Monthly Archives: January 2018

Will Amazon’s Indoor Rainforest Actually Benefit Its Employees?

Amazon unveiled the newest addition to its Seattle campus today — three glass and concrete domes filled with a jungle’s worth of tropical plants. The Spheres, as they’re called, are meant to serve as a place for meetings and collaborative work. Communal spaces, many in the shape of nests, are scattered throughout the lush interior. The […]

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Speech Recognition Tech Falls Prey to Secret Messages

You hear one thing, but the computer hears another. What’s going on here? Two researchers from the University of California, Berkeley have exploited the technique computers use to decode human speech to hide messages inside snippets of audio. When translated by a speech recognition program like Mozilla’s DeepSpeech, the computer ends up transcribing the hidden message […]

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The Melded Minds of Best Friends

Good friends like to think they’re on the same wavelength. They aren’t wrong. Besties laugh at the same jokes, like the same movies and hate the same people. And underlying all these likes and dislikes, close friends also share strikingly similar neural activity while thinking about them. Researchers at Dartmouth College analyzed brain scans of […]

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Chameleons, Already Dealt Unfair Share of Cool Traits, Also Have Fluorescent Heads

Maybe their moms told them nobody likes a showoff. That would explain why many species of chameleon are hiding fluorescent bone bumps on their heads that scientists only just discovered. Chameleons also have independently moving eyeballs, superlative tongues and sophisticated color-changing skills. The animals might use their glowing head bumps as signals to each other. These patterns of dots are invisible […]

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Birds like to go steady before having kids.

 Perhaps you’ve heard that many bird species are monogamous, including swans and whooping cranes. But have you ever wondered how these long term lovers get together? Do they “date”, or is it love (and breeding) at first sight? These scientists set out to answer these questions by studying the life history of the whooping crane. They found that […]

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Here’s Your Lunar Eclipse Viewing Guide

On the morning of January 31, people with clear skies across western North America will have front-row seats to the first total eclipse of the Moon since September 2015. For 76 minutes, the full moon will lie completely immersed in the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, and the only light hitting the Moon will be […]

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Naked Mole Rats Defy Mortality Mathematics

The Romantic Period of the early 1800s was marked by a morbid fascination with mortality and death. Poets, novelists and other artists tackled the eternal void head on, rather than whisking such dark topics under the proverbial rug. With death in vogue, even mathematicians took a stab on the beauty of ceasing to be. In […]

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Fitness Tracker Data Exposes U.S. Military Bases

Strava is a fitness app that allows users to map their jogging routes, and recently it released a heatmap of where people are getting their fat-burn on around the world—secret military bases included. Oops. Strava released the heatmaps in November, and they showed off the fun side of generating data points while you sweat. But […]

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Elon Musk’s Flamethrowers Are Selling Like Hotcakes

Sick of asking people for a light? Trying to put the spark back into your life? One solution: Buy yourself a flamethrower. If you’re looking to burn a hole in your pocket, Elon Musk’s Boring Company is selling the fiery devices for just $500 (plus taxes and shipping), and by all indications, they’re going fast. […]

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Scientists Create a ‘Princess Leia-Style Display’ With Moving Light

People think they want holograms, but they (usually) don’t. These are illusions, images trapped on two-dimensional surfaces that give the impression of a three-dimensional object. What people really want are “volumetric images” — a display of free-floating light that actually takes up 3-D space, visible from all angles. (Bonus points if you can interact with […]

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