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Space

Violence detected: Sensors hit by second set of gravitational waves

Scientists making use of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) instruments have announced the second confirmed detection of gravitational waves resulting from the collision of two black holes. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of spacetime created by exceptionally violent cosmic events. The waves contain unique information unattainable by conventional telescopes, allowing scientists to gain a rare insight into one of the most energetic phenomena taking place in our Universe.Read More

Electronics

Elex Pipe takes circuit building off the board

Though we use all manner of electronic gadgetry every day, few of us know what makes them tick. Learning about electronics and programming can be tough though and, let's face it, a little dry. A number of startups have made efforts to spice the learning process up recently – making use of robots, modules and micro labs to make experimentation fun and accessible. The latest to join the crowd is Mad Tatu with a circuit building system that rises up from the table top for 3D projects that look like a crazy plumber has turned his hand to teaching. Read More

Medical

Rebooting the immune system fights off early MS

"Have you tried turning it off and on again?" has become a bit of a joke when dealing with problems with electronic equipment, but more often than not it does work. Now, Canadian doctors and researchers have found that rebooting the immune system essentially cures early, aggressive MS. In clinical trials, the treatment was shown to suppress brain inflammation, prevent relapses, halt disease progression and even reverse some symptoms like vision loss and muscle weakness.Read More

Environment

NASA satellite snaps the first methane leak detected from space

Methane's concentration in the atmosphere might be outweighed and outlasted by the more bountiful CO2, but this greenhouse gas is perfectly capable of doing some damage while it's up there. Due to its superior radiation-trapping abilities, methane presents a much more potent threat to the climate than CO2 does pound-for-pound, so monitoring the source of methane emissions is therefore pretty important. And it looks like we might have a new tool at our disposal, with NASA announcing the first observation of a single methane leak on our planet's surface from an Earth-orbiting spacecraft. Read More

Energy

A salty battery bath to combat EV range anxiety

The degradation of electrodes in lithium-based batteries has been a major inhibitor to their operating life, particularly when dendrites "growing" from these corroding electrodes short-circuit in the electrolyte. Australian researchers have found that pre-treating lithium electrodes in a special salt bath decreases the breakdown of the electrodes and boosts performance and battery life so markedly it could bring an end to range anxiety for drivers of electric vehicles.Read More

Space

NASA sets fire to unmanned cargo ship in the name of safety

An unmanned Cygnus cargo ship left the International Space Station today, and then NASA set it on fire. At 4:55 pm EDT, ground control activated the Saffire-I experiment in the hold of the Orbital ATK Cygnus Pressurized Cargo Module as it drifted away from the station, triggering the largest fire ever started in space. The controlled burn inside an insulated container is part of a study to learn more about the nature of fire in zero gravity and improve spacecraft safety.Read More

Science

Sound waves used to boost intensity of light on a silicon chip

Using a newly-developed waveguide, scientists at Yale have created a method to significantly increase the power of laser light on a silicon chip by boosting it with sound waves. The researchers believe that this new device could have practical uses in commercial technologies, including more efficient fiber-optic communications and better data signal processing. Read More

Materials

Scientists accidentally create nanorods that harvest water from the air

Learning from your mistakes is a key life lesson, and it's one that researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) can attest to. After unintentionally creating carbon-rich nanorods, the team realized its accidental invention behaves weirdly with water, demonstrating a 20-year old theory and potentially paving the way to low-energy water harvesting systems and sweat-removing fabrics.Read More

Space

Kepler spies largest exoplanet yet that orbits two stars

Planets that orbit two stars have traditionally been difficult to detect. Despite decades of suspicion, we didn't even spot our first one until 2011 and even now their irregular orbits make life tricky for those in the planet-hunting game. NASA has today confirmed the discovery of the largest of these circumbinary planets, the imaginatively named Kepler-1647 b, some 3,700 light years away. Read More

Environment

Shaken, not stirred: How climate change can upset the chemistry of freshwater lakes

Much like James Bond's favorite cocktails, freshwater lakes need to be shaken up in order to make sure vital ingredients are evenly distributed within. Without a giant cocktail shaker at its disposal, nature carries out this task by way of big storms in the colder months that turn over the bodies of water and preserve the health of the ecosystem. But scientists are now warning that rising surface temperatures may bring an end to this, which would give algae new rein over these lakes and seriously threaten fish populations and vital freshwater resources.Read More

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