Australian Popular Science News news from, 20 Mar 2018 18:48:18 +100010Now's your chance to discover a new planet (with Google's help)The company's open source AI software is an armchair explorer's dream.,486916Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:50:09 +1000How about this disease-infested rat weather?It's a beautiful day for bacteria.,486915Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:50:09 +1000The best weather for hitting a home run, according to scientistsFactors like temperature and humidity have a real impact on your ability to hit a homer.,486914Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:50:08 +1000Last week in tech: Listen to our new podcastCheck out some fancy new cars, Samsung's new TVs, and our experimental podcast.,486913Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:50:08 +1000The shape of your city could determine how hot it gets at nightNew York City is a crystal, but Boston is a liquid.,486912Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:50:07 +1000All the ways daylight saving time screws with youWhen entire countries lose an hour of sleep simultaneously, bad things happen.,486911Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:50:07 +1000Why so many diamonds are making science headlines this weekThey're windows into the heart of the Earth.,486910Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:50:07 +1000The fast, fancy, and futuristic cars from the 2018 Geneva Motor ShowThere are lots of new rides to see in Switzerland this week.,486909Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:50:06 +1000Our stupid brains love spreading lies all over the internetA new study from MIT suggests "fake news" often trumps the truth. (Uh... figure of speech?),486908Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:50:06 +1000You probably shouldn't blame touchscreens for your kid's terrible handwritingIn fact, they might even do some good.,486907Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:50:04 +1000This is what some of the earliest stars in the universe might have looked likeMeanwhile in space: moon activity and satellites watching satellite launches .,486282Mon, 5 Mar 2018 09:31:43 +1000Here are the new phones and trends from Mobile World Congress 2018Couldn't make it to Barcelona? No worries. Here's what you need to see.,486281Mon, 5 Mar 2018 09:31:42 +1000Pooping on a mountain is even more complicated than it soundsOur guide to evacuating ethically in the wilderness,486280Mon, 5 Mar 2018 09:31:42 +1000Heart attacks seem more common after extreme temperature changesUnseasonably warm afternoons might not do us much good.,486279Mon, 5 Mar 2018 09:31:41 +1000Venus may once have been habitable. Now it can tell us if other worlds might be as well.It's time to return to our hellish neighbor.,486278Mon, 5 Mar 2018 09:31:41 +1000Your skin is crawling with bacteria, and some of it might help fight cancerCommon microbes seem to help treat cancer—at least in mice.,486277Mon, 5 Mar 2018 09:31:41 +1000This 35-km stretch of Georgia highway is a living laboratory for clean energyThe Ray is a rural testing ground for cutting-edge tech.,486276Mon, 5 Mar 2018 09:31:40 +1000If the Earth is spinning, why can't I feel it?Congratulations: you're currently spinning at about 1,000 miles an hour without even trying! That's how fast the Earth has to turn to make a complete rotation every day. So why can't you feel it? Your stomach goes all topsy-turvy when you spin around on a merry-go-round, and that's a lot slower than 1,000 miles per hour.,486275Mon, 5 Mar 2018 09:31:40 +1000A normal person's guide to buying an old film cameraToday, Kodak announced it was bringing back one of its iconic black-and-white films, TMax P3200, which has been out of production since 2012. It's a monochrome film that's extra-sensitive to light, so you can shoot with it in dark settings, and it will give you a gritty, grimy look that so many smartphone filter apps have tried to replicate. But that's not the only good news in the film photography world at the moment. Kodak is still preparing another iconic film called Ektacrhome for market later this year, and a new film SLR from a company called Reflex slated to ship later this year camera just had a crowdfunding run that raised 150 percent of its goal.,485861Mon, 26 Feb 2018 09:30:52 +1000The critters of the deep sea may thrive on calamariDeep at the bottom of the Gulf of California there lies a graveyard. Scientists have discovered dozens of squid carcasses being gobbled up by scavengers in the waters of northwestern Mexico. The bodies appeared fresh, hinting that many more vanished from the seafloor before they could be spotted. If so, squid graveyards could be the sites of much-needed feasts for bottom-feeders around the world, the team reported recently in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.,485860Mon, 26 Feb 2018 09:30:52 +1000Februarys will continue to get warmer, which is good for picnics but bad for humansSummer came early to New York City on Wednesday, as temperatures soared to a record 76 degrees Fahrenheit — more than 30 degrees warmer than the average February high. Up and down the the East Coast, from Atlanta to Baltimore to Cleveland to Boston, an unusual warm spell broke temperature records.,485859Mon, 26 Feb 2018 09:30:52 +1000The Grim Reaper does not care about the latest longevity study you saw on FacebookCentenarians always want to tell you how much beer they drank. How many cigarettes they smoked. How often they ate bars of chocolate. Similarly, headlines regularly belt out accolades for every study that purports to show a link between living past 90 and drinking/smoking/eating mac & cheese three times a day. You know the one—its an article that probably goes something like this:,485858Mon, 26 Feb 2018 09:30:51 +1000Meet the SpaceX ships that will never go to spaceSpaceX is known for its spaceships—from the Dragon capsule that resupplies the space station, to the proposed interplanetary transport system. But it's the company's more traditional, water-going vessels that keep the lofty dreams of affordable spaceflight afloat. Take a closer look at SpaceX's non-space ships.,485857Mon, 26 Feb 2018 09:30:50 +1000Everything Americans know about science in seven graphsEvery two years, a couple thousand lucky Americans get to take a science quiz. The National Science Foundation surveys the representative sample to see how much they (and, by extension, we) all understand about science and technology. And it's not just for fun. The NSF has a vested interest in figuring out what Americans know, think, and understand about the scientific world so they can construct policies in line with our collective reasoning. So once it's collected, this survey data gets compiled and put it into one big report.,485856Mon, 26 Feb 2018 09:30:50 +1000An amateur astronomer accidentally caught an exploding star on camera—and it gets betterVictor Buso was looking forward to testing his new camera on September 20, 2016. The locksmith and amateur astronomer waited for nightfall and headed out to his rooftop observatory in the city of Rosario, Argentina, where his 15.7 inch (40 cm) Newtonian telescope was waiting. He had no idea he would help capture the start of one of the most unpredictable events in the universe; a supernova.,485855Mon, 26 Feb 2018 09:30:48 +1000'Speed reading' isn't real, but you can still train yourself to read fasterWhen I was a kid in the mid-2000s, I saw this black and white photo from the late 1970s. The caption: "Amy Carter and Jimmy Carter participate in a speed reading course at the White House." I was mesmerized. If I could learn to read faster, I'd have a much better chance of meeting my existing goal of reading every book ever written. Without it, I'd never even make it through the local library.,485854Mon, 26 Feb 2018 09:30:48 +1000Athletes with asthma tend to do better at the Winter OlympicsFrom cross-country skiing to speed skating, the Winter Olympics is full of breathless feats of endurance. And for a large number of Olympic athletes, the breathlessness isn't just over who will win the next medal—it's from asthma. But if you think the condition could hold Olympians back, think again: Athletes with asthma are more likely to win medals than their competitors.,485614Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:43:46 +1000China is building the world's largest facility for robot ship researchChina is looking to establish itself as a leader in robotic warships, having made plans to open the world's largest facility for unmanned ship research just north of Macau. The Wanshan Marine Test Site is slated to span 225 square nautical miles of water and islands. It'll reportedly be equipped with satellite navigation, electro optical sites, sonar, and datalinks.,485613Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:43:45 +1000This year's flu vaccine is only 36 percent effective—and that's great newsIn the last decade, only one flu shot has reached the 60 percent efficacy mark. Three others have gotten over 50 percent. The lowest: 19.,485612Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:43:45 +1000The botany in Obama's official portrait represents his historyThe National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. is full of familiar faces. Since it opened in 1968, the museum's sole purpose has been to showcase the images of "men and women who have made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the people of the United States." A visitor could wander the halls for hours, but there's now more reason to high-tail it to the Presidential Gallery. As of February 12, former President Barack Obama's portrait has been added to the hall, and with it some truly beautiful botanicals.,485611Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:43:44 +1000You can (and should) train yourself to sleep on your backAdults are in pain. A 2015 study from the National Institutes of Health showed that 25 million U.S. adults cope with chronic pain every day. While everyone's suffering is different—there are as many sources of pain as people—for many, how you sleep plays a crucial role.,485610Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:43:42 +1000China's J-20 stealth fighter jet has officially entered serviceThe People's Liberation Army Air Force has officially deployed its J-20 stealth fighters to frontline fighter squadrons. Shen Jinke, a PLAAF spokesman, told the Xinhua News Agency that the new fighters were ready to "safeguard China's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity." The PLA's English website also mentions the J-20's newfound operational status, which suggests the announcement was meant to raise the international profile of the modernizing Chinese military.,485609Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:43:42 +1000Ice technicians are the secret stars of the Winter OlympicsThe emphasis of this year's two-week-long Winter Olympic Games has been placed squarely on the Olympians themselves. After all, the stated purpose of the international competition is to bring together the world's greatest athletes in a nail-biting competition across fifteen different winter sports.,484992Mon, 12 Feb 2018 13:04:55 +1000A fish that barely sleeps could help turn humans into all-night party animalsThere's something about the blind Mexican cavefish that will make you quite jealous: To survive and thrive, they require just two hours of sleep each night; no more, no less. Imagine everything you could do with those extra six hours.,484991Mon, 12 Feb 2018 13:04:55 +1000Lightning nearly struck this kid. What happened?It seemed harmless enough, playing in the rain with an umbrella under an overflowing rain gutter. The thunderstorm was passing, and the worst of it was over. Then lightning struck—very narrowly missing the kid outside. It was so close that, in the video taken that day, it looks like he was directly hit by the bolt. It was so close that, even if he wasn't struck directly, he could have been seriously hurt by residual current.,484990Mon, 12 Feb 2018 13:04:54 +1000The strange history of the Olympic Torch—and why it has to stay litUnfortunately—oddly—it all began with Hitler. For the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Adolf Hitler wanted to draw on the ancient Greeks to bring a certain authoritative, classical air to modern Germany. The head of the Reich sports office had just the plan to do it: hold an elaborate relay to bring a symbolic Olympic flame from Greece to the games.,484989Mon, 12 Feb 2018 13:04:53 +1000Chinese cops are using facial-recognition sunglasses. Here's how that tech works.Facial-recognition technology is no longer a gimmick in dystopian science fiction movies or CSI-style cop shows: It's increasingly used in more pedestrian ways. Your face can unlock your iPhone X, for example. Or, if you're flying with Jetblue from Boston to Aruba or the Dominican Republic, you have the option of using your visage as your boarding pass, a system that involves an offsite U.S. Customs and Border Protection algorithm making the matches. And now, the tech—featuring a camera attached to sunglasses— is being used by police officers in crowds in China, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.,484988Mon, 12 Feb 2018 13:04:52 +1000What snakes lack in legs they make up for with strange body manipulationsDo a quick search for “snakes” in the news and you'll find people terrified, bitten or, sadly, killed by these creatures. Many of us fear their slithering ways and researchers have found evidence which suggests that humans have evolved a tendency to spot snakes more easily than other animals.,484987Mon, 12 Feb 2018 13:04:50 +1000This people-moving drone has completed more than 1,000 test flightsMost drones are small, and carry nothing except cameras. But Ehang Corp, a major Chinese drone maker, has been busy testing its Ehang 184 flying taxis, a drone designed to transport people. It's now completed more 1,000 test flights with and without passengers, as CNN reports.,484986Mon, 12 Feb 2018 13:04:49 +1000Football helmets don't prevent concussions. What can?On Sunday, countless Americans will hunker down in their living rooms to eat chips and really good dip, socialize with friends, and of course watch the Super Bowl—the cumulative game for a sport that's been drawing heavy criticism as of late.,484463Mon, 5 Feb 2018 15:19:04 +1000We calculated how much sweat will come out of the Super Bowl and oh boy oh goshThere's a high chance Super Bowl LII will end in a Gatorade shower—a tradition so hallowed, people even bet on what color the hydrating beverage will be when it soaks the head coach of the winning team. But what if that shower were made of sweat instead of a sports drink? If the entire Eagles or Patriots teams combined their Super Bowl sweat, could they fill a whole cooler?,484462Mon, 5 Feb 2018 15:19:04 +1000A spacecraft is using the Martian atmosphere to get closer to the planetA roughly to-scale diagram showing the progress made by the ExoMars TGO. The thick grey lines mark decreases in one hour of the spacecraft's orbit. Blue shows the current orbit, red shows the orbit in March 2018, green shows the orbit that the team is aiming for.,484461Mon, 5 Feb 2018 15:19:04 +1000Nintendo's Labo cardboard STEM toys are a recycling bin full of funWhen you're a kid, all it takes to make a fishing pole out of cardboard is the discarded tube from some holiday wrapping paper and an active imagination fueled by an irresponsibly large bowl of sugary breakfast cereal. But yesterday, I put 45 minutes into building Nintendo's version of the cardboard fishing pole and there was still a surprising amount of work to do.,484460Mon, 5 Feb 2018 15:19:04 +1000Armpit transplants could make football locker rooms less stinkyImagine, if you will, the locker rooms of Super Bowl LII during and after the big game. They're supercharged, chaotic, filled with naked, sweaty athletes—and likely more than a little stink. Should the Patriots and the Eagles add some more deodorant to their pre-game ritual? Take longer showers? Or should they simply resign themselves to a gnarly stench behind the scenes at U.S. Bank Stadium?,484459Mon, 5 Feb 2018 15:19:03 +1000We have no idea how dangerous gridiron really isSuper Bowl LII kicks off in Minneapolis on Sunday. U.S. Bank Stadium will be packed to bursting, but despite the energy around arguably the most popular sporting event in the country, there's an air of quiet death around the whole affair. The future of football is far from certain.,484458Mon, 5 Feb 2018 15:19:03 +1000It turns out our galaxy isn't as special as we thoughtPowerful, influential figures exert a irresistible pull, gathering an entourage around them. It's a pattern that repeats on celestial levels. Our planet has the moon, but also a host of other artificial satellites that we've used to boost Earth's follower count. The sun has planets, moons, asteroids, and comets. But neither can compare to galaxies like our Milky Way, which not only hosts hundreds of billions of stars but also has additional satellites, entire dwarf galaxies that chill in our galaxy's neighborhood.,484457Mon, 5 Feb 2018 15:19:02 +1000You probably won't own a self-driving car, but you'll ride in them a lotThe autonomous car revolution is coming—and in the near future, you'll most likely ride in one if it is part of a fleet of cars operated by a company. Already, Uber offers trips in self-driving cars throughout Pittsburgh and Phoenix, and Lyft has teamed up with firms like and nuTonomy to focus on autonomous vehicles. Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler recently announced it would provide “thousands” of minivans to Waymo as part of a “driverless ride-hailing service.” Cruise, an automation company acquired by GM, has even revealed a next-gen car that lacks a steering wheel and pedals—a vehicle also intended to be part of a ride-hailing fleet.,484456Mon, 5 Feb 2018 15:19:02 +1000A microscopic fungus could mop up our Cold War-era nuclear wasteDuring the Cold War, the United States produced a truly mind-boggling amount of radioactive waste. Much of that sludge was not disposed of properly, and has been leaking from its underground storage tanks since the 1950s. Over the years it has contaminated more than 2 billion cubic feet worth of soil and nearly 800 billion gallons of groundwater at low levels.,482087Tue, 30 Jan 2018 11:24:16 +1000Last week in tech: Yes, Elon Musk really made a 'flamethrower'Back in December, Elon Musk promised via Twitter that he would celebrate the sale of 50,000 hats with his company's logo on them by releasing a branded flame thrower. Last week, he fulfilled that promise and it's every bit as confusing as it sounds. The $500 weapon has a Boring Company logo on the side and seems more like a gun-shaped blowtorch than an actual flamethrower, but if for some strange reason you want one, you can pre-order one here. Once it arrives, you can use it to light a big pile of money on fire.,482086Tue, 30 Jan 2018 11:24:15 +1000Self-driving car crashes can trigger a complex blame gameIt was morning in San Francisco on December 7 of last year, and a self-driving car and a motorcyclist were both motoring down Oak Street. The autonomous car, a white 2016 Chevy Bolt, started to make a lane change to the left from the center lane, then aborted it—the gap it was moving into shrank. When it slid back into the center lane of the three-lane street, it collided with a motorcycle that had been passing on the right. The motorcycle and its rider fell to the ground.,482085Tue, 30 Jan 2018 11:24:15 +1000