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Tag: NATURE

First X-Ray Picture of Lightning Taken

Think, for a moment, about lightning. With all our talk of sci-fi and high-tech, we often forget that, in our world, since long before the dawn of man, rays of fatal electricity have shot down from the sky to stab the earth. Crazy. And it's crazier still to think that we've never tamed it -- never used it to power our personal hovercrafts. Of course, before the other day, we'd never taken an X-ray...

Outdoor Gadgets Put Visitors, Rangers and Others in Danger

Usually, when we talk about the union of gadgets and the outdoors, we're discussing how the latest tech can make your excursions into the wild safer or more comfortable. It turns out, though, that our gadgets are just as adept at putting us in harm's way. The New York Times spoke with park rangers from around the nation, and compiled a list of anecdotes about cameras and cell phones putting...

With 'Shark Week' Imminent, Look Forward to the Great-White-Warning SMS System

Steven Spielberg's 'Jaws' saw its 35th anniversary last month, and your writer reignited an irrational, but very real, childhood galeophobia by re-watching the entire toothy franchise just before a July 4th trip to the beach. It didn't help matters that the original Jaws (yes, we know, fictional) attacks occurred around Independence Day on Amity Island, and that the real-life Coast Guard issued...

$1.6M Bugatti No Match For a Low-Flying Pelican

It's official. The birds are attacking. For the second time in a month, a single bird has defied the odds and taken down a piece of machinery many times its size. According to the Lufkin Daily News, Andy House was cruising down the roads of La Marque, Texas in his $1.6 million Bugatti Veyron last Wednesday, minding his own business and talking on the phone (which, we are sure, didn't...

Schools of Swimming Robots to Study Ocean Currents

If you happen to notice a swarm of robots floating past your beachfront home, don't panic; it's not the first wave of the SkyNet invasion. Aided by funding from the National Science Foundation, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) is planning to deploy fleets of autonomous robots, possibly numbering in the hundreds, to study localized oceanic environments. High on the list of...

Large Hadron Collider Clogged by Bird's Baguette Bomb

Every now and then, something will randomly fall out of the sky into an extremely insular environment, and chaos and confusion will erupt. Those consequences, as Chicken Little will tell you, can be devastating. Something along those lines recently happened at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) when a bird dropped a baguette on the giant particle accelerator as it was flying overhead, nearly...

Terrifying Robotic Cockroach Survives Eight-Story Fall

The world of robotics is awash in nature-inspired cybernetic creatures -- bees, spiders, fish. But none have been so creepy as the DASH, or the Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod. For those keeping score, that's a fancy way of saying "robotic cockroach." The DASH was built by a team at the University of California Berkeley and mimics nature's nastiest little survivor in almost every way. Its...

Harvard Gets $10M to Create RoboBee Swarms

The world of insect cyborgs is abuzz over news about the latest addition to the ever-expanding robo phylum. In news that may soon send even the most cuddly winged creatures to the unemployment line, Harvard researchers have received a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation to spawn an army of robot bees, reports Network World. The RoboBee project is slated to span 5 years, and,...

Ugandan Gorillas Bring Tweeting, Poking to Animal Kingdom

Some new faces are set to hit Facebook and Twitter, and they're not your average social network users, either. With hopes that folks will go 'bananas' over the idea, the Uganda Wildlife Authority created Facebook and Twitter accounts for some of the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. According to USA Today, animal lovers around the world can visit FriendAGorilla.org, or...

Pigeon Beats ISP in 60-Mile Data Delivery Race

Last week, in an epic showdown between nature and technology, science barely edged out Mother Earth to claim global supremacy. And, reportedly, it only took a lonely carrier pigeon in South Africa two hours to even the odds. According to BBC reports, an exasperated employee for Durban's Unlimited IT spurred the pigeon to action after the man frustratingly mentioned that data transmission...

Got a Cell Phone? Use It to HelpTrack Crickets in NYC

Scientists in New York City are asking all folks with a cell phone and a sharp ear to take part in an interesting, and some might say disgusting, survey. According to Wired, it's called the 'NYC Cricket Crawl,' and the goal is to get an idea of just how many crickets and katydids still live in the city. At least it's not a sewer rat survey, right? The 'Cricket Crawl' is quick, simple, and best...

Tech Vs. Nature -- Who Is the Winner?

This past July, Bill Gates announced his intention to do battle with one of nature's most destructive forces -- the hurricane. Thankfully, Gates has no intention of donning a wrestling singlet and cape, and defending the Gulf Coast. Instead, the Microsoft founder is putting the power of human ingenuity to perhaps its greatest test in the protracted war between science and nature. Of course,...

Robo-Fish Swim Just Like the Real Thing

It's good to hear that engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are starting to spend some time outside every once in a while. Pablo Alvarado, a mechanical engineer, and his colleagues at that prestigious university must have done so in developing their latest project: the robo-fish. Between five and eight inches long, the prototypes are comprised of a mere 10 movable parts...

World's First Bionic Gosling

What's good for the goose is good for the... well, everyone. When a two-week-old gosling with a broken leg was brought into Tiggywinkles (yes, we are serious) Animal Hospital in Buckinghamshire, England, the attending veterinarians couldn't bring themselves to euthanize her. Instead, they decided to outfit the goose with a bionic leg -- a first for geese according to the Telegraph (though...

Report: Sonar Causes Deafness in Dolphins

What many people had already assumed has now been proven true. Sonar has the ability to temporarily deafen dolphins. A new study, courtesy of Aran Mooney and others from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, confirms that continuous sonar "pings" cause temporary hearing loss in dolphins (and most likely other cetaceans). Mooney and his team did find, however, that the dolphins would have to be...