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Seahorses Find It's Hip to Be Square

July 3, 2015 12:00 pm | by UC San Diego | News | Comments

Why is the seahorse's tail square? An international team of researchers has found the answer and it could lead to building better robots and medical devices.

Today in Lab History: First Zeppelin Takes to the Sky

July 2, 2015 2:00 pm | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

On July 2, 1900, the first Zeppelin flew for 20 minutes in southern Germany. The LZ 1, or...

Six Wild Ideas That May Be the Future of Aviation

July 2, 2015 7:00 am | by Michelle Taylor, Editor-in-Chief | Blogs | Comments

NASA may have just discovered the future of air transportation in a Shark Tank-style pitch...

Universe May Be Less Crowded than Thought

July 1, 2015 2:20 pm | by Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

There may be far fewer galaxies further out in the universe than might be expected, suggests a...

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Subatomic Particles May Help Detect Damaged Pipes

July 1, 2015 7:00 am | by Inside Science News Service, Charles Choi | News | Comments

Of all the parts of the nation's infrastructure that one might want least to fail, nuclear power plants might rank the highest. U.S. nuclear power plants are on average more than 30-years-old. Now, researchers have suggested they could noninvasively scan infrastructure for weak points with the aid of subatomic particles streaking down from the sky.

U.S. Air Force Working on Air Vehicle that Travels Mach 5

June 30, 2015 3:27 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

The U.S. Air Force is working on a vehicle that travels five times the speed of sound, according to multiple reports. The hypersonic vehicle, traveling up to Mach 5, is expected to be completed by 2023.

Dubai Plans First 3-D-Printed Office Building

June 30, 2015 2:20 pm | by Associated Press, Adam Schreck | News | Comments

Fast-growing Dubai, where something new is always being added to the skyline, may have found a way to make construction move even faster. Today, the Gulf commercial hub announced plans to add the world's first office building made using three-dimensional printer technology to its collection of eye-catching buildings.

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Research Sheds Light on Sprite Formation

June 29, 2015 2:20 pm | by Florida Institute of Technology | News | Comments

A new study has improved our understanding of a spectacular phenomena, called sprites, which are fireworks-like electrical discharges, sometimes preceded by halos of light, in earth's upper atmosphere. It has been long thought that atmospheric gravity waves play an important role in the initiation of sprites but no previous studies provided convincing arguments to support that idea.

Secret Behind Glass Formation is Shattered

June 29, 2015 12:19 pm | by University of Waterloo | News | Comments

Scientists have described how glasses form at the molecular level and provided a possible solution to a problem that has stumped scientists for decades.

Tomorrow Will Be a Longer Day

June 29, 2015 9:10 am | by NASA Goddard | News | Comments

Strictly speaking, a day lasts 86,400 seconds. However, the day will officially be a bit longer than usual on Tuesday, June 30, 2015, because an extra second, or "leap" second, will be added.

Chemistry Key to Future Jet Engines

June 29, 2015 8:49 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | Videos | Comments

The Periodic Table may not sound like a list of ingredients but, for a group of materials scientists, it’s the starting point for designing the perfect chemical make-up of tomorrow’s jet engines.

Concrete Heals Itself Like Skin

June 29, 2015 8:01 am | by American Concrete Institute | News | Comments

Concrete is like a living body, in that it can self-heal its own small wounds— cracks— as an intrinsic characteristic. However, cracks do not heal easily in conventional concrete because of its rather brittle nature, which calls into question the effectiveness of self-healing in conventional concrete materials with no control over crack formation.

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Solar Storms Continue, as Power Grid Braces Itself

June 26, 2015 12:07 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

A third solar storm flared up Thursday, and power-grid operators are again bracing themselves for a potentially damaging geomagnetic storm. The moderate storm conditions are expected to arrive on Earth Saturday and continue until Sunday.

Disabled People Pilot Robot with Thoughts

June 26, 2015 7:00 am | by EPFL | Videos | Comments

Using a telepresence system, 19 people– including nine quadriplegics– were able to remotely control a robot located in a university laboratory. This multi-year research project aims to give a measure of independence to paralyzed people.

Lexus Going Back to the Future with Hoverboard

June 25, 2015 9:33 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

The concept of a hoverboard– a floating skateboard that never touches the ground– transfixed a generation when it appeared in the film Back to the Future II in 1989. Luxury car manufacturer Lexus said they’re working on one.

Model Calculates How Air Transport Connects the World

June 25, 2015 7:00 am | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | Videos | Comments

Every time you’ve seen a plane take off or land at a hub airport, you’ve seen the world growing more connected. Researchers have designed a new model that determines the degree to which regions around the world are connected via air transportation.

Glimpse Into Earth Comes from Outer Space

June 24, 2015 7:00 am | by ESA | Videos | Comments

After a year in orbit, the three Swarm satellites have provided a first glimpse inside Earth and started to shed new light on the dynamics of the upper atmosphere– all the way from the ionosphere about 100 km above, through to the outer reaches of our protective magnetic shield.

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Ultralow-power Circuit Aids Solar Power

June 23, 2015 2:20 pm | by MIT, Larry Hardesty | News | Comments

Researchers have presented a new power converter chip that can harvest more than 80 percent of the energy trickling into it, even at the extremely low power levels characteristic of tiny solar cells. Previous ultralow-power converters that used the same approach had efficiencies of only 40 or 50 percent.

Shrimp ‘Hammer’ Could Inspire Armor, Football Helmets, Car Frames

June 22, 2015 11:23 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

Technology has taken its cues from nature in the past. Now, an innovation could come from mimicking a shrimp’s hammer-like appendage, called the “dactyl club.” The club is particularly good at absorbing incredible force– and could be employed in high-impact materials.

Realistic Face Won't Make Us Comfortable Around Robots

June 22, 2015 7:00 am | by The Conversation, Stephanie Lay, Graham Pike, The Open University | Videos | Comments

There is no doubt that developments in android technology mean that robots now look more lifelike than ever. It is even possible to imagine mistaking a robot for a human, at least at first glance. However, encountering near-human agents may not always be a comfortable experience.

Owls May Help Make the World Quieter

June 22, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

An investigation into how owls fly and hunt in silence has enabled researchers to develop a coating for wind turbine blades that could significantly reduce the amount of noise they make. Tests of the material, which mimics the intricate structure of an owl's wing, have shown that it could significantly reduce the amount of noise produced by wind turbines and other types of fan blades, such as those in computers or planes.

Massive Study Shows Mega Wastewater Injections Cause More Quakes

June 19, 2015 2:20 pm | by Associated Press, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

The more oil and gas companies pump their saltwater waste into the ground, and the faster they do it, the more they have triggered earthquakes in the central U.S., a massive new study found. An unprecedented recent jump in quakes in America's heartland can be traced to the stepped up rate that drilling wastewater is injected deep below the surface.

System Lets Doctors Diagnose Over the Phone

June 19, 2015 7:00 am | News | Comments

The voice can be affected by a range of disorders, ranging from Parkinson's disease and strokes to spasmodic dysphonia, a condition in which the muscles of the vocal cords move abnormally. A phonetics expert has developed software that can analyze a brief phone questionnaire, searching for the characteristic signs of a range of conditions.

Gravity Can Stretch Time, Limit Quantum Effects

June 18, 2015 9:29 am | by Inside Science News Service, Charles Choi | News | Comments

The world becomes a fuzzy, surreal place at its smallest levels, according to quantum physics. It has long been a mystery why strange quantum behavior is not seen at larger scales in everyday life. Now, researchers have found that the way Earth warps time could help explain this division.

Today in Lab History: Missing Neutrinos Found

June 18, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

On June 18, 2001, the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) solved a mystery that had confused astrophysicists for 30 years. All experiments, prior to SNO’s work, detected less than half the number of solar neutrinos predicted by models of the Sun. So, where did they go? They were there all along.

Artificial Skin Mimics Squid’s Camouflage Ability

June 17, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Bristol | Videos | Comments

Researchers have shown it is possible to create artificial skin that can be transformed at the flick of a switch to mimic one of nature’s masters of camouflage, the squid. The team has designed a smart materials system, inspired by biological chromatophores, which creates patterns that change and morph over time and mimic biological patterning.

Google on the Rise of Robots: Get a Grip

June 17, 2015 7:00 am | by Michelle Taylor, Editor-in-Chief | Blogs | Comments

Finally, someone of high importance has said what I’ve been writing for a long time: artificial intelligence (AI) will not be the death of society. There will be no “rise of the robots.” They will not revolt and use their intelligence against us. Instead, they will use their learning skills to help solve challenges like food shortages, global warming, access to clean water and even stock market rises.

Laughs from Lab: June 15, 2015

June 15, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

The editors of Laboratory Equipment want you to start your week with a smile on your face. So, here’s a science joke you might like. Q: What did the nuclear physicist have for dinner?

Calculations Improve Accuracy of CO2 Monitoring

June 15, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. College London | News | Comments

How light of different colors is absorbed by carbon dioxide (CO2) can now be accurately predicted using new calculations. This will help climate scientists studying Earth's greenhouse gas emissions to better interpret data collected from satellites and ground stations measuring CO2.  

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