Austin Ortega

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The Future Of Flight: A Congestion-Killing Aircraft

Meet the 100-passenger plane that'll keep your flight running on time.<p>Aircraft design is often overlooked in discussions of the FAA's multibillion-dollar NextGen initiative, the elaborate mélange of satellite-based guidance, arrival, and departure technologies intended to modernize the outdated and …

Mysterious Box Contains Detailed Drawings of Winged Aliens; WWII Vet Presumed Owner

A box has been found containing detailed drawings of alien beings, an unidentified flying object, and transcripts exploring the link between alien …

20th Century

How'd They Do That? The Story Of A Giant Rock And A Road Of Ice

Great works of ancient engineering, like the Pyramids or Stonehenge, inspire awe in every beholder. But some onlookers also get inspired to figure out exactly how these structures were made.<p>Howard Stone, an engineer from Princeton University, had such a moment in Beijing's Forbidden City — a …

EarthSky’s 2018 meteor shower guide

Bad news. In 2018, moonlight will obscure the Delta Aquarid’s nominal peak in late July. Good news! The Delta Aquarids will still be flying at the …

Astronomy

Childhood Maltreatment Can Leave Scars In The Brain

Maltreatment during childhood can lead to long-term changes in brain circuits that process fear, researchers say. This could help explain why children who suffer abuse are much more likely than others to develop problems like anxiety and depression later on.<p>Brain scans of teenagers revealed weaker …

Lockheed Martin Is Developing A Hypersonic Spy Plane

No need to be stealth if you're flying at Mach 6.<p>The SR-71 Blackbird, iconic supersonic Cold War spy plane adopted by the X-Men as their vehicle of choice, might finally have a replacement. The Blackbird was retired in 1999, and since then there's been a serious deficit in crazy-fast spy planes …

Aviation

Two billion planets in our galaxy may be suitable for life

Our galaxy probably contains at least two billion planets that, like Earth, have liquid water on their surfaces and orbit around their parent stars in the "habitable zone" for life. The nearest, according to astronomers, could be a mere 12 light years away.<p>A new study, published on Monday in the …

How the way we walk can increase risk of being mugged

The way people move can influence the likelihood of an attack by a stranger. The good news, though, is that altering it can reduce the chances of being targeted.<p>How you move gives a lot away. Maybe too much, if the wrong person is watching. We think, for instance, that the way people walk can …

Dark matter stays hidden as detector fails to see a single particle

The world's most advanced instrument for detecting dark matter – the invisible substance thought to account for most of the matter in the universe – has ended its first three months of service without catching a hint of the stuff.<p>Sat a mile underground in a defunct gold mine in South Dakota, the …

This Giant Balloon Will Carry You to (Near) Space

Want to take your time at the edge of the world? Climb aboard for a World View balloon ride to 98,000 feet.<p><b>Tucson-based startup World View</b> has announced the latest tech to join the commercial space race: a football-field-size helium balloon designed to take paying customers 18 miles (98,000 feet) …

Music gives people a voice when words fail them at the end of their lives

All that was dear to me, down below the sea<br>I cannot hold this piece of driftwood<br>When life abandons me<i><br>Liz, a patient at the Sobell House hospice, 2013</i><p>In palliative care, when clients and their therapists get to know one another they do so with a shared knowledge, whether voiced or not, that while …

Scientists engineer dengue fever-resistant mosquitoes, release them in Vietnam

Dengue fever is one of the most virulent mosquito-borne diseases afflicting the planet. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2.5 billion people worldwide are currently at risk of contracting dengue, and the organization estimates that there may be 50–100 million new infections each …

Is Gold From Outer Space?

The ancients deemed gold to be a symbol of power and immortality for it does not corrode. Given its aesthetic and rare qualities, the rulers of the …

5 of the Craziest Scientific Facts Out There

<b>1.</b> The human body contains enough DNA to stretch from the sun to Pluto and back again. 17 times.<p><b>2.</b> Microbes colonize human bodies, outnumbering human …

The cheerleader effect: how you can look good in a group

A study published last week by scientists at the University of California, San Diego suggests that people look more attractive when seen in the presence of others than when viewed as individuals, a phenomenon known as the "cheerleader effect". But why does it happen? And what can we do with …

Shape-shifting: how to build an ‘illusion cloak’

Morphing into other people may still be within the realms of sci-fi and mythology, but the first prototypes of certain illusion cloaks are starting to appear.<p>We’ve dreamed of shape-shifting for centuries. In Greek mythology, the hunter Actaeon was transformed into a stag, while the god Proteus …

Circle of Life: The Beautiful New Way to Visualize Biological Data

When Martin Krzywinski took a systems administrator job at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Center, he didn't plan on becoming a pioneer of 21st century …

Environment: News & features

Where cats glow green: weird feline science in New Orleans

On a Wednesday morning in September, two doctors, a veterinarian, and a gaggle of externs gathered in an operating room in a science lab deep in the dark, green woods on the west bank of the Mississippi River in New Orleans, Louisiana.<p>On the table lay Junebug, an ordinary brown-and-black house cat …

4-D Printing Means Building Things That Build Themselves

<i>In our</i> Weekly Innovation series<i>, we pick an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Got an innovation you think we should feature? Fill out our form.</i><p>The advent of 3-D printing brought on a number of innovations worthy of news coverage. Printers have created …

Satellite falling: GOCE Satellite to Fall to Earth, Unclear Where

A satellite falling back to Earth will be a likely scenario in the next few days. However, no one knows where GOCE, the European satellite in …

These Two Insects Have Been At It For 165 Million Years

A great find for science!<p>Warning: ancient insect porn. Scientists in northeastern China have discovered the oldest fossil record of insect sex (insex?), in the form of a pair of froghoppers in an eternal embrace. Froghoppers are little bugs, still around today, that hop from plant to plant like a …

Hans Rosling: the man who makes statistics sing

Not many statisticians become famous. But, then, not many do sword swallowing live on stage. Meet Prof Hans Rosling, the presenter of a new BBC Two documentary and the ‘Jedi master’ of data<p>The concept of a “celebrity statistician” might sound as though it must be – and should forever remain – an …

Can games create an education fit for the future?

Imagine a school where playing video games is encouraged during classes and may even replace exams. A new educational programme uses SimCity to test children on vital problem-solving skills.<p>Video games usually get in the way of homework. GlassLab, however, is a collaboration between educators and …

Education

Lythronax argestes: 'King of Gore' joins T rex family tree

A newly-discovered dinosaur, which has been christened "King of gore" by the scientists who have studied it, is the oldest known member of the dinosaur group that gave rise to the mighty <i>Tyrannosaurus rex</i>.<p>The 80m-year-old fossil of <i>Lythronax argestes</i> was found in the Grand Staircase-Escalante …