News, Physics, Technology

Tractor beam smashes existing records

Drs Shvedov (L) and Hnatovsky used a doughnut-shaped laser beam to push and pull small glass spheres

A team of scientists has managed to develop a tractor beam which can pull and push objects over 20 cm – 100 times more than previous records. There are a myriad of potential applications for this kind of research, including studying atmospheric pollutants or retrieving delicate particles of material for examination. “Recent advances in lightwave technology have already led to small-scale…

News, Technology

What the World looks like when the Internet is asleep

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There are over 4 billion IP addresses registered all over the globe and this number is constantly growing as developing countries get wired and more people use smartphones and tablets. The internet isn’t the same all over the world (yet) and activity heavily fluctuates from day to night. A new study mapped the world’s internet activity using an extremely simple…

Biology, News

Goby fish hide in plain sight by changing their colors

The rock goby can change its skin coloring within a minute to blend in with its environmen and avoid predation, a new study found. Image credits: BAS KERS (NL)/FLICKR (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

When you think about changing colors, the word ‘chameleon’ usually comes to mind. But there are other animals which can change their colors – the mimic octopus is the most noteworthy example, and there’s also the fish that mimics the mimic octopus. Now, researchers have found yet another fish which can change its color – the simple rock goby. Rock gobies,…

Space, Technology

This App Turns Your Phone Into A Cosmic Ray Detector

This is an artist's conception showing cosmic rays hitting the Earth. When they reach the Earth's atmosphere, the rays trigger showers of particles called air showers. In this illustration, the air showers are the branching, broom-tail portion of the rays. Simon Swordy, U. Chicago, NASA.

With a simple phone app you can donate your idle phone time to science; and if researchers decide to use this data in a paper, you’ll also be credited as an author. The app is called Cosmic Rays Found in Smartphones, or CRAYFIS – and all you have to do is download it, it takes care of the rest. What it does…

Videos

Amazing Time-lapse Shows A Fly Emerging From Its Pupa

The fly: Musca domestica. Image via Wiki Commons.

It’s one of those videos that’s either mesmerizing, disgusting… or a bit of both. But no matter how you look at it, the video is quite interesting. It shows a fly emerging from its pupa: The pupa In the life of an insect the pupal stage follows the larval stage and precedes adulthood. It is the life stage of some…

Animals, Inventions, News

Mantis Shrimp Can See Cancer. Researchers have Invented a Camera that Does the Same

A mantis shrimp's compound eyes are 'superbly tuned' to detect polarised light. Image: Roy Caldwell

The Mantis Shrimp has some of the most amazing eyes in the animal kingdom. Researchers have shown that among others, it is able to detect a variety of cancers and visualize brain activity. Now, scientists from Queensland University have studied how the mantis shrimp’s eyes are superbly tuned to detect polarized light, and literally see cancers. Professor Justin Marshall, from the Queensland Brain…

News, Technology

Audi gets California’s first autonomous driving permit

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Audi announced that it will be the first auto manufacturer to receive an autonomous driving permit from the state of California. Driverless cars are big right now – so big that the University of Michigan is building a fake city just to test them out. But what’s even more interesting is California’s law about driverless cars – the state of…

Materials, News, Technology

Quantum materials may replace silicon in transistor construction

A common transistor.

In today’s world, silicon has few materials which actually contest its status as the king of electronics. However, that may change in the not so distant future. A group of Harvard researchers have used a quantum material called correlated oxide to make better, more efficient transistors. The strategy for building better and more advanced processors is pretty simple – even rudimentary:…

Biology, Offbeat, Videos

Watch: The Inside of a Huge Wasp Colony

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Some wasps decided to build their colony next to the window of Youtube user Vang Tsal. Naturally, he was spooked – wasps are mean, and can be quite difficult to deal with. But instead of panicking and attempting to destroy the hive, he filmed it – and the results are spectacular: The colony now offers a perfect perspective of wasp…