Meteorologists sometimes struggle to accurately predict the weather here on Earth, but now we can find out how cloudy it is on planets outside our solar system. MIT Researchers describe a technique that analyzes data from NASA’s Kepler space observatory to determine the types of clouds on planets that orbit other stars. Their models indicate that the clouds on Kepler-7b are most likely made from liquid rock.
This 20x photo of an ant eye received an honorable mention in the 2014 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope. It was taken by Noah Fram-Schwartz of Greenwich, CT, using reflected light.
This color image shows the southernmost portion of Phlegra Montes on Mars, a complex system of isolated hills, ridges and small basins that spans over 1400 kilometers from the Elysium volcanic region at about 30ºN and deep into the northern lowlands at about 50°N.
For the first time, researchers have directly measured a general law of how pedestrians interact in a crowd. This law can be used to create realistic crowds in virtual reality games and to make public spaces safer. People intuitively know how to navigate through crowds in a way that both minimizes distance traveled and avoids collisions. But the 'force' that governs human interactions has been previously unknown.
A NASA spacecraft is about to reach the end of a nearly eight-year journey and make the first rendezvous with a dwarf planet. The Dawn craft will slip into orbit around Ceres, a dwarf planet the size of Texas, on March 6, 2015. Unlike robotic landings or other orbit captures, the arrival won't be a nail-biter. Still, Dawn had to travel some three billion miles to reach the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
The technology behind the camera that revealed the intricate, imperfect beauty of snowflakes is now able to expose their potential danger. About three years ago, a new high-speed camera captured free-falling ice crystals so well it might as well be yelling "freeze!" Now, a less expensive, hardier version with the same incredible capability has been designed for use by departments of transportation to anticipate road conditions.
Sci-fi solutions or making friends one at a time? Google and Facebook are taking different routes to expanding Internet use and access among the unconnected in developing countries. The two Internet giants gave updates on their efforts — and differing approaches — at the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona on March 2, 2015.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. As of February 26, 2015, the CDC had tracked 23,816 cases, and Ebola had already claimed nearly 10,000 lives.
Researchers focusing on a fictional zombie outbreak as an approach to disease modeling suggest heading for the hills, in the Rockies, to save your brains from the undead. Reading World War Z: An Oral History of the First Zombie War, and taking a graduate statistical mechanics class inspired a group of Cornell University researchers to explore how an "actual" zombie outbreak might play out in the U.S.
The drive toward exascale computing, renewed emphasis on data-centric processing, energy efficiency concerns, and limitations of memory and I/O performance are all working to reshape HPC platforms, according to Intersect360 Research’s Top Six Predictions for HPC in 2015. The report cites many-core accelerators, flash storage, 3-D memory, integrated networking, and optical interconnects as just some of the technologies propelling future...
This 100x photo of living green algae in interference phase contrast received an honorable mention in the 2014 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope. It was taken using a light microscope and Interphako contrast.
Liquid water is a requirement for life on Earth. But in other, much colder worlds, life might exist beyond the bounds of water-based chemistry. Taking a simultaneously imaginative and rigidly scientific view, chemical engineers and astronomers offer a template for life that could thrive in a harsh, cold world — specifically Titan, the giant moon of Saturn.
QR codes have been used to convey information about everything from cereals to cars and new homes. But researchers think the codes have a greater potential: protecting national security. Using advanced 3-D optical imaging and extremely low light photon counting encryption, researchers have taken the ordinary QR code and transformed it into a high-end cybersecurity application to protect the integrity of computer microchips.
We all like to know our watches keep the time well, but researchers are taking precision to an entirely new dimension. The group demonstrated two cryogenically cooled optical lattice clocks that can be synchronized to a tremendous one part in 2.0 x 10-18 — meaning that they would only go out of synch by a second in 16 billion years. This is nearly 1,000 times more precise than the current international standard cesium atomic clock.
Children don’t have to be told that “cat” and “cats” are variants of the same word — they pick it up just by listening. To a computer, though, they’re as different as, well, cats and dogs. Yet it’s computers that are assumed to be superior in detecting patterns and rules, not four-year-olds. Researchers are trying to, if not to solve that puzzle definitively, at least provide the tools to do so.