Slipstick

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Demystifying the Bézier Curve

How does a Bézier curve work under the hood? If you design vector graphics for a living — or aspire to do so — you might just want to know such a thing.<p>Bézier curves gained popularity in 1962 from Pierre Bézier, a French engineer who used them for automobile design at Renault. They are widely used …

Majorana particles - Fundamentally confusing

A completely new type of particle is observed for the first time. What does that mean, fundamentally?<p>You could define particle physics as the quest to discover the fundamental constituents of nature, and to understand how they interact. The so-called “Standard Model” of physics contains a list of …

President Obama creating task force to save bee population from collapse

The Obama administration is taking steps to save bees from extinction. In a memorandum released on Friday, the White House is seeking to create a new task force to investigate the effects of new insecticides on bees and other crucial pollinators. The group will have 180 days to produce a strategy …

Combat air controllers: Skydiving with dirt bikes and guns

<b>(CNN) —</b> Airmen toss dirt bikes out the rear of an airborne plane.<p>Then, a so-called "bike chaser" jumps out after them.<p>When U.S. troops take control of an airfield in a combat zone, this often is how it begins.<p>Parachutes unfurl. The motorbikes float to earth along with the bike chaser, who quickly …

Dick Cheney, Iraq and the ghosts of Vietnam

Cheney and his neocon cabal want to go back to Iraq – but they’re really fighting Vietnam all over again<p>Neither the film world nor the political world paid much attention to R. J. Cutler’s Showtime documentary “The World According to Dick Cheney,” released in the dim and distant days of March 2013, …

Dinosaurs were neither cold-blooded nor warm-blooded, study finds

Dinosaurs have long been thought of as slow, lumbering, cold-blooded animals, akin to reptiles like the crocodile and the lizard – but there’s been increasing signs in recent years that they may have been warm-blooded, as mammals and birds are. New research out of the<p>University of New Mexicoin …

Anatomy Of A Dance Hit: Why We Love To Boogie With Pharrell

There's no doubt Pharrell's "Happy" is the biggest hit of the year so far. It spent 15 weeks at the top of the <i>Billboard</i> 100 and inspired hundreds of fan videos on YouTube.<p>Just a few weeks ago, six Iranian teenagers got arrested for posting a video of themselves dancing to the catchy song.<p>So what is …

Florida Officials Warn About Painful New Virus

Florida health officials issued a warning on Friday about chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that’s spreading across the Caribbean.<p>Three cases of the disease have been found in Florida, so far only in travelers, the Florida Department of Health said. But infected people can spread the disease when …

Public Health

Defend Your Cubicle With A Nerf Sentry Gun

You'll be the undefeatable champion with this one<p>Tell workplace pen thieves and pranksters how you really feel with a barrage of foam darts. This project hacks a Nerf gun to automatically fire at large heat signatures. Simply replace the toy’s trigger system with a servomotor, wire up a home …

Self Defense

Climate Change Already Having Wide-Ranging Effects On U.S., Report Finds

People are already grappling with drought, heat, flooding, and sea level rise.<p>When it comes to climate change, the future is now; it no longer makes sense to (solely) talk about potential impacts in the future, since it is already having a wide range of effects in the United States, according to a …

Climate Change

Algorithm Reveals Link Between Sour Cream And Traffic Accidents

Visualizing the unexpected correlations that surround us<p>Data suggest: marriages in Alabama are causing deaths by electrocution, divorces in South Carolina are causing bees to produce more honey, and Nicolas Cage movies are saving thousands of lives each year.<p>Tyler Vigen created a program, …

South Carolina

World of Science in Pictures

John Oliver skewers cable news and climate change skepticism

Cable news has always made a rich target for comics, but after a recent report on the devastating effects of manmade climate change, John Oliver's <i>Last Week Tonight</i> attacked the networks' skeptical response head-on. In the segment, he plans out a "statistically accurate" climate debate that pits …

West Antarctic Ice Sheet’s Collapse Triggers Sea Level Warning

Two teams of scientists say the long-feared collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has begun, kicking off what they say will be a centuries-long, "unstoppable" process that could raise sea levels by as much as 15 feet.<p>"There's been a lot of speculation about the stability of marine ice sheets, …

Global Warming

Malba Tahan: the literary hoaxer who made Brazil love maths

Arab freedom fighter Malba Tahan wrote one of Brazil's most popular books, even though all was not what it seemed<p>I have two specialisms: Brazil and mathematics.<p>My first book <i>Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life</i> was about Brazilian football, and my most recent one, <i>Alex Through The Looking-Glass</i>, is …

A New Theory On How Ancient Egyptians Built The Pyramids

How ancient Egyptians constructed the pyramids is still somewhat of an archeological mystery. Everything from cranes and ramps to oil-slicked slipways to aliens (naturally) have been put forward as possible mechanisms. A group of Dutch physicists has a new hypothesis on how ancient Egyptians …

Ancient History

Listen To These Lovely Cats. No, Actually, Don't

"Oh, evolution," writes Mara Grunbaum in her new, about-to-come-out book, <i>WTF Evolution,</i> "You were doing so well with the lynx. You made it a fierce and graceful hunter, you gave it a luxurious spotted coat, you gave it pretty yellow eyes and tufted ears — and then you made it sound like this …

10 mammoth corporations that will do anything to cheat the free market — and their consumers

From Monsanto to Comcast, these massive companies are doing everything they can to stamp out their competition<p>One of the fundamentals of free-market capitalism is that consumers benefit when competition is plentiful. If a business is selling a weak or inferior product, consumers can turn to the …

How to See Without Glasses

New Georgia Gun Law Sparks Controversy

A new gun law in Georgia is giving gun owners the go-ahead to pack heat in some pretty surprising places. A bar owner must now opt out if they want guns banned on the premises. And unless a police officer witnesses a crime, they are banned from asking individuals who brandish a gun to show their …

At The NRA Meeting: Come For The Guns, Stay For The Camaraderie

Ben Pickering can't believe his luck.<p>"Holy cow," he keeps saying. "Man, that's just incredible. That's just amazing."<p>Pickering won a drawing for an Ambush rifle, an $1,800 AR-15-style model. Pickering already has a lot of weapons — "I honestly could not count," he says — but he's still excited to …

Inside The (Not So) Secret World of Pandas

The following images were taken by Ami Vitale from Nov. 6, to Nov. 11, 2013 A captive bred baby panda sits in a baske<p>... VIEW MORE<p>Ami Vitale<p>1 of</i> …

U.S. Navy Has Found A Way To Turn Seawater Into Fuel

Scientists with the United States Navy say they have successfully developed a way to convert seawater into jet fuel, calling it a potentially revolutionary advancement.<p>Researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) developed technology to extract carbon dioxide from seawater while …

Scientists Discover New Way to Make Ethanol Without Corn

Scientists said on Wednesday they have developed a new way to make liquid ethanol efficiently without using corn or other crops needed in the conventional method for producing the biofuel.<p>The scientists said their process turns carbon monoxide gas into liquid ethanol with the help of an electrode …

Biofuel

Scientists’ depressing new discovery about the brain

Forget the dream that education, scientific evidence or reason can help people make good decisions<p>Yale law school professor Dan Kahan’s new research paper is called “Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government,” but for me a better title is the headline on science writer Chris Mooney’s piece …

6 "Hidden" Camera Features You Will Be Glad You Discovered

How well do you know your camera? Do you know everything that it’s capable of? It’s certainly possible you know your camera like the back of your …

The Jaw-Dropping Photography of Storm Chaser Mike Hollingshead

You might not come out on top if you weigh the pros and cons of storm chasing, but there are definitely pros beyond feeling like a bada** and a deep …

How to write a science news story

The Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize 2014, in association with the Guardian and the Observer, is open for entries. In parallel with the competition we're publishing a series of weekly "how to …" guides for budding science journalists<p>Most journalists want to break exclusives, but a lot of what …