View the video
Permanent markers aren’t so permanent after all. All that’s required to peel the ink from glass is the surface tension of water and a little patience, scientists report.
When glass marked with permanent ink is slowly dipped in water, the writing lifts off the glass and floats intact atop the water. For the first time, scientists have now explained the physics behind...
News in Brief
View the video
Meet the first fleet of hive-minded robots.
These robots can latch onto one another and link up their individual “nervous systems” — the network of connections between their computer processors, cameras, wheels and other gadgetry — to create a single-minded machine. The composite robots, reported online September 12 in Nature Communications, pave the way for a new...
Air pollution is a drag for renewable energy. Dust and other sky-darkening air pollutants slash solar energy production by 17 to 25 percent across parts of India, China and the Arabian Peninsula, a new study estimates. The haze can block sunlight from reaching solar panels. And if the particles land on a panel’s flat surface, they cut down on the area exposed to the sun. Dust can come from...
View the video
Walls can get the best of clumsy TV sitcom characters and bats alike.
New lab tests suggest that smooth, vertical surfaces fool some bats into thinking their flight path is clear, leading to collisions and near misses.
The furry fliers famously use sound to navigate — emitting calls and tracking the echoes to hunt for prey and locate obstacles. But some...
Nuclear power go-ahead
West German power companies have decided to go ahead with two nuclear power station projects…. Compared with the U.S. and Britain, Germany has been relatively backward in the application of nuclear energy…. The slow German start is only partly the result of restrictions placed upon German nuclear research after the war. — Science News, September 16, 1967Update...
Letters to the Editor
Going rogue09/06/2017 - 13:30 Planetary Science, Exoplanets, Anthropology
Astronomers estimate that wandering Jupiter-mass planets without a parent star are about a tenth as common as once believed, Ashley Yeager reported in “Giant solo planets are in limited supply” (SN: 8/19/17, p. 10).
Online reader Brian Bixby wondered how often such a rogue planet would come close to our solar system and proposed that one near the Kuiper Belt or Oort cloud...
I’ll admit it. I’m addicted to learning. There’s nothing quite like the thrill that comes with finding out something new.
It’s no surprise I ended up this way. My parents were public school teachers. They instilled in me the belief that education not only opens up new opportunities but also is enjoyable in itself. My parents regularly took my siblings and me to museums, encouraged us to...
You’ve probably encountered at least one machine-learning algorithm today. These clever computer codes sort search engine results, weed spam e-mails from inboxes and optimize navigation routes in real time. People entrust these programs with increasingly complex — and sometimes life-changing — decisions, such as diagnosing diseases and predicting criminal activity.
When nocturnal aardvarks start sunbathing, something’s wrong.
If the animals are desperate enough to bask like some cold, sluggish turtle, it’s because they’ve got the chills. Robyn Hetem, an ecophysiologist, has the body temperature data to prove it — collected from late 2012 into 2013, the hottest summer the arid Kalahari region in South Africa had seen in more than 30 years.
Islamic militants and their fiercest opponents fight and die for intensely spiritual reasons, a new report finds.
Islamic State (also known as ISIS) soldiers and Kurds who have fiercely battled them sacrifice themselves for sacred, nonnegotiable values, says a team led by anthropologist Scott Atran of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. These soldiers’ will to fight also depends on...