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MIT

Automotive Feature

Would you buy a car programmed to kill you for the greater good?

Should a self-driving car kill its passengers for the greater good – for instance, by swerving into a wall to avoid hitting a large number of pedestrians? Surveys of nearly 2,000 US residents revealed that, while we strongly agree that autonomous vehicles should strive to save as many lives as possible, we are not willing to buy such a car for ourselves, preferring instead one that tries to preserve the lives of its passengers at all costs.Read More

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

Science

Scientists design and build new energy-carrying particles

In the mysterious microscopic realm where the electromagnetic fields of light and matter intimately intermingle as they exchange energy, plasmons, excitons, and other particles with unexpected and usual properties abound. Now physicists have created a new set of energy-carrying particles to add to this range. Dubbed "topological plexcitons," these new particles show promise in greatly enhancing energy flows for solar cells and nanoscale photonic circuitry.Read More

Space

Supermassive black hole devours cold cloud clumps

Unless you are an astrophysicist, you'd likely think that a black hole isn't too fussy about the kind of material it devours. Light? Check. Hydrogen? Yum! But for years researchers have believed that supermassive black holes only subsisted on a diet of hot gas. New observations of a galaxy about a billion light years away though, show that cold, clumpy cosmic rain will do just fine to fill a black hole's gaping maw.Read More

Space

Can an Earth-sized telescope show us what a black hole looks like?

With a gravitational pull so great not even light can escape, it's impossible to directly observe a black hole. But scientists have created a new algorithm that may allow astronomers to generate the first full image of a black hole. Using data collected from a connected array of radio telescopes around the world, the algorithm effectively turns the Earth into a gigantic radio telescope with a resolution factor more than a thousand times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope.Read More

Science

Synthesizing human genome in lab could lead to "ultrasafe" cell line

Since the human genome was completely sequenced in 2003, the field of genetics has zipped along at a mind-boggling pace, helping us do everything from detecting cancer earlier to offering new hope to diabetics. Now we can even cut-and-paste sequences of DNA in our own kitchens. So the just-announced project to chemically produce an entire human genome in a lab seems like a logical next step – even if it could one day lead to lab-made humans with no biological parents.Read More

3D Printing

MIT brushes up on 3D-printing hair

Researchers at MIT Media Lab have developed a method for 3D printing hair structures with a diameter as small as 50 micrometers each, to create finely detailed surfaces, touch sensors and even actuating motors, which can be used to make customized paint brushes, Velcro-like mechanical adhesives, and touch-sensitive plush toys. Read More

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