A newly described species of bacteria has joined the ranks of those of us who depend on caffeine for survival. The little microbe, Pseudomonas putida, uses specialized enzymes to break the precious compound into carbon dioxide and ammonia, scientists say.
A new algorithm can transform diagonally connected single pixels into smooth, curved contours, turning retro video game art into Disneyfied cartoon characters. The method allows images to be magnified without distorting their appearance.
The wee electron has gotten its most thorough physical examination yet, and scientists report that it is almost, almosta perfect sphere. Researchers at Imperial College London have determined the electron is just 0.000000000000000000000000001 centimeter off from being perfectly round. Put another way, if the electron was magnified to the size of the solar system, it would deviate from immaculate rotundity by a magnitude equivalent to a human hair.
When demolition jobs require more than just a sledgehammer, consider wielding the Stanley LaBounty F16. The remote-control demolition machine rips through walls, snips rebar, and pulverizes concrete about as fast as a six-person wrecking crew armed with handheld tools.
Someday your car will give you recommendations on where to eat, suggest more efficient routes between home and work, and even monitor your health. But for now it's just keeping tabs on your driving habits, recording your behavior in case it needs to be reconstructed after an accident.
Federal officials are poised to announce next month that all cars must contain a black box, similar to that installed on airplanes, to give authorities a glimpse of your activities in the event of a car wreck. The devices could help pin down what happened in the moments before a crash, helping authorities determine who is at fault for what, and eliminating uncertainty from human witnesses.
This planet is home to some incredibly awesome things, and every year we enjoy hearing about the new creatures that had, until recently, escaped biologists' attention. Among scientists' top 10 new species for 2010: A leech with gigantic teeth, a bioluminescent fungus, a mushroom with gills for breathing underwater and a spider that spins material 10 times stronger than Kevlar.
See them all in our gallery.
Metamaterials could make it possible to transmit wireless power while avoiding the complications associated with microwaves or lasers, engineers at Duke University say.
The material would be situated between a power source and a device to be charged, and it would serve as a sort of a bridge so that there appeared to be no space between the transmitter and the recipient.
This year has seen some phenomenally bizarre weather, from deadly tornadoes ripping through the Midwest and South to historic snowmelt-related flooding on the Mississippi River. Most hurricane forecasters are saying it's about to get worse — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projected Thursday that the Atlantic basin is likely to see 12 to 18 named storms this season.
Amid all this, the country's future weather prediction capabilities could be stymied by a battle in Washington.