Topic: research

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Making lava bombs with ‘homemade’ magma

Hot lava + cold water = the potential for lava bombs, flying molten rock balls. For scientists who study the dynamics of this violent combination, it's much safer to set up controlled experiments than to study it in H...

The Living Fossil Fish – Animated Life

In 1938, South African museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer came across a strange blue fin poking out of a pile of fish. With its fleshy, lobed fins and its tough armored scales, the coelacanth did not look like ...

The expertise of killer whale grandmothers

Pods of killer whales [also known as orcas] inhabit the waters of every major ocean on Earth. Each family is able to survive thanks mainly to one member, its most knowledgeable hunter: the grandmother. These matriarch...

Dinosaurs probably didn’t roar. What did they sound like?

If birds are living dinosaurs—"the only survivors of the mass extinction that wiped out their giant relatives 65 million years ago"—then did dinosaurs really sound like the roaring mammals that we've heard in the movi...

The Beauty of Flames

The Beauty of Flames captures some extraordinary-looking flames, "the visible, gaseous part of a fire," in this video from Yan Liang's Envisioning Chemistry science and art series. The flames were created by Professor...

The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics, & Biology

Scientists have discovered a mysterious universal pattern that "connects a bus system in Mexico and chicken eyes to quantum physics and number theory." MentalFloss summarizes the formerly hidden phenomenon, known as u...

Fungi Matter, an animation for Kew

Fungi matter. They connect all life on Earth. They play a part in fighting cancer, infections, and heart disease. They provide plants with nutrients to survive. They can even break down plastics and generate biofuels....

How do garden eels eat?

Alexandra Khrizman and colleagues at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University made more than 100 dives and planted cameras among garden eels to determine how they handle currents, and whether being s...

Hawk moths and The Art of Staying Stable

Like a hummingbird or a creature from a Hayao Miyazaki film, hawk moths or Sphingidae, are a family of large insects with the magical-looking mastery of hovering in midair. They can also fly backward and keep incredib...

iCub, IIT’s teleoperated robot toddler

iCub is a toddler-sized open-source robot by the Dynamic Interaction Control Lab at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT). See the iCub robot walk across the lab and interact with a toy in the September 2018 video...

Gazing into the eyes of SEER: The Simulative Emotional Expression Robot

This young looking face with light eyes, expressive eyebrows, and a Mona Lisa smile is named SEER, an acronym for Simulative Emotional Expression Robot. It was created by Japanese artist Takayuki Todo to explore the p...

Neil deGrasse Tyson tests ‘the world’s smartest dog’

Chaser the Border Collie can identify over 1022 toys. In 2011, astrophysicist and NOVA ScienceNOW host Neil deGrasse Tyson visited with Chaser and her owner, psychology professor Dr. John W. Pilley, to test her memory...

What do bluebirds eat?

Ask any birder what birds eat and you'll hear “seeds, fruits, and insects.” But during reproduction, arguably the most important weeks of a bird’s life, 96% of North American terrestrial birds eat insects and other ar...

How do crab spiders use their silk to fly?

Some spiders can catch onto breezes that send them flying across oceans and high up into the skies by ballooning—releasing "numerous strands of silk that they spin up to six feet long." And those threads of silk, ...

The Cephalopod Empire in Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Bret Grasse lovingly calls the Cephalopod Operations division at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts the “cephalopod empire.” The lab houses roughly 2,000 to 3,000 cephalopods—likely th...

Mapping whale songs in the South Pacific

Why do male whales make such complex songs? And what are they communicating? Dr. Ellen Garland has been analyzing sound arrangements made by the tens of thousands of whales living in separate communities across the So...

The SUSTAIN Lab’s Hurricane in a Box

Brian Haus watches as the still air stirs into over 150 mph winds. The flat turquoise water suddenly churns a series of endless crashing waves of white frothy foam. Thankfully, Haus does not have to actually weather t...

The Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise, a new species

The Vogelkop superb bird-of-paradise may look like the Superb Bird-of-Paradise, the hopping black bird with iridescent blue 'eyes' and a 'mouth' in its outspread wings, but the Vogelkop has recently been named as a se...

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