An innovative plan to bring high-speed Internet through electrical outlets may not see the light of day
By Matt RansfordPosted 05.08.2008 at 11:52 am 2 Comments
Broadband over Power Lines, or BPL, is a technology developed to send data over lines also used for electric power transmission. Simply put, it's high-speed Internet through your electrical outlets. Right off the bat, the appeal of a system like this is attractive for a lot of reasons. It could provide broadband service to rural areas without the physical infrastructure for DSL or cable and would require only minimal hardware installations by the power utilities.
Scientists use 3-D ultrasound technology to test a robot's ability to independently perform surgeries
By Gregory MonePosted 05.08.2008 at 10:01 am 0 Comments
Duke University engineers think they've made an important step towards developing robotic surgeons that operate independently. The robot they used in their experiments—which were just feasibility studies, and were not performed on real people—uses 3-D ultrasound as its eyes, and an AI program that processes the 3-D information it gathers to determine the robot's next steps.
Scientists are building ultra-cold systems that mimic the most extreme edges of the universe. Can these analogues help solve the big bang’s mysteries?
By James Owen WeatherallPosted 05.07.2008 at 4:30 pm 10 Comments
The device is a cylinder a bit smaller than a pinky finger, filled with helium and cooled to just above absolute zero. Inside, a young universe—or something very much like one—evolves. As the helium sloshes about, it mimics a process that may have powered our own universe a few moments after the big bang. And once the fluid settles down, the little whirlpools that remain may be akin to the defects in early spacetime that ultimately gave rise to galaxies, stars and planets.
An international team of scientists today published the first analysis of the genome sequence of Glennie, a female duck-billed platypus from Australia. Because the platypus occupies a unique branch on the tree of life, Glennie's genome could provide important clues about how humans and other mammalian species evolved.
Like all mammals, the platypus nourishes its young with milk. But platypus babies hatch from eggs, a characteristic usually associated with birds and reptiles.
By comparing the platypus genome with the genomes of other animals—including the human, mouse, dog, chicken and green anole lizard—the scientists hope to pinpoint which genes are common to all mammals, and when various traits have appeared or disappeared in the mammalian lineage.
Tossing a ping-pong ball into a beer cup? It takes more physics than you might think
By Adam WeinerPosted 05.07.2008 at 3:07 pm 9 Comments
These guys are pretty amazing. And the nonchalance with which they accomplish each trick shot adds a certain understated humor to this entertaining video. But though the guys seem to be developing a seemingly useless (if highly impressive) skill in their spare time, there's quite a bit of complex science at play. In addition to being a highlight at any party, these are excellent demonstrations of two- and three-dimensional projectile motion, and with just a little bit of quantitative analysis the entire video would make a formidable project for an introductory level college physics class.
For example lets look at the segment where the guy tosses the ball in the cup off of a moving skateboard.
A laser with amazing properties may help astronomers fine-tune planet hunting tools
By Gregory MonePosted 05.06.2008 at 10:16 am 1 Comment
Scientists have shown off a new laser that boasts an incomparable mix of speed, short pulses and power. That's newsworthy in and of itself, but this laser, developed by researchers at the University of Konstanz in Germany and, here in the U.S., at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, could also lead to a 100-fold increase in the sensitivity of observatories searching for extrasolar planets. The laser itself is the size of a dime, and pops out 10 billion pulses per second with an average power of 650 milliwatts.
Why a grizzly gets you shivering—but not global warming
By Laura AllenPosted 05.05.2008 at 4:26 pm 6 Comments
In my Science Confirms the Obvious post today, I discussed the first psychological proof (so say the authors) that humans can indeed experience emotions without immediately knowing why. We do this, they say, because we evolved that way. True, scientists love that explanation, but here its quite intriguing.
Say youre walking through the woods and encounter a grizzly bear. You see it and freeze that instant—even before your stomach drops with fear.
Scientists take another look at how mathematics is learned and stumble upon some provocative findings
By Matt RansfordPosted 05.05.2008 at 2:54 pm 10 Comments
We have all at one point or another learned some variation of a mathematical formula involving trains and their timetables. For example: if a train leaves Boston for New York at 7am and travels at 60mph, will it beat a train leaving Providence at 6am traveling 45mph? The idea behind this kind of "story" problem is to engage a student with a real-world example to which they can relate. The thinking follows that that engagement will solidify the mathematical concept. It's one of those conceits that has hung around for seemingly as long as math has been taught. And it may very well be completely wrong.
By observing the seahorse's unusual sex roles, scientists hope to learn more about how they came to be
By Matt RansfordPosted 05.05.2008 at 2:26 pm 1 Comment
The seahorse is a strange fish. Many of the traits it possesses have evolved in a direction unlike any other family of animals underwater—its bent S-shape; its head at a 90-degree angle to its body; its prehensile tail; and, most curiously, the male's brood pouch. A lab at Texas A&M University led by Adam Jones is currently studying these structures in the hope of understanding how it was that male pregnancy evolved in seahorses and how it affects the traditional sex roles in the fish.
By Laura AllenPosted 05.05.2008 at 1:05 pm 1 Comment
March 26, 2013 UPDATE: The journal Psychological Science has retracted this study. Sorry, readers!--Eds
Psychologist: "How are you feeling?"
Patient: "I feel like I want to punch the lights out of…out of…this anger management pillow printed with my boss's photo!"
Psychologist: "So that emotion would be called…"
Patient: "Annoyance. Anger."
Psychologist: "And why do you think that is?"
Patient: "Because he made me mad."
Patient: "Because I am insecure about being passed over for that promotion?"
Psychologist: "Go on…"
A fundamental credo of therapy is to first be aware of your emotions, preferably before they hijack your actions. But often we don't immediately recognize that we're feeling irritable, fearful, or disgusted, especially when our significant other is there to notice it first. And sometimes it takes a moment to pinpoint why.