Category: Science

You’re Expecting Too Much Out of Boston Dynamics’ Robots

Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert doesn’t know exactly how people will use robots like the SpotMini. But at least it can do the running man.

Genome Hackers Show No One’s DNA Is Anonymous Anymore

Consumer genomics is making it easier than ever to identify individuals from anonymous DNA databases. Even if you’ve never spit in a tube.

Accion Systems takes on $3M in Boeing-led round to advance its tiny satellite thrusters

Accion Systems, the startup aiming to reinvent satellite propulsion with an innovative and tiny new thruster, has attracted significant investment from Boeing’s HorizonX Ventures. The $3 million round should give the company a bit of breathing room while it continues to prove and improve its technology.

SpaceX Sticks Its Landing after a Showy California Launch

SpaceX’s latest Falcon rocket launch tore across a perfectly clear night sky as it delivered a satellite into space and returned its booster to a new West Coast landing pad.

The Insane Physics of Airbags

In a collision, a car’s airbag has a tiny fraction of a second in which to inflate—which is why airbags use explosives.

A Mushroom Extract Might Save Bees From a Killer Virus

Two types of mushroom seem to help bees fight a major virus contributing to colony collapse disorder.

Nightmare two-headed snake found in Virginia just in time for Halloween season


‘Tis the season for nightmare fuel, and one fascinating but unsettling discovery is getting into that fall spooky spirit.

A woman in northern Virginia found an extremely rare baby copperhead snake in her neighbor’s yard recently, complete with not one but two heads. Because, ya know, the venomous viper part wasn’t terrifying enough in itself.

After initially being picked up by the Virginia Wildlife Management & Control, the rare serpent is now being taken care of by an unnamed, experienced private reptile keeper.  Read more…

More about Watercooler, Science, Snakes, Reptiles, and Culture

Invisible Swarms of Particles Envelop Us All. Come Have a Look

Scientists have demonstrated a promising technique for measuring and mapping your exposome—the flecks of animate and inanimate stuff that surround you at all times.

Wildlife Detective Uses DNA to Link Stolen Ivory to Big Cartels

A new method looks at the DNA of elephant tusks to pinpoint the crime networks behind disparate stashes of poached ivory.

Blood Moon vs. Supermoon: Which is Rarer?

What do all of these special-sounding moon terms really mean?

Astronomers Have Found the Universe’s Missing Matter

For decades, some of the atomic matter in the universe had not been located. Recent papers reveal where it’s been hiding.

Trump’s Disregard of Puerto Rico’s Death Toll Is Putting Lives at Risk

President Trump’s tweet about the death toll in Puerto Rico is worse than a lie. It means we’ll never learn from past disasters, repeating devastating mistakes.

Crude practices that led to great discoveries

People used to throw their poop out windows and never wash their hands. That was gross. But some of the crude practices of the past have actually brought about better ways to do things. Here are crude practices that led to great discoveries in science, medicine, history and more.

This One-Armed Robot Is Super Manipulative (in a Good Way)

Researchers have taught a robot to fish for boots, like in the cartoons. That could be big news for robots still struggling to get a grip on our complicated world.

Meet The Four-Dimensional Numbers That Led to Modern Algebra

Strange, long-forgotten numbers called quaternions are undergoing a revival in computer graphics, math, and physics.

Ocean Cleanup’s Plastic Catcher Heads to Sea. But Scientists Are Skeptical

Ocean Cleanup has raised $40 million to deploy a massive device to capture plastic pollution. But many scientists don’t think the plan holds water.

This Hyper-Real Robot Will Cry and Bleed on Med Students

A new robot named Hal is sending medical training straight into the uncanny valley.

Startups Flock to Turn Young Blood Into an Elixir of Youth

A new startup, Elevian, is joining a host of other companies trying to disrupt death.