There's a race brewing between Chinese and American researchers, but this one has no weapons or spheres of influence or even space -- though it does involve lasers. It's a race to generate the most random numbers the fastest, and by tapping the quantum noise in a laser beam the Chinese just took the lead, turning out 300 megabits of random numerals per second to break a U.S. record that stood for only a matter of days.
Randomness can be confusing and often misleading, but it can also be extremely useful. Cryptographers seeking to generate unbreakable codes, for instance, love randomness.
Spanish researchers have discovered a key component of infectious bacteria's battle plan, identifying a protein that tells bacteria in a colony to halt their forward march when antibiotics are present, waiting until the coast is clear before resuming the infection. The finding shows how bacteria outmaneuver antibiotics in the body to continue infecting an organ even after treatment, but it also pinpoints a vulnerability that researchers may be able to exploit to make antibiotics more effective.
We often think of our blood as specifically tasked with carrying oxygen to our brains and other organs, but it's also a living fluid, changing up its duties in response to various stimuli. To better understand -- and anticipate -- one aspect of this complicated biology, researchers have trained a neural network computer to model how platelets in the blood react to complicated conditions like those experienced during heart attack or stroke.
For environmentalist Jesse Ausubel, going green means land conservation and energy efficiency—and forgetting “boutique” renewables like windmills and biofuels
By John Bradley Posted 06.22.2010 at 11:18 am 43 Comments
It’s 2070. You’re on a train from New York to Boston. If you could see outside, it would be mostly open landscape. Maybe a nuclear plant or two, but otherwise green space—none of the urban sprawl, wind farms, solar arrays or biomass operations we’ve been taught to expect from an ecologically responsible future. But you can’t see outside, because you’re underground, traveling 300 miles an hour on a maglev train alongside superconducting pipes transporting the energy from those nuclear plants.
An international team working below an Italian mountain has detected subatomic particles hanging out beneath the Earth's surface, where they may very well be affecting things like earthquakes and volcanoes.
Sometimes you're just at the right place at the right time. Astronauts aboard the ISS experienced just such a moment when they captured this captivating image of a rare aurora australis over the Southern Indian Ocean likely caused by a coronal mass ejection from the sun late last month.
Here at PopSci, we love looking back on our previous dreams of the future.
So we get really excited about artists like Shigeru Komatsuzaki, a prolific Japanese illustrator who spent 50 years drawing his own unique vision of the future. In magazines, model packages and even films, he imagined a world filled with things like rocket-launching robots, car boats and solar cities. If only things turned out like Komatsuzaki dreamed.
By Suzanne LeBarrePosted 06.21.2010 at 11:56 am 21 Comments
Physalia is half-boat, half-building, and all green. This mammoth aluminum concept by Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut is meant to travel Europe's rivers, making filthy water drinkable. At the same time, the ship generates more energy than it uses.
Many of life's building blocks, such as amino acids, sugars and other molecules, are chiral -- meaning they come in two identical forms, mirror images of each other. Most life on Earth tends to prefer one side over the other, such as right-handed glucose molecules. But some forms of bacteria are less choosy.
Most life is left-handed, but its lower forms are ambidextrous, according to a new study reported in New Scientist. This might complicate the search for life on other planets, but it could also explain the Viking Mars landers' odd findings four decades ago.