A recently discovered group of air pollutants could explain why non-smokers suffer similar health problems to smokers
Think smoking is bad for you? Try just breathing. Louisiana scientists have discovered a group of previously undetected air pollutants that when inhaled exposes the average person to 300 times more free radicals than that of one cigarette in a day.
New materials developed at Berkeley bend light in unnatural -- almost supernatural -- ways
Ever wished you could have Harry Potter's invisibility cloak? Science, not magic, could make that a reality. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have created materials that have the potential to bend light and even redirect it around themselves, cloaking any object behind them. They are metamaterials, materials that gain unusual properties via their structures. While all materials found in nature have a positive refractive index, these man-made metamaterials have a negative one.
Researchers find that memories of older elephants play essential role in herd survival
All elephants are known to have good memories, but it's the older ones that are wisest during times of trouble. According to researchers at the Wildlife Conservation Society and Zoological Society of London, older female elephants with knowledge of distant resources of food and water could help herds survive during crises like droughts.
At RoboCup, an annual robotics and AI competition, international researchers come together to test their robots in simulated emergency situations.
No matter which part of the world you're in, there's one thing that disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami have in common—delayed response times. It's understandable considering the logistical problems that abound, but in the future—like many sci-fi movies and novels have postulated—robots could alleviate some of the burden and dangers associated with such emergencies. How real is that possibility?
A quantum cryptographic chip using light particles to encrypt data during electronic transfer could throw off hackers for good
Imagine an encrypted data chip so secure that even the greatest hackers in history would find impossible to crack. That chip is very much a reality thanks to the combined efforts of Siemens, Austrian Research Centers (ARC) and Graz University of Technology who have teamed up to create the first quantum cryptology chip for commercial use to ensure securer electronic communication.
A breakthrough nanotech coating for cartridges in firearms can transfer hard-to-remove tags to gun offenders and better capture DNA
Gun-slinging evil-doers beware. Scientific justice is just around the corner thanks to a new nanotechnology system that not only better captures DNA on guns, but attaches hard-to-remove, microscopic tags to the hands and clothing of criminals who fire their weapons. Developed in the U.K., the tags are a unique blend of naturally-occurring pollen, known for its extraordinary adhesive properties, and nanotechnology particles.
A new study, which could help scientists model global change more accurately, finds that typhoons bury tons of carbon in the oceans
When typhoons and hurricanes sweep through mountainous areas, they cause more than human destruction. They also physically and chemically weather the mountains they pass, taking carbon with them and burying it in the oceans in the form of sediment. This in turn allows the planet to cool. While scientists have long predicted that extreme storms cause such effects, only recently have they been able to measure just how carbon much storms take away: tons.
Cow dung could generate enough electricity for millions of homes and offices, and considerably cut down on greenhouse gases
It's mostly bad news when it gets under your shoes, but scientists now believe cow dung may be more of a blessing in disguise than previously believed. According to a team at the University of Texas Austin, if the manure from hundreds of millions of livestock in the U.S. were to go through anaerobic digestion—a fermentation process similar to one to create compost—it could turn into an energy-rich biogas. The gas would be efficient enough to produce 100 billion kilowatt hours of electricity; that could meet about 3 percent of North America's entire consumption needs.
As our planet heats up and gas prices creep higher, prepare for some unusual consequences
As the planet overheats and gas prices remain high, we could get thinner; we might sneeze more; and we have a higher chance of getting kidney stones. That's the good, the bad and the ugly, according to the latest research released concerning the future of our health in terms of external circumstances.
Scientists think microalgae could be the answer to slashing CO2 levels and serve as a more effective, eco-friendly biofuel
Last week scientists were extolling the virtues of duckweed—this week, another type of pond scum is being called a possible savior. Norwegian scientists believe microalgae could slash CO2 levels—responsible for a lot of our global warming woes—and even be tapped for a more effective biofuel in the future.
Scientists look to worm jaws, tougher than human teeth, for the next class of super-strong aerospace and construction material
It's well known that scientists commonly look to nature to create super-strong materials. Diamond powder, for instance, is used for oil drills and road machinery, and soon spider silk could be use in bullet-proof vests.
Recently, researchers have turned their attention to the fang-like jaws of marine worms, which they believe could lead to a new cutting-edge, lightweight material so strong that it could be used for construction and as repair material for spacecraft and airplanes.
A team of international scientists discover that one-third of the world's coral-building reefs face extinction
Time and time again we hear news about the danger the world's coral reefs are in. Now, the first-ever comprehensive international assessment of their conservation status reveals that the fate of coral is worse even than scientists previously believed.
An electronic circuit 100 times smaller than a hair, could help astronomers shed light on the universe's creation
For centuries, the creation of the universe has loomed large in human thought, cropping up in everything from ancient folklore to modern scientific theories. A newly-developed nano-sized device, 100 times smaller than the thickness of human hair and capable of detecting infrared light that dates back to the "big bang," could soon give us more food for thought concerning the galaxy's formation 14 billion years ago.
Boeing is teaming up with a Canadian company to create a new airship that can haul heavy weights in remote regions
Mammoth-sized blimps may work well as advertising tools, but soon they could be doing a lot more work than that. Aerospace and defense corporation Boeing and Canadian company SkyHook International are working together to create a 302-foot-long airship with rotors that can haul heavy loads—double the capacity of the biggest helicopter—across remote regions at a lower fuel and environmental cost.
The search giant takes on virtual reality with its new Second Life-like animated application.
Google added its own version of life to the Web this week with its launch of the animated program "Lively." A "20 percent project"—one borne from Google's policy of allowing its staff to spend 20 percent of their work time on their own projects—Lively is much like another Second Life. Its users can enter 3-D worlds, engage in real-time avatar interactions and express their thoughts and feelings all in a virtual community. What distinguishes it, though, from its competition is that it can be controlled from any Web page.