research

Zooming contact lenses enlarge at a wink

Zooming contact lenses enlarge at a wink

A contact lens with a built in zoom that the wearer can switch at will between regular and telescopic vision could mean the end to dwindling independence for those with deteriorating eyesight, researchers suggested today. The rigid lens covers the majority of the front surface of the eye, including both the whites and the pupil, and contains an array of tiny aluminum mirrors that together can enlarge the world by 2.8x. Winking flips the view between regular and magnified.

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198 whales swim ashore in New Zealand

198 whales swim ashore in New Zealand

No, they weren't coming ashore to take the Hobbiton tour. On New Zealand's South Island on Friday, nearly 200 pilot whales beached themselves - most likely on accident. Scientists are speculating that these whales may have been in an area where their built-in sonar abilities were messed with, leading them to swim up and over the area they'd normally be comfortable in. These whales can't, after all, survive on the shore for extended periods of time. They breath oxygen, but they still need to be wet.

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New Megadrought may be worst in 1000 years

New Megadrought may be worst in 1000 years

If you're living in the West, you may want to start thinking about conserving your water. A group of scientists from NASA, Columbia University, and Cornell University have published a paper in Science Advances which suggests a 35-year drought - or "megadrought," as they call it - will be hitting the Southwest and central Great Plains in the near future. This will happen, they say, if we stay on our current trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions. If emissions continue as they are, there's an 80% chance, this team says, that we'll hit at least one "decades-long" megadrought between the years 2050 and 2100.

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DSCOVR success: watch SpaceX launch NASA’s space weather station

DSCOVR success: watch SpaceX launch NASA’s space weather station

You may have heard of the craft called DSCOVR, but what is it, exactly? Why is NASA working with SpaceX to launch this craft into orbit between our sun and the Earth? It'll serve as a warning beacon - that's what. DSCOVR stands for Deep Space Climate Observatory, and now that it's been launched into space (just last night), it'll allow much better lead time for NOAA's space weather alerts and forecasts. Geomagnetic storms is what this craft will be warning against - where, when, and how severe we'll be getting them.

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Watch the ESA’s car-sized shuttle take off

Watch the ESA’s car-sized shuttle take off

This week the European Space Agency's Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) took off on a Vega rocket. This takeoff sequence was done at the European Spaceport in French Guiana on Wednesday (February 11th) at 8:40 a.m. EST (1340 GMT). This craft was a prototype for a reusable orbiter, prepared to move passengers into space in the future. Below you'll be able to watch this spacecraft take off successfully, heading 340 km into space not long after its initial launch earlier this morning. This system precedes a program called PRIDE: Program for Reusable In-orbit Demonstrator for Europe.

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Android Wear may run out of time as Apple Watch nears

Android Wear may run out of time as Apple Watch nears

Android Wear may have beaten Apple Watch to market, but demand for smartwatches running Google's OS hasn't been as rampant as some predicted, new research released today suggests. Over 720,000 Android Wear watches shipped in 2014, Canalys suggests, and while some like Motorola's Moto 360 can't be produced fast enough to meet demand, the overall diagnosis is that the smartwatch market is still up for grabs. While the research firm appears confident that Google will continue to improve Android Wear, the lingering question is whether those enhancements can come quickly enough.

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Geoengineering not so great, so says Science

Geoengineering not so great, so says Science

Two reports from the Nation Academy of Sciences (NAS) have arrived this week suggesting that so-called "geoengineering" isn't good for the planet. They suggest that the term "geoengineering" isn't a legitimate term, saying instead that the term "Climate Intervention" would be more appropriate. Why, you might ask, do they say that we shouldn't be trying to control the weather? It's simple: we don't yet know the consequences of our actions. Methods for changing our planet's makeup like albedo modification and carbon dioxide removal may still have dire consequences we don't yet understand.

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SpaceX launching two craft at once today: Watch Live

SpaceX launching two craft at once today: Watch Live

For the third time in as many days, the team at SpaceX set up for another attempt at launching a deep-space weather buoy. The first attempt at launching this satellite called DSCOVR was on Sunday, stopped stopped just moments before takeoff due to a problem with an Air Force radar. Monday another launch was attempted and halted. A technical glitch was to blame - a reset was planned for this afternoon. This re-launch will take place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at at 6:05 p.m. EST (2305 GMT) today.

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400-year old pollution found in Andean ice cap

400-year old pollution found in Andean ice cap

A group of scientists have announced that they've found some extremely old pollution this week, picked up in an ice cap in the Peruvian Andes. Traces of air pollution, they suggest, date back to over 400 year-old mining operations that happened hundreds of miles away. Researchers suggest that this is the first clear evidence of human-made air pollution in South America from any time before the Industrial Revolution. Pollution here likely originated in what's now Bolivia - in the Potosí mountaintop silver mines.

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Dwarf stars discovered on collision course

Dwarf stars discovered on collision course

One of our favorite telescopes in the world - the ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), has aided in spotting a couple of stars set to collide. At the center of the planetary nebula Henize 2-428, two stars orbit one another. These two planetary bodies are both dwarf stars drawing ever-nearer to each other, eventually set to touch and create one massive explosion. A thermonuclear explosion, that is to say, with a Type "la" supernova to follow. Sadly, none of us living today will be around to see this event, as it'll take place some 700 years from now.

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