This Week: Ancient water = ancient habitat?
In the News: Sinkholes: When the ground collapses!
Coming Thursday: Roaches: A lot smarter than you thought!
Smelters refine aluminum ore, but not iron ore, with electricity. A new electrolytic process for refining iron ore could save vast amounts of greenhouse gases.
Synopsis: To view neutrinos from distant explosions, astrophysicists have set up thousands of detectors in pure ice at the South Pole. What are neutrinos, and what do these scientists hope to learning from them? Find the article: Chasing Neutrinos at the South Pole Illustration: The Why Files IceCube sees both cosmic rays and neutrinos from [...]
British archeologists unearthed bones of Richard III, who died in 1485 after a murderous reign. How do bones, isotopes, historic records, DNA and grave goods tell us about the dead?
The first ocean wave energy-capturing device with a permit to connect back to a public power grid will enter the Pacific next month. How much power could the U.S. potentially harness from the waves crashing into its the coastline? According to researchers, wave energy might be one of our best renewable resources.
“Yes, but…” is the word from the frontiers of physics. The world’s largest atom smasher has blasted protons against each other with such enormous energy that they have — apparently — appeared in the debris of decaying particles. At last, matter can have mass!
How do patents work? What is “new, non-obvious and useful”? What will happen after the biggest change in patent law in 60 years?
Native agriculture could be a sophisticated response to a challenging environment. What were the secrets of permaculture, companion cropping and corn farming? Could these techniques contribute to modern farming?
Compared to regular airplanes, radio-controlled craft are safer, cheaper, and easier to use for observing wildlife and environmental conditions. Where are these robots being used? What are they finding? And as prices continue to fall, what stands in the way of much broader use?
Hitting the road? What could be more enlightening than gawking at a cave, exploring a desert, or eyeballing the largest telescope in the world? Need proof that science is not just books and websites or equations and software? Get moving!
Long ago, nature devised the hinge and ball and socket for appendages like legs and wings. The screw is the latest simple machine to be discovered in nature. Why do weevils, a type of beetle, have a screw? How does it help weevils survive their 3-D world?
With three nuclear reactors and three pools of spent fuel teetering on the edge of meltdown, Japanese technicians struggled to throttle the nuclear demons after the gigantic tsunami. Is Fukushima closer to Chernobyl or Three Mile Island? How will the disaster affect plans for a renaissance of nuclear power?
Military technology supports atmospheric and ocean science! 1: a robot sub smart enough to find stuff in the deep ocean 2: a metal fish glides for weeks under the ice 3: an electric sinker-bobber that never needs recharging 4: a research jet that flies miles above airliners.
Plywood used to be bonded with soybean glue; then along came synthetic adhesives. They were strong and cheap, but they did release toxic formaldehyde. Now, industry is switching to a new, improved soy adhesive. Tough, water-resistant soy glue does not release formaldehyde, and is already being used for interior plywood.
We need more electricity. More alternative energy. Less greenhouse warming, and better ways to manage our power supply. Can the electric grid meet multiple challenges and help us survive prosperity? What good are smart meters? And what is this going to cost?