Science

Spiders eat twice as much as humans annually

Spiders eat twice as much as humans annually

If the title didn’t give it away, this piece is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. Sure, we won’t be talking gory details, but spiders have the unfortunate reputation of being one of the most feared or hated critters on the planet. And now scientists have just given haters even more ammo. According to research, which admittedly involves a lot of estimating, spiders eat somewhere between 400 to 800 million tons of prey a year. Which is pretty big considering there are believed to be only 25 million tons’ worth of spiders on the planet.

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Portuguese cave yields 400,000-year-old human ancestor skull fossil

Portuguese cave yields 400,000-year-old human ancestor skull fossil

Researchers in Portugal are celebrating a new discovery: a 400,000-year-old cranium fossil belonging to an ancient ancestor of modern day humans. The fossil was discovered in a cave by an international team of researchers, and it is a new milestone for the small nation, being the oldest such fossil unearthed in Portugal to date. The skull fragment could help shed light on the evolution of Neanderthals, and may even reveal a new hominin species altogether.

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‘Death Star’ moon Mimas shown in stunning detail in latest NASA pic

‘Death Star’ moon Mimas shown in stunning detail in latest NASA pic

Back in January, NASA showed off an image of Saturn’s moon Mimas taken by the Cassini spacecraft. In that image, we got a look at the moon from an interesting angle - one that makes it look oddly similar to the Death Star from Star Wars. The latest image of the moon delivered by Cassini only builds upon that visage, giving us an even closer look at the oddly shaped space rock.

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Researchers warn oceans may be warmer than thought

Researchers warn oceans may be warmer than thought

Researchers have warned that the planet’s oceans may be holding more heat than previously estimated, something that would mean Earth as a whole is warming at a faster rate than current estimates. Such information comes from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, also known as NCAR, in a study it recently published. Such a conclusion was made using a combination of models, ocean temperature monitors, and existing data.

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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.

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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.

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NASA finds lost lunar spacecraft using new radar method

NASA finds lost lunar spacecraft using new radar method

NASA has announced that a new radar technique has enabled it to find a pair of lunar spacecraft in orbit around the moon, one that is active and another that is dormant. This is notable because of the space agency's former inability to locate spacecraft obscured in the bright light from the moon, and it could lead to better plan management for any future space missions as a result.

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Oculus Rift Mission:ISS lets you live out your astronaut dreams

Oculus Rift Mission:ISS lets you live out your astronaut dreams

Thanks to some historic events in space science, being an astronaut has once again become a “cool” career path. Of course, that chances of actually being chosen for a space mission are very slim. The next best thing? Getting a taste of what it’s like to live and work as an astronaut, made possible with virtual reality. That is exactly the “close enough” experience that Oculus is offering with Mission:ISS, which will let you at least see if you have what it takes to live among the stars.

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This drone is both stiff and squishy to survive crashes

This drone is both stiff and squishy to survive crashes

Drones are designed to fly, but crashes are a fact of life, whether because of external forces or pilot error. Some commercial drones employ techniques like propeller guards to at least protect the drone, or humans nearby, but they’re not exactly effective all the time. More industrially-inclined drones even have “cages” that protect them but also make them bigger and heavier. Researchers from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, or EPFL, in Switzerland may have come up with an actually effective solution. Unsurprisingly, their inspiration came from Mother Nature herself.

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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.

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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.

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Makeblock Neuron launches Kickstarter to get kids interested in STEM

Makeblock Neuron launches Kickstarter to get kids interested in STEM

Getting kids interested in STEM fields can be a difficult thing, but a new Kickstarter wants to change that. Say hello to Makeblock Neuron, a set of modular, plug-and-play building blocks that aims to get kids interested in things like robotics, programming, and engineering in a relatively simple and engaging way.

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