Science & Technology
Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00 UTC
The technology was launched into space last month by SpacePharma, a Swiss-Israeli company, which on Thursday announced that its first experiments have been completed successfully.
In space, with hardly any interference from earth's gravity, cells and molecules behave differently, helping researchers make discoveries in fields from medicine to agriculture.
Nestle turned to zero gravity - or what scientists refer to as microgravity - to perfect the foam in its chocolate mousse and coffee, while drugmakers like Eli Lilly have used it to improve drug designs.
Thu, 16 Mar 2017 12:49 UTC
Killer umbrellas, stick-on fingerprints and lock-picking cellphones — James Bond and his nemeses certainly used their share of bizarre spy gadgets over the years.
But many of the most far-out devices seen in old movies have been made obsolete by incredible leaps in today's consumer technology, said Vince Houghton, a historian and curator at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.
"A modern smartphone does more than most people could do 10 years ago on 10 different things," Houghton told Live Science.
For instance, nowadays, "wires," like those used to catch mobsters plotting on tape, are now entirely wireless, and they're so tiny that they can be concealed in earrings, buttons and even patches under the skin, Houghton said.
And although most of today's cutting-edge spy technology is classified, knowledge of a few bizarre techniques does get leaked. From eavesdropping techniques to programmed kitties, here are some of the most incredible real-world spy technologies.
Wall Street Journal
Wed, 15 Mar 2017 23:53 UTC
A Bay Area food-technology startup says it has created the world's first chicken strips grown from self-reproducing cells without so much as ruffling a feather.
And the product pretty much tastes like chicken, according to people who were offered samples Tuesday in San Francisco, before Memphis Meats Inc.'s formal unveiling on Wednesday.
Scientists, startups and animal-welfare activists believe the new product could help to revolutionize the roughly $200 billion U.S. meat industry. Their goal: Replace billions of cattle, hogs and chickens with animal meat they say can be grown more efficiently and humanely in stainless-steel bioreactor tanks.
Comment: Inside the meat lab: The future of food
- Meet 'schmeat': Lab-grown meat to hits the grill this month
- Why are the founders of Microsoft, Google and Paypal investing in artificial meat?
- Not science fiction: First human-engineered 'meat burger' to be consumed in London
- Mad Science: Move over test-tube burger, there's a lab-grown chicken breast in the works
Wed, 15 Mar 2017 23:40 UTC
In the first analysis of its kind, researchers used data from 65 previous studies to estimate that a total of 25 million metric tonnes of spiders exist on Earth.
Taking into account how much food spiders need to survive, the team then calculated the eight-legged creatures' annual haul of insects and other invertebrates.
"Our estimates... suggest that the annual prey kill of the global spider community is in the range of 400-800 million metric tons," they wrote in the journal The Science of Nature.
This showed just how big a role spiders play in keeping pests and disease-carriers at bay -- especially in forests and grasslands where most of them live.
Wed, 15 Mar 2017 22:08 UTC
The research appears in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00 UTC
The spins of about 70% of the red giant stars observed in the clusters were strongly aligned in a study by researchers including Dr Dennis Stello. Astronomers used this asteroseismology approach to work out the orientation of the angle of spin of 48 stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way.
"The results were unexpected," says study team member UNSW's Dr Dennis Stello. "We found that the spins of most of the stars were aligned with each other. Previously it had been assumed that massive turbulence would have scrambled the rotational energy of the clouds where the stars were born, and prevented this alignment.
Tue, 14 Mar 2017 15:49 UTC
On Tuesday, a group of computer security researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of South Carolina will demonstrate that they have found a vulnerability that allows them to take control of or surreptitiously influence devices through the tiny accelerometers that are standard components in consumer products like smartphones, fitness monitors and even automobiles.
In their paper, the researchers describe how they added fake steps to a Fitbit fitness monitor and played a "malicious" music file from the speaker of a smartphone to control the phone's accelerometer. That allowed them to interfere with software that relies on the smartphone, like an app used to pilot a radio-controlled toy car.
"It's like the opera singer who hits the note to break a wine glass, only in our case, we can spell out words" and enter commands rather than just shut down the phone, said Kevin Fu, an author of the paper, who is also an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan and the chief executive of Virta Labs, a company that focuses on cybersecurity in health care. "You can think of it as a musical virus."
Wed, 15 Mar 2017 13:53 UTC
Through the new technique, scientists can see how the arrangement of cell chromosomes (DNA strands) are designed to keep some cells active or inactive at any one time.
The procedure, which so far has been conducted on mice cells, could help us understand more about how animals grow, as well as how cell malfunction can lead to disease.
"Knowing where all the genes and control elements are at a given moment will help us understand the molecular mechanisms that control and maintain their expression," says one of the researchers, Ernest Laue from the University of Cambridge in the UK.
Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00 UTC
While reliable data on its modern usage is unforthcoming, it's safe to say women counting the days in between periods and avoiding sex when they're most fertile is a fairly well-known family planning method.
Ova (female eggs) only live for about a day, meaning if someone has sex after one expires and before another is created, they will not get pregnant. However, if someone has sex before they ovulate, they can get pregnant, as sperm can stay alive in a uterus for around a week.
Tue, 14 Mar 2017 23:04 UTC
The excessive heat is prominent in fractures in the moon's south pole, known as "tiger stripes," dormant venting fractures as seen in an image of the planet taken by Cassini. A study published in the journal Nature of microwave radiometry observations by Cassini of the stripes revealed a heating in temperature a few meters below the surface.
The results indicate an ocean of liquid water believed to be beneath Enceladus' surface may be at a depth of a mere couple of miles, closer than previously believed.