In the 236 years since oxygen was identified as a life-giving necessity, no scientist anywhere has discovered a multicellular animal capable of living without the stuff. Until now. Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Marche in Ancona, Italy*, have discovered three new species that live their entire life in an anoxic pit beneath the Mediterranean Sea.
After months of deliberation and 150 meetings, the Obama Administration finally released its new guidelines for nuclear weapons policy. In a sharp break from previous administrations, Obama's Nuclear Posture Review released today dictates the U.S. halt development of any new nuclear weapons and cease to consider nuclear retaliation against non-nuclear nations, even in response to a biological or chemical attack.
After years of patrolling New York City's water ways in antiquated, decades-old boats, the New York Fire and Police Departments are upgrading to some of the most technologically advanced vessels this side of an Aegis Cruiser. The modernized boats, a 45-footer for the cops and a 140-footer for the firemen, will give the departments greater range and speed, with the ability to deal with more dangerous situations.
The monetary and energy expense of HIV testing machines prevent their deployment to remote or impoverished areas; the very places that need them the most. To rectify that inequity, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) has created a battery-operated HIV testing device the size of an iPod. The machine can return a test result in 10 minutes, and costs significantly less than the large machines used in most hospitals.
In an effort to increase efficiency, cut carbon emissions, and reduce costs, Finland has begun a pilot program wherein snail-mail letters are converted into PDFs and made viewable online by their addressees, in advance or in lieu of physical delivery. So far, the effort is volunteer-only, but it has already sparked concerns in Finland about privacy and government overreach.
In a discovery sure to help the development of solar panel and display technology, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have engineered transistors that they can airbrush onto a surface like spray paint.
With 884 million people lacking a reliable source of clean drinking water, droughts throughout Africa and the Middle East exacerbating already tense situations, and global warming only making those problems worse, finding water for the world's most arid regions is more important than ever. Luckily, the same technology used to look for life-supporting water on Mars may be able to find similar sources of underground water here on Earth.
In last week's testimony before Congress, Dr. Regina Dugan, director of DARPA, warned the House Armed Services Committee that the US was facing a lack of a critical resource -- a lack so severe that it endangers the security of the nation.
When Matthew Schiefer, a neural engineer at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, first managed to stimulate the leg of an unconscious volunteer by wrapping an electrode around a nerve bundle, he knew he was on to something. Now, four years later, Schiefer has created a new kind of nerve-activating electrical interface that could allow people with paralyzed limbs to activate their legs with the push of a button.
Responding to concerns about Toyota's recall of 8 million cars, President Obama has asked the National Academy of Science (NAS) and NASA to conduct a formal investigation of computer technology in cars. The NAS will oversee the broad program, while NASA will specifically examine computer-controlled acceleration in Toyota's Prius hybrid.
In a move that could significantly alter the future of genetic medicine and the industry around it, a US District Court judge invalidated seven patents for human genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer, on the grounds that genes are discovered, not created. The ruling opens up challenges against the patents held by numerous companies on thousands of human genes, and jeopardizes an industry business model based on exclusive rights to gene treatment.
While so many scientists spend their time trying to create nanobots the size of bacteria, researcher at the NanoRobotics Laboratory of the École Polytechnique de Montréal, Canada, decided to simply take direct control of live bacteria.
First came dark matter, the gravitational source from within our galaxy that astronomers couldn't see. Then came dark energy, the undetectable force pushing the expansion of the universe. Now, NASA scientists believe they have confirmed a new player, dubbed "dark flow," that is dragging hundreds of galaxies along the same path. Even stranger, the researchers believe that dark flow is actually the gravitational pull from matter beyond the edge of the known universe.
And you thought the macros on your camera was good because you got a sweet close up of a flower? Well, the scientists over at Oak Ridge National Laboratory zoom in so tight they can distinguish atoms of different elements. Using a special z-contrast scanning electron microscope, researchers at Oak Ridge took the first picture detailed enough to differentiate different atoms within a chemical compound. This super-high resolution scanning may play an important role in the future of materials chemistry, where tiny atomic differences can have profound effects on the properties of different chemical compounds.
While some scientists resort to undersea drilling to find undiscovered forms of life, a new group of researchers has decided that piloting a robotic submarine into a submerged volcano was the way to go. By exploring the deepest, hottest, undersea volcano ever probed, the researchers hope to find clues to both the beginnings of life on Earth, and the possible forms of life on other planets.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.