With virtual reality finally hitting the consumer market this year, VR headsets are bound to make their way onto a lot of holiday shopping lists. But new research suggests these gifts could also give some of their recipients motion sickness — especially if they’re women.
In a test of people playing one virtual reality game using an Oculus Rift headset, more than half felt sick within 15...
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Meet the robot that can do parkour.
Salto, a lightweight bot that stands on one skinny leg like a flamingo, can leap from floor to wall, then off again — like parkour athletes bouncing between buildings, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley report December 6 in Science Robotics.
Salto’s not the highest jumping robot out there, but it’s got...
The solar panel industry has nearly paid its climate debt. The technology will break even in terms of energy usage by 2017 and greenhouse gas emissions by 2018 at the latest, if it hasn’t done so already, researchers calculate.
Building, assembling and installing solar panels consumes energy and produces climate-warming greenhouse gases. Once in use, though, the panels gradually reverse...
When I first found out my daughter existed, she was about half the size of a mini chocolate chip.
I was six weeks pregnant; she was four weeks into development. (The pregnancy timer officially begins two weeks before conception.) Already, the structures that would become her eyes had formed rudimentary orbs and the four tiny chambers of her heart were taking shape. At this stage of...
News in Brief
SAN FRANCISCO — Fruit fly embryos use a molecular distress signal to call for wound healing. Those signals — hyperreactive chemicals known as reactive oxygen species — cause embryos to assemble drawstring-like structures called purse strings that rapidly cinch wounds shut, healing without leaving a scar.
Assembling purse strings is a newfound wound-healing role for reactive oxygen...
News in Brief
A bird in laser goggles has helped scientists discover a new phenomenon in the physics of flight.
Swirling vortices appear in the flow of air that follows a bird’s wingbeat. But for slowly flying birds, these vortices were unexpectedly short-lived, researchers from Stanford University report December 6 in Bioinspiration and Biomimetics. The results could help scientists...
The first normally solitary spider to win Dad of the Year sets up housekeeping in a web above his offspring and often ends up as their sole defender and single parent.
Moms handle most parental care known in spiders, says Rafael Rios Moura at the Federal University of Uberlândia in Brazil. But either or both parents care for egg sacs and spiderlings in the small Manogea porracea species...
The spookiness of quantum mechanics has gone cosmic.
Physicists have used starlight to perform a “Bell test” to verify the strange nature of quantum mechanics. For decades, such tests have repeatedly confirmed quantum physics’s quirks, but the tests contained loopholes. While the major loopholes have already been closed (SN: 12/26/15, p. 24), a lingering caveat remained, regarding...
Science & the Public
If you spent Thanksgiving trying in vain to convince relatives that the Pope didn’t really endorse Donald Trump or that Hillary Clinton didn’t sell weapons to ISIS, fake news has already weaseled its way into your brain.
Those “stories” and other falsified news outperformed much of the real news on Facebook before the 2016 U.S. presidential election. And on Twitter, an analysis by...
The Name Game
For centuries, stargazers have known which star was Polaris and which was Sirius, but those designations were by unofficial tradition. The International Astronomical Union, arbiter of naming things in space, has now blessed the monikers of 227 stars in our galaxy. As of November 24, names such as Polaris (the North Star) and Betelgeuse (the bright red star in Orion) are approved.