Robotics-1 Nature-0

February 27, 2017

It isn’t very often that a robot beats nature at its own game. Usually biologically inspired robotics is about figuring out evolution’s clever tricks and then trying to apply them to your robot to make it faster or more efficient or more skilled. However, evolution is a very intelligent designer, and because of this robotics and roboticists are going up against a half billion years of trial and error. In an…

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‘Can’t touch these’ Hammerhead sharks

February 27, 2017

What do you call a shark that can’t stop singing ‘You Can’t Touch This?’ An M.C Hammerhead (this is the moment you laugh out loud). No, but all jokes aside, the instantly recognizable Great Hammerhead shark, is a target of both the recreational fishing and shark-fin trade which has led to the global population of the species declining by around 80% in the past 25 years. The Great Hammerhead has…

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One step forward – two steps back?

February 27, 2017

Everyone is talking about Samsung’s product showcase which took place on Sunday, and the lack of a new flagship phone. The company instead decided to spotlight the new Android and Windows tablets after delaying the Galaxy S8 smartphone, an indirect casualty of the unprecedented September recall of the fire-prone Note 7 phone. The new tablets will carry the Galaxy brand and come with many of the Note 7’s features, including…

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Flexible wind turbines are more efficient

February 27, 2017

It has been discovered that if you use flexible blades on a wind turbine it can dramatically increase its efficiency. A small team of researchers with Sorbonne Université and École Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers-ParisTech published a paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, and described their approach and the results they obtained through physical testing of their idea. After many years of research, modern wind turbines…

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And that is why Sleeping Beauty never had children!

February 27, 2017

Although women have known for years that they are sleep deprived, there is now research to back this up. Unlike men, a female’s good night’s sleep is heavily affected by having children in the house, according to a preliminary study, which will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 69th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 22nd-28th, 2017. Study author Kelly Sullivan, PhD, of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, and…

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‘Ring of fire’ solar eclipse for South America and southern Africa

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February 24, 2017

Astronomers say a spectacular ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse Sunday will regale skygazers in South America and southern Africa, with seafarers in the nearby Atlantic getting a front-row view too. The eclipse—during which the Sun will all but disappear as the Moon crosses its path—will be most visible in a 100km (62m) band cutting through Chile, Argentina, Angola, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A so-called annular solar eclipse occurs…

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Amazon Alexa’s speech protected by the First Amendment

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February 24, 2017

A motion to dismiss a search warrant for recordings from an Echo owned by a suspected murderer has been filed by Amazon. Amazon argues that both its users’ requests to Alexa and the response the company produces are protected under the First Amendment. The company says it should only have to turn this data over if law enforcement meets a high burden of proof. The criminal case involves a man…

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The fiery descents of cosmic dust bubble parachutes

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February 24, 2017

Scientists have discovered that bubbles acting like parachutes are deployed by some cosmic dust particles on their entry into Earth’s atmosphere, preventing them from burning up. This is the conclusion of a new study carried out by a researcher from Imperial College London. Cosmic dust particles originate from events such the arrival of comets in the inner solar system and collisions between asteroids, which pulverises them into dust. Some make…

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Plastic recycling revolutionized by polymer additive

plasticsimageee
February 24, 2017

When Geoffrey Coates, the Tisch University Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, gives a talk about plastics and recycling, he usually opens with this question: What percentage of the 78 million tons of plastic used annually for packaging – for example, a 2-liter bottle or a take-out food container – actually gets recycled and reused in a similar way? The answer, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, is just 2%….

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Virtually removing a virtual reality headset

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February 24, 2017

Reported on the Google Research blog, a team looking at better immersive experiences with virtual reality and mixed reality have come up with technology. The technology shows faces behind the VR headsets. A mixed reality experiment puts a fake face on top of your VR headset, said The Verge. Chaim Gartenberg reported Wednesday on what’s up. “Mixed reality videos—where a video camera and a green screen are used to show what…

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