SAAC ASIMOV’S FAMOUS Three Laws of Robotics—constraints on the behavior of androids and automatons meant to ensure the safety of humans—were also famously incomplete. The laws, which first appeared in his 1942 short story “Runaround” and again in classic works like I, Robot, sound airtight at first: A robot may not injure a...
  • TRUMP’S ANTI-SCIENCE CAMPAIGN

    Over the past few months, we’ve seen Donald Trump lower, again and again, the bar for political discourse. All the while, though, he’s been lowering the scientific bar, too. In May, for instance, while speaking to an audience of West Virginia coal miners, Trump complained that regulations designed to...
  • Life On Mars: Astrobiologists Prove Microbes Can Survive The Thin Martian Atmosphere

    The news concerning Mars’ capability to sustain living organisms just got better. Astrobiologists now say that microbes can survive the harsh parameters of the thin atmosphere on the Red Planet. In fact, a new study has determined that certain microbes, if given the opportunity to proliferate in areas on...
  • Beautiful X-Ray Movies Reveal Skeletons Like Never Before

    IN THE OLD days, if you wanted to look inside someone’s body, you had to cut them open. Less than ideal. Then came the miraculous X-ray machine, which peered inside the human form, no scalpels required. Nowadays, X-rays can even show your insides moving in unprecedented detail, allowing doctors...
  • NASA Has A Whole Lot Of Science Planned For 2017

    NASA has a whole lot of research planned for 2017, including continued work to transport humans to Mars and efforts to track our home planet’s changing climate, despite an incoming administration that’s proved to be highly antagonistic to science in general. The U.S. space agency released a video Wednesday of next...
  • Fossil footprints tell story of human origins

    Footprints made by early humans millions of years ago have been uncovered in Tanzania close to where similar tracks were found in the 1970s. The impressions were made when some of our distant relatives walked together across wet volcanic ash. Their makers, most likely Australopithecus afarensis, appear to have...
  • No, Gotham, That’s Not How Tightropes Work

    I’LL BE HONEST. I don’t really watch Gotham, but it looks interesting. It chronicles the events in Batman’s city before he became Batman. That’s about all I know. However, when I saw a recent commercial for an upcoming episode, I had to do something. I’m not sure what’s going on here,...
  • Here’s the Real Reason Thanksgiving Makes You Sleepy

    EVERY YEAR, MANY of us gather around a Thanksgiving table and stuff our faces with food before ducking out of awkward conversations with distant relatives by blaming our post-feast food coma on “too much turkey.” It’s true that there is no slumber quite like that of a Thanksgiving nap,...
  • Why Can’t We Predict Earthquakes?

    In late October, Italian courts convicted six scientists and a government official—all members of the National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks—of manslaughter for giving “incomplete, imprecise and contradictory” information in the days leading up to an earthquake that struck L’Aquila on April 6, 2009. Tens...
  • Richter magnitude scale and energy equivalents in terms of TNT explosive force

    The following table lists the approximate energy equivalents in terms of TNT explosive force – though note that the earthquake energy is released underground rather than overground. Most energy from an earthquake is not transmitted to and through the surface; instead, it dissipates into the crust and other subsurface...
  • Two-Way Radios Reveal the Mysterious Social Lives of Sharks

    WHEN MOST PEOPLE think about sharks, they worry about the biting or chomping that might occur should they meet one. Marine biologists aren’t so self-centered. They consider deeper mysteries, like: Are sharks social? University of Delaware scientists recently used a radio tracking technology called acoustic tagging to reveal how sharks...

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