Science

Google brings down the stratosphere to test Project Loon

Google brings down the stratosphere to test Project Loon

In order for Project Loon to be successful in bringing Internet connectivity to places where it is normally unavailable, the balloons that carry the equipment to make that possible need to survive up in the air for weeks, months even. That itself is already a challenge, but trying to craft a balloon down here on earth that will survive way up there is almost next to impossible. That is, without trying to pluck a piece of heaven in order to test the extreme conditions that balloons will experience in Earth's stratosphere.

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‘Critically endangered’ northern white rhino Nola dies: only three remain

‘Critically endangered’ northern white rhino Nola dies: only three remain

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park shared some sad news over the weekend: Nola, a northern white rhino, died due to complications from a bacterial infection and other health issues related to age. The rhino was one of only four known remaining northern white rhinos; her passing leaves only three on earth, a sad reality caused largely by poaching activities that have decimated rhino populations.

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Blue Origin first to successfully land reusable rocket, beating SpaceX

Blue Origin first to successfully land reusable rocket, beating SpaceX

Elon Musk's SpaceX has been generating most of the headlines recently when it comes to privately owned space agencies, but Blue Origin, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has just taken the lead in one of the former's most impressive initiatives: to develop a reusable rocket and successfully land it after launch. Blue Origin announced today that its BE-3 rocket took an unmanned crew capsule to suborbital heights, separated, and then made a controlled decent ending with a vertical landing.

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Watch fire tornado swirl and blaze in 4K slow-motion

Watch fire tornado swirl and blaze in 4K slow-motion

Fire tornados — they’ll all the fun and terror of a regular tornado, only coupled with a hellish blaze that promises to burn up whatever the tornado fails to teardown. We’ve all seen the video of a giant fire tornado formed in the midst of a wildfire, and there’s that one time a bunch of whiskey ended up in a twisting blaze during a severe storm. This latest fire tornado, though, is the result of a ring of box fans.

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Report: ocean dead zones tied to abrupt warming

Report: ocean dead zones tied to abrupt warming

The ocean is full of so-called dead zones — that is, areas where low oxygen levels resulted in a lack of marine life. A new study from the National Science Foundation points toward “abrupt ocean warming” and the formation of these dead zones, a clear tie between the two that has thus far been lacking. These historical warming periods happened about 14,700 and 11,500 years ago in the North Pacific, and raises concerns that warming ocean temperatures could cause dead zones to expand in the future.

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Phobos to put a ring on Mars, proper Beyonce style

Phobos to put a ring on Mars, proper Beyonce style

Mars closest moon, Phobos, is about to crash into the planet's atmosphere, creating a ring around it in the process. Phobos currently orbits Mars at around 3,700 miles above the planet's surface. It's currently on its way inward - eventually it'll start to break apart. The sad news is, we won't be able to see this crash happen. The good news is, we won't be around to see any potential ill effects. This ring-making will take place in between 20 to 40 million years from now.

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“Cyborg rose” gives a whole new meaning to flower power

“Cyborg rose” gives a whole new meaning to flower power

Forget about vicious, man killing humanoid cyborgs of the future. We might have more peaceful, more beneficial cyborg plants sooner. Researchers at Sweden's Linkoping University have successfully introduced circuitry into a rose's vascular system, opening the doors to new ways to study plants' biological systems as well as possibly derive energy from them as well. Soon, the term "power plant" might have a literal meaning, allowing humans to derive electrical power from an, again almost literal, green energy source. Thankfully, there's less chance to turn these cyborg plants into weapons of destruction.

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FDA on genetically-modified salmon: safe to eat, no labels needed

FDA on genetically-modified salmon: safe to eat, no labels needed

The FDA has approved genetically-modified salmon, making this the first time the agency has approved a GM animal for human consumption. The modified fish is “AquAdvantage salmon,” a type of Atlantic salmon that grows faster than regular non-GM salmon while consuming less food. Genetically-modified food has been the source of ample controversy, with some arguing that it is a threat to the environment, less healthy, and other alarmist claims.

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Swiss farmer finds massive cache of ancient Roman coins

Swiss farmer finds massive cache of ancient Roman coins

A farmer in Switzerland has discovered a priceless cache of ancient Roman coins, the total of which exceeds 4,000 coins. The coins were located in a farmer’s vegetable and fruit orchard in Ueken, and they collectively weigh about 33lbs. According to the farmer, he caught sight of one of the coins on a molehill and, after realizing what he’d found, got in contact with a local archaeological service.

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MIT construction uncovers time capsule intended for 2957 A.D.

MIT construction uncovers time capsule intended for 2957 A.D.

MIT made a fun announcement recently — during construction, a team happened across an object within the ground that looked out of place. Once it was removed, the institute’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety evaluated the item and declared it safe, revealing what it is to the public: a time capsule from the mid-50s that isn’t supposed to be opened until the year 2957. Unlike some time capsules buried during that time period, this one was well constructed and held up very well over the decades.

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