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Science

Biology

Polarized lasers zap dyed DNA into super resolution

DNA may be one of the most basic molecules of life, but it's not easy to study. Despite being a very long molecule, it's only about 2.2 nanometers wide, so it's hard to see. Attaching fluorescent dyes to it can help, but until now, knowing how those dye molecules were behaving wasn't possible. A team of scientists at Stanford University has built on a technique called "single-molecule microscopy" to see just how DNA-bound dye molecules orient themselves, flop around and glow in the presence of polarized laser light.Read More

Medical

First Zika vaccine to enter human trials

The World Health Organization declared it a global public health emergency in February, and it now looks like a heightened response to the Zika virus is starting to bear fruit. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved the first human trials of an experimental Zika virus vaccine, with the first subjects set to receive doses in the coming weeks.Read More

Space

Japan wants to take autonomous construction extraterrestrial

With one eye on its aging population, Japan is already starting to test the waters with automated construction technologies. Members of its robotic workforce currently in action include remotely-controlled bulldozers, AI-assisted control systems and even drones. Now the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is looking to take this technology to a place where there are even less able-bodied workers, the undeveloped plains of the Moon and Mars.Read More

Physics Feature

A long way from everything: The search for a Grand Unified Theory

The recent confirmation of gravity waves observed by the LIGO project represents a huge breakthrough in physics, verifying Albert Einstein's predictions regarding the effect of mass on space and time and supporting his general theory of relativity published in 1916. But what of his other grand hypothesis? Einstein's unified field theory consumed the last 30 years of his life without resolution, but how much closer have we come to a theory that brings every known force in the universe together into a single, all-encompassing frame of reference? Read More

Space

DARPA seeks to develop command and control center for outer space

The area in the outer reaches of the Earth's atmosphere is a swarm of manmade objects, moving at tens of thousands of miles per hour and traversing a region hundreds of thousands of times larger than all of Earth's oceans combined. This complicates the operation of satellites for military use. DARPA has just announced its plans to come to grips with this chaotic region with the launch of a project aimed at revolutionizing the US military's command and control capabilities in space.Read More

Space

Monster electric wind on Venus sends oxygen "kicking and screaming into space"

Although you could bake a pizza on its surface today, popular thinking is that Venus was once cool enough to hold water on its surface. Of course, as the planet heated, that water turned to vapor and should now be trapped in the planet's dense atmosphere – but it's not. So where did the water go? According to new research, the likely culprit is likely a super-strong "electric wind" that blows off the surface of Venus carrying ions with it into space.Read More

Science

Over 90 percent of mammals were wiped out by dino-killing asteroid

By now, most people are familiar with the theory that an asteroid that smacked into our planet 66 million years ago caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. But it turns out that dinosaurs might not have been the only casualty of that cataclysmic event. New analysis of the fossil record indicates that a full 93 percent of mammals living at the time also went extinct, a number significantly higher than previously thought.Read More

Environment

CO2 hits record highs over South Pole in hottest May on record

It's not something we should be shooting for, but we're on a bit of a hot streak when it comes to global temperatures. Newly released data on the Earth's climate has revealed that 2016 saw the hottest May on record, marking the 13th successive time a monthly global temperature record has been broken as the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, the main reason for this warming trend, hits new levels over the South Pole.Read More

Environment

Solar-powered air-con uses heat to cool shopping center

Solar-concentrating thermal technology is being used to power the air-conditioning system of an entire shopping center in Australia solely from the rays of the sun. With around 60 percent of all energy used in shopping centers being consumed by heating and cooling needs, the new system could lead the way to significant power and cost savings in a range of large commercial spaces.Read More

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