Anyone who's tried to learn a second language knows that the earlier in life you start, the easier it is to learn. Now, a scientist at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center (SUNY) has not only discovered why learning becomes much harder after puberty, but also how to fix it.
Unfortunately for anyone looking to terraform Mars, a new study shows that powerful waves of solar wind periodically strip the Red Planet of its atmosphere. Scientists had known for years that Mars has atmosphere troubles, but only by analyzing new data from he Mars Express spacecraft were they able to identify the special double solar waves as the specific cause.
A former Pfizer scientist is suing the pharmaceuticals giant after alleging she contracted an artificial, HIV-like, virus created by a colleague. In her lawsuit, Becky McClain claims Pfizer unlawfully dismissed her while she suffered bouts of paralysis brought on by the man-made virus. Pfizer denies these accusations, and says McClain simply didn't come to work, and only linked her problems to engineered-disease exposure after she was fired.
Despite moving at 18 miles per second, it still takes the Earth a year to make it around the Sun. For HM Cancri, an orbit takes a little bit less time: around five minutes. At that speed, HM Cancri is the fastest binary star pair ever discovered, with each white dwarf circling the other at a speed of 310 miles per second.
Today the Federal Communications Commission unveiled its plan to expand broadband Internet access to 100 million more Americans within the next five years. The plan calls both for the expansion of wired networks in under-serviced areas, and for the dedication of more wireless spectrum for Internet use as opposed to television. Largely deficit-neutral, the plan has bipartisan support in the current Congress, in part because contentious issues of net neutrality and privacy were not tackled by the FCC's plan. As you remember, PopSci called for an improvement to the nation's broadband infrastructure last year
While scientists have become rather adept at transforming generic skin cells into specialized organ cells, crafting the organs themselves has proven far more difficult. Since the 3-D architecture of most organs is as important to their function as their cellular makeup, 2-D cell cultures are not very useful for building a replacement heart from scratch. To solve that problem, most organ makers create a scaffolding for the cells to grow on.
For a team of researchers at Rice University, even a biodegradable scaffolding wasn't good enough. By injecting cells with a metallic gel, the researchers have succeeded in suspending cultured cells in a three-dimensional magnetic field. With this magnetic scaffolding, organs can be grown in the right shape, and with no foreign material.
Pop quiz. An asteroid the size of Manhattan is hurtling towards Earth, its impact is sure to result in mass extinction and the destruction of humanity as we know it. What do you do?
The traditional answers would be "blow it up". But new research from Los Alamos National Lab and the University of California, Santa Cruz, shows that if the asteroid isn't moving fast enough, or if the nuke isn't big enough, the asteroid will pull itself back together, T-1000-style, within a matter of hours.
Tests for toxins or pathogens generally rely on chemical reactions. But a team of researchers at Cornell University have created a sensor that detects the presence of chemicals based on the mechanical disruption of a nanoscale system. The device can instantly detect as little as a single molecule of a substance.
For the last five years, eVolo Magazine has hosted a futuristic skyscraper design competition. Usually, the entrants imagine giant buildings taller than anything under construction today. However, the most impressive entry in this year's competition goes the opposite route, by dropping the building straight into the sea. This floating building would generate its own electricity and food, house thousands, and plunge deep beneath the waves.
When methane and freezing cold water fuse under tremendous pressure, they create a substance as paradoxical as it coveted: burning ice. Earlier in the year, a report from the National Research Council identified the combustible water, also known as methane hydrate, as a potential source of natural gas.