Researchers from MIT will present a paper on a breakthrough in a dynamic new approach to useful robotics. Here with a preview of the material they call “Smart-Sand” is Daniela Rus - a professor at MIT and a member of the computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory there, also known as C-SAIL, along with her PHD student Kyle Gilpin.
Many climate scientists argue we’ve passed the point of being able to slow down Co2 emissions that contribute to greenhouse gasses. A few advocates for mammoth scale geo-engineering to alter the earth’s climate.
What decides the trajectory of our lives, our successes or failures, our steps and stumbles? Do we achieve what we achieve through force of will, or does fate have us by the throat? This hour, Radiolab explores the tug of war between will and fate from birth to death - from a kid reaching for a marshmallow to hints of dementia in the words of a 20-year-old.
Over 50% of the planet now lives in cities. This hour, Radiolab looks at what makes them tick. We talk to a couple physicists who think they can fit every city into a tidy mathematical formula, and we take to the streets to test their idea. We explore the water tunnels 700 feet below Manhattan and question whether cities are the source of, or the solution for, our growing global appetite.
There are so many ways to fall - falling in love, falling asleep, even falling flat on your face. In an episode full of falling music, Radiolab plunges into a black hole, takes a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel, and debunks some myths about falling cats.
Bet you can’t eat just one. The Lays potato chip campaign plays on the idea of snacking out of control. From Oprah to "The Biggest Loser," people describe themselves like addicts, needing one more bite of fatty, salty, sugary foods, knowing full well that remorse will follow their mouthful of pleasure.
The last lunar eclipse of 2011 as seen from the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles on Dec 10, 2011.
Credit Institute for Astronomy / University of Hawaii
The squiggly lines on this image show the path of a simulated minimoon that is temporarily captured by Earth. The asteroid in the corner of the image, 1999 JM8, is nearly 2 miles across and more than 1,000 times larger than the minimoons.
A robotic arm breaks off a chunk of mineral-rich rock deep underwater. Nautilus Minerals of Australia hopes to develop and expand undersea mining by extracting copper, gold, silver and zinc from the seafloor.
Credit Nautilus Minerals
Credit Nautilus Minerals
This deep-sea rock is rich in copper. Minerals form in the seafloor because a natural hot spring has been laying them down for thousands of years.
Filmmaker James Cameron recently reminded us of the wonders of the sea by diving solo in a submarine to the deepest spot in the ocean. Next year, if all goes as planned, a rather different expedition will take place 1,000 miles south of that dive: An Australian company will start mining for copper, gold, silver and zinc on the seafloor off the shore of Papua New Guinea.
Researchers have analyzed the fossil imprints of of raindrops, like the ones shown here, to study the atmosphere of the Earth, as it was 2.7 billion years ago. The rule at the top is 5 centimeters, or about 2 inches, long.
The late astronomer Carl Sagan presented this paradox to his colleagues: We know the sun was a lot fainter two billion years ago. So why wasn't the Earth frozen solid?
We know it wasn't because there's plenty of evidence for warm seas and flowing water way back then. The question is still puzzling scientists.
But new clues to that paradox come from an unlikely source: fossilized raindrops, from 2.7 billion years ago. Back then, the Earth had no trees or flowers or animals birds or fish. But it did have volcanoes. And it did rain.
There's a small spacecraft called Messenger that's been orbiting the planet Mercury for a year. Today, at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, astronomers revealed what they've learned about the innermost planet in our solar system, and some of the new knowledge is puzzling.
Maria Zuber, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studied a large crater 900 miles across called Caloris.
A detail from what is thought to be one of only three existing manuscripts containing Einstein's most famous formula about the relationship between energy, mass and the speed of light — in his handwriting.
This May 3, 1999, funnel became the F-5 storm that damaged thousands of buildings in central Okahoma. University of Oklahoma storm chasers and observers are anticipating the annual tornado season as it approaches the central part of the country.
Credit Russell Lewis / NPR
Dozens of people line up in a Tuscaloosa, Ala., supermarket. They're buying weather alert radios and having them programmed to receive specific warnings about bad weather. Tuscaloosa was hit by a monster tornado that decimated parts of the town last April.
Credit Russell Lewis / NPR
Computer screens at the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service show forecast models. Meteorologists use the information to predict severe weather. During Alabama's tornado outbreak on April 27, 2011, forecasters were forced to take shelter when one of the twisters came close to their offices.
For many, the only way they learn a tornado is approaching are sirens. In the spring and summer, tornado sirens go off a lot more when twisters roar across Alabama, which has been hit by 900 since 2000, accounting for a quarter of all U.S. tornado deaths.
"I am still surprised that so many people rely on just one source of getting warned, and that has to change," said Jim Stefkovich, meteorologist in charge of the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service.
The man who warned us that aerosol spray-cans could destroy the earth's protective ozone layer has died.
F. Sherwood Rowland, better known as Sherry Rowland, was a Nobel-prize winning chemist at the University of California, Irvine. And he didn't just keep to the laboratory: He successfully advocated for a ban on ozone-destroying chemicals called CFCs.
Forget garage bands. It’s all about garage science. DIY tinkerers working on shoe-string budgets are producing some mind-blowing advancements: think mud-generated power and home-made lightening. Indie-science isn’t just about impressing us, though we are impressed. Serious work like finding a cure for cancer is also happening in basements across America.
Judy Dutton wrote about the topic for Mental Floss magazine. She joins us with more about the latest in garage science.
Superheroes are heavy on the summer blockbuster schedule. A reunion of Marvel Comics “The Avengers” hits theaters in May, followed by the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series. In July, we get a reboot of the Spiderman epic. The new film adaptations promise new gadgets and CGI effects to stir moviegoers fantasies of and aspirations of superpowers.