Over the weekend, North Korea unveiled a new weapon. It is small, maybe small enough to fit in the nose cone of a missile. It is powerful, detonating with the force of possibly 140 kilotons, or almost 10 times the destructive power as “Little Boy,” the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. This thermonuclear warhead is shiny, bare metal like the naked skins of the early jets that first fought in the skies above Korea almost 67 years ago.
At about 6am on local time Tuesday morning, Japan's government issued a warning to its citizens that a missile was headed their way. That missile, fired from North Korea, crashed into the Pacific Ocean 575 miles east of Japan just 14 minutes after launch. This test was the third time that North Korea's ever successfully launched an object over Japan, and the first time that the object in question was explicitly a missile.
In the future, your workout—or your workout gear, to be precise—might generate enough energy to charge your activity tracker. Researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas and South Korea's Hanyang University (among other institutions) have figured out that by twisting carbon nanotubes into yarn, forming what they call a “twistron harvester,” they can harness mechanical energy and turn it into electricity. They published their results this week in the journal Science.
Some researchers say the Babylonians invented trigonometry—and did it better. A long-debated tablet known as Plimpton 332, featuring 3,700-year-old scrawls from a Mesopotamian scribe, is the subject of a new study in the journal Historia Mathematica this week. A team of modern mathematicians claim that new analysis reveals the relic as the oldest ever example of trigonometry, the math that explains relationships between the elements (sides and angles) of triangles. Their findings might make Hipparchus turn a perfect 90 degrees in his grave: The Greek genius often credited as the father of trig didn't come up with it until 1,000 years later.
Last week, China's dominant fighting vehicle manufacturer, China North Industries Corporation (Norinco), displayed a bevy of export armored vehicles as part of its Armor Day celebrations. These festivities, now in their second year, laud the power of Chinese military and offer an occasion to show off to senior foreign military officers, who were likely there as potential buyers.
You know that thing where Australians don't want nuclear reactors built in our own backyard? Yeah, China doesn't have that. It's well on its way to becoming a world leader in nuclear power; its 37 reactors are already producing 32.4 gigawatts of electricity, and more than 20 more reactors are currently under construction