research

Why this vast helium discovery is being called “life-saving”

Why this vast helium discovery is being called “life-saving”

You might associate helium with party balloons and squeaky voices, but the gas is a whole lot more important: that's why scientists have been so worried in recent years of a helium shortage. Vital for everything from MRI scanners through to essential nuclear energy production systems, helium's usefulness has traditionally stood at odds with its relative rarity.

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Ancient, disguised insects discovered in amber fossils

Ancient, disguised insects discovered in amber fossils

We may not be pulling dinosaur DNA from insects fossilized in amber any time soon, but fossilized insects can still give us a window into the past: a team of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have documented 39 examples of ancient insects disguising themselves with various items, from general debris to the exoskeletons of dispatched foes. The team, which was led by Bo Wang, had to search through more than 300,000 fossils to find these specimens, which hail from the mid-Cretaceous period.

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Computing without keyboard and mouse – Microsoft’s future concept

Computing without keyboard and mouse – Microsoft’s future concept

Computer users can cut the cords of their mouse and keyboards and move into a cordless world, but by far and large we are still tied to our computers via the mouse and keyboard wires or no. Microsoft researchers see a future where we might not need a mouse and keyboard to interface with our computers and technology and this new world doesn't require you to talk exclusively to your computer either.

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NASA’s Curiosity rover will attempt to collect water sample on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover will attempt to collect water sample on Mars

Over the last year, NASA has discovered numerous evidence that liquid water exists on Mars. With signs the red planet once had lakes, and frozen water found on mountains, NASA now wants to try collecting a sample, and plans to use the Curiosity rover to do it. The robot is already located near Mars's Gale Crater, and it will travel to inspect a pair of gullies on the side of Mount Sharp.

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DARPA program seeks ‘rugged drugs’ that don’t expire

DARPA program seeks ‘rugged drugs’ that don’t expire

Much like the food in your fridge and the cleaning supplies in your closet, the drugs — both over the counter and prescription — in your medicine cabinet have an expiration date. While that expiration date isn’t a hard and fast rule in most cases, at least according to past research on the matter, it does mark a time when one can expect the medication to start losing potency, making it difficult to take proper dosages. Thanks to a new synthetic protein recently detailed by DARPA, however, that reality may itself soon be obsolete.

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Climate change may cause big spike in NYC heat deaths

Climate change may cause big spike in NYC heat deaths

We've seen record-breaking warmth across the globe for many months straight, and some places, unfortunately, have had to deal with extremely high temperatures. With those high temperatures come heat strokes and, in some cases, heat-related deaths, something expected to increase in coming years if steps aren't taken to mitigate the issue. New research, for example, says New York City could see more than 3,000 heat-related deaths a year by 2080 if preventative measures aren't pursued.

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Self-driving car tech is easy: Autonomous morals are the killer

Self-driving car tech is easy: Autonomous morals are the killer

Your self-driving car is running a smooth 50 mph when a kid chases its ball into the road. Swerve, and the kid is safe but your car will crash; keep going, and there's a good chance of running them over. With a split-second to react - not enough to push responsibility back over to whoever is inside the vehicle - what should the AI in charge do?

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Faraday Future gets self-driving car test permission

Faraday Future gets self-driving car test permission

Faraday Future has become the latest automaker to be granted autonomous vehicle testing approval in California, though what exactly the clandestine startup will be trialling is unclear. The permission, confirmed today by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, makes Faraday Future the fourteenth company to get the green light to experiment publicly with self-driving cars.

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Anti-aging human drug tests may start as early as July

Anti-aging human drug tests may start as early as July

A joint clinical study will soon be conducted by Washington University in St. Louis and Keio University in Japan, it has been announced, and it’ll involve a drug that may slow down the aging process in humans. The study may begin by early July, but it first must undergo review by the Research Ethics Committee at Keio University, which will review the plans and determine whether they’re suitable for proceeding.

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Chameleon spit is ultra sticky, enables tongue to nab insects

Chameleon spit is ultra sticky, enables tongue to nab insects

Chameleons have long intrigued humans, due in no small part to their funny eyes, their color-changing skin, and their whip-like tongues. When hunting, a chameleon will shoot its tongue out to surprising lengths, striking an insect and reeling it back in for a quick meal. How the tongue itself works is no mystery, but how it managed to cling to the insect wasn't so clear until now. Turns out, chameleons have super-sticky spit.

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1,000-core “kilo-core” processor built at UC Davis

1,000-core “kilo-core” processor built at UC Davis

When MediaTek announced its deca-core moble processor, it almost seemed insane in a world that's very much settled on octa-cores. The chip maker, however, has nothing on the silicon produced by researchers at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Davis. Although it definitely won't fit inside a smartphone, tablet, or even a laptop for that matter, the chip boasts of being the world's first kilo-core processor. That's 1,000 processing cores at your service, making even the beefiest gaming rig cry in shame.

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LIGO looks to the future after detecting second round of gravitational waves

LIGO looks to the future after detecting second round of gravitational waves

Back in September of 2015, physicists operating the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory or LIGO for short detected the first round of gravitational waves seemingly proving Einstein's theory of General Relativity. Before scientists could prove that gravitational waves existed and the first discovery wasn't a fluke, they needed to find a second round of the waves, which they did earlier this month. After proving that the first find wasn’t a fluke, the LIGO team is looking to the future.

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