|Filed Under:||Academics / General Science|
|Posts on Regator:||6350|
|Posts / Week:||19.3|
|Archived Since:||April 5, 2008|
The mandrake's roots can look bizarrely like a human body, and legend holds that it can even come in male and female form. It’s said to spring from the dripping fat and blood and semen of a hanged man. Dare pull it the from the earth and it lets out a monstrous scream, bestowing agony and death to all those within earshot.
Fish-eating spiders inhabit every continent except Antarctica, according to a new study.
For the past three weeks, Richard Ross has been spending his mornings next to a small tank in a back room at the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco. He leans in close. Not only is the room dark, but the fish inside this tank are masters of hiding in plain sight. They are Bargibant’s pygmy […]
The concept is called induced demand, which is economist-speak for when increasing the supply of something (like roads) makes people want that thing even more. Though some traffic engineers made note of this phenomenon at least as early...Show More Summary
Contract bridge is the chess of card games. You might know it as some stuffy old game your grandparents play, but it requires major brainpower, and preferably an obsession with rules and strategy. So how to make it even geekier? Throw in some quantum mechanics to try to gain a competitive advantage.
In just about a year, the New Horizons spacecraft will begin daily observations of the dwarf planet Pluto and its moons. A month after that, on 14 July 2015, the piano-sized 478-kilogram probe will pass Pluto at a nominal distance of only 10,000 kilometers moving at a velocity of 14 kilometers per second. At that […]
It's been a wacky week in science. First there was that computer that supposedly passed the Turing test, a 50-year old benchmark in artificial intelligence research. Then, yesterday, a paralyzed boy in a robotic exoskeleton took the opening kick in the World Cup in Brazil. Show More Summary
This is the world’s largest jellyfish, with a bell that reaches a staggering 8 feet wide and tentacles that grow to 120 feet long, far longer than a blue whale. And this monster is really, really loving the whole global warming thing, conquering more and more of Earth's oceans in massive blooms. So please, if you will, welcome our new giant gelatinous overlords.
The modern natural world is an increasingly fragmented one, with islands of ecological integrity isolated in vast sprawls of human development. An environment arranged such a fashion, suggests a new study, may inadvertently fuel the spread of disease.
A chatbot pretending to be a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy made waves last weekend when its programmers announced that it had passed the Turing test. But the judges of this test were apparently easily fooled, because any cursory exchange with 'Eugene Goosterman' reveals the machine inside the ghost. Show More Summary
Planet Earth is taking a hit today from back-to-back solar eruptions. No need to brace for impact: At worst this combined eruption will mess up radio and GPS signals for a few hours on the planet's sunny side. At best, people on the earth's darkened half might see the aurora as far south (or north) as the 39th parallel.
Computers are already smart, just in their own ways. They catalogue the breadth of human knowledge, find meaning in mushroom clouds of data, and fly spacecraft to other worlds. And they're getting better. Below are four domains of computing where the machines are rising.
Have you seen a banshee? Do you suspect she's been buzzing your house? Here's how to prove it.
[HTML1] Driving around with my little sister in the back seat recently, I noticed something odd. She had, well, “appropriated” a helium balloon from a display at the supermarket (stealing is wrong, Hanna) and I watched it float back and forth as we stopped and started on the road. The weird thing was that the […]
Over the weekend, a group of programmers claimed they built a program that passed the famous Turing Test, in which a computer tries to trick judges into believing that it is a human. According to new reports, this is a historic accomplishment. But is it really? And what does it mean for artificial intelligence?
In 1798 Joseph Fourier, a 30-year-old professor at the École Polytechnique in Paris, received an urgent message from the minister of the interior informing him that his country required his services, and that he should “be ready to depart...Show More Summary
When it comes to discussions about energy and climate, the focus is nearly always on technology. We wonder whether coal can be cleaned and solar panels made efficient, if there might be a breakthrough in algae biofuels or carbon storage. Show More Summary
You could call it Seth Bordenstein’s “Frankenstein” moment. A little over a year ago, Bordenstein, a biologist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and his then-graduate student, Robert Brucker, mated two incompatible species of wasp in the lab, creating a hardy hybrid that lived when most others died. Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta […]
This is the clingfish, which sports a belly sucker that can support a staggering 300 times the fish's weight.
[HTML1] A recently discovered astroid nicknamed The Beast will pass by Earth today at a distance three times that between the Earth and the moon. You can watch the live show above from the Slooh Space Camera starting at 11:30 PT. Slooh’s astronomers will be broadcasting live from Australia with time-lapse footage from their robotic […]