Science

Slashdot reports: “Researchers at the Technische Universitat Wein have created a simulation of a simple worm’s neural network, and have been able to replicate its natural behavior to completely mimic the worm’s natural reflexive behavior.” When it comes to bodies, at least down to the level where quantum uncertainty becomes important, there seems to be […]

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Richard Dawkins’ Unweaving the Rainbow includes a great discussion of the scientific uses of the Fourier transform. Most amusingly: “The side-to-side waving of the urine trail on the road was presumably produced by the long [elephant] penis acting as a pendulum (it would be a sine wave if the penis were a perfect, Newtonian pendulum, […]

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Canada’s bitumen sands continue to be the largest source of growth in Canada’s greenhouse gas pollution, and the biggest barrier to Canada’s fair participation in a global climate change mitigation strategy. Not only does continued bitumen sands investment perpetuate an industry which undermines Canada’s claim to be serious about Indigenous reconciliation, but giving the industry […]

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Then they led him out again, trying to get him near a mockup of a Mercury capsule, where the television networks had set up cameras and tremendous lights. The reporters and photographers surged forward again, yammering, yelling, exploding more camera lights, shoving, groaning, cursing—the usual yahoo sprawl, in short—and the animal came unglued again, ready […]

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Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 DNA polymerase IV (Dpo4) is a DinB homolog that belongs to the recently described Y-family of DNA polymerases, which are best characterized by their low-fidelity synthesis on undamaged DNA templates and propensity to traverse normally replication-blocking lesions. By Bathsheba

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For the first time, we may have just detected the a large object that has entered our solar system from interplanetary space: C/2017 U1 PanSTARRS. It’s a shame we don’t have a spacecraft ready to go get a closer look, or maybe even get a sample.

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It seems the WPA2 encryption system used by most WiFi networks is badly broken: New KRACK Attack Against Wi-Fi Encryption KRACK! Wifi’s go-to security, WPA2, is fatally flawed, and will probably never be patched in many places WPA2: Broken with KRACK. What now? ‘All wifi networks’ are vulnerable to hacking, security expert discovers This follows […]

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After a 20-year mission, and to avoid any risk of contaminating Saturnian moons with microorganisms from Earth, the Cassini space probe was deliberately crashed into Saturn’s atmosphere today. The science it has returned has been stimulating and the imagery spectacular. The watery moon Enceladus now joins Europa among the solar system’s most intriguing life-compatible bodies.

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New Zealand’s kakapo parrot is equally rare and bizarre: critically endangered, with 154 survivors living on three protected predator-free islands, the birds can’t survive the presence of rats, cats, and other potentially-carniverous mammals, can’t fly, and reproduce slowly and strangely. The chapter about them is perhaps the most memorable part of Douglas Adams’ excellent non-fiction […]

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Columbus could not have foreseen the results of his search for piperine, Magellan was unaware of the long-term effects of his quest for isoeugenol, and Schönbein would surely have been astonished that the nitrocellulose he made from his wife’s apron was the start of great industries as diverse as explosives and textiles. Perkin could not […]

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