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Vignettes from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image. 'Space is big. You just won't believe ho...

In mankind's attempts to gain some understanding of this marvelous place in which we live, we have slowly come to accept some principles to help guide our search. One such principle is that the Universe, on a large enough scale, is homogeneous, meaning that one part looks pretty much like another. Recent studies by a group of Australian researchers have established that, on sizes greater than about 250 million light years (Mly), the Universe is indeed statistically homogeneous, thereby reinforcing this cosmological principle.  Read More

The acoustic levitator was originally developed for NASA to simulate microgravity conditio...

In a new development which on first glance resembles a storyline plucked from the pages of Harry Potter, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois, have adopted a system of levitation in order to more effectively develop pharmaceuticals - no magic wand required.  Read More

Curiosity's self-portrait (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has limbered up its robotic arm, taken a good look at itself and has been given a clean bill of health. It’s now on the move as it starts its two-year mission of discovery on the Red Planet. On Thursday, it traveled 105 feet (32 m) as it seeks out its first rock for serious investigation. Meanwhile, the nuclear-powered explorer sent back images of Mars’s moon Phobos as it passed in front of the Sun.  Read More

Professor Zenghu Chang with his ultrashort laser pulse apparatus

Since first invented, the effort to make lasers that can produce shorter and more powerful pulses of light has been a very active one. One driving force is that if you want to take a picture of something occurring very rapidly, you need a very short pulse of light to prevent the image from blurring. The first ruby laser produced microsecond pulses of light, but more recently femtosecond optical pulses a billion times shorter have become common. Still shorter pulses belong to the attosecond regime - the regime wherein a University of Central Florida research team is creating optical pulses sufficiently brief to stop quantum mechanics in its tracks.  Read More

The sketch-identifying program at work

Currently, using Google’s “Search by Image” function, it’s possible to search the internet for information on something if you already have an image of that thing. Also, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing a system that allows computers to match up users’ drawings of objects with photographs of those same items – the drawings have to be reasonably good, though. Now, however, a team from Rhode Island’s Brown University and the Technical University of Berlin have created software that analyzes users’ crude, cartoony sketches, and figures out what it is that they’re trying to draw.  Read More

A beam entrance view of the laser injector (Photo: Jack Yoh/Seoul National University)

Nobody likes getting their shots, but whether childhood immunization, annual flu vaccination, or whatever else, we're required to undergo the uncomfortable sensation of needle piercing skin multiple times throughout our lives. However, a new laser-based system promises to take the “ouch” out of injections by delivering shots as painlessly as being struck by a puff of air.  Read More

Can the crowd trump artificial intelligence? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Computer scientists are looking to improve on the performance of artificially intelligent personal assistants by devising a way to use the power of a human crowd to chat you instead. The system, known as Chorus, was designed by researchers at the University of Rochester to allow a number of users to act as a single agent that converses with a single end user in real time.  Read More

Violent bubbling in boiling water may just be a thing of the past (Image: Northwestern Uni...

You know that thing that water does when it boils? The thing with the bubbles? Turns out, it doesn't really need to do that at all, with scientists finding a way to make boiling water a completely bubble-free zone. Researchers from Northwestern University, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia and Melbourne University in Australia teamed up to prevent water from bubbling when it boils by using tiny spheres coated with a hydrophobic material.  Read More

'William,' a blue faience hippopotamus of the 12th Dynasty, in the Metropolitan Museum of ...

We like to think of technology as always being forward looking. It’s supposed to be about nanoparticles and the Cloud, not steam engines and the telephone exchange. But every now and again the past reaches out, taps the 21st century on the shoulder and says, “Have a look at this.” That’s what happened to Professor Stephen Hoskins, Director of the University of West England, Bristol's Centre for Fine Print Research. He is currently working on a way of printing 3D ceramics that are self-glazing, thanks to a 7,000-year old technology from ancient Egypt.  Read More

Computer scientists in Finland have developed new software which composes music from sleep...

A group of computer scientists based at the University of Helsinki, Finland, have developed new software which creates automatically composed music from data concerning a person's sleep measurements. The software makes use of figures gleaned from an internet-equipped Beddit sensor, which is placed beneath a subject's mattress in order to record the stages of their sleep, their movements, heart rate and breathing.  Read More

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