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D-brief

Darkness Will Reveal the Sun's Mysterious Corona

By Nathaniel Scharping | August 18, 2017 1:26 pm

When the moon slides in front of the sun Monday, millions of viewers will catch a glimpse of the sun’s corona, which will appear as a hazy glow outlining the solid shadow in front of our star.

Scientists will be watching closely as well, because eclipses are one of the few times they can easily gather data on a region of the sun that is still poorly understood. The corona is the atmosphere of our sun, a swirl of charged particles that extends millions of miles into space, swept into filam …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics
MORE ABOUT: physics, stargazing, stars
The TIKAD drone can carry marksman rifles, assault rifles and even grenade launchers. Credit: Duke Robotics

Lovesick Cyborg

Israeli Military Veterans Built a Sniper Drone

By Jeremy Hsu | August 18, 2017 1:24 pm

In 2015, Israeli Special Forces likely made history by using a sniper rifle mounted on a commercial drone to take out a target. The robotic solution that achieved such pinpoint accuracy came from Duke Robotics, a startup founded by veterans of the Israel Defense Forces. That startup has since developed a multi-rotor sniper drone capable of accurately firing a wide array of weapons such as military assault rifles and grenade launchers.

This is not like the usual military drones flying …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts

D-brief

What Time Is the Total Solar Eclipse?

By Carl Engelking | August 18, 2017 12:41 pm

We’re now counting down the time until the Great American eclipse in hours, not days. Are you ready?

If you aren’t, don’t worry, we have you covered with the Eclipse 2017 Widget from our partners at Astronomy magazine. Powered by SkySafari 5, this interactive widget well let you know exactly when the show will begin, and when you’ll reach maximum eclipse in your area. If you click “view” on the time readouts in the event column, you can also get a rough preview of what you can expect  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: stargazing

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Tooth-brushing-induced orgasms. Look ma, no cavities!

By Seriously Science | August 18, 2017 6:00 am

Sometimes the human brain does weird things. Take the woman described in this case study, for example; when she brushed her teeth, it would induce a seizure that resulted in an orgasm before she passed out. It seems that there was reduced blood flow (hypoperfusion) and some damage (atrophy) in part of her brain that likely caused her tooth-brushing-induced orgasms. No other activity seemed to produce this effect, including brushing without toothpaste. Why this particular combination of stimu …

D-brief

Roman Pipes Delivered Water — And Toxic Antimony

By Nathaniel Scharping | August 17, 2017 2:11 pm

The elaborate system of pipes that carried water to Roman households was an engineering marvel—for its time. Unfortunately, their sophisticated water utility may have been poisoning everyone.

An analysis of a pipe fragment from Pompeii revealed the presence of high levels of antimony, an element that can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even organ damage at high enough concentrations. It was probably included to harden the soft lead pipes, which were a luxury for Roman citizens at the tim …

D-brief

Yes, Scotch Whiskey Is Better With a Splash of Water

By Carl Engelking | August 17, 2017 2:11 pm

A true Scotch drinker doesn’t pour an aged Macallan in order to, as less refined revelers might say, “get the party started.” Quite the contrary, the seasoned aficionado attends to certain norms and customs before imbibing, not unlike a traditional tea ceremony, in a nod to enlightenment, restraint and discernment—the finer things.

The experts recommend pouring Scotch into a tulip-shaped glass to swirl the matured flavors. Sip, but never gulp, as that would be heresy to the histor …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: chemistry

D-brief

Ulcer-fighting Robots Swim Through Stomachs to Deliver a Cure

By Nathaniel Scharping | August 16, 2017 4:18 pm

Tiny robots powered by bubbles have successfully treated an infection in mice.

The achievement is another step forward in a field that has long shown promise, and is only now beginning to deliver. The therapeutic robots in this case were tiny spheres of magnesium and titanium coated with an antibacterial agent and about the width of a human hair. They were released into the stomach, where they swam around and delivered a drug to the target before dissolving.
Robots In the Stomach
Resear …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts

D-brief

Mount Marilyn: A Name That Will Stick...Finally

By Eric Betz | August 16, 2017 4:10 pm

In 1968, Jim Lovell became the first human to pilot a spacecraft — Apollo 8 — around another world. And two years later, his Apollo 13 heroics earned him an eternal place in spaceflight history. But those feats also left Lovell as the only person to visit the moon twice but never walk its surface.

In July, Lovell got his chance to leave a lasting mark on our satellite. Explorers have always named newly discovered landmarks. But things didn’t work out that way for Apollo astronauts  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: space exploration

The Crux

On the Shores of Lake Erie, Endangered Birds Catch a Lucky Break

By Hannah Gavin | August 16, 2017 2:11 pm

Protecting species in peril doesn’t happen overnight. Rather, it’s all about stringing together small wins that, in the long-term, make all the difference. A little luck can also go far.

When waves surged on the Pennsylvania coast of Lake Erie early this summer, it could easily have been the end for a nest of piping plover eggs caught in the water’s path. Fortunately, a dynamic team of biologists, zookeepers and volunteers swooped into action, rescuing the eggs and rearing them at a qui …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: animals

D-brief

Do We Manage Online and Offline Friendships the Same?

By Mark Barna | August 16, 2017 1:24 pm

Social media has been a boon to social science. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other platforms serve as online laboratories that reveal all kinds of stuff about the users, researchers say. The rise of these platforms has sparked a flurry of scientific papers describing people’s social network interactions.

A lot of the conclusions of the studies can engender the response, “Well, no kidding.” But offering validation for intuitive or common sense knowledge isn’t such a bad thing.
 …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: psychology
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