";v=V1eYniJ0Rnk" target="_blank">Breakout</a> and <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">Pac-Man</a>.,414786Mon, 8 Feb 2016 16:23:24 +1000SpaceX Gears Up For Mass Production Of Falcon RocketsPrivate spaceflight is starting to look a lot more like a viable business.,414785Mon, 8 Feb 2016 16:23:20 +1000Brown Bear Gut Microbes May Hold The Secret To Being Hefty But HealthyYou've probably learned that bears gorge themselves before hibernating, packing on the pounds rather suddenly. It's an enviable practice, mostly because those indulgent bears don't seem to contract the same health problems an obese human would. A <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">study published</a> this week in <em>Cell Reports</em> has found that it might be due to the bear's friendly gut microbes.,414784Mon, 8 Feb 2016 16:23:16 +1000Should Sexually Active Women Really Avoid Alcohol If They're Not On Birth Control?This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">controversial report</a> about pregnancy and alcohol use. &#8220;More than 3 million US women are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, having sex, and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy,&#8221; the CDC web site reads. And while their recommendations in part are directed to women who are trying to get pregnant, 75 percent of which reportedly continue to drink, it's the implication for women who might accidentally get pregnant that is <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">igniting</a> <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">fury</a> online.,414783Mon, 8 Feb 2016 16:23:12 +1000