Wonder catalog

By atomic_playboy | Science, technology, design and other random ephemera

Why an Old Theory of Everything Is Gaining New Life

Twenty-five particles and four forces. That description—the Standard Model of particle physics—constitutes physicists’ best current explanation for …

Physics

A new superpower is discovered in the wondrous cuttlefish

Cuttlefish evolved 21 million years ago, which is plenty of time to develop special skills, like a natural camouflage that instantly transforms their colors and patterns. Humans are still discovering new powers held by these sea chameleons.<p>A study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology …

Biological Species

Wanna Master the Crafty Aerodynamics of a Humongous Telescope? Call Boeing.

Chile's Atacama Desert makes for great stargazing. The dry air and sparse settlement are a major draw for astronomical observatories—the European …

Aerospace

A Clever New Robotic 'Muscle' Seriously Lifts, Bro

Oh, the poor humanoid robots. After decades of development, they're still less sprinty Terminator and more … octogenarian on sedatives. While these …

Robotics
InterAct

Physicists Demonstrate How to Reverse of the Arrow of Time

One of the more curious challenges in physics is to understand the nature of time. At the microscopic level, the laws of physics are symmetric with …

Physics

Secret Link Uncovered Between Pure Math and Physics

Mathematics is full of weird number systems that most people have never heard of and would have trouble even conceptualizing. But rational numbers …

Mathematics

NASA Flights Advance Celestial Schlieren Imagery for Supersonic Aircraft

NASA Advances Schlieren Imagery for Supersonic Aircraft

NASA

AI is now so complex its creators can’t trust why it makes decisions

Artificial intelligence is seeping into every nook and cranny of modern life. AI might tag your friends in photos on Facebook or choose what you see on Instagram, but materials scientists and NASA researchers are also beginning to use the technology for scientific discovery and space …

Artificial Intelligence

Two Incredible New Quantum Machines Have Made Actual Science Discoveries

There’s a nebulous concept that’s floating around the public conscious, called quantum advantage or quantum supremacy. One of these days, someone is …

Soft Robots Acquire Origami Skeletons for Super-Strength

I can’t sit here and promise you that the robot apocalypse isn’t coming, that the machines won’t eventually rise up and overthrow their makers. But …

Robotics

WATCH: The Hurricane Season, As Shown By Salt, Smoke And Dust

Hurricane Harvey as a ball of swirling sea salt. Hurricane Irma scooping up the sands of the Sahara. Hurricane Ophelia, bizarrely, taking smoke from Portugal and pulling it up to the coast of Ireland.<p>A new visualization from NASA shows the hurricanes from 2017 season from a new perspective — that …

The Answer To Life, The Universe — And Everything? It's 63

Often, as we go through the world, the key is to ask the right question.<p>When it comes to figuring out the nature of physical reality, part of that process starts at the absolute edge of the observable universe — the cosmic horizon, a distant layer from which light has only just, in this very …

The Fungus That Turns Ants Into Zombies Is More Diabolical Than We Realized

Carpenter ants of the Brazilian rain forest have it rough. When one of these insects gets infected by a certain fungus, it turns into a so-called …

Biology

Artificial Intelligence Is Putting Ultrasound on Your Phone

If Jonathan Rothberg has a superpower, it’s cramming million-dollar, mainframe-sized machines onto single semiconductor circuit boards. The …

Artificial Intelligence

Now Particle Physics Is Getting in on the Archaeology Game

In December 2015, a group of scientists carried tools into a chamber inside of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Usually, the room was sealed from the …

Higgs Boson

The Astounding Engineering Behind the World's Largest Optical Telescope

It's easy to miss the mirror forge at the University of Arizona. While sizable, the Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory sits in the shadow of the …

Engineering

This Robot Snake Means You No Harm, Really

If you’ve never had a robot snake constrict around your leg, let me tell you, it’s a weird feeling. As it curls its way up your ankle, then shin, …

Robotics

Into the Vortex: Megacomputers and the Quest to Understand Superstorms

A monster was coming to central Oklahoma.<p>Early in the evening of May 30, 2013, Cathy Finley and her partner, Bruce Lee, were driving along a back …

Weather

Google’s AI Wizard Unveils a New Twist on Neural Networks

If you want to blame someone for the hoopla around artificial intelligence, 69-year-old Google researcher Geoff Hinton is a good candidate.<p>The droll …

Artificial Intelligence

Could This Young Physicist Finally Crack the Code to Nuclear Fusion?

Amid the chaos of the Iran–Iraq War and its turbulent aftermath, Fatima Ebrahimi found her refuge in physics. As a teenager in the 1980s, she could …

Deep-Sea Surprise: The Forest of the Weird

Scientists encountered an unexpected glass sponge garden this summer in the deep Pacific

Hayao Miyazaki

How gut bacteria saved ‘dirty mice’ from death

Even if you’re a clean freak, it’s hard to escape a decade of discoveries that some of the microbes naturally residing in your body—your …

Microbiome

How Google's Quantum Computer Could Change the World

Hartmut Neven believes in parallel universes. On a recent morning outside Google’s Los Angeles office, the 53-year-old computer scientist was …

Quantum Mechanics

Antimatter Property Beats Regular Matter After Scientists Make Incredible Precision Measurement

If physics were complete as-is, the Universe wouldn’t exist. All particles would have found their antiparticle pairs and annihilated into a burst of …

Physics
Health

Earth's Underworld is Real and Scientists Just Mapped It

<i>Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate,</i> reads the gates to the <i>Inferno.</i> “Abandon all hope, you who enter,” which is a pretty nice way of saying …

Stunning AI Breakthrough Takes Us One Step Closer to the Singularity

Remember AlphaGo, the first artificial intelligence to defeat a grandmaster at Go? Well, the program just got a major upgrade, and it can now teach …