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The Lead

Reptiles Can Learn Through Imitation

October 1, 2014 | by Univ. of Lincoln | Comments

New research has provided the first evidence that reptiles could be capable of social learning through imitation. The ability to acquire new skills through the “true imitation” of others’ behavior was thought to be unique to humans and advanced primates, such as chimpanzees.


Droplets Can Move On Their Own

September 30, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Southern Denmark | Comments

Droplets are simple spheres of fluid, not normally considered capable of doing anything on their own. But now, researchers have made droplets of alcohol move through water. In the future, such moving droplets may deliver medicines.


Researchers Make Hydrogen Fuel Sans Rare Metals

September 29, 2014 7:00 am | by EPFL | Comments

By combining a pair of solar cells made with a mineral called perovskite and low cost electrodes, scientists have obtained a 12.3 percent conversion efficiency from solar energy to hydrogen, a record using earth-abundant materials as opposed to rare metals.


ISS: Largest Earth-observing Satellites

September 26, 2014 7:00 am | by NASA | Comments

The International Space Station has been called a stepping stone to other worlds. NASA hasn't forgotten, however, that the behemoth space station is also on the doorstep of Earth.


Walking Rats Bring Clinical Trials Closer

September 25, 2014 7:00 am | by EPFL | Comments

Scientists have discovered how to control the limbs of a completely paralyzed rat in real time to help it walk again. Building on earlier work in rats, this new breakthrough is part of a more general therapy that could one day be implemented in rehabilitation programs for people with spinal cord injury. Clinical trials could start as early as next summer.


Why We Need Antibiotics

September 24, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | Comments

Antibiotics revolutionized health care in the early 20th century, helping kill bacteria that once killed thousands of people. But bacteria are constantly outsmarting science, and new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are popping up more frequently.


Chemistry of Autumn Colors

September 23, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | Comments

It's the first day of autumn, and the telltale signs are here: crisp weather, pumpkin spice lattes and, most importantly, the leaves are changing colors.


Sensor Gives Robot Greater Dexterity

September 22, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, Larry Hardesty | Comments

Researchers have equipped a robot with a novel tactile sensor that lets it grasp a USB cable draped freely over a hook and insert it into a USB port. The sensor is small enough to fit on a robot’s gripper and its processing algorithm is fast, so it can give the robot feedback in real time.


Dogs Can Be Pessimists

September 19, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Sydney | Comments

Dogs generally seem to be cheerful, happy-go-lucky characters, so you might expect that they would have an optimistic outlook on life. But, some dogs are distinctly more pessimistic than others.


Materials Mimic Octopuses’ Abilities

September 18, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, David Chandler | Comments

Cephalopods are able to change both the color and texture of their skin within seconds to blend into their surroundings— a capability that engineers have long struggled to duplicate in synthetic materials. Now, a team has come closer than ever to achieving that goal, creating a flexible material that can change its color or fluorescence and its texture at the same time, on demand, by remote control.


Microscope Study Helps Cook Juicier Steaks

September 17, 2014 7:00 am | by The Univ. of Melbourne | Comments

A new study into meat tenderness could refine the way people cook steak. Researchers conducted studies using microscopes to see what happens to meat cells while being cooked. They found that meat shrinks while cooking not once but twice.


Chemistry of a Smartphone

September 17, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | Comments

By now, we've got all the details about Apple's latest iPhone. But what do you really know about the guts of the iPhone 6, or any smartphone for that matter?


Cheetah Robot Can Run, Jump, Untethered, Across Grass

September 16, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | Comments

Researchers have developed an algorithm for bounding that they’ve successfully implemented in a robotic cheetah— a sleek, four-legged assemblage of gears, batteries and electric motors that weighs about as much as its feline counterpart. The team recently took the robot for a test run where it bounded across grass at a steady clip.


Wrinkles in Rock May Be Signs of Early Life

September 15, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | Comments

Researchers have identified a mechanism by which wrinkles may have formed in ancient rocks. Based on this mechanism, they posit that such fossilized features may be a vestige of microbial presence— in other words, where there are wrinkles, there must have been life.


Understanding Physics of Fire Imperative for Space Safety

September 12, 2014 7:00 am | by NASA | Comments

Astronauts are studying how fires burn in microgravity and how to put them out. It's a basic safety issue: if a fire ever breaks out onboard a spacecraft, astronauts need to be able to control it.


Sharks May Not Smell Food in Acidic Water

September 11, 2014 7:00 am | by Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

The increasing acidification of ocean waters caused by rising atmospheric CO2 levels could rob sharks of their ability to sense the smell of food, a new study suggests. Elevated CO2 levels impaired the odor-tracking behavior of the smooth dogfish, a shark whose range includes the Atlantic Ocean off the eastern U.S.



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