Australian Popular Science Newshttp://www.popsci.com.auLatest news from www.popsci.com.auTue, 26 May 2015 13:27:35 +100010May 28 Should Henceforth Be Known As Thales DayThousands of Chicagoans will <a href="http://www.illinoisscience.org/event/chicago-science-festival/?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">take to the streets</a> next week to celebrate the 2,600th anniversary of science.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/may-28-should-henceforth-be-known-as-thales-day,404437Tue, 26 May 2015 11:46:30 +1000Murder Suspect Identified By DNA Left On Pizza CrustIn what has been called an <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/05/21/arrest-warrant-issued-for-suspect-in-quadruple-murder-at-upscale-dc-home/?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">&#8220;act of evil,&#8221;</a> four people were murdered on May 14 in a mansion in Washington, D.C. At first glance, the crime appeared to be motivated by money and seemed to be random, so investigators didn't have much information to go on when trying to identify a suspect. But then, a stroke of luck: Police uncovered a box of Domino's pizza, one of two that was delivered to the house when the victims were being held hostage.http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/murder-suspect-identified-by-dna-left-on-pizza-crust,404376Mon, 25 May 2015 10:32:19 +1000Sensors Capture The Faces You Make Inside Your VR MaskThe whole point of virtual reality is to offer up the feeling of being transported into another world. But currently, avatar facial expressions fail to live up to VR's promise. Interacting with another human in a VR realm has more closely resembled a conversation with <a href="https://youtu.be/U8Jdhh1L70Y?t=37s&amp;t=37s">Zoltar</a>, the infamous robotic fortune teller.http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/computing/sensors-capture-the-faces-you-make-inside-your-vr-mask,404375Mon, 25 May 2015 10:32:14 +1000Common Sense Bed Bug ControlWhen my book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Infested-Infiltrated-Bedrooms-Took-World/dp/022604193X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1416244907&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=infested+borel&amp;pebp=1416244909298&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1416244907&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=infested%20borel&amp;pebp=1416244909298"><em>Infested</em></a> came out last month, I got an email from a reader in Toronto&#8212;an entomologist named Sam Bryks. He generally liked the book, he said, but he wished I had focused more on a process called Integrated Pest Management.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/nature/common-sense-bed-bug-control,404374Mon, 25 May 2015 10:32:11 +1000Headline From 2030: Is Your Space Commute Making You Sick? Muscle loss, lack of balance, backaches: human bodies <a href="http://www.racetomars.ca/mars/article_effects.jsp?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">act in strange ways</a> in space. But scientists are only now starting to understand the changes that happen in the microbiome, the community of bacteria that live in our guts and elsewhere on our bodies and that have a huge effect on functions such as digestion and immunity. In space, the gut microbiome can get a bit out of whack, according to a <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25970037?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">recent article</a> published in the <em>International Reviews of Immunology.</em> As commercial space travel and longer stints away from Earth seem more inevitable, researchers are trying to figure out how these changes in the gut microbiome might make humans sick in space.http://www.popsci.com.au/space/space-travel/headline-from-2030-is-your-space-commute-making-you-sick-,404373Mon, 25 May 2015 10:32:07 +1000Science Is Still Trying To Figure Out What Makes A Female AthleteIn 2013, professional sprinter Dutee Chand was banned from competing as a female athlete. She wasn't accused of doping, and she wasn't accused of not being a woman&#8212;she was born and raised as a girl. Instead, her hormones were at fault.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/medicine/science-is-still-trying-to-figure-out-what-makes-a-female-athlete,404372Mon, 25 May 2015 10:32:01 +1000This Smart Parachute Wants To Save Your Drone From DisasterThe worst part of having a drone is losing it. Pilots will go to great lengths to make sure their drones stay clear of harm, whether it's <a href="http://www.popsci.com/man-saves-drone-watery-grave?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">diving into a canal</a> to save it from drowning or turning a <a href="http://www.popsci.com/psa-how-not-fly-drones?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">mishap on national television</a> into a learning experience and warning for others. <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/742279450/smartchutes-quadcopter-parachute-recovery-system?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">SmartChutes</a> is a crowdfunding campaign Kickstarter right now that envisions a better way: parachutes for drones that deploy automatically when the drone is in peril.http://www.popsci.com.au/robots/drones/this-smart-parachute-wants-to-save-your-drone-from-disaster,404371Mon, 25 May 2015 10:31:58 +1000Could This Hydrogen-Powered Drone Work?The biggest physical constraint on small drones is their power supply. Batteries can only hold so much energy, and as adding more batteries to a drone also increase the weight of that drone, there are finite limits on how long quadcopters can fly in a single flight. A new drone concept by Horizon Unmanned Systems seeks to overcome that limitation, by turning to an alternative power source: hydrogen fuel cells.http://www.popsci.com.au/robots/drones/could-this-hydrogenpowered-drone-work,404370Mon, 25 May 2015 10:31:53 +1000A Cellular Atlas Of The Human BodyIf science textbooks are to be believed, you have about 200 different types of cells in your body. But several teams of scientists are now debating that number, saying that the estimate is significantly larger. Using the new technique of looking at a cell's RNA, <a href="http://www.broadinstitute.org/what-broad/history-leadership/scientific-leadership/core-members/aviv-regev?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">a handful</a><a href="http://thebigone.stanford.edu/?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">of researchers</a> are prying open thousands of cells at a time to figure out what makes them different from one another, according to the <a href="http://www.technologyreview.com/news/537416/single-cells-analyzed-at-unprecedented-scale/?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">MIT Tech Review</a>. The results could change how we treat diseases where cells proliferate or die off, such as cancer or Alzheimer's respectively, for which treatments are increasingly targeted to specific cell types.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/medicine/a-cellular-atlas-of-the-human-body,404369Mon, 25 May 2015 10:31:50 +1000How Delaying A Subway Train Fixes A Subway DelayTo a harried subway passenger, learning that there's a delay ahead can trigger groans, rolled eyes, or mere stoic despair. But commuters might be even more annoyed if they realized the track ahead was perfectly clear: Sometimes, the system holds a train in place to fix a delay <strong>behind</strong> it. In this 8-bit <a href="https://youtu.be/eShtZSx4kWc?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">video</a>, the <a href="http://www.mta.info/?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Metropolitan Transportation Authority</a> explains how slowing down one train can actually reduce the total delay on the line.http://www.popsci.com.au/make/hacks/how-delaying-a-subway-train-fixes-a-subway-delay,404368Mon, 25 May 2015 10:31:47 +1000Robots Need Your Brain Power To Get SmarterSonia Chernova wants you to train her robot. Two years ago, Chernova and some of her fellow roboticists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachussets launched a remote robotics lab called <a href="https://robotsfor.me/?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">RobotsFor.Me</a>, a site where users can log in and teach robots how to function in physical space. It's both more and less exciting than it sounds. Participants might play a game where they rack up points based on the number of objects they can help the robot pick up in 10 minutes. But these tutors aren't exactly diving into an immersive, robot's-eye-view interface. &#8220;We abstract everything,&#8221; says Chernova, who directs WPI's <a href="http://web.cs.wpi.edu/~rail/?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Robot Autonomy and Interactive Learning lab</a>. &#8220;They've never seen this robot. They've never been trained to use it properly. They don't realize the robot costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.&#8221;http://www.popsci.com.au/robots/robots-need-your-brain-power-to-get-smarter,404367Mon, 25 May 2015 10:31:44 +10003-D Print Your Own Humanoid Robot FriendFriendly humanoid robots, a staple of science fiction, may soon staff <a href="http://www.popsci.com/ces-2015-ecovacs-robotics-showcases-benebot-replacement-shopping-assistants-video?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">stores</a>, <a href="http://www.popsci.com/lifelike-creepy-robot-may-soon-greet-you-hotels?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">hotels</a>, <a href="http://www.popsci.com/ces-2015-furo-s-smart-service-robot-wants-help-you-catch-your-flight-video?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">airports</a>, <a href="http://www.popsci.com/ces-2015-rx-robots-medi-coming-us-hospitals-soon?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">hospitals</a>, and even <a href="http://www.popsci.com/article/technology/will-your-next-best-friend-be-robot?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">our own homes</a>. Not everyone will be able to afford a shiny robot companion&#8212;but anyone can 3-D print one.http://www.popsci.com.au/robots/3d-print-your-own-humanoid-robot-friend,404366Mon, 25 May 2015 10:31:40 +1000Google Tone Shares Links To Computers Within Earshot Using Beeps And BoopsA new <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-tone/nnckehldicaciogcbchegobnafnjkcne/?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Chrome extension, called Google Tone, released</a> this week makes it possible to share a URL with another computer in the room using a series of <em>beeps</em> and <em>boops</em>. The concept is dead simple yet instantly instills a sense of disbelief. A computer making seemingly random sounds can transmit the URL for the tab I have open in Chrome across the room? Get out.http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/computing/google-tone-shares-links-to-computers-within-earshot-using-beeps-and-boops,404365Mon, 25 May 2015 10:31:37 +1000Brain-Controlled Bionic Legs Are Finally HereFor a full decade, Gudmundar Olaffson was unable to move his right ankle. That's because it wasn't there. Olafsson's amputated lower leg was the delayed casualty of an accident from his childhood in Iceland, when he was hit by an oil truck. &#8220;I lived in pain for 28 years,&#8221; says Olafsson. &#8220;After 50-plus operations, I had it off.&#8221; For years after the operation he wore a <a href="http://www.ossur.com/prosthetic-solutions/bionic-technology/proprio-foot?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Proprio Foot</a>, a prosthetic with a motorized, battery-powered ankle, sold by the Reykjavik-based company Ossur. The Proprio is essentially a wearable robot, with algorithms and sensors that automatically adjust the angle of the foot during different points in its wearer's stride. Olafsson's ankle moved on autopilot.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/medicine/braincontrolled-bionic-legs-are-finally-here,404259Thu, 21 May 2015 11:01:25 +1000'The Science Guy' Talks About His Space SailIn 1976, renowned astrophysicist Carl Sagan brought a weird, reflective prop with him to the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cEXKu_Onlk&amp;v=-cEXKu_Onlk"><em>Tonight Show Staring Johnny Carson</em></a>. The toy was a mockup of a solar sail&#8212;a revolutionary idea for space travel propulsion that eschews fuel. &#8220;[It] travels on the radiation and particles that come out of the Sun&#8212;the wind from the Sun,&#8221; Sagan explained to Carson, comparing the technology to how an ordinary sail boat moves through the ocean.http://www.popsci.com.au/space/space-travel/the-science-guy-talks-about-his-space-sail,404258Thu, 21 May 2015 11:01:23 +1000Could Two People Repopulate Earth?Sci-Fi movies present no shortage of doomsday scenarios--asteroids, climate change and supervolcanoes just to name a few. But let's say that one of these situations actually occurs, and humans are annihilated with the exception of one male and one female. Could humanity survive?http://www.popsci.com.au/science/nature/could-two-people-repopulate-earth,404257Thu, 21 May 2015 11:01:17 +1000You Could One Day Be Identified By Your Unique 'Brainprint'Sometimes, other people interpret your words differently than you may have intended--like you're not on the same wavelength. Turns out that the neuroscience backs up that idea; words elicit unique neurological responses in different people's brains, according to a <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925231215004725?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">study</a> published in the journal <em>Neurocomputing</em>. This revelation could lead to a whole new way for people to securely access their devices, no passwords required.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/medicine/you-could-one-day-be-identified-by-your-unique-brainprint,404256Thu, 21 May 2015 11:01:14 +1000This Futuristic Concrete Heals Itself With Built-In BacteriaConcrete has been a go-to building material since <a href="http://www.romanconcrete.com/docs/spillway/spillway.htm?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Roman times</a>. It's durable, easy to make, and relatively inexpensive. There's just one problem: It has a tendency to crack.http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/this-futuristic-concrete-heals-itself-with-builtin-bacteria,404255Thu, 21 May 2015 11:01:11 +1000Could Genetic Engineering Make Non-Addictive Heroin?Synthetic versions of opiates like morphine and heroin have been prohibitively expensive to make, so the drugs are still made the old-fashioned way, from opium poppies. Now researchers have genetically modified yeast to complete one of the key steps in the synthesis process, according to a <a href="http://nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/nchembio.1816?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">study</a> published in <em>Nature Chemical Biology</em>, making fully synthetic opiates closer to becoming a reality. That means that opiates could be much more widely available, both to patients who need it and to the drugs' abusers. But the technology could make the drugs less harmful as well.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/medicine/could-genetic-engineering-make-nonaddictive-heroin,404254Thu, 21 May 2015 11:01:05 +1000This Year, The Northern Summer Is One Glorious Week Longer [Infographic]In these United States summer is unofficially the sunny, sweltering weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Yes, astronomically speaking, it's June 21 to September 23. We're choosing to ignore that here in favor of the cultural definition, because come on, early June feels way more like summer than mid-September.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/this-year-the-northern-summer-is-one-glorious-week-longer-infographic,404253Thu, 21 May 2015 11:01:02 +1000Watch This Rugged Cylinder Take To The SkiesFrom the body type alone, Sprite looks less like a drone and more like a sleek and modern water bottle aimed at hikers. It's a far cry from the standard four-rotored body of most drones, but that forms the Sprite's central sales pitch: a portable drone, that can slide easily into a backpack for outdoor use.http://www.popsci.com.au/robots/drones/watch-this-rugged-cylinder-take-to-the-skies,404252Thu, 21 May 2015 11:00:57 +10005 Ways Obama Says Climate Change Poses A 'Severe Threat' To National SecurityToday, President Obama addressed the graduating class of the Coast Guard academy in a <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/05/20/remarks-president-united-states-coast-guard-academy-commencement?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">speech</a> that mentioned the phrase 'climate change' 26 times.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/5-ways-obama-says-climate-change-poses-a-severe-threat-to-national-security,404251Thu, 21 May 2015 11:00:55 +1000US Arrests Chinese Professor For Stealing Acoustic SecretsOn Saturday, the United States arrested Hao Zhang, a professor at China's Tianjin University, as he landed in Los Angeles. The charges brought against him, detailed in an indictment filed April 1st in the District Court, are a curious mishmash of corporate espionage, all committed against U.S. defense research. According to the case brought by the federal government, Zhang was one of six people who conspired to steal the trade secrets behind several acoustic devices and replicate them in China.http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/military/us-arrests-chinese-professor-for-stealing-acoustic-secrets,404250Thu, 21 May 2015 11:00:50 +1000Artificial Intelligence Pinpoints Pests That Spread DiseaseLyme disease, swine flu, bubonic plague&#8212;many of humanity's greatest scourges jumped from our animal co-habitants to make us sick. During an outbreak, researchers need to understand where the disease is coming from in order to effectively treat it and stop it from spreading. But with thousands of pests as possible vectors of disease, and with diseases coming from animals more frequently now than ever before, they often have difficulty doing so. Now artificial intelligence can help identify disease-carrying animals with up to 90 percent accuracy, according to a study <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/05/14/1501598112?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">published yesterday</a> in the journal <em>PNAS</em>.http://www.popsci.com.au/robots/artificial-intelligence/artificial-intelligence-pinpoints-pests-that-spread-disease,404186Wed, 20 May 2015 10:43:54 +1000This Bacterium Carries Microbial LuggageFor motile bacteria, moving from one environment to another is a gamble. There's no guarantee the place will be hospitable; more likely than not there will be stressors in place. Some may be physical in nature but others could be chemical threats. One such source of trouble is an antibiotic.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/nature/this-bacterium-carries-microbial-luggage,404185Wed, 20 May 2015 10:43:51 +1000Alleged Airplane Hacker Also "Messed Around With The Space Station"Last month, security researcher Chris Roberts was removed from a United Airlines flight, after the airline claimed he had endangered his fellow passengers by <a href="https://twitter.com/Sidragon1/status/588433855184375808?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">tweeting a message</a> about potential security vulnerabilities aboard the aircraft. In 2012, <a href="http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/05/alleged-plane-hacker-said-he-pierced-boeing-jets-firewall-in-2012/?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Ars Technica</a> reports, Roberts claimed to have hacked into the International Space Station, according to a recently discovered video.http://www.popsci.com.au/make/hacks/alleged-airplane-hacker-also-messed-around-with-the-space-station,404184Wed, 20 May 2015 10:43:48 +1000Pens And Paper Are Holding Your Kids Back, Says Microsoft Modern classrooms aren't working for kids, according to Lia De Cicco Remu, the director of Partners in Learning at Microsoft Canada. &#8220;Our schools are like jails--brick walls, colorless, not very engaging or exciting,&#8221; she <a href="http://www.straight.com/life/452561/teachers-using-pens-and-paper-classroom-not-fair-students-microsoft-official-says?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">tells the <em>Georgia Straight</em></a>, days before a Microsoft educational summit in Vancouver.http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/computing/pens-and-paper-are-holding-your-kids-back-says-microsoft-,404183Wed, 20 May 2015 10:43:43 +1000The Air Force's Secret Space Plane Will Launch TomorrowTomorrow, the Air Force is scheduled to send its secret space plane back into orbit for undisclosed purposes. The two X-37Bs--unmanned, shuttle-like craft--have already spent over three and a half years in orbit. The Air Force, despite &#8220;air&#8221; in their name, have a mission that extends into space, which adds an extra layer of military secrecy to their tests of an <em>actual covert space planet</em>.http://www.popsci.com.au/space/the-air-forces-secret-space-plane-will-launch-tomorrow,404182Wed, 20 May 2015 10:43:40 +1000Cars Are Becoming Devices with Apple Watch AppsThose in the automotive know have been lamenting lately that these kids today don't want cars; they want devices. That may be true, but there is a way to have both: develop apps for the Apple Watch (and other soon-to-be-sold smart watch platforms) that work with your car.http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/cars/cars-are-becoming-devices-with-apple-watch-apps,404181Wed, 20 May 2015 10:43:36 +1000Watch A Drone Save Texans From A Flash FloodWere it not for a volunteer and his drone, four people may have been swept away for good in floodwaters of Johnson County, Texas this past weekend. Drone operator Garrett Bryl twice used his DJI Inspire quadcopter for rescue work, working alongside the Joshua County fire department. It's a great example of the good that drones in the right hands can do.http://www.popsci.com.au/robots/drones/watch-a-drone-save-texans-from-a-flash-flood,404180Wed, 20 May 2015 10:43:34 +1000This Sheet Of Rubber Generates Power As It StretchesIt may look like a <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2015/05/18/ricoh-invents-super-efficient-power-producing-rubber/?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Fruit Roll-Up</a> from a kid's lunch box, but this stretchy rubber sheet could help power the Internet of Things one day.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/energy/this-sheet-of-rubber-generates-power-as-it-stretches,404179Wed, 20 May 2015 10:43:29 +1000Hordes Of Spiders Are Raining Down On Us Right NowOn windy but otherwise clear days between May and August, our country's skies occasionally get darkened by a cloud of spiders. That's what's happening right now in southern Australia, where millions of small spiders are <a href="http://www.goulburnpost.com.au/story/3075892/baby-spiders-take-to-the-air/?cs=181&amp;cs=181">falling from the sky</a> and blanketing the countryside in &#8220;angel hair&#8221;. (Because spiders are apparently synonymous with angels in Australia, at least compared to all the other freaky animals they have to deal with down under.)http://www.popsci.com.au/science/nature/hordes-of-spiders-are-raining-down-on-us-right-now,404178Wed, 20 May 2015 10:43:27 +1000Hacking Phones With The Touch Of A HandFor many of us, our smartphones are an integral part of our being, containing not just everything we need to communicate but depths of personal information, from our daily schedules to our finances. While last summer the Supreme Court <a href="http://www.popsci.com/article/technology/supreme-court-ruling-protects-cell-phone-privacy?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">ruled</a> cell phone information is private and therefore protected, that's irrelevant to anyone trying to steal the sensitive bits stored on one. As Rose Eveleth <a href="http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150515-i-hack-phones-with-touch-alone?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">reports</a> for BBC Future, Seth Wahle, an engineer and biohacker, demonstrated that it's possible to steal information off of a phone with a microchip embedded in his hand.http://www.popsci.com.au/make/hacks/hacking-phones-with-the-touch-of-a-hand,404142Tue, 19 May 2015 11:02:42 +1000Colombia Plans To Fight Cocaine With Hungry CaterpillarsOn Saturday, Colombia's president announced that the country would stop airdropping carcinogenic herbicides to kill coca plants, the raw material for cocaine. Luckily, the head of Bogota's Quindio Botanical Garden has a new plan: unleash a slew of coca leaf-eating moths to achieve the same goal, without the use of chemicals.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/nature/colombia-plans-to-fight-cocaine-with-hungry-caterpillars,404141Tue, 19 May 2015 11:02:39 +1000Wounded Sea Turtle Gets A 3D-Printed JawIn an earlier era, colliding with a boat's propeller could have been the end of a sea turtle's life. This is not that grim dark era, so a sea turtle found with a broken jaw was rescued and then brought to Pamukkale University's Sea Turtle Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation center in Denizli, Turkey. Thanks to a collaboration with Turkish company Btech Innovation, the turtle received a custom-designed, 3D-printed titanium jaw.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/nature/wounded-sea-turtle-gets-a-3dprinted-jaw,404140Tue, 19 May 2015 11:02:35 +1000How To Create Super-Intelligent Machines That Won't Kill UsIn the most recent installment of Marvel's Avengers franchise, the artificial intelligence Ultron is hell-bent on exterminating humanity. In Ultron's own words, "I was designed to save the world," but the robot ultimately concludes that when it comes to humans, "there's only one path to peace: your extinction."http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/computing/how-to-create-superintelligent-machines-that-wont-kill-us,404139Tue, 19 May 2015 11:02:33 +1000New White House Technology Officer Poses A Brain TeaserA week ago Monday, Princeton professor Ed Felten accepted a job at the White House as Deputy Chief Technology Officer. It's a long title for a simple mission: translating complex questions about technology into useful advice for the president. How did Ed end the first week on the job? Writing up a brainteaser, and asking people to answer it on Twitter.http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/military/new-white-house-technology-officer-poses-a-brain-teaser,404138Tue, 19 May 2015 11:02:30 +1000Chilean Fog Nets Pull Beer From Desert AirChile's Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on the planet; some parts haven't seen rainfall for centuries. But the region is often shrouded in a dense fog locally called camanchaca, from which local flora harvest what little water they need to survive. Here, as in <a href="http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-04/new-fog-harvesting-devices-could-provide-clean-drinking-water-worlds-poor?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">other places around the world</a>, researchers have been testing nets that collect water from the fog in order to stop desertification and bring water to residents&#8212;and one tiny brewery has been reaping the benefits.http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/chilean-fog-nets-pull-beer-from-desert-air,404137Tue, 19 May 2015 11:02:27 +1000Adorable, Disposable Drones Will Sniff Out Chemical Weapons In Future WarsCicadas are a species most keenly felt by their absence. After years underground, their larvae crawl forth to the surface, shed their skins, and take to the sky in a great racket. Weeks later, all that remains are their empty bodies--a testament to the swarm that was. Developed by the Naval Research Laboratory, the lightweight, disposable Cicada drones are a similar beast: many flying all at once, turning to just brittle shells blowing in the wind once the battle is over. This week, the Pentagon put <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-cicadas-us-militarys-new-swarm-of-mini-drones-2015-5?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">the latest version of the Cicada</a> on display, a tiny robot warrior ready for the future.http://www.popsci.com.au/robots/drones/adorable-disposable-drones-will-sniff-out-chemical-weapons-in-future-wars,404136Tue, 19 May 2015 11:02:23 +1000Decode Your Kitty's MicrobiomeOver the past few years, researchers have gotten a much better idea of the importance of the human microbiome--the <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2012/06/13/154913334/finally-a-map-of-all-the-microbes-on-your-body?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">trillions of bacteria</a> living in and around our bodies. Now we know that these bacteria can <a href="http://www.popsci.com/article/science/jet-lagged-gut-bacteria-could-contribute-obesity?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">make us more obese</a>, <a href="http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-08/probiotic-broth-reduces-stress-mice-researchers-report?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">change how our brains work</a>, and are <a href="http://www.popsci.com/scientists-can-now-identify-people-based-their-unique-bacteria?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">unique to individuals</a>. Although a number of questions remain about our microbiomes, one group of researchers hopes you can help with an urgent query: How are bacteria affecting our cats?http://www.popsci.com.au/science/nature/decode-your-kittys-microbiome,404091Mon, 18 May 2015 12:10:30 +1000Watch This Futuristic Vat Of Water Paint A CatDunking a statue into a bucket of paint usually won't give you anything other than a monochromatic result. But dunk a statue into this vat of water coated with a layer of painted film, and the results are <a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/3046264/this-crazy-way-to-paint-patterns-on-3-d-objects-is-like-a-cartoon-come-to-life?partner=rss&amp;partner=rss">pretty incredible</a>.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/watch-this-futuristic-vat-of-water-paint-a-cat,404090Mon, 18 May 2015 12:10:25 +1000Will The Milky Way Get Strangled To Death?Just like lifeforms here on earth, galaxies can die. And it isn't always pretty. A <a href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v521/n7551/full/nature14439.html?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">paper</a> published in <em>Nature</em> suggests that most galaxies die by strangulation.http://www.popsci.com.au/space/cosmology/will-the-milky-way-get-strangled-to-death,404089Mon, 18 May 2015 12:10:19 +1000Vote For Zoltan If You Want To Live ForeverZoltan Istvan didn't see the half-buried bomb. He was reporting on a story about Vietnam's forgotten landmines when he wandered off the path to look at the scar of an explosion on the jungle floor. The next thing he knew, he was on the ground--his guide had tackled him just before he could step on a small landmine. The bomb didn't go off, but Istvan was shaken. While he cleaned off his camera lens, he decided to take a break from journalism for a while. He returned home to write a novel, <em>The Transhumanist Wager</em>, about a man's quest to live forever using science, medicine, and technology.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/vote-for-zoltan-if-you-want-to-live-forever,404088Mon, 18 May 2015 12:10:14 +1000The Doctor, Smallpox, and the Bed BugWhen <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Infested-Infiltrated-Bedrooms-Took-World/dp/022604193X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1416244907&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=infested+borel&amp;pebp=1416244909298&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1416244907&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=infested%20borel&amp;pebp=1416244909298">my book <em>Infested</em></a> published last month and I started revisiting some of its stories during interviews, I was reminded of those I didn't include in the final version. Some just didn't pan out, and others didn't fit into the overall theme&#8212;a popular science, cultural history, and adventure tale exploring where the bed bug came from and why it surged back in recent years. I've thought of one of these cast-aside stories&#8212;a tale of bed bugs and smallpox&#8212;on and off for months, particularly as the measles outbreaks in <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">California and elsewhere</a> <a href="http://www.wired.com/2015/01/vaccinated-people-get-measles-disneyland-blame-unvaccinated/?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">ramped up</a> <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/02/05/383988632/vaccination-exemption-blamed-for-measles-spread-in-california?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">national discussions</a> <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/01/27/californias-epidemic-of-vaccine-denial-mapped/?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">about the vaccine-skeptic movement</a>.http://www.popsci.com.au/science/medicine/the-doctor-smallpox-and-the-bed-bug,404087Mon, 18 May 2015 12:10:12 +1000Did North Korea Really Launch A Missile From A Sub?A dictator's smile is never really a good sign. On Saturday, North Korea claimed they launched a ballistic missile from a submarine, and pictures from the launch show 32-year-old Kim Jong-Un <a href="https://twitter.com/Joshua_Pollack/status/597217127595114496?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">beaming</a> as he watches the show. His entire face is lit up in sheer joy at the test. While there's a lot about the missile launch that warrants skepticism, it's safe to say that the test was a success.http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/military/did-north-korea-really-launch-a-missile-from-a-sub,404086Mon, 18 May 2015 12:10:05 +1000Work For The Smithsonian?Project: <a href="https://transcription.si.edu/?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Smithsonian Transcription Center</a>http://www.popsci.com.au/science/work-for-the-smithsonian,404085Mon, 18 May 2015 12:10:01 +1000NASA Is Sending Some Lucky Yeast Into Radiation-Filled Deep SpaceBioSentinel--it sounds like Hollywood's next big sci-fi film. Rather, it's one of NASA's upcoming missions, with the goal of studying the long-term effects of radiation on human cells. The mission, run by scientist's at NASA's Ames Research Center, will be the first biological experiment to take place beyond lower Earth orbit <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/missions/apollo17.html?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">since Apollo 17</a> more than 40 years ago. BioSentinel's results could ultimately change how humans approach the dream of deep space exploration.http://www.popsci.com.au/space/nasa-is-sending-some-lucky-yeast-into-radiationfilled-deep-space,404084Mon, 18 May 2015 12:09:57 +1000Why Packaging And Fallout Shelters Should Take Design Cues From SeashellsSeashells aren't just pretty objects for kids to collect on the beach. According to <a href="http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/4/e1400052?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">a new study</a>, their structure could inspire protective gear and packaging. Dr. Chandra Tiwary and his colleagues at the Indian Institute of Science analyzed the structure of seashells to better understand how they protect the soft bodies inside.http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/why-packaging-and-fallout-shelters-should-take-design-cues-from-seashells,404083Mon, 18 May 2015 12:09:53 +1000Google To Unleash Robot Cars On World This YearFor years, the car of the future has been stuck going in circles. Although Google's converted self-driving Lexuses have hit the road in a few select areas, the company's custom-designed fully robotic self-driving car has been confined to the test track. But there's only so much that can be learned in a testing zone, even for an autonomous car. Announced today, Google's cars will like fledgling birds leave their nest, and travel forth onto the streets of Mountain View, California. And they'll do so very, <a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/self-driving-vehicle-prototypes-on-road.html?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">very slowly</a>. For their city driving, Google is capping the cars' speed at a neighborhood-friendly 25 mph.http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/cars/google-to-unleash-robot-cars-on-world-this-year,404082Mon, 18 May 2015 12:09:50 +1000For Drone Pilots, A Real-Time Map Of All The Aircraft In The SkyIt is easy to make a simple map of the sky, and incredibly hard to make a detailed one. As more and more drones enter American airspace, several maps have debuted that attempt to explain for new drone pilots where exactly the sky allows flying robots. <a href="http://botlink.io/?con=&amp;dom=pscau&amp;src=syndication">Botlink</a>, created by active Air Force Predator pilots and sensor operators working out of North Dakota, doesn't just want to show where drones can fly, it wants to show drone pilots what else is already in the sky.http://www.popsci.com.au/robots/drones/for-drone-pilots-a-realtime-map-of-all-the-aircraft-in-the-sky,404081Mon, 18 May 2015 12:09:46 +1000