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Scientists Are Developing a Unique Identifier for Your Brain

Michaela Cordova, a research associate and lab manager at Oregon Health and Science University, begins by “de-metaling”: removing rings, watches, gadgets and other sources of metal, double-checking her pockets for overlooked objects that could, in her words, “fly in.” Then she enters the scanning room, raises and lowers the bed, ...

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The Case of a Revolutionary (But Imaginary?) Superconductor

On July 23, Dev Kumar Thapa and Anshu Pandey made an extraordinary claim online. It wasn’t your garden variety fake news: By cramming microscopic particles of gold and silver together into pellets, they said, they’d constructed the first ever room-temperature superconductor. In a 13-page PDF, the two chemists at the ...

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Novel sensors could enable smarter textiles

A team of engineers at the University of Delaware is developing next-generation smart textiles by creating flexible carbon nanotube composite coatings on a wide range of fibers, including cotton, nylon and wool. Their discovery is reported in the journal ACS Sensors where they demonstrate the ability to measure an exceptionally ...

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The Physics of Catching a Gnarly 80-Foot-Tall Wave

I’ve never been surfing—but I’m willing to give it a try. I would not, however, be interested in attempting to surf a massive wave like this one off the coast of Portugal. That’s a pass for me. Of course even if you don’t surf, there is still some cool physics ...

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How Rude Humanoid Robots Can Mess With Your Head

The little humanoid robot’s name is Meccanoid, and it is a scoundrel. The well-meaning human test subject asks the robot: If you were to make a friend, what would you want them to know? “That I’m bored,” Meccanoid says. Alright, let’s start over. A new participant asks Meccanoid the same ...

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Drone Swarms as You Know Them Are Just an Illusion—for Now

Look at all the pretty drones. Hovering above sports stadiums from Houston to Pyeongchang, many hundreds of them have lately sparkled in artful murmuration. On a recent Time magazine cover, 958 drones pixelated the sky. The world record, 1,374 LED-bedazzled microbots, was set by Chinese company EHang UAV in May. ...

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Your Chicken’s Salmonella Problem Is Worse Than You Think

This story originally appeared on Mother Jones and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Americans love chicken, but it doesn’t always love us back. We eat way more of it than any other meat, and it triggers more foodborne disease outbreak-related illnesses than any other food, according to a recent report from the ...

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Space Photos of the Week: Dead Stars and a Cute L’il Comet

This ghostly image captures a death. The red filaments of gas are remnants of a supernova explosion called HBH 3. Astronomers think it happened anywhere between 80,000 and 1 million years ago, and these markers stretch 150 light years across—among the largest supernova remnants ever discovered. And while the red ...

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