John Park

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Bird Flight Patterns Get Captured in Stunning Still Images

For the past five years, Xavi Bou has been hard at work on his 'Ornitographies' photography series.<p>For five years Xavi Bou has traveled in order to document the flight patterns of several different species of bird. Inspired by the birds he used to see on long walks with his grandfather, Bou decided …

Nature Photography

This Famous Image Of Marie Curie Isn't Marie Curie

This one could've used a fact-checker or two...<p>The above image, allegedly of Marie Curie, adorns stamps around the world. But there's a problem: It's not Marie Curie.<p>It's instead a photo of Susan Marie Frontczak, snapped by Paul Schroder in 2001. Frontczak makes a living portraying the famous …

New Android adware reportedly “nearly impossible” to remove

Lookout has discovered a new form of adware that roots a device after the user installs it, then entrenches itself as a system application. This makes it impervious to any normal means of deleting it, even factory resetting the device.<p>This is a new, more sophisticated version of typical adware, …

Wherever You Go, Your Personal Cloud Of Microbes Follows

Remember Pig-Pen? The little kid from Charles Schulz's <i>Peanuts</i> cartoons who walked around in a cloud of dirt? Well, the human body does spew a cloud, but instead of dirt it contains millions of microorganisms.<p>"It turns out that that kid is all of us," says James Meadow, a microbial ecologist who led …

Microbiology

The deviousness of dementia | Dasha Kiper

When memory disappears, something more than memory gets lost. This is how a world begins to unravel – and how caregivers unwittingly become part of the chaos<p>In November 2010, when I was 25 years old, I moved in with a man who was 98. This man, whom I’ll call Mr Schecter, wasn’t a friend or relation …

Dementia

Dead arms test importance of clenched fists

<b>In macabre experiments which saw dead, severed arms swing punches on a large pendulum, US scientists have measured the extent to which a clenched fist shields fragile bones in the hand.</b><p>Consequently, a fist can strike with twice the force of an open-handed slap.<p>Prof David Carrier from the University …

Caffeine Makes For Busy Bees, Not Productive Ones

A caffeinated bee is a busier bee. It’ll work harder to find food, and to communicate the location of said food to other bees. It will, however, misjudge the quality of the food it finds, and so make its colony less productive. The irony of writing about this as I sip an unwisely strong espresso at …

Have We Detected Megastructures Built By Aliens Around A Distant Star?

Or just a cloud of comets? Scientists want to investigate further<p>The Kepler space telescope's job is to find faraway planets that could potentially support life. But as <i>The Atlantic</i> reports, scientists are exploring the possibility that the telescope may have detected something even more …

7 Places Where Dying Is Not Allowed

Death is usually considered the worst punishment possible for a crime. But what if the crime itself is death? In several cities around the world, …

Washington State

Sand Like You've Never Seen It Before

Once more unto the beach<p>To the naked eye, sand looks pretty uniform. Tiny beige specks of varying shades, collectively covering beaches and shores and deserts. But when you peek at it through a microscope, all of that changes. Gary Greenburg, a research affiliate at the University of Hawaii …

First light-based memory chip puts SSDs on notice

Researchers have created the first optical-only chip that can permanently store data, a discovery that could lead to storage devices that leave SSDs in the dust. Non-volatile flash memory currently relies on electronic chips, which are speed-limited by the heat and resistance generated by colliding …

Nanotech

Mealworms Can Happily And Safely Eat Styrofoam

Say hello to my wriggly friend<p>Mealworms are those squirmy guys you took care of in science class or fed to a particularly hungry pet chicken or reptile. And new studies from Stanford suggest that these creepy crawlers could be incredibly good for the environment.<p>Two papers, published in</i> …

Researchers Make Artificial Cells That Can Replicate Themselves

To better understand how life might have started on Earth<p>Scientists have a pretty good theory for how life on Earth began: Meteorites that bombarded our planet brought simple carbon-based compounds called amino acids. Eventually, slowly, these chemicals combined to make cells, which were then able …

The Covert World of People Trying to Edit Wikipedia—for Pay

Can the site’s dwindling ranks of volunteer editors protect its articles from the influence of money?<p>On January 11, 2013, James Heilman, an emergency-room physician and one of Wikipedia’s most prolific medical editors, was standing watch over the online encyclopedia’s entry for a back procedure …

Journalism

Gaming Google for Profit and Ideology

Since today is the 11th anniversary of first-day trading in Google shares after its initial public offering, I wanted to bring to your attention a …

The Science of Snobbery: How We're Duped Into Thinking Fancy Things Are Better

Wine snobs, string quartets, and the limits of intuition<p>Several months ago, this author sat at a classical music concert, trying to convince himself that wine is not bullshit.<p>That may seem like a strange thought to have while listening to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major. But Priceonomics had …

Tesla's Model S P85D is so good it broke Consumer Reports' rating system

103 out of 100<p>How good is Tesla's Model S P85D? Insanely good, says <i>Consumer Reports</i>, with the electric sedan performing better than any other car the magazine has reviewed and breaking its rating system in the process. "The Tesla initially scored 103 in the Consumer Reports' Ratings system, which …

Why do traffic jams sometimes form for no reason?

If you've ever driven on a highway, you've probably seen it happen. Traffic slows to a crawl, then stops entirely. Minutes later, it begins to move again, and then suddenly, you're moving at full speed.<p>The weirdest part: there's no construction, accident, or other possible explanation for the …

This Face Changes the Human Story. But How?

Scientists have discovered a new species of human ancestor deep in a South African cave, adding a baffling new branch to the family tree.<p>A trove of bones hidden deep within a South African cave represents a new species of human ancestor, scientists announced Thursday in the journal <i>eLife</i><i>.</i> <i>Homo …

'Clown Gun' For Police Slows Down A Single Bullet

A less lethal alternative<p>Bullets in motion tend to remain in motion for far longer than anyone wants. While most accurate shooting with handguns takes place at distances of around six feet, pistol bullets can travel up to 1,000 feet after they're fired. Made by Alternative Ballistics, “The …

Self Defense

Can the Chinese Government Get Its People to Like G.M.O.s?

In China, which has one-fifth of the world’s population but just seven per cent of the world’s arable land, food security is a national obsession. Pesticides and enhanced fertilizers no longer improve crop yields as markedly as they once did, and staple crops, such as rice, may not grow as reliably …

Motorized Paper Airplanes Are Drones, According To FAA

Get high like paper, make laws about drones<p>Is a paper airplane a drone? For the Federal Aviation Administration, responsible for regulating America’s skies, this is no longer an idle question. The commercial use of drones is currently prohibited in the United States, unless an operator receives an …

21 Emotions For Which There Are No English Words [Infographic]

That sort of painful, sort of bittersweet, sort of wistful feeling you get looking out the window or driving at night or listening to a far-off train whistle? There's a word for that in Japanese.<p>Few of us use all--or even most--of the 3,000 English-language words available to us for describing our …

The Stunning Ways Driftwood Builds Landscapes

Changing Planet<p>Lines of spruce trees that grew along decaying driftwood piles mark the locations of past shorelines for thousands of years. (Photo by Natalie Kramer Anderson, Aug 2014)<p><b>By Natalie Kramer Anderson</b><p>I study driftwood in rivers. I have traveled to rivers and creeks in Canada, the United …

Oceans Will Rise Much More Than Predicted, NASA Says

Predictions from a few years ago already are outdated. “Sea levels are rising faster than they were 50 years ago, and it's very likely to get worse,” one scientist says.<p>Year by year, millimeter by millimeter, the seas are rising. Fed by melting glaciers and ice sheets, and swollen by thermal …

What Is Killing America’s Bees and What Does It Mean for Us?

There was a moment last year when beekeeper Jim Doan was ready to concede defeat. He stood in the kitchen of his rural New York home, holding the …

Insects

Researchers Create Robots Capable of Evolving

Awww, look at the baby robot!<p>Robots are made, they are not born. Or are they? At the University of Cambridge, scientists have created a "mother robot" that can not only build smaller robots, it can also select the fittest among them for survival, and re-arrange the rest.<p>Welcome to the world of …

Delivery Robots Are Coming To A Hotel Near You

Service with a side of bleeps and bloops<p>Soon hotels will be teeming with robots. At least that’s the hope at Savioke, a startup that develops robots for the service industry. The company’s room-service helpers have made more than 4,000 deliveries so far. Its newest robot, Relay, has been deployed …

Hyperloop startup adds partners — and inches closer to launch

Skeptics tend to view Elon Musk’s proposed “hyperloop” high-speed transportation system as a beautiful dream, unlikely to become real.<p>But apparently, it’s a dream many share.<p>Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, one of two startups formed to pursue the concept, announced today that its core team …

Aztec skull trophy rack discovered at Mexico City’s Templo Mayor ruin site

Such racks, or tzompantli, were used to display severed heads of sacrifice victims on wooden poles, and this one is made partly of skulls mortared together<p>Archaeologists say they have have found the main trophy rack of sacrificed human skulls at Mexico City’s Templo Mayor Aztec ruin site.<p>Racks …

Archaeology