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Mysterious Interstellar Rock

Fragments of the Hypatia stone, which has been found to predate the formation of the Solar...
Fragments of the Hypatia stone, which has been found to predate the formation of the Solar System or have interstellar origins(Credit: Dr Mario di Martino, INAF Osservatorio Astrofysico di Torino)

In 1996, scientists discovered what may be the strangest stone ever found, in an equally strange section of the Sahara desert that’s littered with unique yellow glass. Nicknamed the Hypatia stone, the relic was later found to be extraterrestrial in origin, but was unlike any known kind of meteorite or comet. A new study has deepened the mystery even further, finding that Hypatia could predate the formation of the Solar System, or have interstellar origins. read more

Lobsters are the Key To Jellyfish Blooms

A deep sea image showing a Norway lobster munching on a jellyfish
A deep sea image showing a Norway lobster munching on a jellyfish(Credit: Heriot-Watt University)

Jellyfish blooms are regarded by some as an ecological menace, but they may sound the dinner gong for the commercially valuable Norway lobster. Recently, a team of scientists from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh have photographed the tasty crustacean in the waters off western Norway chowing down on jellyfish carcasses, suggesting that they could form a major part of its diet.

The 25-cm (10-in) Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus), also known as the Dublin Bay prawn, langoustine, or scampi, is the most important commercial crustacean in Europe, responsible for revenues of £78 million (US$105 million) to Scotland alone. They’re remarkably abundant in the north-eastern Atlantic and parts of the Mediterranean, and they’re cheaper than the larger common lobster. Each year 60,000 tonnes of them are hauled in with half taken in British waters. read more

Fat Burning Patch

Prof. Chen Peng (left) and Asst Prof Xu Chenjie, with a batch of the patches
Prof. Chen Peng (left) and Asst Prof Xu Chenjie, with a batch of the patches(Credit: Nanyang Technological University)

There are already skin patches that help people quit smoking … could patches that help them lose weight be far behind? Well, thanks to research being conducted at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, the things already exist – for mice, at least. read more

Weapon Wednesday – PTSD Sufferers Hear Their Own Brain Waves

A novel form of treatment has reduced symptoms of PTSD by allowing patients to "hear" their...
A novel form of treatment has reduced symptoms of PTSD by allowing patients to “hear” their own brainwaves(Credit: Andreus/Depositphotos)

Currently, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is usually treated with psychotherapy and antidepressants, but with the variability of the human mind those aren’t always effective. Now a study conducted at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has found that a novel form of treatment reduced symptoms of the disorder by effectively letting patients “hear” their own brainwaves. read more

Cardboard Delivery Drone

Once the goods have arrived, the drones biodegrade in a matter of days
Once the goods have arrived, the drones biodegrade in a matter of days

In developing regions where lack of road infrastructure is problematic for those in the business of moving goods, drones are already having an impact. But also problematic is the fact that the people sending drones off to do the courier work kinda need them back again. A new cardboard drone being funded by DARPA won’t concern itself with such limitations, with the ability to deliver vital goods and disappear soon after the job is done.
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Two Candidates Chosen to go to Titan

Dragonfly is a dual-quadcopter lander that would take advantage of the environment on Titan to fly...
Dragonfly is a dual-quadcopter lander that would take advantage of the environment on Titan to fly to multiple locations(Credit: NASA)

NASA has ramped up its next phase of space exploration by green lighting further development of two unmanned mission concepts. Scheduled to launch sometime in the mid-2020s, the proposed missions include the Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return (CAESAR) spacecraft, which is designed to bring back comet materials to Earth, and the Dragonfly dual quadcopter, which is designed to fly about in the atmosphere of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. read more

Weapon Wednesday – Bell’s New Tilt Rotor

Bell Helicopter's V-280 Valor tilt-rotor aircraft makes its maiden flight
Bell Helicopter’s V-280 Valor tilt-rotor aircraft makes its maiden flight(Credit: Bell Helicopter/YouTube)

Bell Helicopter’s V-280 Valor tilt-rotor aircraft has taken to the skies for the first time. The December 18 flight at the company’s Amarillo Assembly Center in Texas comes only a little over two months after the prototype made its first tethered flight at the same location. read more

Magic Leap Augmented Reality

The Magic Leap One, with Lightpack and controller
The Magic Leap One, with Lightpack and controller(Credit: Magic Leap)

Magic Leap has been teasing a mysterious, game-changing augmented reality device for several years now, earning hundreds of millions of dollars in investment along the way, and today it finally revealed some actual hardware. Meet the Magic Leap One, available to developers from next year.

In terms of the capabilities of the Magic Leap One, it looks like we’re in for the same AR features we’ve seen from the likes of the Microsoft HoloLens and ARKit on iOS: digital graphics seamlessly merged with the real world, as you move around. read more

Italian Family Feels No Pain

Scientists have isolated a genetic mutation that appears to render an Italian family unable to feel...
Scientists have isolated a genetic mutation that appears to render an Italian family unable to feel pain, and the find may help develop new treatments for people suffering chronic pain(Credit: zimmytws/Depositphotos)

Unpleasant as it is, pain serves an important function by telling us that something is wrong. But for people suffering from chronic pain conditions, the message is blaring constantly, and conventional painkillers aren’t all that effective. Now, a new hope for relief might have been found in the strange case of an Italian family, who all have a genetic mutation that makes them feel almost no pain at all. read more