News in Brief
A new type of mini drone can pull a lot more than its own weight.
The drone latches onto a surface and uses a cable to reel in objects up to 40 times its mass, researchers report. This feat is a marked improvement over other flying robots, which generally can’t tote objects heavier than about their own weight (SN: 2/7/15, p. 18). The new palm-sized flyer, described October 24 in Science...
Electrons are still almost perfectly round, a new measurement shows. A more squished shape could hint at the presence of never-before-seen subatomic particles, so the result stymies the search for new physics.
The electron gets its shape from the way that positive and negative charges are distributed inside the particle. The best theory for how particles behave, called the standard model...
Reviews & Previews
The Sawbones BookJustin McElroy and Dr. Sydnee McElroyTeylor Smirl (illustrator)Weldon Owen, $24.99
Humans took a long, weird road to modern medicine. We don’t have everything figured out yet, but at least we’ve learned not to drink the feces of cholera victims and never to plug dental cavities with a lizard’s liver — unlike some of our ancestors.
Gruesome methods like these...
Bernhard Riemann was a man with a hypothesis.
He was confident that it was true, probably. But he didn’t prove it. And attempts over the last century and a half by others to prove it have failed.
A new claim by the esteemed mathematician Michael Atiyah that Riemann’s hypothesis has now been proved may also be exaggerated. But sadly Riemann’s early death was not. He died at age 39....
Shahzeen Attari, 37Environmental decision makingIndiana University Bloomington09/26/2018 - 08:35 Psychology, Climate
When Shahzeen Attari was growing up in Dubai, her father ran a machine shop. Her mother, a gregarious people person, worked at a bank.
“My curiosity about how things work came from my father,” Attari says. “I learned to love getting to know people from my mother.”
That yin-yang background may help...
News in Brief
Editor’s note: This story has been periodically updated to reflect the rovers' progress on Ryugu.
The first rovers to explore the surface of an asteroid have landed. After touching down September 21, the vehicles took pictures of asteroid Ryugu and at least one hopped around.
Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft, which arrived at the near-Earth asteroid on June 27 after a journey of more...
A new type of soft robot gets its power from the skin it’s in.
Robotic skin that bends, stretches and contracts can wrap around inanimate objects like stuffed animals, foam tubes or balloons to create flexible, lightweight robots. Removable, reusable sheets of this artificial skin, described online September 19 in Science Robotics, could also be used to build grippers or wearable devices...
I’m relatively new to Oregon, but one of the ways I know I’m starting to settle in is my ability to recognize marijuana shops. Some are easy. But others, with names like The Agrestic and Mr. Nice Guy, are a little trickier to identify for someone who hasn’t spent much time in a state that has legalized marijuana.
A growing number of states have legalized both medical and recreational...
A scientific takedown of a famous finding known as the 30-million-word gap may upend popular notions of how kids learn vocabulary.
Research conducted more than 20 years ago concluded that by age 4, poor children hear an average of 30 million fewer words than their well-off peers. Since then, many researchers have accepted the reported word gap as a driver of later reading and writing...
Gun deaths occur worldwide, but a new survey reveals the hot spots for those that occur outside of war zones.
In 2016, firearm-related homicides, suicides and accidental deaths were highly concentrated. For example, just six countries — the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Guatemala — accounted for about half of the estimated number of gun deaths unrelated to armed...