research

This star orbits a black hole once every half hour

This star orbits a black hole once every half hour

Using a couple of NASA telescopes, researchers with Michigan State University have found what may end up being the closest orbit ever discovered between a star and a black hole. This binary system is located about 14,800 light-years from Earth in what is known as 47 Tucanae, a globular cluster of stars. Within this system, data indicates, is a white dwarf orbiting so closely to a black hole that its material is being pulled from it and onto a ‘disk of matter’ before being sucked in entirely.

Continue Reading

Boaty McBoatface to raise awareness of Global Warming

Boaty McBoatface to raise awareness of Global Warming

It's become apparent this week that Boaty McBoatface, whose dreams of being a real boat have been dashed, will become an official British sea vessel anyway. It was the year 2016 when the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) asked the internet to name their newest boat. Of course, giving this campaign a public voting portal did not end how the council expected - but - BUT! There's a happy ending. Sort of.

Continue Reading

California considers approving tests for self-driving cars without humans

California considers approving tests for self-driving cars without humans

California is easily the central hub for the developing autonomous car market in the US, and the state's DMV has just announced some proposed rules that will keep tech and car giants happy. The suggested regulations would allow companies to test self-driving cars without the requirement that a human be present to take over. This is a reversal of rules put forth last year that required autonomous vehicles, such as Google's, have a steering wheel in place and a human passenger at all times.

Continue Reading

NASA’s Jupiter space mission has been named ‘Europa Clipper’

NASA’s Jupiter space mission has been named ‘Europa Clipper’

We’ve known for a couple years now that NASA is planning to investigate Jupiter’s moon Europa, doing so to assess its potential habitability, and now that future mission has an official name: Europa Clipper. Such is the name that will be given to the spacecraft tasked with flying to and studying the moon. NASA is planning for the spacecraft to make between 40 and 45 main passes of Europa.

Continue Reading

Study: audio synced to brainwaves improves memory in elderly

Study: audio synced to brainwaves improves memory in elderly

A new study out of Northwestern Medicine has found that playing audio synced to one’s brainwaves both improves memory in the elderly and improves their deep sleep quality. The memory increase is likely due to the substantial improvements in deep sleep quality, which gets worse as a person gets older, but especially starting in middle age. The discovery could lead to non-medicine-based interventions to improve both memory and sleep quality in older adults and the elderly.

Continue Reading

Uber gets San Francisco autonomous car permit but loses AI execs

Uber gets San Francisco autonomous car permit but loses AI execs

Uber, pressured into applying for a self-driving car testing license by San Francisco, has been granted approval for a small-scale roll out by city regulators. The ride-sharing company had flouted local rules on autonomous vehicles, sending out a fleet of customized Volvo SUVs back in December 2016 for real-world testing of its work-in-progress technology. However, the Department of Motor Vehicles disagreed with Uber's justification for why it didn't require a license.

Continue Reading

IBM turns an atom into a nano-scale hard drive

IBM turns an atom into a nano-scale hard drive

By now it's a truism that data storage keeps getting smaller and smaller, but even with that knowledge IBM's latest advance is still jaw-dropping. Researchers at the company have managed to store data on a single atom, by turning it into the world's tiniest magnet. Admittedly, its single bit capacity isn't going to replace the USB drive in the bottom of your bag, but IBM says the potential is huge.

Continue Reading

Neanderthal tooth plaque sheds light on ancient diets, medication, and love

Neanderthal tooth plaque sheds light on ancient diets, medication, and love

Tooth plaque recovered from the remains of five Neanderthals has shed light on ancient diets and self-medication attempts. The remains were recovered from the El Sidron Cave in Spain; their tooth plaque was compared to the tooth plaque recovered from Neanderthal remains previously found in Belgium. While the Neanderthals in Belgium apparently had meat-heavy diets, the Neanderthals in Spain consumed a lot of plants and mushrooms.

Continue Reading

Scientists warn climate change will bring more severe storms

Scientists warn climate change will bring more severe storms

A new study warns that severe rainstorms are likely to become more common in coming years due to climate change, a statement that contrasts some observations made by other researchers and studies. According to this paper, which is in the pipeline for the journal Nature Climate Change, the peak temperature for intensive rainstorms is moving upward as global temperatures increase.

Continue Reading

Wooly mammoths experienced ‘genomic meltdown’ before extinction

Wooly mammoths experienced ‘genomic meltdown’ before extinction

A new study details the severe evolutionary changes that affected the wooly mammoth shortly before it went extinct. Among those changes, researchers have found that wooly mammoths experienced a great reduction in their ability to smell, as well as changes that produced a satin fur coat and other things. The changes took place in a small popular of wooly mammoths living in isolation on Wrangel island.

Continue Reading

Scientists find evidence of oldest life on Earth

Scientists find evidence of oldest life on Earth

A team of researchers in Canada have found what might be the oldest set of fossils in the history of the world. These fossils have been found inside a rock which has been dated at 3.7-billion years old. This set of life forms is rather unique in their age relative to that of the Earth's formation at 4.5-billion years ago.

Continue Reading

The oldest fossils ever may have been found in Canada

The oldest fossils ever may have been found in Canada

Researchers have discovered what might end up being the oldest fossils ever found, it has been announced, ones that fall into the so-called “microfossils” designation. You can’t see these tiny fossils with the naked eye, as they are the fossils of microbes from the ancient world. Their exact age isn’t known, but they’re estimated to be — at minimum — 3.77 billion years old, eclipsing the previous confirmed 3.5 billion year old microfossils.

Continue Reading