Science

Space may be filled with plasma ‘noodles’

Space may be filled with plasma ‘noodles’

According to a new report, the Milky Way may be home to so-called plasma lenses that are shaped like noodles, or sometimes like hazelnuts or lasagna sheets. These plasma lenses are invisible, and details about them first started surfacing some three decades ago; researchers found signs of them near quasars. These pockets of plasma have largely remained a mystery, but a recent breakthrough has revealed their shapes.

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Report: many U.S. cities could have lead-contaminated water

Report: many U.S. cities could have lead-contaminated water

The scandal surrounding Flint, Michigan's contaminated drinking water has fully caught the public's attention, but it might turn out to be merely the worst of many cities when it comes to contamination. According to a source who has cropped up, “every major US city east of the Mississippi” is distorting the levels of lead and copper in their drinking water, meaning more places than just Flint could be putting their residents at risk.

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CT scan of soft-bodied leech opens door to new research

CT scan of soft-bodied leech opens door to new research

Researchers have successfully performed a CT scan of Chtonobdella tanae, a terrestrial leech with a soft body that is typically difficult to scan. When it comes to such invertebrates — those with a soft body, that is — researchers usually must dissect the creature to learn about its inner part, or section it and create a 3D model using those sections. A CT scan, though, produces a model much quicker and without killing the specimen.

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NASA: we’re probably at peak El Niño

NASA: we’re probably at peak El Niño

According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, we’ve “probably reached the peak” of El Niño, though how the coming months will play out isn’t certain. The space agency says it is possible that tropical Pacific waters will be back to neutral by this upcoming summer, or it could play out that we get a La Nina instead, which has happened in the past.

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Scientists say Terminator would be scary, that we shouldn’t make one

Scientists say Terminator would be scary, that we shouldn’t make one

A gathering of elite scientists made warning to the world this week that Terminator-type robots would be a bad idea. With striking foresight, these scientists have foretold of a time in which we could be at the mercy of autonomous machines, artificial intelligence behind weapons, and a future in which we'd have to watch out for individual attacks, if not just a full-scale war. This is real. Scientists have come together to say that we cannot trust the machines.

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ISS astronaut plays ping-pong with a ball of water

ISS astronaut plays ping-pong with a ball of water

Life on the ISS is never boring and you can do things in microgravity that you could never think of when you are on Earth. You can make floating balls of water for instance simply by squeezing water out of a straw. Astronaut Scott Kelly has shown off something cool that you could never do on Earth, play ping-pong with a floating orb of water.

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Researcher says aliens are quiet because they are dead

Researcher says aliens are quiet because they are dead

All you have to do is look up at the night sky to see how many stars are out there, many with Earth-like worlds orbiting the star. Scientists searching for alien life have often wondered why with so many potentially habitable planets orbiting the plethora of stars in the universe, why haven't we heard any signs of other intelligent life.

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SpaceX tests SuperDraco engines that will actually land crew back to Earth

SpaceX tests SuperDraco engines that will actually land crew back to Earth

SpaceX definitely doesn't lack ambition, or things to test. Barely a week after it nearly succeeded, but still failed, to land a Falcon 9 rocket on a sea platform, it is firing up rockets again, but this time for an even more experimental, and luckily less explosive, test. This time, it is the SuperDraco engines that are being put to the test, along with the software and other systems that would eventually allow a Crew Dragon spacecraft, carrying humans inside, to have a nice, soft landing back to earth.

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Researchers find why it’s so hard to break bad habits

Researchers find why it’s so hard to break bad habits

We’re almost a month into those New Year resolutions, but many have already broken them or failed. If you count yourself among those individuals, your lack of success might be due to the seemingly impossible task of breaking a habit — bad or otherwise. It’s well established that changing one’s ways isn’t easy, and researchers have discovered why — you’re literally going against your programming.

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NutriRay3D laser and app scans food, estimates the calories

NutriRay3D laser and app scans food, estimates the calories

The University of Washington has unveiled the prototype of a device called the NutriRay3D, a hand-held nutrition scanner not unlike something out of classic sci-fi movies. The NutriRay3D prototype aims to take the guess work out of calorie counting, keeping track of how many calories as person is consuming simply by scanning the dish and analyzing the calories.

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Venus flytraps ‘count’ touches to optimize eating bugs

Venus flytraps ‘count’ touches to optimize eating bugs

Venus flytraps are creepy enough on their own — they’re plants that bite down on whatever happens to wonder inside their ‘mouth,’ after all, digesting the poor unwitting creature. As it turns out, though, the plants are more complex than previously known, using a fairly sophisticated ‘counting’ method to determine the size of a bug and how much digestive juices it will take to eat it.

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DARPA program seeks brain-to-computer translator implant

DARPA program seeks brain-to-computer translator implant

DARPA has revealed details on a new program that is looking to create neural interface implants for transferring data between the digital world and the human brain. According to the research entity, this implant, should it be successfully developed, will serve as a translator for the data between the two, taking data from the brain and translating it into something for computers, and taking data from computers and translating it for the brain.

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