research

Astronomers discover tailless comet almost as old as Earth

Astronomers discover tailless comet almost as old as Earth

Scientists have discovered a space rock that's like nothing seen before: a comet that has no tail. While being the first of its kind makes it a truly rare find in itself, the comet is also believed to have been formed around the same time as Earth. Asteroids and comets are believed to have been created during the violent formation of the Solar System, but this example has been described as being in pristine condition, and thus contains samples of the material present when the Earth formed billions of years ago.

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Science says dogs hate being hugged

Science says dogs hate being hugged

Sorry dog owners, your favorite furry companion probably doesn't like your hugs. Sure, humans enjoy hugs — more than a few studies have found them to be a developmental necessity — but dogs aren’t humans, and, frankly, hugs freak them out. Why? When a dog doesn't like something, it runs away; it can't run away when you're hugging it, though, so your affection is perceived as something akin to shackles around the paws.

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Researchers map individual words to specific brain regions

Researchers map individual words to specific brain regions

Researchers with the University of California, Berkeley, have detailed how the so-called “semantic system” in the human brain works, and their work could one day help form treatments for injuries and diseases that affect one’s ability to speak. The study’s lead author Alex Huth was one of several volunteers who listened to more than two hours’ worth of radio shows while positioned inside an fMRI machine, shedding light on how the brain reacts to words and, eventually helping create a map of sorts.

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Peacocks’ special feather structure creates trippy, hypnotizing ‘dance’

Peacocks’ special feather structure creates trippy, hypnotizing ‘dance’

Peacocks, perhaps nature's most trippy bird, shake their tail feathers when it's time to attract a new mate. Why? Shaking those feathers -- called "train-rattling" -- causes an illusion where the eye-like circles on the feathers become more prominent, seemingly floating outward and hanging in the air. Those circles exist to lure in peahens, but have fascinated more than a few humans, too. Now a new study has taken a closer look at this 'train-rattling' dance and uncovered a few equally fascinating secrets about how it works.

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Microsoft just bought 10m synthetic DNA molecules for data storage

Microsoft just bought 10m synthetic DNA molecules for data storage

In the future, when you need to store more than what your 100 terabyte storage drive can handle, you wouldn't be looking to the cloud for answers, you'll be looking inside yourself. Sort of. This almost zen-like idea isn't just science fiction anymore. It is very well the future of computing. Or at least Microsoft believes so, to the point that it just purchases 10 million long oligonucleotides, a.k.a. DNA molecules, from San Francisco startup Twist Bioscience. These DNA molecules will be used in Microsoft's own research into making synthetic DNA a viable commercial data storage solution.

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Waze vulnerability lets hackers monitor your travels

Waze vulnerability lets hackers monitor your travels

A security vulnerability with Waze allows anyone to monitor a user’s travels, according to newly revealed research by University of California, Santa Barbara researchers. Using this vulnerability, researchers were able to create so-called “ghost drivers” and monitor real drivers using them — a big invasion of privacy, and one that could potentially be used by law enforcement, hackers, and anyone else snooping where they’re not welcome.

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DARPA taps 8 organizations to develop futuristic armored cars

DARPA taps 8 organizations to develop futuristic armored cars

DARPA has announced that it awarded contracts to eight organizations under its Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program. The program seeks to produce ground-based armored vehicles that are able to withstand modern weapons but that reverse the trend of increased weight and other issues that affect mobility and speed. The contracts are going to Carnegie Mellon University, Southwest Research Institute, SRI International, and more.

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Cheap LEDs could fix HoloLens’ biggest problem

Cheap LEDs could fix HoloLens’ biggest problem

HoloLens' biggest hurdle could be fixed with cheap LEDs rather than expensive transparent displays, one research team suggests, tricking the eye and cutting VR nausea at the same time. The augmented reality headset has been widely lauded since Microsoft made the surprise announcement in early 2015, but those who have been able to try it have generally had one key criticism: the field of view is just too small.

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Your password could soon be a sound from your skull

Your password could soon be a sound from your skull

Fingerprint scanners are becoming the norm for unlocking our mobile devices these days, while iris and facial recognition are also being explored, but the next big solution in biometric authentication might be something that can only come from inside your head. Literally. A group of university researchers in Germany have come up with a system that uses a unique sound that comes from within a user's skull.

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China to develop floating nuclear plants to power island projects

China to develop floating nuclear plants to power island projects

China is looking into building a floating nuclear power platform that could be sent into the South China Sea to help power construction projects on islands. According to the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation’s Director Liu Zhengguo, China is planning to construct however many are needed to meet market demands, which he said is “pretty strong.” Past reports indicated China planned to develop 20 of the floating nuclear stations.

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Brazil targets zika virus with smelly, mosquito-killing billboards

Brazil targets zika virus with smelly, mosquito-killing billboards

Brazil, epicenter of the growing zika virus outbreak, is now home to a pair of billboards that smell like sweaty humans and exist merely to lure mosquitoes to their death. The billboard — the kind that is placed on a city sidewalk — emits a mixture of carbon dioxide and lactic acid aromas to mimic the scent of human sweat, attracting mosquitos from as far away as 2.5km. It is called, appropriately enough, the Mosquito Killer Board, and it was created by ad agencies NBS and Posterscope. Even better, blueprints for the board have been released for free.

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Study suggests monkeys crossed the ocean 21 million years ago

Study suggests monkeys crossed the ocean 21 million years ago

The discovery of seven small fossilized teeth led to a surprising revelation: 21 million or so years ago, Panamacebus transitus monkeys crossed 100 miles or more of ocean to travel from South America to North America, doing so at a time when the two weren’t connected together by land. The fossilized teeth were found during excavations at the Panama Canal, and pose bigger questions than they answer.

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