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We have developed four-winged bird-like robots, called ornithopters, that can take off and fly with the agility of swifts, hummingbirds and insects. We did this by reverse engineering the aerodynamics and biomechanics of these creatures. Our ornithopters have the potential to outperform and outmanoeuvre existing drone configurations with static wings or propellers. What are ornithopters?
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As plants begin to spread across melting permafrost, scientists are growing ever more worried their roots will stir microbes into unleashing vast stores of carbon. To scientists, roots are known as rhizomes, and when these tendrils extend deeper into the soil, it accelerates microbial decomposition by up to fourfold, potentially ‘priming’ the frozen ground for
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Nearly a century after experiments confirmed that atoms, matter’s smallest building blocks, have ethereal, wave-like characteristics, physicists have just found a new way to show how mammoth-sized molecules ripple with the same uncertainty. Researchers from the University of Vienna and the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, put a new spin on a classic experiment to create
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US officials and scientists have begun laying the groundwork for a more secure “virtually unhackable” internet based on quantum computing technology. At a presentation Thursday, Department of Energy (DOE) officials issued a report that lays out a blueprint strategy for the development of a national quantum internet, using laws of quantum mechanics to transmit information
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The United States accused Russia on Thursday of test-firing an anti-satellite weapon in space, warning that the threat against Washington’s systems was “real, serious and increasing.” US Space Command “has evidence” that Moscow “conducted a non-destructive test of a space-based anti-satellite weapon” on July 15, it said in a statement. “Last week’s test is another
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As scientists scramble to figure out where exactly the coronavirus pandemic emerged, other virologists are still chasing the origins of another once-devastating disease – smallpox.  Now, they’ve found viral DNA of an ancient strain of smallpox in Viking Age archaeological remains from northern Europe. The samples, dated at the earliest to 603 CE, provide definitive
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Scientists have, for the first time, discovered an active leak of methane gas from the sea floor in Antarctica. It is a process that’s likely to accelerate the process of global heating. The finding was published in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the Royal Society B scientific journal on Tuesday. Methane is powerful greenhouse gas that accelerates climate
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Tools excavated from a cave in central Mexico are strong evidence that humans were living in North America at least 30,000 years ago, some 15,000 years earlier than previously thought, scientists said Wednesday.​ Artefacts, including 1,900 stone tools, showed human occupation of the high-altitude Chiquihuite Cave over a roughly 20,000 year period, they reported in
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In ancient Greece, several hundred years before the common era and long before the invention of wheelchairs, some holy sanctuaries may have been specially designed with disability in mind. While ramps were not particularly common in the fourth century BCE, ancient healing temples are often ringed by these permanent stone structures. Archaeologist Debby Sneed from California
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Astrophysicists on Monday published the largest-ever 3D map of the Universe, the result of an analysis of more than 4 million galaxies and ultra-bright, energy-packed quasars. The efforts of hundreds of scientists from around 30 institutions worldwide have yielded a “complete story of the expansion of the Universe”, said Will Percival of the University of
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We might have a problem with our roads: researchers have discovered that sunlight and rain might be able to turn certain compounds in asphalt into a potentially dangerous hydrocarbons, threating the surrounding environment and people using these routes. In particular, it’s the binder (also called asphalt cement) that’s the problem. This heavy, black glue is