High-resolution animation from GOES-16: massive thunderstorms over southern Illinois, part of a sprawling, dangerous weather system
A screenshot from an animation of GOES-16 weather satellite images shows severe storms boiling up over southern Illinois, where they dumped heavy rainfall on April 28, 2017. Click to watch the animation. (Source: CIRA/RAMMB/NOAA)
A large swath of the nation’s midsection has been hammered with torrential downpours. And the forecast calls for yet more, thanks t ...read more
The cure for false speech is more truth telling — not less speech.
Here’s what 29 feet of sea level rise would look in New York City. (Source: Courtesy of Climate Central)
In his first piece as an op ed columnist for the N.Y. Times, Bret Stephens rightly decries hyperbole in discussion about climate change. Then he makes seemingly reasonable arguments that turn out to be asinine.
My reaction? Yawn. It’s quite doubtful that he will move the needle of public ...read more
The Harpy drone made by Israel Aerospace Industries can autonomously loiter in the air until it detects a radar target below. Credit: Israel Aerospace Industries
Fears of a Terminator-style arms race have already prompted leading AI researchers and Silicon Valley leaders to call for a ban on killer robots. The United Nations plans to convene its first formal meeting of experts on lethal autonomous weapons later this summer. But a simulation based on the hypothetical first battlefield ...read more
Do we have a human right to the privacy of our brain activity? Is “cognitive liberty” the foundation of all freedom?
An interesting new paper by Swiss researchers Marcello Ienca and Roberto Andorno explores such questions: Towards new human rights in the age of neuroscience and neurotechnology
Ienca and Andorno begin by noting that it has long been held that the mind is “a kind of last refuge of personal freedom and self-determination”. In other words, no matter what res ...read more
A prototype of the Lilium Jet takes off on a vertical takeoff and landing test flight. Credit: Lilium
The old science fiction fantasy of a flying car that both drives on the ground and flies in the air is unlikely to revolutionize daily commutes. Instead, Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs and aerospace companies dream of electric-powered aircraft that can take off vertically like helicopters but have the flight efficiency of airplanes. The German startup Lilium took a very ...read more
A processed, true-color image of Saturn’s polar vortex based on photos taken by Cassini on April 26, 2017 during the spacecraft’s first dive between the planet and its rings. (Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Sophia Nasr)
We’ve already been treated to spectacular black and white closeup images of Saturn, beamed home to Earth by the Cassini spacecraft after it dove between the planet and its rings. Now, we’re getting to see what things look like in true color.
Among the ...read more
Even if you detest spiders—even if a photo of one makes you recoil from your screen—pause for a moment and consider the sheer machinery of these creatures. They coordinate the movement of eight legs and up to eight eyes at once. They are their own miniature textile factories, pumping out silk thread from an intricate set of appendages. And while most spiders use their legs to help spin the thread, or glue one end to a surface to pull it out, recluse spiders don’t need the help ...read more
(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Take a moonlit walk through the woods, and you may notice small, glowing green mushrooms brightening your path near the bases of trees and in the underbrush.
There are roughly 80 species of bioluminescent fungi scattered throughout the world, and 2015 study indicated they likely glow in the dark to attract spore-spreading bugs. But how they do it has been unclear, and a new study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances indic ...read more
Compared to the noses of most other primates, the human nose is quite large and easily broken. Why have we evolved such a risky appendage? According to this study, it might be because of sexual selection — in other words, a nice nose acts as an indicator of an individual’s fitness as a mate. To test this hypothesis, the authors photoshopped either a man’s nose or mouth so that it looked slightly asymmetrical in some photos (see figure below) and the ...read more
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