Science

Teen develops low-cost bioreactor for growing mini-brains

Teen develops low-cost bioreactor for growing mini-brains

A teenager has developed a new type of miniature bioreactor called SpinΩ that can be used to grow miniature brains -- the bioreactor costs about $400 to make, which is substantially cheaper than the $2,000 or so conventional systems cost. The teenager is Christopher Hadiono, and he was 16-years-old when he first approached Hongjun Song about spending the summer of 2013 in Song’s John Hopkins University lab. By the end of that summer, Hadiono had created his machine.

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Mars slope lineae landscapes may be etched by boiling water

Mars slope lineae landscapes may be etched by boiling water

A simulation of a Martian day has revealed the possible cause of Mars’ extensive seasonal gullies: boiling water. The conclusion was made after researchers used Open University’s Large Mars Chamber, a steel decompression chamber equipped with simulated hills, to test the effects of water running down the surface. The gullies were first discovered in 2011, and how they formed had largely remained a mystery.

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Sanitizing cow farts before they happen could slow climate change

Sanitizing cow farts before they happen could slow climate change

Steaks are good, yes. So are burgers on the grill and a roast in the oven. Cows, though, aren’t so great for the environment, an issue that must be addressed as the world becomes hotter and climate change becomes more rapid. It takes a lot of water to raise a cow, but that's arguably not humanity's biggest concern at the moment. It is farts...cow farts, to be specific. A cow's fart has a lot of methane, and methane is a big contributor toward a warmer planet.

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UAE considers building faux mountain to increase rainfall

UAE considers building faux mountain to increase rainfall

The United Arab Emirates is considering building a fake mountain to, it hopes, increase rainfall in the region. Later this summer, the US’s National Center for Atmospheric Research will provide the UAE with a report on the first stage of its evaluation of the plan — NCAR is looking into what kind of weather effects a man-made mountain would have, the kind of slopes it would need, and how tall it would have to be.

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See SpaceX land a rocket at sea in 360-degree video

See SpaceX land a rocket at sea in 360-degree video

Back in early April, Elon Musk's SpaceX finally achieved its goal of landing its reusable Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship at sea. Shortly after, the space agency shared some impressive photos of the landing, but now they've gone one step further and released an amazing 360-degree video of the event. The footage gives you a first-hand look at what it would be like to stand on the floating platform as the rocket touches down above you.

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Astronomers discover tailless comet almost as old as Earth

Astronomers discover tailless comet almost as old as Earth

Scientists have discovered a space rock that's like nothing seen before: a comet that has no tail. While being the first of its kind makes it a truly rare find in itself, the comet is also believed to have been formed around the same time as Earth. Asteroids and comets are believed to have been created during the violent formation of the Solar System, but this example has been described as being in pristine condition, and thus contains samples of the material present when the Earth formed billions of years ago.

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Science says dogs hate being hugged

Science says dogs hate being hugged

Sorry dog owners, your favorite furry companion probably doesn't like your hugs. Sure, humans enjoy hugs — more than a few studies have found them to be a developmental necessity — but dogs aren’t humans, and, frankly, hugs freak them out. Why? When a dog doesn't like something, it runs away; it can't run away when you're hugging it, though, so your affection is perceived as something akin to shackles around the paws.

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Large Hadron Collider’s shutdown caused by sneaky weasel

Large Hadron Collider’s shutdown caused by sneaky weasel

The Large Hadron Collider recently went offline, prompting engineers to start poking around for an explanation. The machine is 17-miles long, and hunting down a cause can be time consuming; it wasn’t long before the problem was found, though, and it was pretty unexpected. As it turns out, a weasel (or possibly a marten) made its way into the region and chewed through a power cable.

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Researchers map individual words to specific brain regions

Researchers map individual words to specific brain regions

Researchers with the University of California, Berkeley, have detailed how the so-called “semantic system” in the human brain works, and their work could one day help form treatments for injuries and diseases that affect one’s ability to speak. The study’s lead author Alex Huth was one of several volunteers who listened to more than two hours’ worth of radio shows while positioned inside an fMRI machine, shedding light on how the brain reacts to words and, eventually helping create a map of sorts.

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Peacocks’ special feather structure creates trippy, hypnotizing ‘dance’

Peacocks’ special feather structure creates trippy, hypnotizing ‘dance’

Peacocks, perhaps nature's most trippy bird, shake their tail feathers when it's time to attract a new mate. Why? Shaking those feathers -- called "train-rattling" -- causes an illusion where the eye-like circles on the feathers become more prominent, seemingly floating outward and hanging in the air. Those circles exist to lure in peahens, but have fascinated more than a few humans, too. Now a new study has taken a closer look at this 'train-rattling' dance and uncovered a few equally fascinating secrets about how it works.

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Microsoft just bought 10m synthetic DNA molecules for data storage

Microsoft just bought 10m synthetic DNA molecules for data storage

In the future, when you need to store more than what your 100 terabyte storage drive can handle, you wouldn't be looking to the cloud for answers, you'll be looking inside yourself. Sort of. This almost zen-like idea isn't just science fiction anymore. It is very well the future of computing. Or at least Microsoft believes so, to the point that it just purchases 10 million long oligonucleotides, a.k.a. DNA molecules, from San Francisco startup Twist Bioscience. These DNA molecules will be used in Microsoft's own research into making synthetic DNA a viable commercial data storage solution.

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SpaceX plans to be on Mars as early as 2018

SpaceX plans to be on Mars as early as 2018

SpaceX plans to land on Mars as early as the year 2018, the company announced in a tweet today. Mars has become the newest goal for space agencies around the world, and companies like SpaceX are helping develop the technology necessary to get humans there. According to the tweet, SpaceX plans to “send a Dragon to Mars as soon as 2018. Red Dragons will inform overall Mars architecture, details to come.”

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