The next generation of electronics, airplanes and could be made out of incredibly strong "buckypaper"
Imagine flying an airplane, watching a television or using a laptop computer made, at least in part, from a paper 500 times stronger and 10 times lighter than steel. It's no ordinary paper; it's "buckypaper"—a nanotechnology material that looks like carbon paper and is made out of tube-shaped carbon molecules 50,000 times thinner than a human hair. The material's strength, however, comes when it's stacked and pressed together to form a composite, giving it the ability to conduct electricity like copper and disperse heat like steel.
South Korean scientists have developed a robot with artificial intelligence that can mimic humans, take orders on command and, yes, entertain you with its moves
The robot maid Rosie from The Jetsons may seem old school, but the concept is far from it—or so South Korean researchers have affirmed this week after revealing their humanoid robot "Mahru." You may recall a few other robots that have made the limelight—most recently Japan's Robogirl, which looks eerily human—but Mahru, developed at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) as part of a state-funded $200,000 project, is a notch above the rest.
Indian research center unveils solar electric rickshaws to ease the country's traffic congestion and pollution woes
Cycle-rickshaws in New Delhi are getting a green makeover. This month, the state-run Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research unveiled what they call a "soleckshaw" (short for solar electric rickshaw). The soleckshaw, which like traditional cycle-rickshaws can still be pedaled, is a motorized cycle-rickshaw that runs on a 36-volt solar battery for up to 9.3 miles per hour, and carries a load of up to approximately 440 lbs. The battery has enough juice to get the rickshaw going for 30 to 42 miles.
Scammers take advantage of banking turmoil, incidents of fraud increasing as market falls
In the worst of times, don't expect the best in everyone. Scammers are reveling in the financial turmoil by taking advantage of consumers' fears, especially those who are customers of banks most affected by the Wall Street crisis. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which issued a warning this week, cautioned that people should watch out for e-mails or pop-ups, even if from their own banks, asking for any sensitive personal or financial information. People should double-check their bank and credit card statements for fraudulent activity, the report added.
A leading geneticist in England says modern times, changing reproductive patterns and weakened natural selection has slowed down human evolution.
Our future may be uncertain, but leading geneticist Steve Jones at the University of College London says he knows one thing for sure: we're not going to change much on the evolutionary ladder. That's because human evolution is coming to a standstill, he claims. Jones says that the three main drivers behind evolution—natural selection, genetic mutation and randomness—don't hold as much anymore in the survival of the fittest race.
A five-year study on global wildlife finds that one fourth of the world's known mammals face extinction
As human populations grow, pollution soils the environment and infrastructure develops, our natural habitat suffers. This may sound familiar, but scientists sent a resounding message today when they announced in a comprehensive five-year global wildlife review that these human-based causes and more are threatening one in four of the world's 5,487 known mammal species and have put 188 species in the critically endangered category.
GPS-based mobile software promises to measure your planetary impact
Soon tracking your carbon footprint will require nothing more than a software installation on your cell phone. Developed at start-up company Carbon Hero in London, the software Carbon Diem takes advantage of global positioning satellites (GPS) to figure out automatically what transportation you are using, and, based on that deduction, calculate your up-to-the-minute carbon impact.
Australians advised to eat kangaroos to help environment
What makes an eco-friendly meal? It's a question that has caused many heated arguments. Some say vegetarian, or even vegan, meals are the best way to lead a green lifestyle, since the livestock industry causes a plethora of environmental problems, from massive-scale deforestation to air and water pollution. Others argue that the large-scale production of corn and soy (a popular substitute for meat products) are just as bad for the environment.
In Australia, the debate has taken an interesting turn.
Oxford scientist to create a green, no-electricity refrigerator based on an aged Einstein patent
It looks like the father of modern physics had more up his sleeve than the theory of relativity. Long after he changed the landscape of modern physics, Albert Einstein and his former student Leo Szilard patented a refrigerator that had no moving parts and used only pressurized gases for cooling. It got overshadowed 20 years later, in the 1950s, when more efficient, if environmentally-damaging, freon-compressors for refrigerators became available.
New liquid lens technique could lead to cheaper, lighter and more energy-efficient cameras in a range of devices
See it Better: Rensselaer/Carlos A Lopez
The next time you take a trip to the water cooler, just think, what you're about to drink isn't just good for hydration; it makes for a very effective, energy-efficient lens, too. That's what researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have announced
after designing and testing an adaptive liquid lens—comprised of a pair of water droplets—that captures 250 pictures per second.
New technology tries to teach computers to understand words like humans do
By some definitions, "Web 3.0" will be characterized by semantic mapping of data. Unlike regular searches which mine information based on keywords you type in, semantic search looks for information you want by connecting the meaning of words. Say, for example, you type in the word "cold." The way search engines like Google and Yahoo run now, you would get results based on the word alone. But "cold," like many words in the English language, is ambiguous and could mean anything from your health to the temperature.
A new blind, predatory, subterranean ant species with ancestral roots dating back to more than 120 million years ago spurs a debate on the evolution of ants.
Sometimes the smallest discovery lends itself to the biggest insight. That certainly was the case for University of Texas at Austin graduate student Christian Rabeling, who found a new ant species in the Amazon that is likely the descendent of one of the first ants to evolve on Earth more than 120 million years ago.
For the first time, scientists prove that the brain is able to guess possible meanings of a word before it is fully spoken
Food for thought: Your brain is wired to consider various possible meanings for a word before you've even heard the final sound of a word uttered. It's a conclusion scientists at the University of Rochester reached and also proved for the first time using a functional MRI (fMRI)—a tool for brain imaging—to see split-second activity. In the past, scientists postulated that listeners could only follow up to five syllables per second in spoken language by drawing from a small subset of words already known by the listener.
A new study reveals children who learn more than one language before age five are more likely to stutter later in life and have a harder time overcoming the problem
It's a well-accepted notion that if you want to master multiple languages, you should learn them at a young age. But new research reveals that learning young can have some serious downsides. According to a study released this week in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, children who are bilingual before age five have a higher chance of developing a stutter than those who learned only one language.
A 400,000-year-old fossilized skull could provide a missing link
Mammoths are making a mighty big comeback. Last week, there was a stir among scientists when a controversial DNA-based study came out claiming that woolly mammoths have their roots exclusively in North America, since it has long been believed that they roamed from Western Europe to North America. Although the study is still raising eyebrows, many heads have turned to the gigantic discovery in Southern France's Auvergne region of a rare fossilized steppe mammoth skull weighing 1,300 pounds.