Items tagged with Science

Hey, good news everyone! After we're done ravaging the natural resources on this rock we call Earth and have turned it into an uninhabitable wasteland, there's another planet the human race can relocate to and nary skip a beat. Unfortunately, that planet is 12 light years away, which puts a small kink into our relocation plans. The planet in question is one of five rocks orbiting Tau Ceti, a far away star that resembles the Sun, according to Science. It's a single, bright G-type star, so there's no second ball of flames and gas to pull planets away via gravity. All five planets are said to lie... Read more...
Research dating back to the 1960s ultimately gave birth to the Internet, which at a glance doesn't seem to have much in common with ants. Look closely, however, and you'll discover certain parallels between today's vast network of interconnected computers and the underground tunnels of those social insects that belong to the family Formicidae. That's the conclusion reached by two Standford researchers who discovered that a species of harvester ants determine how many foragers to send out of the nest in similar fashion to the way Internet protocols examine how much bandwidth is available for transferring... Read more...
Fraunhofer IIS may not be a super familiar name in the consumer realm, but in the world of research, there's hardly a company that comes up with crazier things than these guys and girls. The company has chosen Mobile World Congress as the place to present the world's first Full-HD Voice mobile phone calls over an LTE network. Verizon Wireless has toyed with VoLTE (voice over LTE) before, but we've seen nothing beyond semi-promising demonstrations. This particular method enables mobile phone calls to sound as clear as talking to another person in the same room, at a quality level that is equal to... Read more...
Over the years, exploding batteries have becoming quite the issue in consumer electronics (as seen here in this melted iPhone). And not just exploding, but overheating, melting and combusting ones, too. But now, we're making progress on potentially stopping that ruckus. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., have developed an inexpensive sensor that can warn of impending catastrophic failure in lithium-ion batteries. The sensor is based on the researchers' discovery of an intrinsic relationship between the internal temperature of lithium-ion... Read more...
Ready to get nerdy? Thinfilm, together with PARC, has just announced that they have produced a working prototype of the world's first printed non-volatile memory device with complementary organic circuits, the organic equivalent of CMOS circuitry. The new Thinfilm Addressable Memory consists of Thinfilm's printed memory and PARC's transistors. This demonstration is a significant milestone toward the mass production of low-cost, low-power ubiquitous devices that are a key component of the "Internet of things." That's right, they said the "Internet of things." That's further described as a situation... Read more...
Faster than the speed of light? Normally we think of The Flash, Superman, or perhaps a Federation starship using warp drive. In other words, we think science fiction or comic books. After all, surpassing that speed would overturn one of the fundamental laws of physics, Einstein's theory of relativity, often simply known by the equation E = mc2. However, scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, believe they have discovered subatomic particles called neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. That said, with physics potentially about to be turned upside down,... Read more...
A lot of things are said to taste like chicken. Snake, for example, is often said to taste like chicken, although we can tell you from experience that its reptile cousin African crocodile does not taste like chicken, and is extremely tough and chewy. What, therefore, would human excrement taste like? A Japanese scientist claims to be able to turn poop into a meat substitute. More precisely, he said he says he can turn sewage mud into a meat substitute. Tokyo Sewage reportedly approached Ikeda to find a solution for a big problem: too much sewage mud. They wanted to know if anything useful could... Read more...
A new blood test that will come on the market later this year in over-the-counter form is raising questions about just how much we should know, and what will be done with that knowledge. The test will, the maker says, be able to predict your life expectancy to within a decade. The test, by the company Life Length, is to come on the market in the U.K. later this year, and will cost 500 euros ($714). The tests measures the length of a person's telomeres, the cap-like molecular structures on the tips of the chromosomes. The shorter they are, scientists believe, the nearer one is to death. Essentially,... Read more...
There's a new "Virgin" around, and it's called Virgin Oceanic. Sir Richard Branson plans to explore, not commercialize, the ocean depths with his "Deep? Flight ?Challenger." Designed by Graham Hawkes, the "Deep? Flight ?Challenger" was originally commissioned by Sir Richard Branson's friend, the late Steve Fossett. Branson "intends to finish what his friend started and then go on to help explore and unlock the wonders of the oceans still unknown to humankind or science." [Steve Fossett was reported missing on September 3, 2007, after the plane he was flying over the Nevada desert failed to return.... Read more...
As you wait in the checkout line just before Christmas, your observation is correct. That other line is moving faster than yours. That's what Bill Hammack (the Engineer Guy), from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Illinois - Urbana "proves" in this YouTube video. The video was released just in time for the final days of the holiday shopping season, as a lesson in queueing theory for the holiday season. Using the work of Agner Erlang, a Danish engineer who helped the Copenhagen Telephone Company determine the best level of service with the minimum... Read more...
In the quest to keep bicycles safe, here's a new idea. Instead of trying to create the invulnerable bicycle lock, how about having it shinny up whatever pole you attach it to instead, and out of harm's way? A German company called Conrad had developed the ultimate bike lock. The making of video (below) shows how it works. There are a few problems with the idea. For one, it certainly isn't the most portable of security devices. For another, we only hope no one, either because they don't notice your bike, or because they are complete a-holes, decides to hoist their bike up the pole beneath yours.... Read more...
On Monday, the London School of Economics launched a project designed to "map happiness" in the U.K. Indeed, we are not kidding. The iPhone application called "mappiness" will be used to help researchers map "happiness across space in the U.K." After installing and setting up the free app, users will receive a notification on their iPhone automatically, between one and five times a day (as set by the user). The timing will be random, and during hours set by the user. Additionally, the user can manually enter happiness data, as well. The app will ask users to report their feelings at the time, and... Read more...
We've heard (no pun intended) of hybrid and electric cars designed to make noise, so that blind pedestrians don't get run over by them, but how about a car designed for blind people to drive it? That's what Virginia Tech and the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) have come up with. The plan is to demonstrate the vehicle, a modified Ford Escape hybrid, at the famous Daytona International Speedway track next year, as part of the pre-race activities at the 2011 Rolex 24 on January 29, 2011. Last summer, the team demonstrated a first-generation prototype, a modified dune buggy. The NFB issued... Read more...
Few institutions impact the world of consumer electronics as often as MIT, and it's a known fact that the entity has been working towards wireless power for years now. Wireless power remains one of the Holy Grails of electronics; even with wireless video and audio solutions in the market, there's still a power requirement that demands at least one cable. It's the reason that wireless surround speakers can't easily be mounted anywhere; you still have to run power to each one, or at least signal wires with power running through them. But MIT is getting closer and closer to making wireless energy... Read more...
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