Category: Science News

Bits of Trees Can Make and Store Energy

People tend to harvest trees for lumber and papermaking. But maybe electronics engineers are missing out on something here. “Turns out,” says Magnus Berggren. Two major building blocks of wood have “a lot of electrical properties.” And he’s shown that these blocks could serve as green replacements for some of...

These Brainless Jellyfish Use Their Eyes and Bundles of Nerves to Learn

The animals haven’t been shown to change their behavior based on past experiences until now. For Caribbean box jellyfish, learning is literally a no-brainer. In a new experiment, these animals learned to spot and avoid obstacles despite having no central brain, researchers report on September 22 in Current Biology. This...

In a breakthrough experiment, fusion gave off more energy than it used

Scientists have finally managed to bottle the sun. Nuclear fusion powers stars, including our sun. To do it, lightweight atoms fuse together to form heavier elements. They release energy in the process. To make them fuse, high temperatures and pressures must squeeze atoms together. Intense gravity does much of this work inside stars. But fusion is...

In the wake of history’s deadliest mass extinction, ocean life may have flourished

Following the most severe known mass extinction in Earth’s history, vibrant marine ecosystems may have recovered within just a million years, researchers report in the Feb. 10 Science. That’s millions of years faster than previously thought. The evidence, which lies in a diverse trove of pristine fossils discovered near the city of...

Scientists Grew Living Human Skin Around a Robotic Finger

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have built a robotic finger that, much like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s titular cyborg assassin, is covered in living human skin. The goal is to someday build robots that look like real people – albeit for more altruistic applications. Super realistic-looking robots could more seamlessly interact with...

Laser Light Transformed Plastic Into Tiny Diamonds

With the zap of a laser, trash can literally become treasure. In a new experiment, physicists shined a laser at bits of PET. That’s the kind of plastic used in soda bottles. The laser blast squeezed the plastic to about a million times Earth’s atmospheric pressure. It also superheated the material....

Several Mammals Use A Tree As Their Pharmacy

Not long ago, researchers in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest saw something strange. They had been following a group of black lion tamarins every day for weeks. Small and agile, these endangered New World monkeys sport a long black mane and golden rump. And one day, recalls researcher Olivier Kaisin, “We witnessed...

A New Supercomputer Just Set A World Record For Speed

A new supercomputer just passed a major milestone. It is the first to officially reach the “exascale.” That means it can perform at least 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 calculations per second. You can simply refer to that as a quintillion calculations per second! The new computer is called Frontier. Its exascale status was announced on May 30...

The Biggest Known Comet In Our Solar System

New data show that a comet discovered in 2014 is one for the record books. This frigid object, dubbed Bernardinelli-Bernstein, is the largest comet ever spotted. Comets are chunks of rock and ice that orbit the sun. Such “dirty snowballs” in space are often surrounded by clouds of gas and...

Electric Shocks Act Like Vaccines To Plants

Plants can’t get COVID-19, but they can get infected by a range of other viruses. Some of those viruses can cause huge problems for crops. A ringspot virus, for instance, threatens papaya fruit trees in Taiwan. Options exist to fight plant viruses, such as proteins to treat leaves. But two...

Volcanic Avalanches May Be More Destructive Than Previously Thought

Avalanches of ash, gas and rock can cascade downhill during volcanic eruptions. Known as pyroclastic flows, they may be even more dangerous than scientists had suspected. Those pulses are the result of turbulence, lab and field measurements now show. Within these slides, pulses of high pressure form. Those pressures can be far...

Scientists Discover The First True Millipede

The millipedes we’ve known have been a lie. The Latin name for these arthropods implies an impressive set of 1,000 feet. Yet no millipede had ever been found with more than 750. Until now. This first millipede to live up to its name tunnels through deep soil using 1,306 little legs. In...