When the sun disappears behind the moon on Monday, scientists will be ready. The astrophysics of the eclipse are known, so for space watchers it will be a time to relax and partake in the strange beauty of day gone suddenly dark. For the atmospheric scientist however, the eclipse provides a shining opportunity to directly study how the sun influences weather patterns by heating the atmosphere. To that end, a team of researchers from Oklahoma State University and the University of Nebraska is going to spend Monday tracking changes in the atmosphere in the path of the eclipse. And to get just how the eclipse changes the weather in the low sky, the team will fly drones during the totality.
Spend enough time on Facebook, and you'll likely encounter a post written in a tongue that's foreign to you. That's because the social network has two billion users and supports over 45 languages. On Thursday, Facebook announced that all of its user translation services—those little magic tricks that happen when you click “see translation” beneath a post or comment—are now powered by neural networks, which are a form of artificial intelligence.
Every armory is a potential explosion waiting to happen. And in Eastern Ukraine, a stockpile of ammunition recently ignited, spewing smoke and fire into the sky in a dramatic video. The culprit? A small drone carrying a 1-pound grenade armed with the pyrotechnic substance thermite.
Robots often imitate life. We are used to bots mimicking humans, and animals, but there is plenty of life beyond the constraints of legged bodies that can inspire useful machines. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Stanford University have made a machine with long tendrils that can perform dangerous tasks like reaching through rubble to pump air to a trapped earthquake survivor.
Plenty of toys on the market promise to provide the next generation of coders and engineers with the foundation they'll need to compete in the rapidly-changing job market. But in a sea of coding-for-kids products, an update to Anki's holiday-shopping darling, Cozmo the robot, offers a chance for young would-be coders to tap into a complex machine capable of advanced feats, like facial recognition.