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...
Science & the Public
In courtrooms around the United States, computer programs give testimony that helps decide who gets locked up and who walks free.
These algorithms are criminal recidivism predictors, which use personal information about defendants — like family and employment history — to assess that person’s likelihood of committing future crimes. Judges factor those risk ratings into verdicts on...
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...
Power within 30 years
Controlled thermonuclear fusion is moving so well that full-scale development could begin within five years, says Dr. David J. Rose....It might take 20 to 30 years beyond that before fusion could move into the power grid, though, he predicts. — Science News, February 17, 1968Update
Governments and private-sector start-ups are still trying to wrangle...
News in Brief
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Newly fabricated superstrong lumber gives a whole new meaning to “hardwood.”
This ultracompact wood, described in the Feb. 8 Nature, is created by boiling a wood block in a water-based solution of sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfite. The chemicals partially strip the wood of substances called lignin and hemicellulose, which help give wood its structure and rigidity....
Reviews & Previews
Machines That ThinkToby WalshPrometheus Books, $16
Movies and other media are full of mixed messages about the risks and rewards of building machines with minds of their own. For every manipulative automaton like Ex Machina’s Ava (SN: 5/16/15, p. 26), there’s a helpful Star Wars droid. And while some tech titans such as Elon Musk warn of the threats artificial intelligence...