grizzly bear Animals Featured 

Photographer in Alaska: Grazing Grizzly Bears

By Max Goldberg, Contributing Photographer Grazing Grizzly Bears: This is the second installment of wildlife photographer Max Goldberg’s latest Alaskan Adventure. After spending a few days at Brooks Lodge, my father and I went back to Anchorage, Alaska, and took three flights to our next destination: the Natural Habitat Ursus. The Ursus is an old crab–fishing boat converted into a floating home–from–home, and our base for the next week. Every morning, we would eat breakfast, put on our waders, get into a skiff, and go to shore looking for bears.  …

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Truly transparent solar energy Engineering Environment Featured Physics Technology 

Solar Energy that Doesn’t Block the View

By Kate Stone In 2014, a team of researchers at Michigan State University developed a new type of solar concentrator that, when placed over a window, creates solar energy while still allowing people to see through the window. It is called a “transparent luminescent solar concentrator” and it can be used on buildings, cell phones, and anything else that has a clear surface. According to Richard Lunt of MSU’s College of Engineering, the operative word in this story is “transparent.” One year ago, researchers predicted that, while the technology was at an early…

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Structural Coloration in Bird Feathers Animals Biology Featured 

Structural Coloration in Bird Feathers

By Steven Spence Pimping Your Ride, the Natural Way If you are familiar with Pimp My Ride, a TV show about customizing old cars, you will know that one of the key elements in each customization is a bold paint job. It turns out that nature is ahead of TV. Biomimetics is the science of harnessing (or mimicking) nature in the design of human-engineered products. Aircraft wings have been improved with inspiration from birds, bats, and even sharks.  Geckos and their amazing gripping properties have inspired the development of adhesives…

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An employee working at a treadmill desk. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU) Featured Health 

How to Ask Your Boss for a Treadmill Desk

The adverse effects of sedentary office work have given adjustable desks, standing desks, and treadmill desks new attention, but treadmill desks are not everyone’s cup of tea. Now, the latest research from Brigham Young University reveals the impact that treadmill desks can have on job performance. So You Want a Treadmill Desk If you are interested in using a treadmill desk at the office, your greatest challenge may be convincing your boss that it will not have a negative impact on your job performance. Some employers worry that standing or…

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Oceanography Animals Biology Featured Oceanography 

Jellyfish Do More than Drift

Jellyfish might look like they are just drifting along with the ocean currents, but according to a new study of barrel jellies, these animals are moving with purpose. Researchers have found that jellyfish can detect ocean currents and actively swim against them. “Jellyfish are not just bags of jelly drifting passively in the oceans,” says Graeme Hays of Deakin University in Australia. “They are incredibly advanced in their orientation abilities.” It is believed that this is how jellyfish are able to congregate in blooms consisting of hundreds to millions of…

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The Willow Garage PR2 is a sophisticated research robot designed to work with people. (Claudia Perez D'Arpino, MIT) Engineering Featured Technology 

Your Household Robot Is on the Way

A household robot to help with the daily chores is surely every busy person’s dream. But who would want a clumsy robot that’s always getting under your feet? That is the challenge being addressed by researchers at MIT. They have built a sophisticated robot and are teaching it to work together with people. In a recent article, we reported on the robots being put to work at the retail giant Amazon to serve our holiday shopping needs.  But the future may very well have interactive and collaborative robots in our…

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Ultrasound is focused to create a hologram in the shape of a virtual sphere (Bristol Interaction and Graphics group, University of Bristol, © 2014) Featured Technology 

Holograms You Can Touch and Feel

Holograms that seem to have mass and can be touched have long been the stuff of science fiction. Now, they are science fact. Tactile technology which creates haptic feedback has been used for years in entertainment (such as game controllers), rehabilitation and even surgical training. Now, researchers from the University of Bristol’s Department of Computer Science have taken a leap forward by using ultrasound to develop a 3D shape in mid-air that can be touched and felt by human hands. The system could change the way 3D shapes are used.…

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Kiva robots and an Amazon employee (Business Wire) Featured Technology 

Robots Fulfilling Your Amazon Orders

Robots are hard at work this holiday season in the warehouses and fulfillment centers of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). In time for the holiday shopping frenzy, the company unveiled its eighth generation fulfillment centers (where customer orders are processed) which now use a variety of gadgets including Kiva robots, vision systems, and a whole host of other software and mechanical innovations that would make Santa and his elves weep. Amazon is currently operating 10 of these new centers in the United States. Amazon gets a staggering number of orders throughout…

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3 Different Ways to Breath Animals Biology Featured 

Breathing Infographic: Human, Bird, Grasshopper

This informative illustration of three different animals breathing is the work of Eleanor Lutz, a designer with a degree in molecular biology. The animated infographic shows how humans breath in and out in sequence through the nose and mouth. Birds have multi-chambered lungs that can process incoming air and outgoing air simultaneously– a very efficient system for running and flying. Grasshoppers, on the other hand, essentially breath with their whole bodies. “This month’s infographic is packed with actual science,” Lutz explains on her blog. “I decided to illustrate how different…

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