Science

Ceres’ mystery spots are dimming, brightening daily

Ceres’ mystery spots are dimming, brightening daily

Ceres' bright spots entertained astronomers and enthusiasts for most of 2015, but ultimately ended as we'd expected all along -- all signs point toward them being shiny salt patches reflecting the sun's light. Enter 2016 and a new plot twist no one anticipated -- the dwarf planet's bright spots are randomly changing in intensity, growing brighter and dimmer throughout the day in a way that doesn't fully line up with the planet's rotation.

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Sensor laden pigeons test for air pollution in London

Sensor laden pigeons test for air pollution in London

A flock of ten pigeons has a big job in London. The pigeons will be flying around the city wearing tiny backpacks that are fitted with sensors designed to monitor air quality around the city. The pigeons will live free for three days before returning with their little backpacks. The project is called Pigeon Air Patrol and was one of the winners of a contest called #PoweredByTweets that Twitter held last year.

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Australia has mysterious ‘fairy circles’ all over the place, too

Australia has mysterious ‘fairy circles’ all over the place, too

We’ve all heard of crop circles, but ‘fairy circles’ are lesser known and, usually, less interesting to look at. These circular patches have a shape roughly -- and consistently -- like that of a six-sided honeycomb and feature a hard dirt shell resulting in a plant-free bare region within an otherwise grassy landscape. Fairy circles are commonly found in Namibia but not elsewhere — until recently, at least, when researchers stumbled across a bunch of them in the empty Australian outback.

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MIT device makes power by burning fuel-coated carbon nanotubes

MIT device makes power by burning fuel-coated carbon nanotubes

Scientists and researchers at MIT have come up with a new portable method of making power that uses heat and doesn't require metals or toxic materials. The new method of generating power is based on a discovery made by MIT professor Michael Strano and co-workers in 2010. That team created a wire using small carbon nanotubes that is able to create an electrical current when the tube is progressively heated from one end to the other.

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T-Rex missing link: a horse-sized predator with super hearing

T-Rex missing link: a horse-sized predator with super hearing

The “missing link” between the smallest T-Rex ancestors and the larger Tyrannosaurs was discovered in the Kyzylkum Desert in Uzbekistan more than a decade ago. Researchers recently studied the fossils and have published the results of their study, saying the creature -- which has been dubbed Timurlengia euotica -- was about the size of a modern horse and holds signs about how such a small species evolved into the massive Tyrannosaurus Rex.

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ExoMars 2016 is Go as rocket blasts off for Martian mission

ExoMars 2016 is Go as rocket blasts off for Martian mission

The European Space Agency's mission to Mars has successfully begun, though it'll be seven months before the Proton rocket reaches the red planet. ExoMars 2016 aims to sift through the Martian atmosphere in search of methane and other trace gases which, the scientists suggest, might indicate that there are active biological or geological processes underway on the distant planet.

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Stanford researchers create tiny synchronized robots that can pull a car

Stanford researchers create tiny synchronized robots that can pull a car

Researchers at Stanford University have created tiny robots that are able to work in a synchronized form to pull a much larger object. A team of six of the tiny robots that weight a total of 3.5 ounces were able to pull a car that weighs in at 3,900 pounds. The idea is rather like the swarms of nanorobots that were featured in the animated film "Big Hero 6".

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Google AlphaGo AI loses 4th match against champion, still winning 3-1

Google AlphaGo AI loses 4th match against champion, still winning 3-1

AlphaGo, the artificial intelligence from Google's DeepMind project, has finally had its winning streak against Go world champion Lee Sedol broken. While the AI won its third straight game against Lee yesterday, leaving the player disappointed and prompting an apology for not meeting expectations, 18-time world champion racked up a victory today, marking his first win against the machine out of five total matches.

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Mars probe departs this week on joint European-Russian study

Mars probe departs this week on joint European-Russian study

As part of the ExoMars 2016 mission, a new unmanned spacecraft will be departing for Mars on Monday thanks to collaboration between the space agencies of Europe and Russia. The European Space Agency (ESA) notes that the probe is heading to the red planet to study its atmosphere and dust storms, and to get there it will be riding atop a Russian Proton rocket.

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New reptile species discovered with 250 million year old fossil

New reptile species discovered with 250 million year old fossil

A team of scientists have discovered a fossilized reptile skull dating back 250 million years, revealing not only evidence of a new species, but connections to the origins of dinosaurs as well. The skull, found by paleontologists from universities in Brazil and the UK, is well-preserved and features a number of serrated teeth, and is said to have survived a mass extinction event that occurred roughly 252 million years ago, eradicating 90% of life on Earth.

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Researchers discover plastic-eating bacteria

Researchers discover plastic-eating bacteria

Plastic waste floats around the ocean as massive islands of garbage, it kills wildlife and destroys environments. Scientists have been scrambling for a solution to the growing problem, and now a team of Japanese researchers may have found a solution: plastic-eating bacteria. The researchers discovered a type of bacteria that feeds on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics, one of the most commonly used varieties around the globe.

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Video: Big Mac withstands molten copper like a boss

Video: Big Mac withstands molten copper like a boss

People get a kick out of leaving McDonald’s fries and chicken nuggets sitting out for months, marveling at the lack of expected rot and degradation. That’s old news. Molten copper is all the rage right now, and some industrious fellow has been pouring it on various items and recording the resulting fallout. Latest on the chopping (pouring?) block was a Big Mac, but the molten copper merely rolled off its buns. Literally.

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