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May be Able to Levitate Anything

Researchers at the University of Chicago have demonstrated a levitation technique that can move macroscopic objects,...Researchers at the University of Chicago have demonstrated a levitation technique that can move macroscopic objects, using heat flow(Credit: Jean Lachat)

Levitation may look like magic, but there are a number of scientific tricks behind it. Magnetic systems are usually behind gimmicky consumer products like floating lightbulbs and speakers, optical levitation turns up in more academic pursuits like quantum computing, and acoustics could help suspend tiny particles to make better drugs. These techniques only work with certain objects, but researchers at the University of Chicago have developed a method to levitate basically anything, using differences in temperature.

“Magnetic levitation only works on magnetic particles, and optical levitation only works on objects that can be polarized by light, but with our first-of-its-kind method, we demonstrate a method to levitate generic objects,” says Cheng Chin, one of the researchers on the team.

Balls of ceramic, plastic and glass, ice particles, seeds and pieces of lint have been used to demonstrate the technique, and the team found that the levitated particles could be held aloft for over an hour rather than a matter of minutes, and wouldn’t wobble around sideways.

The researchers achieved this versatile levitation through the process of thermophoresis, which manipulates particles by placing them between sources of different temperatures. In this case, the objects were placed in a vacuum between two plates – the bottom one, made of copper, was left at room temperature, while the top plate contained liquid nitrogen, cooling a stainless steel container to -300º F (-184º C). The relative heat would flow from the bottom plate toward the top one, lifting the particles along with it.

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We Could Have Woolly Mammoths Soon

They became extinct thousands of years ago, but now scientists claim they are just two years away from bringing woolly mammoths back from the dead.

The shaggy beasts last wandered the tundra of Siberia before our human ancestors probably hunted them into extinction.

Now a project to bring back the mammoth said within two years the nearest possible thing to a mammoth could be created.

It would be a hybrid between an Asian elephant and a mammoth – perhaps you could call it a ‘mamephant’.

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They became extinct thousands of years ago, but now scientists claim they are just two years away from bringing woolly mammoths back from the dead. Pictured is a 39,000-year-old female woolly mammoth found frozen in Siberian ice in 2013

They became extinct thousands of years ago, but now scientists claim they are just two years away from bringing woolly mammoths back from the dead. Pictured is a 39,000-year-old female woolly mammoth found frozen in Siberian ice in 2013

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Now There are 8 Continents

Scientists have identified a new continent to the east of Australia that they have named ‘Zealandia’.

At 4.9 million square kilometres (1.89 million-square-mile), Zealandia would be Earth’s eighth and smallest continent, if confirmed.

It is a region of mostly submerged land in the Pacific Ocean, and its coast may contain tens of billions of dollars worth of fossil fuels.

Scientists have identified a new continent to the east of Australia that they have named 'Zealandia'. The area encircled in red is the proposed new continent of Zealandia. At 4.9million square kilometres, Zealandia would be the smallest continent

 Scientists have identified a new continent to the east of Australia that they have named ‘Zealandia’. The area encircled in red is the proposed new continent of Zealandia. At 4.9million square kilometres, Zealandia would be the smallest continent

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My Weekly WND Exclusive – Impose Income Tax — on Robots?

Back in 2015, the Fiscal Times wrote an article describing a fear Bill Gates had. “He may be one of the world’s pivotal computing pioneers, mentioned in the same exuberantly geeky breath as Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Tim Berners-Lee. His technological exploits may have earned him over $80 billion, making him the world’s richest man. Yet even Bill Gates is somewhat concerned about the potentially destructive power of technology.”

Point of order. Some claim Gates is no longer the richest. That moniker goes to a Spaniard Amancio Ortega, the owner of the Zara retail chain.

In the article, Gates describes his fear, like Elon Musk, of what they are calling superintelligences – “computers with cognitive and computational abilities that far surpass those of humanity.” read more

Smartphones Could Learn From The Old Nokia

We think today's smartphone manufacturers could take a cue from phones like the Nokia 3310 shown...
We think today’s smartphone manufacturers could take a cue from phones like the Nokia 3310 shown here

The Nokia 3310 – one of the most popular cell phones in the world just after the turn of the millennium (along with its variations) – is having a surprising resurgence in popularity, amidst reliable rumors that Nokia will re-introduce a modernized version of the phone at the Mobile World Congress later this month. read more

3D Map Transformed

After 64 turns of the hand crank, the topographical map is complete
After 64 turns of the hand crank, the topographical map is complete(Credit: Barilo/Samalonis)

Philadelphia University freshmen Charles Barilo, Peter Holderith and Zachary Samalonis were recently tasked with choosing a painting from those on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and creating a visual showpiece machine based on that painting which incorporated da Vincian thought processes. After a month of tinkering, they presented a cranked machine where sections of a topographical map are slowly raised when the handle is turned. read more

Prepare for a Worldwide Ash Cloud

With 130 volcanoes – both active and inactive – Iceland is one of the most intensely volcanic places in the world.

An expert has now warned that four of the country’s biggest volcanoes are priming to erupt, which could lead to travel chaos.

The volcanoes in question are Katla, Hekla, Bárðarbunga and Grímsvötn – three of which have already erupted in the last 20 years.

The warning follows the 2010’s explosive eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull, which caused more than 10 million air passengers to be stranded and cost the European economy an estimated £4 billion ($4.9 billion).

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A Peanut to Help You Sleep

Forget sleeping pills. The latest insomnia cure comes in the form of a robot who you can curl up with to help you sleep through the night.

Dubbed Somnox, the peanut-shaped pillow measures your rate of breathing and then creates its own steady breathing rhythm in response.

Your body automatically picks up this breathing rhythm, helping you relax and drift off into a peaceful night’s sleep.

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Harvard Creates Metal Glass

Harvard researchers have created a new lens material that is much thinner than glass.

It’s made up of microscopic nanopillars arranged in a thin array to focus light very precisely to avoid blur, which can happen with glass lenses.

The ultra thin metal lens could have many applications and lead to lighter, less bulky lenses in cameras, phones and glasses.

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