Darwin Roddy

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'Impossible' Space Engine May Actually Work, NASA Test Suggests

It's really starting to look as if an "impossible" space propulsion technology actually works.<p>Researchers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston …

Jack the Ripper was Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski, book claims

A self-confessed “armchair detective” claims to have solved perhaps the most notorious whodunit ever by claiming to have discovered the identity of Jack the Ripper.<p>Russell Edwards claims Aaron Kosminski, a 23 year-old Polish immigrant who ended up dying in an asylum, was “definitely, categorically …

Improbable Thruster Seems to Work by Violating Known Laws of Physics — NOVA Next | PBS

Every action creates an equal and opposite reaction. It’s perhaps the best known law of physics, and Guido Fetta thinks he’s found a way around …

Nasa Mars Orbiters See Evidence Of Liquid Rivers On Red Planet

A remarkable set of images taken by Nasa's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests there may still be flowing water somewhere on the planet.<p>The images …

Height perception and paranoia

Experiencing the world from lower down than usual can increase how mistrustful and paranoid people feel, according to research in a virtual world.<p>Scientists believe that feelings of persecution were triggered when people lost height and suffered a fall in self-esteem, which led them to see …

Could a blood test tell which diet is best for you?

Your best friend swears by the Paleo Diet. Your boss loves Atkins. Your sister is gluten-free, and your roommate is an acolyte of Michael Pollan. So …

Bioinspired glass dents instead of shatters

Engineers inspired by the mother-of-pearl lining of mollusk shells have found that etching wavy lines in glass can actually give the brittle material …

Hello, Neanderthal! Yes, This Means You.

Their lives were nasty, brutish and short—and so were they, as it turns out. But our close evolutionary cousins the Neanderthals had plenty of …

Q&A: The Engineer Who Wants To Power The World With Carbs

Visions of a sweet future<p>You might like carbs, but probably not in the way Percival Zhang does. Zhang, a chemical engineer at Virginia Tech, runs a lab that's dedicated to converting carbohydrates into electricity. The lab's inventions include proofs of concepts showing that carbohydrates are able …

A Brief History of Mind-Bending Ideas About Black Holes

Physicist Stephen Hawking made headlines recently by saying that black holes – the incredibly massive astronomical objects that made him famous – do …

Scientists create stem cells by traumatizing adult cells

Creating stem cells is becoming easier than ever thanks to a new technique being developed by researchers in Boston and Japan. The technique allows for the creation of embryonic-style stem cells by doing little more than applying stress to existing adult cells. Like other stem cells, this new type …

Simple way to make stem cells in half an hour hailed as major discovery

A radical and remarkably easy way to make cells that can grow into any tissue in the body has been developed by scientists in Japan.<p>The feat has been hailed as a major discovery by researchers familiar with the work, and if it can be repeated in human tissue, could lead to cheap and simple …

Stem Cell 'Breakthrough' Could Lead To New Era Of Personalised Medicine

A "revolutionary" new approach to creating stem cells in the laboratory could open up a new era of personalised medicine, it is claimed.<p>Scientists …

Future of personal clothes shopping in Ireland

The BBC's Chris Buckler speaks to Alan Kearney, from Irish technology company Gesaky, about his firms plans to create interactivity in fashion retail stores.<p>The interactive mirror is a display that not only provides information on clothes in store, but also acts as a personal shopper showing …

Ireland

Dell's new Android HDMI dongle turns screens into virtualized desktop computers for $130

Dell's betting that a bunch of businesspeople want to be able to carry their work computer around in their pocket. Not <i>literally</i>, of course, but with the release of the company's $130 dollar Wyse Cloud Connect dongle (formerly known as Project Ophelia), you can do just that. It connects to any TV or …

Why the universe may be nothing more than math

If you're not already a physicist, you need to mentally prepare yourself for MIT professor Max Tegmark's explanation of how our entire universe isn't just described by math, but <i>is</i> math. <i>Scientific American</i> published an excerpt from Tegmark's new book, <i>Our Mathematical Universe</i>, which explains that …

Get ready for a crash at the Milky Way’s core

A mysterious gas cloud with three times Earth’s mass is spiraling toward the supermassive black hole at the core of our Milky Way galaxy. Expect to …

Black Holes

Why Some Mushrooms May Be Magic for Climate Change

Fungi don’t get the respect they deserve. Maybe that’s because they do most of their work in the dark, beneath the ground or on dead matter, or …

Some brain regions stay ‘childlike’ after we grow up

In adults, some brain regions retain a “childlike” ability to establish new connections, potentially contributing to our capacity to learn new skills …

Contemplate the apex of the sun’s way

Tonight, as you look up at the stars, think about the way our local star, the sun, moves through our Milky Way galaxy. A friend from Australia …

Astronomy

Scientists Move Levitating Objects Through Space for the First Time

Now rather than merely lifting objects with sound waves, scientists can move them in every direction.<p>Levitation isn't just for mystics anymore.<p>A Japanese technology team has demonstrated ultrasonic levitation of objects that for the first time works in three dimensions. This means that as opposed …

The Shape of Your Head and the Shape of Your Mind

How the archaic study of brain shape and head reading — the origin of terms like “highbrow” and “lowbrow,” “well rounded,” and “shrink” — shaped the modern obsession with the mind. One reason phrenology attracted so many followers was that it seemed to provide the toolbox for the American dream.<p>To …

Mysteries of the Unseen World

The current René Magritte exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC (which concludes on 12 January), titled "The Mystery of the Ordinary," showcased surrealist paintings by the Belgian artist that challenged the way the viewer would perceive the "ordinary." In a similar—and more …

A Glue That Seals Heart Defects

The glue—which researchers showed is able to hold fast on live beating hearts—could be a gentler alternative to stitches.<p>Nearly a decade ago, Jeffrey Karp was playing around with a new, biodegradable polymer he'd made. He was a post-doctoral researcher at MIT. He ended up gluing together two pieces …

Pigs

CES 2014: Liquipel-Treated Clothes Can't Get Wet [Video]

Your suede is saved!<p>Now that Liquipel has saved our phones (and apparently earbuds and Jamboxes) from watery deaths, they're out to save your wardrobe, too. At CES this year, the company is announcing that its water (and muck) repelling treatment is coming to fabrics. They're working with labels to …

CES

Big Pic: An Electronic Membrane Thin Enough To Drape Over Human Hairs

A step toward electronic contact lenses<p>What's this? It's an electronic membrane that's so thin and flexible, it can drape itself over human hairs and continue to work. Yep, those long sticks are hairs. The membrane is one micrometer thick, while the hairs are about 100 micrometers thick.<p>This device …

Nanotech

How Cuddling Saves Tiny Babies

Babies are less obvious creatures than they seem. Yes, their list of demands is short and straightforward: they need food, sleep and frequent diaper …

Gemini Planet Imager photographs alien worlds in just a minute

Although it has been possible to take direct photos of exoplanets for a few years, the technology involved has been low-resolution and slow -- it can take up to an hour to get a crude shot of a dimly-lit world. It's much easier with the recently launched Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), though. …