Letters to the Editor
Flight of fantasy03/22/2018 - 10:18 Anthropology, Technology, Planetary Science
Similar to their hunter-gatherer counterparts, many children in Western societies prefer play that mimics the things that adults do, Bruce Bower reported in “When it’s playtime, many kids prefer reality over fantasy" (SN: 2/17/18, p. 22). But fantasy play may still be valuable.
Reader Pat Rapp wondered about the implications of an experiment that showed that...
The first known pedestrian fatality involving a fully autonomous self-driving car will most likely raise questions about the vehicles’ safety.
But “until we know what happened, we can’t really know what this incident means” for the future of self-driving vehicles, says Philip Koopman, a robotics safety expert at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Only when we know more about the...
There’s been a lot of talk about fake news running rampant online, but now there’s data to back up the discussion.
An analysis of more than 4.5 million tweets and retweets posted from 2006 to 2017 indicates that inaccurate news stories spread faster and further on the social media platform than true stories. The research also suggests that people play a bigger role in sharing falsehoods...
A new type of battery can stand being left out in the cold.
This rechargeable battery churns out charge even at –70° Celsius, a temperature where the typical lithium-ion batteries that power many of today’s cell phones, electric cars and other devices don’t work. Batteries that withstand such frigid conditions could help build electronics that function in some of the coldest places on...
News in Brief
AUSTIN, Texas — A new artificial organ gives a new meaning to the phrase “making eyes.”
For the first time, researchers used human cells to build a model of the surface of the eye that’s equipped with a fake eyelid that mimics blinking. This synthetic eye could be used to study and test treatments for eye diseases, researchers reported February 16 in a news conference at the annual...
Everybody’s a critic. Even back in second century Egypt.
While digging in Tebtunis in northern Egypt in the winter of 1899–1900, British archaeologists stumbled upon portraits of affluent Greco-Egyptians placed over the faces of mummies. One grave contained an ink and chalk sketch, a bit larger than a standard sheet of printer paper, of a woman from around the years A.D. 140 to 160. The...
AUSTIN, Texas — An analysis of the metals in dozens of Picasso’s bronze sculptures has traced the birthplace of a handful of the works of art to the outskirts of German-occupied Paris during World War II.
This is the first time that the raw materials of Picasso’s sculptures have been scrutinized in detail, conservation scientist Francesca Casadio of the Art Institute of Chicago said...
News in Brief
AUSTIN, Texas — Stretchy sensors that stick to the throat could track the long-term recovery of stroke survivors.
These new Band-Aid‒shaped devices contain motion sensors that detect muscle movement and vocal cord vibrations. That sensor data could help doctors diagnose and monitor the effectiveness of certain treatments for post-stroke conditions like difficulty swallowing or talking,...
High-energy particle beams can reveal how 2-D thin sheets behave when the heat is cranked up.
Researchers have devised a way to track how these materials, such as the supermaterial graphene, expand or contract as temperatures rise (SN: 10/3/15, p. 7). This technique, described in the Feb. 2 Physical Review Letters, showed that 2-D semiconductors arranged in single-atom-thick sheets...
Who needs curtains? One day, you could block out afternoon glare and heat with changeable windows that absorb sunshine to charge your electronics.
A high-tech prototype panel described online January 22 in Nature Materials, switches between transparent pane and dark-tinted solar cell. The layer in the panel that’s responsible for soaking up sun has atoms that only arrange themselves into...