View the videos Howie Choset is a roboticist, but his team’s creations bear little resemblance to C-3PO or R2-D2. Instead, Choset finds inspiration in nature — specifically, snakes.
“A lot of people have this notion that robots are modeled after people,” says Choset, of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. But the animal kingdom is full of organisms that use different...
Letters to the Editor
To spot a planet “Planetary peekaboo” (SN: 9/22/12, p. 26) says that to hunt for faraway planets, the Kepler spacecraft “watches for blinks occurring when a planet dims a star’s light by passing in front of it.” For a star to dim when a planet moves in front of it requires us to be in the same plane as the orbits of the remote planets. Evidently it’s expected that this is commonly true. Why...
ON THE SCENE BLOG Geneticists poke a little fun at themselves during a recent meeting. Read “Buzzword bingo.”
SCIENCE & SOCIETY Mapping U.S. votes for president according to state population gives a new view of politics. See “Red state, blue state.”
EARTH Feedback loops are melting more ice than predicted, raising oceans faster. Learn more in “Sea level rise...
December 15 Activities, films and demonstrations reveal physics principles at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. See bit.ly/SFfullspec
December 17 Learn about supermassive black holes with astronomer Günther Hasinger at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. See bit.ly/SFgunther
NEW DATING METHOD FOR MILLION-YEAR-OLD FOSSILS — A new radioactive dating method promises to close one of the major remaining gaps in methods of fixing dates on the geological and archaeological time scales. The new procedure, based on radioactive inequality in nature between uranium-234 and its parent U-238, was originated by David Turber of Columbia’s Lamont Geological Observatory at...