research

MIT invented shape-shifting pasta that reduces packaging waste

MIT invented shape-shifting pasta that reduces packaging waste

Imagine purchasing a package of pasta that is slim, flat, and contains minimal bits of cardboard or plastic. Now imagine removing that flat, uninspiring pasta and, a few minutes after boiling it, discovering that the noodles had transformed into new shapes. Such is a possibility introduced by MIT's Tangible Media Group, with researchers developing a new type of past that changes shape after being submerged into water.

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US lost 33% of bee colonies last year, and that’s not a bad thing

US lost 33% of bee colonies last year, and that’s not a bad thing

The Bee Informed Partnership has released a new study conducted in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America, and the results are largely favorable. According to the study, beekeepers lost a bit over one-third of their bee colonies over the past year, and while that sounds like a startling number, researchers say it is the second-best figure recorded over the past seven years.

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1900-year-old slingshot with lead ammo was as deadly as a handgun

1900-year-old slingshot with lead ammo was as deadly as a handgun

Ancient Roman soldiers wielded slingshots with lead ammo that, when used properly, could kill someone in a way that isn't dissimilar from a modern handgun. The information comes from researchers who recently experimented with the old technology to gauge its effectiveness. The lead 'bullets' used in the slingshots are shaped somewhat like small lemons, and those who launched them could be trained with accuracy that spanned a few hundred feet.

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Science says magic mushrooms are the safest recreational drug

Science says magic mushrooms are the safest recreational drug

Prepare to feel vindicated, mushroom-lovers. A new survey has found that mushrooms containing psilocybin are the safest of all recreational drugs, topping other popular favorites including tobacco and alcohol. The information comes from the latest Global Drug Survey, which found that the biggest risk related to mushrooms is picking the wrong kind and then becoming ill from consuming them. This is based on data from users who report very infrequent instances of emergency medical treatment following magic mushroom ingestion.

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Lithium battery prototype has thrice the capacity of li-ion batteries

Lithium battery prototype has thrice the capacity of li-ion batteries

Researchers with Rice University have announced a new type of lithium-based rechargeable battery that boasts three times the capacity of currently available lithium-ion cells. The new prototype technically qualifies as an advanced lithium metal battery, something that has thus far eluded the industry. At the heart of the difficulties is the so-called 'dendrite problem,' an issue in which storing too much energy could result in mossy deposits known as dendrites, which damage the batteries.

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Microsoft Research holographic display can fit in eyeglasses

Microsoft Research holographic display can fit in eyeglasses

Of the three major "synthetic" reality platforms, Microsoft's HoloLens comes closest to the dream of overlaying digital objects on top of real world ones and interact with both of them in the same way. However, it shares the same limitations as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift in terms of the bulk of the headset required for it to function. That is why Microsoft Research teams have been working on a prototype that brings a "true" holographic display to near-eye devices that almost look no different from your regular pair o eyeglasses.

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Smartphones could have hologram displays in the future, says research

Smartphones could have hologram displays in the future, says research

In the hopefully near future, you won't need hulking contraptions to create holograms nor special glasses to see them. All you are going to need is your phone. This promise of science fiction made real comes from a group of researchers at the RMIT University in Melboune, Australia who have developed what they claim is the world's thinnest hologram. If and when they manage to solve the engineering and manufacturing challenges of turning the prototype into an actual hardware component, then the age of consumer holograms could soon be just around the corner.

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Faux caterpillars glued on plants shed light on predator activities

Faux caterpillars glued on plants shed light on predator activities

Caterpillars don't have many defenses against predators, and that reality results in the small insects more often than not becoming dinner for some larger creature. In order to shed light on the likelihood of these small critters being consumed, researchers recently glued a bunch of fake ones to plants in various regions around the globe. The faux caterpillars were made of a soft clay that would reveal bit marks and similar things if disturbed; those marks were analyzed once the faux caterpillars were recovered, helping illuminate the final moments such creatures face.

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Antarctica experiencing rapid plant growth due to climate change

Antarctica experiencing rapid plant growth due to climate change

Climate change is fueling a relatively rapid increase in plant growth in Antarctica, where researchers have observed 'major biological changes' over the last handful of decades. According to University of Exeter researchers, increasing temperatures have resulted in more rapid moss growth in the icy region, something facilitated by a mixture of warming temperatures as well as increased moisture and wind.

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NASA solves decades-long mystery of strange lights on Earth

NASA solves decades-long mystery of strange lights on Earth

Back in 1993, Carl Sagan and his colleagues spotted some glints of light in photos of Earth taken by the spacecraft Galileo. These patches of light were spotted on coastlines and in the ocean, and were assumed to be the result of sunlight reflecting off smooth patches of water. Years later, however, individuals have spotted similar spots of light in photos captured by the Deep Space Climate Observatory's camera, only with one big difference: the bright spots are on land in addition to water, paving the way for a good ole fashioned mystery.

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3D-printed ovaries just enabled this mouse to give birth

3D-printed ovaries just enabled this mouse to give birth

A lab mouse has given birth to a new litter of pups, which in and of itself wouldn't be notable. The big deal here is how the mouse gave birth, or more specifically put, the physical alteration that made the seemingly impossible, well, possible: 3D-printed ovaries. This isn't the first time we've seen 3D-printing technology used for biological applications -- there are those 3D-printed eye cells, for example. This is, however, a milestone as far as reproduction-centric printing goes.

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Lowe’s, Virginia Tech make lightweight exosuit for heavy lifting

Lowe’s, Virginia Tech make lightweight exosuit for heavy lifting

Forget images of sci-fi battles between enhanced soldiers, aliens, and machines. Though it definitely looks like a prototype prop for the Edge of Tomorrow, this exosuit has a less violent and more benign mission. Born from a collaboration between Virginia Tech and home improvement company Lowe's Innovation Lab, the exosuit simply uses the principles of preservation of energy and a few flexible but sturdy materials to make lifting something like a bag of concrete less painful.

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