research

Google’s Brin makes passion-plea for moonshots

Google’s Brin makes passion-plea for moonshots

Last week Google tried to convince developers it was still the happening platform; now, it's time for co-founder Sergey Brin to convince investors. In a letter to shareholders issued today, Brin sets out Google's stall for continued investment in research & development, trying to make a case for the "moonshot" projects that - while not as instantly rewarding as more traditional tech like Gmail or search - are still essential in his opinion.

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Lasers of the future will be capable of reproducing gamma-ray bursts

Lasers of the future will be capable of reproducing gamma-ray bursts

If you thought lasers were powerful now, just wait a couple of years. A group of researchers have said that new laser technology coming down the pipeline over the next few years will able to reproduce a gamma-ray burst — an explosion in space that emits more energy within a few minutes than the sun in its lifetime — here on Earth. One of the scientists who contributed to a study on this possibility says the goal is to learn exactly what happens within "some of the most energetic events in the universe."

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U.S. Air Force to develop new hypersonic jet

U.S. Air Force to develop new hypersonic jet

The U.S. Air Force is looking to create a new hypersonic aircraft, building upon the success of hypersonic scramjet X-51A's test flight in 2013. Hypersonic is more than just breaking the sound barrier. Hypersonic speeds are classified as Mach 5 through Mach 10, which is approximately five to ten times faster than the speed of sound. Hypersonic aircraft are so fast that a traditionally five-hour flight from Los Angeles to NYC would be cut down to, roughly, 30 minutes. These hypersonic flights are for unmanned aircraft and weapons, only. To reach these speeds, the acceleration is too much for humans to withstand.

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First Virgin Births in the Wild are No Miracle

First Virgin Births in the Wild are No Miracle

The endangered small tooth sawfish is discovered to have produced the world's first "virgin births" in the wild. When we first broke news of this wild parthenogenesis yesterday, we received a number of replies on Twitter and Facebook which suggested there was some confusion about how the process occurred. "If this really happened, it's nothing short of a miracle," said one [Name Redacted]. "This is just like those West African Frogs in Jurassic Park," said another commenter, "I can't honestly believe it." In fact while the circumstances might seem positively Hollywood, the reality of the situation is entirely scientific - proven and factual.

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Japanese robot could replace your moving company, shoves like a human

Japanese robot could replace your moving company, shoves like a human

In a robot, strength is important, but sometimes it's more important how the strength is directed. If you've ever had to move a refrigerator, you know that the best course of action involves pushing or pulling the object instead of lifting up, directly. The latest human-like robot developed by the University of Tokyo's JSK Laboratory takes that logic and expands on it, pushing, pulling, and scooting washing machine and large objects. The robot uses impressive posture and crouches, bracing itself so well that if it were human, it would be protecting its back from lifting strain.

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Researchers restore memories in amnesiac mice using light

Researchers restore memories in amnesiac mice using light

MIT researchers have managed to recover so-called lost memories in mice with amnesia using light, and in doing so have raised questions about amnesia and memory storage. The method used to reactivate the memories was optogenetics, and involved adding proteins to neurons so that they can be activated using light. The experiment was conducted on mice, and the results indicate that “lost” memories do still exist, but access to them is essentially blocked and things like emotional triggers can't reactivate them.

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Endangered sawfish enact Jurassic Park prophesy

Endangered sawfish enact Jurassic Park prophesy

Researchers find free-living parthenogenesis in the wild for the first time in history. Parthenogenesis is one type of asexual reproduction which, in this case, has a creature developing from an unfertilized egg. A female sawfish will give birth to a baby sawfish without the aid of a male sawfish. It's been observed that this type of reproduction is taking place in the wild in an area where this particular species of sawfish is endangered. In other words: "Life finds a way."

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Half of this antelope population may have been killed by rocket fuel

Half of this antelope population may have been killed by rocket fuel

A mysterious loss of life suddenly grips the remaining population of an endangered species throughout Asia. The Saiga Antelope is experiencing major loss over the past several weeks, and all in Kazakhstan. "This loss is a huge blow for saga conservation in Kazakhstan and in the world," said Kazakhstan's vice agriculture minister Erlan Nysynbaev. Scientists suggest that this scale of death in a single species is absolutely unprecedented. Why is it that in a place where more than 90% of this creature's population exists, is it dying so rapidly?

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Virginia opens roads to self-driving cars

Virginia opens roads to self-driving cars

Self-driving cars have some new public roads to play on, with Virginia opening up over 70 miles for autonomous vehicles to test their real-world skills. Dubbed the Virginia Automated Corridors, the combination of highways, arterial roads, and urban streets together represent a microcosm of the sort of conditions self-driving cars will face once the inevitable broad-scale deployment takes place, tapping into HD maps from HERE and vehicle-to-vehicle communication tech.

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Tiny self-folding origami robot walks, swims, and then dissolves

Tiny self-folding origami robot walks, swims, and then dissolves

MIT researchers are at it again. This time, a joint research team with TU Munich has developed a self-folding origami robot capable of a range of tasks. The robot can even self-destruct after it completes its mission. The tiny device starts completely flat, and is made from ultra-thin laser-cut polystyrene layers that sandwich a magnet and PVC. The self-folding process is instigated by placing the tiny machine over a heating element. The PVC then contracts along the laser-cut lines, creating folds. The robot weighs only 0.31g and is 1.7cm long, laid flat. It can "walk" at a top speed of 4 cm per second.

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