Australian Popular Science News news from, 25 Oct 2016 05:12:44 +100010Is It Ok To Give Cannabis Pain Killers To My Pet?For decades, people have used medical marijuana (or just plain toked up a doob) to ease chronic pain. But can sick pets get the same relief from weed? Several companies now sell cannabis-based products intended for our best friends, according to a New York Times report. It seems pet owners are administering these products to relieve pain, limit seizures, and even reduce anxiety (however that's measured) in dogs, cats and other species.,439824Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:39:37 +1000Tiny Fabric-Clinging Robots Are A Fashion StatementIf there's one thing missing from modern fashion, it's a flashy accessory that feels like a giant bug is crawling on the wearer at all times. Thanks (?) to the work done by researchers at MIT and Stanford, small robots can now climb all over clothing.,439823Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:39:37 +1000China's Largest Surface Warship Takes ShapeIn the Jiangnan Changxing shipyards, one of China's largest shipyards, the next generation of Chinese warships is taking shape. The first Type 055 destroyer began construction in 2015 and is expected to have a full displacement of over 14,000 tons. This would make it the largest non-capital surface warship built in Asia since the World War II era Imperial Japanese Tone class cruisers. The Type 055 will be launched in late 2017 or early 2018, making it not just one of the most powerful warships in Asia, but the world.,439821Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:39:36 +1000The Nintendo Switch Has Finally Been RevealedThe Nintendo NX may not have a release date, but it finally has a name: <strong>Nintendo Switch</strong>.,439820Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:39:36 +1000Iron Man Would Wear These Sunglasses That Slide Into PlaceAdam Jensen from the <em>Deus Ex</em> series taught us just how cool sunglasses can be, and now you can get the same effect without the invasive implant surgery. <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">Reddit user Annoying_Guest</a> posted his creation to the r/3DPrinting subreddit: custom-made glasses that automatically shift into place when it's bright outside. The shades are currently prototypes, but inventor Yousif Ashoor has them working enough to function on camera.,439819Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:39:36 +1000Gene Editing Shifts Food Possibilities ForwardThe aisles of your supermarket may look mundane. But as you walk past the stacks of cherries and blueberries, the ears of corn and bottles of white wine, consider that you are witnessing a race against time.,439818Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:39:35 +1000Japanese Projector Displays Smooth Video On A Wriggling, Dancing SurfaceThe right shirt is a statement about the shirt-wearer, and about the shirt-wearer's place in the world. Perhaps it's the subtle tone of the fabric, the closeness of the cut, or the way an animated rabbit spins in circles while the wearer dances, that suggests most clearly &#8220;this is a shirt of the future.&#8221;,439817Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:39:35 +1000A Mysterious Nerve Condition Paralyzed Half My FaceI can't close my right eye all the way. I've gotten face wash in it nearly every day for the past two weeks. I've also had a persistent metallic taste in my mouth, an inability to drink without dribbling, and a strange pain behind my ear. It all began on the first Sunday night of October, when I came down with Bell's palsy.,439815Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:39:34 +1000A Speech Recognition System Has Reached Human ParitySpeech recognition software isn't perfect, but it is a little closer to human this week, as a Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research team reached a major milestone in speech-to-text development: The system reached a historically low word error rate of 5.9 percent, equal to the accuracy of a professional (human) transcriptionist. The system can discern words as clearly and accurately as two people having a conversation might understand one another.,439816Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:39:00 +1000After Rough Descent, Europe's Mars Lander Is Probably DeadMars has apparently claimed another robotic explorer. Europe's Schiaparelli Mars lander is most likely dead on arrival, after something went wrong during its parachute flight and its hover-rockets didn't ignite for long enough.,439822Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:39:00 +1000Kodak Will Make A Camera-Focused SmartphoneWhen you think of Kodak, the words "Android smartphone" don't usually come to mind. But that may change: the camera company is shifting its gaze from film and disposable cameras to letting you capture that Kodak moment with your phone--specifically a Kodak phone.,439825Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:39:00 +1000What Do You Do With 34 Metric Tons Of Weapons-Grade Plutonium?Plutonium-239 doesn't have to be used in weapons, but after converting it to fuel, there aren't many other practical options.,439264Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:37:57 +1000Software That Identifies Any Passing Face Is Ready For MarketIs it worth the convenience for a machine to recognize your face? Submit a selfie, and you don't need to carry a ticket into a concert, promises Moscow's NTechLab, which used face-scanning technology to let people into a electronic music festival this summer. Of course, the selfies, once submitted, stay with NTechLab, which is free to sell its face database and facial recognition tool to anyone, from concerts to police departments to authoritarian governments.,439263Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:37:56 +1000How To Blow Up A Phone LaunchThe Galaxy Note 7 was meant to serve as Samsung's best 5.7-inch, stylus-wielding smartphone. Introduced in August to great fanfare, the new Note device not only offered Samsung users an updated smartphone option, it also served as a way to tide over customers until the presumed Galaxy S8 in March 2017. At least that was the plan, until Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 began to catch fire while plugged in to charge. Now Samsung has chosen to cease production on the Note 7 line until further notice.,439262Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:37:56 +1000IED Drone Kills Kurdish Soldiers, French CommandosOn October 2nd, in Irbil, Iraq, a drone flown by ISIS killed two Peshmerga, or Kurdish soldiers, and injured two French paratroopers, who were supporting Kurdish force, according to French newspaper <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">Le Monde</a>. The attack is possibly the first where a drone fitted with an improvised explosive device has inflicted casualties on troops from a Western nation.,439261Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:37:56 +1000 Democratizing ScienceFrom tracking migrating birds to monitoring changes in weather and climate, there are only so many data points a scientist can collect. To boost their reach, many researchers are reaching out to all of us, private citizens, to be citizen scientists, to accurately record observations and dramatically expand the impact of scientific studies. In <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank"><em>Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction</em></a>, author <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">Mary Ellen Hannibal</a> blends reporting, research and memoir into an intimate look at this rapidly expanding field of exploration, how it reveals and protects the planet and its inhabitants, and how we can all get involved. You can read an excerpt of the book here. Below Hannibal shares her insights into citizen science for our latest Q+A for Nexus Media News.,439260Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:37:55 +1000Gaining A New Perspective On The Cause of ObesityThere's little doubt that Australia and the US have an obesity problem. At the moment, <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">over one-third of Americans</a> are considered to be obese and the numbers continue to rise. Public health officials have been trying to figure out how to combat this growing concern yet there appears to be few answers.,439259Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:37:55 +1000The Quest To Take The First Snapshot Of A Planet In Another Star SystemWe know that there are multitudes of exoplanets scattered throughout the universe, but to date the only planets that we have been able to take a picture of are in our own cozy solar system. That might be about to change with a new initiative launched today that aims to send a telescope into low Earth orbit to take a picture of the binary Alpha Centauri system, which houses the two closest sun-like stars to our solar system,439258Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:37:55 +1000Germany May Ban Internal Combustion Engines&#8220;The first true internal combustion engine was undoubtedly the cannon,&#8221; <em>Popular Science</em> declared in October 1904, citing the work of Christiaan Huygens in the 1680s, before plotting a history of the engine through the gas engines of the 1860s.,439257Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:37:54 +1000Researchers Restored A Colony Of Microbes In The Gut Last month, <em>Popular Science</em> discussed the state of gut microbiome research and the often overgeneralized claims of many probiotics. As we concluded, the field is still in its infancy and one of the main challenges to creating effective prescription probiotics is that it's extremely difficult to culture a lasting population of specific bacteria in the gut. But in a paper out last week in the journal <em>Cell Host and Microbe</em>, researchers at the University of Alberta showed that they were able to culture a strain of bacteria in the gut for at least six months. This success, while small, may help to bring us one step closer to creating effective prescription probiotics.,439256Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:37:54 +1000SeaBubbles Aspires To Bring Us The Water Taxi Of The FutureAdding more cars to the roads makes traveling by car a worse experience for everyone. There are many ways for cities to get around this: improved transit systems, support for carpooling, and bike paths are just the start, but what about a city that already has existing waterways? Isn't there something they could do with rivers or canals instead?,439255Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:37:53 +1000Here's What You Can Do To Help The Declining Bee PopulationIts no news that bumble bees, or the "humble-bee," as Charles Darwin first deemed them in Origins of the Species, are in danger. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed putting the rusty-patched variety of these fuzzy buzzers on the endangered species list last month, after years of incredibly rapid population decline.,439254Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:37:52 +1000Hurricane Matthew Was Deceptively PowerfulSediment-rich floodwaters pour from rivers in North and South Carolina.,439248Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:07:33 +1000How To Watch The Second Presidential Debate If You Can't Get to 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.,439078Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:08:54 +1000US Officially Accuses Russia Of Hacking To Interfere With The ElectionThis afternoon, the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement claiming that the Russian Government &#8220;directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.&#8221;,439077Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:08:54 +1000NASA Sent A Drone Out To Track Hurricane MatthewThe RQ-4 Global Hawk is built for watching disasters unfold. The high-altitude, long endurance drone can fly for over 34 hours and reach an altitude of 60,000 feet above ground. Most of these expensive, private-jet-sized drones fly for the Air Force, where they watch battlefields in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, finding targets and coordinating troops below. NASA also flies one, for scientific research, and last night they used it to drop sensors into Hurricane Matthew.,439076Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:08:53 +1000You Can Now Use Facebook As Your Calendar AppEvents on Facebook are almost as integral a part of the service as photos, status updates, and the almighty poke. To place greater emphasis on events, the social networking site has released an app named just that, Events, for iOS (with an Android version on the way). As one would expect, the app gives you an overview of your various Facebook events coming up. The app also suggests events you might like, based on interests selected when you first open the app. Though most interesting is that Facebook offers to tie-in to your regular iCloud calendar, meaning if you want to make it your primary calendar app you can very well do so.,439075Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:08:53 +1000China's Private Space Industry Prepares To Compete With Spacex And Blue OriginKuaizhou, the smaller of Expace rockets, can carry a 200 kg payload to sun-synchronous orbit, making it ideal for launching clusters of microsatellites such as Cubesats.,439072Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:08:51 +1000Watch Hurricane Matthew Spin In These Rainbow VisualizationsHurricane Matthew is no joke. With winds clocking in around 140 mph, it's knocked out power in multiple Florida counties as it buzzes up the coast. It's expected to bring between six inches and a foot of rain from areas across the coasts of central Florida to southern North Carolina.,439071Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:08:50 +1000Crowdfund The Knightscope Security Robot TodayRobocops may be a ways off still, but robot security guards are already here. Security robot company Knightscope has two different guard bots, both of which look like Daleks designed by Tim Cook-era Apple. Slick, bulb-shaped machines, they bristle with cameras, sensors, and lights, and are covered in white plastic. Uber previously tested some Knightscope robots as parking lot guards, like mobile security cameras scanning for people and reading license plates. Now, Knightscope is dreaming bigger, and looking for investors online.,439070Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:08:50 +1000Don't Take Weather Advice From Matt DrudgeAs Hurricane Matthew charges into Florida with winds up to 140 mph, approximately 1.5 million people are preparing to clear out of the storm's path. By Thursday evening, the National Weather Service was <a href=";wwa=hurricane%20warning&amp;cwa=mlb&amp;wwa=hurricane%20warning" target="_blank">imploring residents</a> to head to safety. &#8220;Now is the time to urgently hide from the wind. Failure to adequately shelter may result in serious injury, loss of life or immense human suffering,&#8221; the agency said on its website. On Thursday, President Obama <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">declared a State of Emergency</a> in Florida.,439069Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:08:50 +1000Maybe Alien Life Runs On Cosmic Rays Instead Of SunlightEarth is very much powered by the sun. Beams of photons shoot down at us, dumping their energy into green plants. Then we eat the plants, or we eat the animals that eat the plants (or so on, up the food chain), and we too indirectly absorb that sweet solar energy.,439073Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:08:00 +1000A Field Of Volcanoes And A Hurricane Seen From SpaceAs far as weeks of amazing science and technology images go, this has been a good one.,439074Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:08:00 +1000Matthew Bears Down On Florida CoastHurricane Matthew, now a Category 4 storm with winds of 140 miles per hour, is nearing the Atlantic coast. The outer bands of the storm, which are traveling northwest at 14 miles per hour, have already reached Florida and knocked out power in multiple counties.,438947Fri, 7 Oct 2016 11:00:44 +1000Facebook VR Shows Us Why Zuckerberg Acquired OculusFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage today at Oculus Connect in California to show off the company's vision for virtual reality and social networking. Oculus, the Facebook-owned virtual reality company announced software like Oculus Room and Oculus Social along with hardware updates like its plans for movement-detecting RoomScale using added sensors, and the official release date of the Oculus Touch controllers. But Zuck kicked off the #OC3 proceedings with an early look into the virtual reality version of Facebook's site.,438946Fri, 7 Oct 2016 11:00:43 +1000General Electric Introduces Raven Drone For Oil CompaniesDrones can do many things people can't. They can fly, which is neat, and they can carry chemical sensors, identifying airborne particles with far greater fidelity than human noses. And drones, unlike human workers, don't have children to send to college, taxes to pay, or retirements to plan for--so they're good for cutting costs. At least, that's the pitch General Electric is making to oil companies, with their new leak-sniffing Raven drone.,438944Fri, 7 Oct 2016 11:00:42 +1000How This Flower Dupes Flies Into Pollinating ItTo lure pollinators, the South African flower Ceropegia sandersonii has a very unusual trick: it impersonates the odor of honeybees in distress. The plant attracts hungry flies by using some of the same chemicals found in bee alarm pheromones, scientists reported today in the journal Current Biology.,438943Fri, 7 Oct 2016 11:00:42 +1000China Adds An Island Tower To Its Aircraft CarrierThe island structure of aircraft carrier CV-17 is so large that they had to install it as two modules, with the forward module going first. It will then be fitted with radars and communications gear.,438942Fri, 7 Oct 2016 11:00:42 +1000Peeking At The James Webb Telescope Before It Peers Into Forming GalaxiesIt's still on Earth for the next two years, but the James Webb Space Telescope turned around to face the world this week, as it moved into position for preliminary optics testing. Once it's launched, JWST will study galaxy, star and planet formation in the universe using infrared wavelengths. For now, you can spy on the cleanroom at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland where JWST is hanging out for the next few months, <a href=";linkId=29473555" target="_blank">via the Webb Cam, here</a>.,438941Fri, 7 Oct 2016 11:00:40 +1000Thermobaric Bombs And Other Nightmare Weapons Of The Syrian Civil WarAll war is horrific, but some aspects of war are more horrific than others. The death toll of Syria's civil war was estimated last winter at <a href="" target="_blank">470,000</a>, each a singular tragedy. Yet it's often particular weapons, used on particular targets, that cause international condemnation. When the State Department announced on Monday that the United States was suspending efforts to work with Russia on a ceasefire in Syria, the State Department listed in particular the <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">targeting of civilians and aid convoys</a> as the reason for the halt.,438940Fri, 7 Oct 2016 11:00:40 +1000What If the Neighbors Are Watching?Over in the US, most people are now receiving energy efficiency reports with the colorful bar graphs that show how their energy use stacks up against their neighbors. This isn't an idle &#8220;FYI'' exercise, but a carefully designed strategy aimed at encouraging people to cut back on the power.,438939Fri, 7 Oct 2016 11:00:39 +1000Blue Origin Rocket Booster Survives Test Launch, Defies OddsThe reusable rocket booster that made history has survived to see another day. Blue Origin's New Shepard booster, which became the first rocket to launch into suborbital space and then come back for a vertical landing in November 2015, was expected to explode in a test launch today. Instead, it made it to space and back again to nail its fifth vertical landing.,438938Fri, 7 Oct 2016 11:00:38 +1000Rising Temperatures Load the Dice for Megadrought RiskAs the American Southwest grows hotter, the risk of severe, long-lasting megadroughts rises, passing 90 percent likelihood by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace, a new study says. If we aggressively reduce emissions, however, we can cut that risk substantially, the authors write.,438945Fri, 7 Oct 2016 11:00:00 +1000Chemistry Nobel Prize Awarded For World's Smallest Machines"I feel a little bit like the Wright brothers," chemistry Nobel laureate Bernard Feringa told the crowd assembled at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences via the internet, "who were flying a hundred years ago for the first time, and then people were saying, 'You know, why do we need a flying machine?' And now we have a Boeing 747 and an Airbus." Feringa shares this year's prize with Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Fraser Stoddart for their work on nanomachines. Nanomachines are synthetic molecules that function as microscopic devices. Built in a laboratory, these molecules can be designed to respond to specific conditions, turning energy inputs into actions.,438821Thu, 6 Oct 2016 10:05:12 +1000Airbag For Your Head May Work Better Than A Bike HelmetThe airbag expands when sensors in the device sense abnormal movement like a crash.,438820Thu, 6 Oct 2016 10:05:12 +1000Teenage Scientist Captures Arctic Ice Melt on FilmThere's a moment in Maya Burhanpurkar's documentary where she stands next to an ice fjord in Ilulissat, Greenland, realizing what climate change means for the people who live there. After listening to residents describe how fast the ice is melting, the 14-year-old student from Ontario, Canada looks into the camera and says: &#8220;I think that I'm going to become a lot more conscientious of the environment when I go about my everyday life because after what I've seen today, the icebergs and now the ice fjord, I really don't want that natural landscape to be destroyed. Every single person counts.&#8221;,438819Thu, 6 Oct 2016 10:05:12 +1000Wait, I Thought We Couldn't Predict EarthquakesLast week, the headlines were particularly frightening. '<a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">Massive Earthquake Along the San Andreas Fault Is Disturbingly Imminent</a>', '<a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">Risk of big earthquake on San Andreas fault rises after quake swarm at Salton Sea</a>', all related to a <a href=";src=syn" target="_blank">swarm of earthquakes</a> in the Salton Sea that researchers feared might trigger an epically large earthquake in the area. That earthquake hasn't materialized (yet) but it raises the question: how well can we actually predict earthquakes?,438731Wed, 5 Oct 2016 08:57:33 +1000Google's New Products Look Like The Stuff Around Your House On PurposeGoogle took to the stage today in San Francisco to announce firm details surrounding their latest slew of hardware products. The leaks of the Google Pixel gave us a good idea of what to expect from the company's first Google-branded phone. And then there were details we didn't about: the final version of Google's new VR efforts, Daydream View, saw the light of day as well as Google Wifi (a mesh-networking-supporting router) and an official unveil for Google Home.,438730Wed, 5 Oct 2016 08:57:33 +1000Hands-On With The Google Pixel, Daydream View, And HomeToday, Google announced a plethora of new hardware. Just now, at the event, I got to spend a little bit of hands-on time with the Pixel Phones, Google Home, and the Daydream VR viewer.,438729Wed, 5 Oct 2016 08:57:32 +1000The Problem With Cancer Sniffing DogsOne of the dogs from Klaus Hackner's study sniffs samples to find the ones that are cancerous,438728Wed, 5 Oct 2016 08:57:32 +1000