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Invasion of the frankenbees: the danger of building a better bee

October 30, 2018

The long read: Beekeepers are sounding the alarm about the latest developments in genetically modified pollinators The spring of 2008 was brutal for Europes honeybees. In late April and early May, during the corn-planting season, dismayed beekeepers in Germanys upper Rhine valley looked on as whole colonies perished. Millions of bees died. France, the Netherlands […]

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Soooo Atlas the Robot is Doing Parkour Now

October 16, 2018

So Boston Dynamics’ “Atlas” robot does parkour now. The control software uses the whole body including legs, arms and torso, to marshal the energy and strength for jumping over the log and leaping up the steps without breaking its pace (step height 40 cm). Atlas uses computer vision to locate itself with respect to visible […]

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Adam Savage on the Highs and Lows of Helium and Sulfur Hexafluoride

September 15, 2018

In this classic Mythbusters clip, Adam Savage explains the highs and lows of helium and sulfur hexafluoride. Does the low voice remind anyone of the Jim Carrey film, The Mask? For science!

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The Rebirth of Radio Astronomy

September 14, 2018

In the early 1930s, Bell Labs was experimenting with making wireless transatlantic calls. The communications goliath wanted to understand the static that might crackle across the ocean, so it asked an engineer named Karl Jansky to investigate its sources. He found three: nearby thunderstorms, distant thunderstorms, and a steady hiss, coming from … somewhere. Jansky […]

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Meet the Rose Hip Cell, a New Kind of Neuron

September 10, 2018

It’s been more than a century since Spanish neuroanatomist Santiago Ramón y Cajal won the Nobel Prize for illustrating the way neurons allow you to walk, talk, think, and be. In the intervening hundred years, modern neuroscience hasn’t progressed that much in how it distinguishes one kind of neuron from another. Sure, the microscopes are […]

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How Rude Humanoid Robots Can Mess With Your Head

August 28, 2018

The little humanoid robot’s name is Meccanoid, and it is a scoundrel. The well-meaning human test subject asks the robot: If you were to make a friend, what would you want them to know? “That I’m bored,” Meccanoid says. Alright, let’s start over. A new participant asks Meccanoid the same question, but now the robot […]

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Get an Inside Look at SpaceX’s Astronaut Training Sims

August 22, 2018

On Monday, the buzz of machinery echoed through SpaceX’s Hawthorne-based manufacturing facility as SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell introduced a quartet of astronauts, each decked out in NASA blues. Behind them, tucked inside a clean room, was their ticket to low-Earth orbit: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, still naked without its stark white outer shell. So far, every […]

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The President Wants a Space Force. He Might Get One.

August 21, 2018

If policymaking is never easy, and military policymaking is very difficult, it stands to reason that space military policymaking is basically impossible. Yet today, in a speech at the Pentagon, Vice President Mike Pence announced the formation of a sixth branch of the US armed services: a SPACE FORCE! But can that really happen? Well, […]

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Meet the Astronauts Who Will Fly the First Private Space Taxis

August 18, 2018

SpaceX and Boeing are preparing to face off in an epic game of capture the flag. The winner not only wins bragging rights as the first private company to shuttle astronauts to the International Space Station, but gets to bring home a piece of history: a small American flag that flew on both the first […]

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Quantum Computing Will Create Jobs. But Which Ones?

August 18, 2018

Chris Monroe’s vision for quantum computers is simple: He wants people to use them. Monroe, a physicist and co-founder of the quantum computing startup IonQ, wants the machines to be as sleek as the iPhone. He wants people to code on them without needing to understand complicated quantum physics. Basically, he wants the devices to […]

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