View the video08/26/2014 - 16:15 Technology, Computing
One Kilobot is not very smart. Each quarter-sized bot scuffles along on three rigid legs and can communicate only with its neighbors. Yet by instructing more than 1,000 Kilobots to follow a few simple rules, computer scientist Radhika Nagpal and her team at Harvard can get the crude bots to assemble into multiple shapes — including a wrench (left), a star and the...
The sound of the world’s largest parrot fish swimming toward him, says Douglas McCauley, is not some watery swish, swish. It’s crunch, crunch. “You can hear a school of them before you see it,” he says.
Bumphead parrot fish (Bolbometopon muricatum) grow to “about the size of a junior high school kid” as McCauley puts it. And feeding is a noisy business because they eat — and loudly...
A newly discovered virus may already be living in your intestines. As many as three-quarters of people carry this virus, yet it has gone unnoticed until now.
“We haven’t been able to capture the little bugger on a plate and take a picture of it,” says computational biologist Robert Edwards of San Diego State University, who led the study. Instead, the researchers found the new virus by...
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Enlightening SymbolsJoseph MazurPrinceton Univ., $29.9508/24/2014 - 16:00 History of Science, Numbers
As the semanticist S.I. Hayakawa stressed in his classic book Language in Thought and Action, words are not the things they represent. Words are symbols. It’s the manipulation of those symbols that makes communication possible.
In very much the same way, it’s the manipulation of symbols of a different type that makes...
In some quarters, vaccines have become victims of their own success. Having suppressed the diseases they target, vaccines have left room for people to worry more about the shot than the illness. In response, the TV series NOVA offers an engrossing, evenhanded documentary, one that would never have been made 55 years ago, when people were happily lining up around the block to get polio shots....