NASA's aptly-named Stardust spacecraft may have returned the first-ever samples of interstellar dust to Earth. Scientists hope to confirm their possible discovery of two dust grains, based upon the sharp eye of a citizen scientist, BBC reports.
This week, PopSci took a look at re-shaping the hot dog -- a notorious choker of children, apparently -- as well as an affordable new sort of toilet.
Japan unveiled a new robot, AGAIN. This one is modeled on the hummingbird, and can hover in place on its four tiny wings.
And we went to the gym, future-style.
For years scientists have debated the cause of the mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs and a slew of other species on Earth 65.5 million years ago. Now, after reviewing 20 years worth of data and research, an international team of scientists concludes that it was a a huge meteorite strike that triggered the extinction.
In the late 1970s, a geophysicist discovered an impact crater in Yucatán, Mexico, and analysis showed the crater's date of origin to be the end of the Cretaceous. Geologic data indicate that the meteorite that produced the Chicxulub crater -- which lies partially buried beneath the Yucatán Peninsula -- was between 10 and 15 kilometers (6 and 10 miles) in diameter and caused an explosion on Earth that was a billion times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
Russian leaders have occasionally demonstrated a weakness for pseudoscience during the nation's history. Now Russian scientists have rallied to expose Viktor Petrik, a modern-day inventor whose supposed innovations -- realized under self-hypnosis -- have won over the Kremlin. Petrik's ideas include a way to produce silicon for computer chips from fertilizer and a filter that can turn radioactive waste into safe, drinkable water, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Large amounts of methane are leaking into the atmosphere from a section of seafloor under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, according to new study by an international research team. Methane is a greenhouse gas that lies frozen in sediments and permafrost -- frozen soil that remains below 0°C for several years -- in arctic continental shelves.
Permafrost was thought to act as a leak-proof barrier that sealed in the methane, but warming arctic temperatures are thawing the permafrost.
And the frozen methane is not only dissolving in the water -- it's escaping into the atmosphere. The researchers say that release of just a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger sudden climate warming.
The seemingly subjective nature of pain always proves problematic for doctors, who have to use a woefully imprecise chart to gauge a patient's suffering. But by using a new interpretation of fMRI scans, doctors at King's College London have found a way to measure the brain's pain response in a quantitative way.
The screws used by doctors to repair broken bones and torn ligaments enable recovery from a wide range of injuries. Unfortunately, they also leave holes in bones, require secondary surgery for removal, and make going through airport security a real pain. But by crafting the screws from a special designed composite of polymer and mineral, researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute have managed to solve all those problems in one fell swoop.
Your cellphone does not in itself cause cancer. But in the daily sea of radiation we all travel, there may be subtler dangers at work, and science is only just beginning to understand how they can come to affect people like Per Segerbäck so intensely
By James GearyPosted 03.04.2010 at 10:39 am 84 Comments
Per Segerbäck lives in a modest cottage in a nature reserve some 75 miles northeast of Stockholm. Wolves, moose and brown bears roam freely past his front door. He keeps limited human company, because human technology makes him physically ill. How ill? On a walk last summer, he ran into one of his few neighbors, a man who lives in a cottage about 100 yards away. During their chat, the man's cellphone rang, and Segerbäck, 54, was overcome by nausea. Within seconds, he was unconscious.
The effects of alcohol are generally pleasant until they're not anymore, at which point they become blindingly painful and, in some cases, quite dangerous. Whether or not a hard-partying type is struck by a crippling hangover or a sudden desire to text his or her ex is generally dependent on how that individual metabolizes and eliminates alcohol in his or her body.