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Delivery Bots Have Awkward Sidewalk Interactions, Too

Self-driving cars have it rough. They have to detect the world around them in fine detail, learn to recognize signals, and avoid running over pets. But hey, at least they’ll spend most of their time dealing with other robot cars, not people. Now, a delivery robot, on the other hand, ...

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Did last ice age affect breastfeeding in Native Americans?

The critical role that breast feeding plays in infant survival may have led, during the last ice age, to a common genetic mutation in East Asians and Native Americans that also, surprisingly, affects the shape of their teeth. The genetic mutation, which probably arose 20,000 years ago, increases the branching ...

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Just How Random Are Two Factor Authentication Codes?

You know two-factor authentication tokens, the ephemeral, six-digit numbers you use as a second layer of security when logging into, say, your email? Those constantly updating, randomly generated numbers are one of the easiest ways to protect your accounts from being hacked. But for some time now, I’ve harbored a ...

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Machine Learning’s ‘Amazing’ Ability to Predict Chaos

Half a century ago, the pioneers of chaos theory discovered that the “butterfly effect” makes long-term prediction impossible. Even the smallest perturbation to a complex system (like the weather, the economy or just about anything else) can touch off a concatenation of events that leads to a dramatically divergent future. ...

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Peptide induces chirality evolution in a single gold nanoparticle

For the first time, scientists have successfully created optically active, chiral gold nanoparticles using amino acids and peptides. Many chemicals significant to life have mirror-image twins (left-handed and right-handed structures), a characteristic that is conventionally called chirality. This study describes how chirality, which is typically observed in organic molecules, can ...

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Trouble Detected in Infamous Dark Matter Signal

For 20 years, an experiment in Italy known as DAMA has detected an oscillating signal that could be coming from dark matter—the fog of invisible particles that ostensibly fill the cosmos, sculpting everything else with their gravity. Quanta Magazine About Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially ...

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