research

The Earth is getting hotter: 2015 the new worst on record

The Earth is getting hotter: 2015 the new worst on record

This week the folks behind the "State of Climate" report (a yearly report) confirmed that 2015 was the hottest on record. Global heat level, greenhouse gases, and sea levels have all risen to record highs. According to the report, this year's findings are the result of both El Nino and global warming. The report also suggests that including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide gasses rose to record high levels during the year 2015.

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Solar cell turns CO2 into hydrocarbon fuel

Solar cell turns CO2 into hydrocarbon fuel

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago have created a breakthrough solar cell that can be produced cheaply and is able to efficiently create a usable hydrocarbon fuel using carbon dioxide found in the air and sunlight. The new solar cell literally creates usable fuel from thin air and light. The scientists have reported their findings in the July 29 issues of Science.

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Apollo astronauts are dying from diseases caused by space radiation

Apollo astronauts are dying from diseases caused by space radiation

Florida State University Dean of the College of Human Sciences Michael Delp has detailed a sad reality affecting the Apollo astronauts: cardiovascular health issues caused by their exposure to space radiation. According to the study recently published in Scientific Reports, the astronauts who travelled into space as part of the lunar missions are largely suffering cardiovascular effects as a result, with 43-percent of the deceased individuals having died for reasons related to cardiovascular issues.

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Carcass leads scientists to new beaked whale species

Carcass leads scientists to new beaked whale species

A study newly published in Marine Mammal Science details evidence that a whale carcass discovered in 2014 is part of a species that has long gone undiscovered, at least in official capacities. Though new to science, fishermen have been aware of this particular variety of beaked whale for a while — Japanese fishermen, for example, call it karasu (raven) due to its somewhat dark color. However, living varieties of the critter have thus far evaded scientists.

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Motorized device helps infants at risk for cerebral palsy

Motorized device helps infants at risk for cerebral palsy

This may look like how Eleven started as an infant in Stranger Things, but it's actually a device that is designed to help infants who are at risk of developing cerebral palsy. This condition covers a range of early neurological disorders that affect movement and muscle coordination and can be caused from a number of factors. Those factors include brain damage during birth, infection, and trauma.

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17th century shipwreck turns up old cheese and gold coins

17th century shipwreck turns up old cheese and gold coins

A shipwreck dating back to 1676 has turned up (another) cache of goodies, the most notable among them being a tub of ripe, smelly cheese (or, perhaps, butter). The shipwreck was found off the coast of Sweden, and it included some other less-pungent goods, as well: some old pharmaceuticals, 14 gold coins, and a diamond ring. Unfortunately, most of the ship’s crew died when the ship sank.

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MIT lithium-oxygen battery lasts a long time and is more efficient

MIT lithium-oxygen battery lasts a long time and is more efficient

MIT has announced a breakthrough in battery technology that might one day mean EVs that can drive further on a charge and gadgets that last longer away from an outlet. For a long time MIT and other research organizations have been looking at lithium-air batteries, but those batteries have some significant drawbacks. While lithium-air promises high-energy output compared to weight, they waste much of the power introduced as heat and performance degrades quickly. The new MIT lithium-oxygen battery overcomes these big drawbacks.

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Lockheed Skunk Works Spider finds tiny pinholes in airship envelope

Lockheed Skunk Works Spider finds tiny pinholes in airship envelope

Lockheed is working on something it calls a hybrid airship, which is essentially a massive blimp, designed for lifting and hauling heavy cargo into areas where there are no roads. The big benefit of this is that the hybrid airship is able to haul large loads but moves in the air faster than vehicles or ships move on land or water. These airships aren’t as fast as helicopters or aircraft though. The challenge for Lockheed is inspecting the envelope of these massive airships requiring a crew of people inside and outside the envelope of the airship.

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Spider silk microstructure found to have unique acoustic properties

Spider silk microstructure found to have unique acoustic properties

Researchers have learned another thing about spider silk, and as with past discoveries, it may lead to the development of new materials for use among humans. This time around, a group of researchers from Rice University and beyond busied themselves with studying the microstructure of spider webs, doing so to learn how they transmit phonons — that is, quasiparticles of sound. As it turns out, spider silk possesses something called a phonon band gap.

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Microsoft project uses machine learning to identify flowers

Microsoft project uses machine learning to identify flowers

You can use your phone to figure out what song is playing on the radio, and there are even some apps that try to figure out how many calories are in your meal based on a snapshot of it. Now, thanks to Microsoft Research Asia and the Institute of Botany Chinese Academy of Sciences, there’s a way to do this with flowers. The idea is that we’re surrounded by flowers all summer long, but probably can’t identify many of them. If a particularly striking one finds your eye, you can use this recognition project to upload a photo of the flower and get information about it in return.

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Tiny Microbots can deliver drugs and perform medical operations

Tiny Microbots can deliver drugs and perform medical operations

Scientists from the EPFL and ETHZ have worked together to create some very interesting medical microbots that are tiny enough to be introduced into the human body to perform specific tasks. These tiny robots are being studied as a way to treat a variety of diseases and are designed to enter the body and deliver drugs at a specific location or to perform precise operations like clearing clogged arteries.

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Russian AI development could mean machines that understand emotion

Russian AI development could mean machines that understand emotion

Russian scientists are reportedly approaching a significant breakthrough in the realm of artificial intelligence. The scientists claim to be approaching a major development that would create machines that are capable of understanding human emotions. The claim comes from the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI Cybernetics Department Prof. Alexi Samsonovich.

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