Science

Sea swallows five Solomon Islands as water levels rise

Sea swallows five Solomon Islands as water levels rise

Climate change has claimed five small Pacific islands, according to a new report in the journal Environmental Researcher Letters. None of the islands were home to humans, and they ranged in size from 2.5 to 12.4 acres — not huge, certainly, but still quite large and equally beautiful. The five are among the Solomon Islands, and they aren’t the only casualties of rising water levels — half a dozen other islands in the region have lost large portions of their land to the sea, and in some cases, villages were destroyed and their residents had to flee.

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NASA: Kepler has discovered (at least) 1,284 new planets

NASA: Kepler has discovered (at least) 1,284 new planets

NASA has unleashed some big news today: out of thousands of potential new planets spotted by the Kepler space telescope, 1,284 of them have been verified as new planets, and that could just be the start of things. It all started with Kepler’s July 2015 catalog of potential planets — there were 4,302 of them in total. Following an analysis, NASA determined that 1,284 of them are probably planets (greater than 99-percent odds), and that another 1,327 potential planets may be added to the ‘verified planets’ list after additional analyses are wrapped up.

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MARLO bipedal robot walks over snow and rough terrain with ease

MARLO bipedal robot walks over snow and rough terrain with ease

Researchers from the University of Michigan have been working on a freestanding bipedal robot called MARLO. Electrical engineering professor Jessy Grizzle and his students have been working on MARLO in an attempt to get the unsupported robot to be able to walk across varied terrain without issue. The team believes that the feedback control used in the robot could be used in other devices like powered prosthetic legs in the future.

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Drug-sniffing car can find your drugs…even if you’re hundreds of feet away

Drug-sniffing car can find your drugs…even if you’re hundreds of feet away

Drug-sniffing dogs are notoriously unreliable, but what about drug-sniffing cars? University of North Texas chemistry professor Dr. Guido Verbeck has created what is said to be the first-ever ‘drug-sniffing’ car, and it’s able to locate illicit drugs with surprising accuracy…even if they’re located hundreds of feet away, depending on the quantity and substance. In one case, the car sniffed out a fake meth lab down to a 15-foot accuracy from a quarter of a mile away.

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An Ephemeral Tattoo isn’t forever, unless you want it to be

An Ephemeral Tattoo isn’t forever, unless you want it to be

Tattoos are forever. Well, you can get rid of them with costly laser treatment, but otherwise, that ink isn't going anywhere. Most people are pretty happy with the knowledge that the artwork they paid for will be with them forever. However, for those that don't want something that will last for the rest of their life, there may be a new option.

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Mercury Transit sets planet against our sun

Mercury Transit sets planet against our sun

This morning the planet Mercury passed between our planet and our Sun, allowing us to see its silhouette with clarity. This is one of about 13 times the planet passes between ours and the sun per century - the last time this happened, you probably didn't have a smartphone - back in 2006. The image you see above comes from NASA and was captured by Bill Ingalls. NASA has also provided a time-lapse video showing the passing of the planet across the face of our sun.

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Invisible ‘second skin’ blocks UV rays, may help treat skin diseases

Invisible ‘second skin’ blocks UV rays, may help treat skin diseases

Researchers have developed a polymer they call a ‘second skin,’ and it could one day be used to apply medication directly to a person's skin or to protect against UV exposure, among other things. The polymer comes from Olivo Labs, a company that focuses on creating proprietary biomaterials for use in the dermatological field. Researchers call their new polymer ‘XPL,’ and say it offers the same mechanical properties as “youthful [real] skin."

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New blood glucose monitor replaces finger pricks with microwaves

New blood glucose monitor replaces finger pricks with microwaves

The future holds a lot of promise for diabetics, not the least of which is because of the more advanced glucose monitors researchers have been creating. There's the Patch monitor, a band-like wearable that sticks on the skin to keep track of sugar levels. Similar but suitably different is a new contraption created by researchers at Cardiff University's School of Engineering -- a small device that attaches to the skin and uses microwaves instead of finger pricks to check sugar levels.

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Mount St. Helens’ recent earthquakes are nothing to fear

Mount St. Helens’ recent earthquakes are nothing to fear

Small earthquakes that have recently taken place near Mouth St. Helens, a volcano that erupted in 1980 and caused a few dozen deaths, have stirred up concern among those who worry another eruption may happen in the near future. Put those fears to rest, folks -- there's nothing to worry about. Researchers say there is no sign the volcano will blow anytime soon, and that so-called 'earthquake swarms' have happened in the recent past.

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Disney Research team uses electromagnetic signals to identify gadgets

Disney Research team uses electromagnetic signals to identify gadgets

Disney researchers have created a system for identifying different gadgets based on radio frequency emission (“system noise”); the system is precise enough that it can tell apart two visually identical items. Called EM-ID, the name references electromagnetic signals produced by smartphones, laptops, and similar electronic devices; the identification process is also able to tell the difference between classes of items, such as distinguishing power tools from computers.

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USGS releases first ever global topographical map of Mercury

USGS releases first ever global topographical map of Mercury

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has released the first-ever global topographical map of Mercury, something that was made in conjunction with Arizona State University, Carnegie Institute of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, NASA, and the Applied Physics Laboratory. The topographical map, as one would expect, includes details on things like tectonic landforms, craters, and volcanoes, and is high-res enough for those future road trips across the galaxy.

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Ancient ‘hammerhead’ reptile found in southern China

Ancient ‘hammerhead’ reptile found in southern China

In Southern China, researchers discovered fossils of a reptile that features a ‘hammerhead’ snout — a very wide, somewhat comical jaw that extends beyond the diameter of its own head. The fossils are 242 million years old, and they belong to a creature dubbed Atopodentatus unicus, a reptile that would feed on algae and lived in the sea. The fossils were first discovered in 2014, but the discovery was only made public today.

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