Toni Searcy

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Poof! The Planet Closest To Our Solar System Just Vanished

The disappearance of Alpha Centauri Bb raises questions for planet hunters looking for Earth-sized alien worlds.<p>Scientists just made a planet disappear. According to a new study, Alpha Centauri Bb, a world in the nearest star system to us, was merely a ghost in the data.<p>The planet, thought to be …

Universe

Nintendo’s First Smartphone App, Miitomo, Will Release In March 2016

Will it launch alongside Mario and Zelda?<p>Miitomo will mark Nintendo’s first foray into the smartphone app world.<p>The Japanese gaming giant has long been known for its first-party games and dedicated hardware to go along with them. Nintendo’s recent change of heart is a result of the their …

Giant Dinosaurs Nested Like Enormous Turkeys

All dinosaurs start off life small. That’s as true for today’s birds as the titans of the Mesozoic, and it may have been a critical part of what allowed ancient dinosaurs to surpass mammals in size. In order to hatch and grow into such stupendous shapes, though, the little egg-bound dinosaurs had …

Paleontology

Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic test fires new rocket engines

Virgin Galactic has released video of it test firing engines for its new space craft which it hopes will launch small satellites into orbit<p>Sir Richard Branson's spaceflight company Virgin Galactic has been testing its new rocket engines that will deliver satellites into space, and wants everyone to …

Repaired SpaceX rocket to fly by early December, company says

(story corrects to remove reference to SpacePharma satellite, which is due to go on a later flight, paragraphs 5 and 6)<p>JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, expects to return a repaired and upgraded Falcon 9 rocket to flight around the start of December, a company vice …

Apple faces $862 million fine for infringing university’s patent

Apple may face $862 million in damages for allegedly infringing on a patent owned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s patent-licensing wing, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.<p>The Apple technologies that take advantage of said patent for increased processor efficiency? None other than …

Spectacular Meteor Shower This Week: How to See It

Watch the Draconids shoot through the sky Thursday and Friday on moonless nights that promise great views.<p>The temperamental annual meteor shower known as the Draconids peaks this week under dark skies, offering skywatchers a nearly perfect chance to see as many as two dozen shooting stars per …

Sony Acquires SoftKinetic, Which Can Track Hands for Virtual Reality

It's sort of like having a baby-sized Kinect mounted on your face.<p>Sony has acquired SoftKinetic, a computer vision startup specializing in depth-sensing cameras that can track things like what gestures your hands are making, for an undisclosed amount.<p>That’s a neat fit for Sony, which is working on …

Nobel prize for chemistry: Lindahl, Modrich and Sancar win for DNA research

The Nobel prize in chemistry has been awarded to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar for their research into the mechanisms that cells use to repair DNA.<p>The three scientists, from Sweden, the US and Turkey respectively, received an equal share of the prestigious 8m Swedish kronor (£631,000) …

Genetics

How can some stars be older than the universe itself?

The Night Sky, October 2015: the majestic M13 cluster in the constellation of Hercules seems to defy common sense<p>People who glance casually up at the stars seldom think of them as they appear in this picture: vast and tightly packed profusions of red, green, blue, purple and gold.<p>This tremendous …

Universe

VW CEO: 'I am endlessly sorry' brand is tarnished

DETROIT (AP) — Volkswagen AG's smog-test scandal escalated Tuesday as the company acknowledged putting stealth software in millions of vehicles …

New images of Pluto released for virtual flyover animation

Newly-released images of Pluto included in virtual flyover animation made by Nasa<p>New Horizons is in the process of sending back tens of gigabits of data collected during its successful flyby of Pluto in July.<p>The most recent images released by Nasa show the dwarf planet's areas of smooth, icy …

Solar System

Air Force to Have Lasers on Its Fighters by 2020

Cheap and powerful, directed-energy weapons pods could be mounted on jets just five years from now.<p>The Navy has a seaborne deathlaser on patrol in the Gulf Coast, futuristic railguns in testing, and wants better versions of both in the next five years. Meanwhile, the Air Force isn't slacking; it's …

Aviation

Antibacterial handwash 'no better than soap at killing germs'

Active ingredient triclosan found to be no more effective than soap under 'everyday conditions' and has also been linked to allergies and cancer<p>Antibacterial handwash is no more effective than plain soap at killing bacteria, a new study has found.<p>In recent years numerous products have appeared on …

Personal Hygiene

Hyundai Signals High Performance Ambitions

New ‘N’ brand will compete with BMW’s M, Cadillac’s V-Series and Lexus F souped up models.<p>SEOUL—Hyundai Motor Co. outlined plans to compete against the high performance cars of rivals such as BMW AG and General Motors Co.’s Cadillac, saying it expects to begin selling souped up models within two …

General Motors

Prosthetic limb used to restore 'near-natural' sense of touch, claims DARPA

The US military agency DARPA says it has successfully restored a test subject's sense of touch using a prosthetic hand connected directly to the brain. The research was carried out on an anonymous 28-year-old man, who was paralyzed after suffering a spinal cord injury more than a decade ago. An …

Toxic Algae May Threaten West Coast Marine Economy for Years

A long band of toxic algae blooming off the West Coast of the United States shows no sign of receding months after scientists first observed it, leaving many worried that it will make trouble for local commercial fishing and tourism industries.<p>Some species of algae in the bloom—part of a group …

Whisky Aged on Space Station Returns to Earth With ‘New Flavors’

A vial of smoky Scotch whisky has returned to Earth after a four-year stint in the International Space Station, and its owners have subjected it to sophisticated instruments (and palates), to find that it does indeed have a flavor all its own. The results are given in a white paper published by …

Reproducibility will not cure what ails science

A bill to make data for environmental regulation more transparent reveals the fuzzy boundary between science and ideology, argues Daniel …

‘God Particle’: New CERN Experiments Shed More Light on Higgs Boson

GENEVA -- After three years of scrutinizing the elusive Higgs boson closely, scientists say they've determined that the "God particle" behaves just as predicted. The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN, said Tuesday two experiments that previously helped …

Microsoft's HoloLens headset will reach developers within a year

When Microsoft said that its HoloLens headset would arrive "in the Windows 10 time frame," what did it mean, exactly? Thanks to a <i>BBC</i> interview with Satya Nadella, we now have a better sense of when this augmented reality eyewear will show up. The company chief expects developers and enterprise …

Augmented Reality

Hibernating bears could hold the key to long-distance space travel

Astronauts could protect themselves against bone wastage by harnessing a unique biological process that allows black bears to maintain their skeletons during hibernation.<p>A study has revealed that bears protect their bones from degrading, despite hardly moving for up to six months, by suppressing …

Bears

Giant heart spotted on Pluto in closest ever pictures of dwarf planet

Next week the probe will arrive at the dwarf-planet carrying the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh<p>It has been a labour of love for scientists who have waited nine years for Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft to get close enough to Pluto to take these pictures.<p>And it appears that the dwarf-planet shares their …

NASA Could Soon Launch A Giant Solar Sail Beyond Our Solar System

Raise the e-sail<p>We’ve all seen Bill Nye’s Lightsail expedition, but now our friends at NASA are stepping in to take things a bit further.<p>In this year’s round of NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) funding, NASA has funded it’s own Bruce Wiegmann and his team of solar propulsion experts to …

Solar Wind

The US just tapped into a surprising source of renewable energy for the first time

The project involves the Azura prototype, built by Northwest Energy Innovations. Azura is a 45 ton machine that moves with the swells of the waves capturing their complex motion in 360 degrees, making it more efficient than other wave generators that only capture a particular movement in the waves …

Can Mars One colonise the red planet?

When Nasa’s first rover set down on the surface of Mars in 1997, its streamed colour images caused an early internet sensation. After centuries of dreaming, here we were, at eye level to our closest potentially habitable neighbour, and the sight was as bleakly majestic as we could have imagined: a …

Mars

The Galaxy S6 Edge Iron Man edition has landed, check out the unboxing video

After a brief teasing, the Iron Man edition of the Galaxy S6 Edge has arrived, and it’s every bit as flashy as we expected it to be.<p>The Iron Man Galaxy S6 Edge features a Tony Stark approved red and gold paint scheme, complete with the likeness of the titular hero on its back. Other than the new …

Woman Hanging on Shell Ship Since Friday Ends Drill Protest

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — A woman who had been hanging off the anchor chain of a support ship that is part of Royal Dutch Shell's plans to explore for oil in the Arctic Ocean ended her dayslong protest north of Seattle on Monday morning.<p>Student activist Chiara D'Angelo requested assistance getting down …

Watch the first launch of Bill Nye's LightSail spacecraft live at 10:45AM ET

The first test flight of the experimental LightSail spacecraft blasts off today at approximately 11:05AM ET, with the live stream (above) starting at 10:45AM ET. The project is led by nonprofit The Planetary Society, with Bill Nye at the helm. It aims to test a new form of space travel known as …