Sam Whittaker

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Brain implants control robot arm well enough to grab a beer

A paralyzed man named Erik Sorto has finally been able to drink beer on his own after 13 years, and it's all thanks to a robotic arm controlled solely by his mind. If you've been following our robotics coverage, you'll know it isn't the first mind-controlled robo limb -- a DARPA-funded project once …

Robotics

A study released last week presented evidence that prehistoric men and women lived in relative equality. But is the truth even further from the nuclear narrative?<p>Last week, scientists from University College London released a paper presenting evidence that men and women in early society lived in …

Anthropology

New Russian Armored Vehicle Operates Via Video Game Controller

Grittiest Call of Duty reboot ever<p>Inside a Russian tank, they’re reinventing the wheel. The new Kurganets-25 is controlled by a Playstation-inspired controller, according to state-owned Russian news outlet Sputnik.<p>The Kurganets-25 is an infantry fighting vehicle, which is a category of machine …

Weekend-only drug use frequently slips into weekday drug use, study says

Beware, weekend ragers: A new study suggests that people who use drugs only on the weekends frequently begin using them on weekdays too.<p>In a paper published Monday in Annals of Family Medicine, researchers report that 54% of people who said they restricted their drug use to Friday night, Saturday …

Physics be damned, we can’t stop obsessing over NASA’s ‘impossible engine'

Imagine an engine with nothing powering it. There are no moving parts, nothing appears to be coming out the back, and when you look inside, there’s nothing there either. This is the unbelievable premise behind the "EM drive" — a hypothetical space drive that we’ve been promised might one day take …

Cross a Kangaroo, Koala, Sloth, Monkey, and Bear and This Is What You Get

Changing Planet<p>“When you’re a kid and you think of a very magical place, this is it,” says Lisa Dabek, picturing the lush Papua New Guinea cloud forest. Even the wildlife sounds like something out of a children’s book. “It’s kind of a hybrid of a kangaroo, a koala, a sloth, and a monkey. And a …

Chernobyl Fox Makes a Six-Layer Sandwich

Calls of the Wild—Why Do Animals (Including Your Dog) Howl?

Some canines, monkeys, and yes, even mice communicate and defend their territories by howling, experts say.<p>When someone asked me recently "Why do wolves howl?" my first thought was, "Wouldn't you, if you could?"<p>As far as calls of the wild go, howling is among the most mesmerizing—but not many …

Microsoft's HoloLens is new, improved, and still has big problems

HoloLens can deliver amazing illusions, but only on a small scale<p>Microsoft's HoloLens is the kind of thing that science fiction has been preparing us for for decades. From the moment I saw it, I knew exactly what I wanted it to do: project a heads-up display around real life, let me play with …

GM is investing billions in its U.S. plants. Here’s why

When General Motors (GM) makes a die for one of its enormous stamping presses that turns sheet metal into auto parts, each die first must be …

Penguins use poo to melt snow

Call it landscaping the penguin way: time-lapse footage from a colony of Antarctic Gentoo penguins appears to show the birds using their feces to melt snow in their breeding grounds. The images — captured by the University of Oxford's Penguin Watch initiative — show the snow piling up before the …

Who loves rainbows?

April showers brought these rainbows. Enjoy these awesome photos from our friends!<p>Thank you to everyone who submitted rainbow photos, or posted them …

Hybrid Bird Drone Flaps Through The Sky

Robotic elegance<p>Rarely has human flight achieved the gracefulness of the birds. Manned airplanes, no matter how sleek, are still largely tubes with wings, pulled through the sky by powerful engines. Helicopters are little better, their spinning blades creating a frenzy of noise and dust wherever …

Report says top US psychologists collaborated with torture program architects

The report and newly published emails detail the relationship between the APA and Bush administration<p>Members of the American Psychological Association, the largest association of psychologists in the United States, "secretly coordinated" with the George W. Bush administration on the CIA's torture …

See how bat biology could lead to better aircraft

Our Batplane dreams inch closer to reality<p>Researchers at Johns Hopkins believe their new study on the biology of bats points in the direction of improved air travel. According to a paper published in the journal <i>Cell Reports</i>, scientists from Johns Hopkins, along with Columbia University and …

How This Beetle Creates 500 Explosions Per Second In Its Bum

There are few defences more extreme than that of the bombardier beetles. These insects deliberately engineer explosive chemical reactions inside their own bodies, so they can spray burning, caustic liquid from their backsides. The liquid can reach up to 22 miles per hour, at temperatures of around …

5 reasons to drink shade-grown coffee - Futurity

A simple choice can help improve sustainability practices in the $100-billion global coffee industry, says biologist Shalene Jha.

What Animals Are Likely to Go Extinct First Due to Climate Change

Australia, New Zealand, and South America are among the hardest hit as rising temperatures could drive the extinction of one in six species worldwide.<p>One in six species could disappear as the climate warms over the next century, with animals and plants in South America particularly hard hit while …

Climate Change

Here's our first close-up look at Microsoft's holographic computer glasses

Our correspondents Julie Bort and Matt Weinberger are both at Microsoft's BUILD Conference in San Francisco this week, and they're finally getting their much-awaited demonstration of HoloLens, the company's futuristic computer glasses that superimpose holograms on the world around you.<p>Microsoft is …

Fortune.com

• 1. To license Fortune articles, excerpts, or headlines for republication in various media (including books, eBooks, film, web, newsletters, …

Unity Will Be Able To Build Games For Microsoft’s HoloLens

The Unity game engine is arguably the de facto standard for those dabbling in Oculus Rift development.<p>But that doesn’t mean the Unity/Rift relationship is particularly exclusive — that’s hardly Unity’s style.<p>Thus, Unity today announced support for an entirely different headset platform: Microsoft’s …

This Self-Powered Video Camera Can Keep Recording Forever

Long after human civilization has crumbled, the cameras documenting the aftermath might remain.<p>A new type of video camera is entirely self-powered. Developed by researchers at Columbia University, it can go on forever, continuously recording one image per second of “a well-lit indoor scene”.<p>The …

Watch Thermal Video Of A Lithium-Ion Battery Exploding

Kaboom!<p>This Friday, Europe's largest freight carrier, Cargolux, will ban bulk shipments of lithium-ion batteries from its freight planes. Last month, an international group of airplane manufacturers urged airlines to ban shipments of the batteries on passenger planes, and last year a Boeing …

Hypernova: one direct hit of its deadly gamma rays and life on Earth will be obliterated

The Night Sky in May 2015: when black holes collide, they unleash a stellar fury<p>It is now 65 years since Enrico Fermi asked his famous question: "Where is everyone?" Yet still no trace of alien civilisations has been found.<p>They ought to exist. The Sun is an ordinary star and Earth an ordinary …

Universe

Why do we get sleep in our eyes?

Our eyes fill up with gunk as we sleep, but what is it? As Jason G Goldman discovers, the stuff has a more important job than it seems.<p>The first thing I do when I wake up each morning is look at the long list of notifications that have silently accumulated on my phone as I slept. The second thing I …

5 Strange Ways Animal Mothers Carry Their Babies

With Mother's Day around the corner, we take a closer look at how animals tote their youngsters, from putting them on their heads to literally embedding them in their backs.<p>If you think strapping a toddler into a car seat or herding your crew into a minivan is hard work, be glad you're not a wolf …

Zoology

iPad app issue grounds 'a few dozen' American Airlines flights

'It's random, but no one's going anywhere til we figure it out.'<p>Multiple American Airlines flights were thrown into chaos tonight as an app issue with the on-board iPads used by pilots made it impossible to take off. Affected flights appeared to include AA2413, AA2276, AA1654, AA235, and AA128. …

One Monkey Species Cracks Another's Linguistic Code

If you speak French, you might be able to make out what an Italian is saying — but if you're a particular species of monkey, could you pick up on warnings from a different monkey species? The answer is yes, based on research into the vocabularies of Campbell's monkeys and Diana monkeys in a West …

Monkeys