research

Antarctic going from “in balance” to “massive ice loss”

Antarctic going from “in balance” to “massive ice loss”

Just one week after the last report of a massive melting ice shelf in the Antarctic comes another report of ice loss in the same region. While last week's 11,000 year old ice shelf break-apart suggested just one area was in danger, this new paper published in the journal Science suggests the entire Southern Antarctic Peninsula is at risk. A "major portion of the region has, since 2009, destabilized," says the paper, "a major fraction of Antarctica's contribution to rising sea level" is coming from this newly discovered acceleration in marine-terminating glaciers.

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Super-powerful laser creates plasma hotter than the sun

Super-powerful laser creates plasma hotter than the sun

The sun is very, very hot. We have all known this since grade school. Scientists have created an incredibly powerful laser that can create plasma that is many times hotter than the center of the sun. The incredibly powerful laser that is able to create the intensely heated plasma has 200-trillion watts of power. The photo here is a shot of that laser and the incredibly bright spot is the super hot plasma.

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Brain controlled robotic arm lets paralyzed man drink

Brain controlled robotic arm lets paralyzed man drink

Picking up a cup from the counter to take a drink is something that we all do hundreds of times a month without putting much thought into it. The process of picking up a cup is rather complex when you stop and think about it since we have to hold the cup in a way that it doesn’t spill and need to put enough pressure on the cup to keep it from dropping, but not so much that we crush the cup.

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Researchers developed an algorithm that learned to rap

Researchers developed an algorithm that learned to rap

Do you spend your spare time penning lyrics and dreaming of hitting it big? If so, you may have more than humans to compete with in the future. Researchers at the University of Aalto in Finland have created a machine-learning algorithm that can both analyze existing rap lyrics and then spit out its own…and not just weak rhyming verses, either. The resulting lyrics are said to be on the same topic and in the same style as existing lyrics it has analyzed, and with a complexity on par with human-sourced lyrics. Training for the algorithm involved more than 10,000 songs from in excess of 100 different rappers.

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See the world’s oldest stone tools up close

See the world’s oldest stone tools up close

A newly published paper suggests that the oldest known tools pre-date the previous record holders by 700,000 years. This places the first tools squarely in the hands of pre-humans, likely in the palms of our ancestors, well before the previous record holders: Homo habilis. These tools were found in a dried up river bed in Kenya, where similar tools have been found that ranged thousands of years forward - the ones found here may have been the first. As should be obvious, these tools are just about as rudimentary a set of tools as you're ever going to see.

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X37-B: Everything we know about this secret Air Force space mission

X37-B: Everything we know about this secret Air Force space mission

The United States Air Force X37-B Space Plane (one of two) takes off into orbit above Earth in its fourth secretive mission. The craft itself is not a secret - we know what it's capable of. The contents of the craft are not entirely secret - we know MOST of what's inside. What the United States Air Force is doing on this mission with the cargo they carry - that's the question here. With one of two X-37B space planes headed to space with, amongst other cargo, 10 minuscule "cubesats" and a real deal Solar Sail, we'll be interested to see what becomes of their testing and action.

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Black Silicon solar cell efficiency pushed to 22.1%

Black Silicon solar cell efficiency pushed to 22.1%

The sun puts out all the clean and free electricity that we could ever need and the big problem in harnessing it is the low efficiency of solar panels today. Much of the solar energy that hits solar panels in use today isn’t turned into electricity. Researchers are constantly working to improve solar panel efficiency and recently researchers from Aalto University and Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya have set a new record for the most efficient solar panel.

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This drone uses origami principles to become foldable

This drone uses origami principles to become foldable

Personal drones are all the rage now, even hitting mainstream media because of rather questionable antics. But not everyone might be interested in hulking quadrocopters the likes of which Amazon plans to use for deliveries. There are, of course, more than a dozen "mini" drones in the market, but these are pretty much just toys with very little strength for any sort of payload. So what to do if you want a slightly more capable UAV that can still fit on the palm of your hand? Try origami.

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Nearly 1/3 people use Facebook while driving

Nearly 1/3 people use Facebook while driving

AT&T commissioned Braun Research poll finds nearly 1 out of every 3 people use Facebook while driving. Driving their automobile. On the road, in the United States, where you live. The study was done by poll, asking 2,067 in the United States aged between 16-65 who use their smartphone at least once a day AND drive at least once a day a number of questions. What was found was a bit shocking, to say the least. Not only do a lot of people drive while using their phone, a lot of those people do some pretty involved things on their phone whilst driving.

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It’s raining spiders in Australia again

It’s raining spiders in Australia again

Australia's Southern Tablelands are experiencing an Angel Hair event - a spider migration which covers entire towns in spiderwebs. Thousands of flying spiders falling from the sky, creating an ethereal, other-worldly event the likes of which you've only likely ever seen in a dream. Or a nightmare - depending on your preferences. "When I looked up at the sun it was like this tunnel of webs going up for a couple of hundred meters into the sky," said Goulburn resident Ian Watson. "It was beautiful."

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