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Interesting Stuff

Why Quality Sleep Grows More Elusive with Age

(Olga Kuevda/Shutterstock) Middle-agers and seniors on average sleep less than younger people, about 6 to 7 hours a night compared to 8 to 9 hours. But why is this so? And are older people therefore sleep deprived, which can give rise to chronic maladies and speed up aging? There are …

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Measuring Deadliness | Toxinology 101

Scientists refer to the study of biological toxins as toxinology. From bacterial toxins like anthrax to the deadliest snake venoms, toxinology examines the chemical warfare between animals, plants, fungi and bacteria. In my Toxinology 101 series, I explain and explore the fundamentals of toxin science to reveal the unusual, often unfamiliar, and unnerving …

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Spectacular new satellite imagery of severe storms shows the atmosphere as a boiling, roiling cauldron of clouds

High-resolution animation from GOES-16: massive thunderstorms over southern Illinois, part of a sprawling, dangerous weather system A screenshot from an animation of GOES-16 weather satellite images shows severe storms boiling up over southern Illinois, where they dumped heavy rainfall on April 28, 2017. Click to watch the animation. (Source: CIRA/RAMMB/NOAA) …

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Any Ban on Killer Robots Faces a Tough Sell

The Harpy drone made by Israel Aerospace Industries can autonomously loiter in the air until it detects a radar target below. Credit: Israel Aerospace Industries Fears of a Terminator-style arms race have already prompted leading AI researchers and Silicon Valley leaders to call for a ban on killer robots. The United Nations …

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New Human Rights for the Age of Neuroscience?

Do we have a human right to the privacy of our brain activity? Is “cognitive liberty” the foundation of all freedom? An interesting new paper by Swiss researchers Marcello Ienca and Roberto Andorno explores such questions: Towards new human rights in the age of neuroscience and neurotechnology Ienca and Andorno …

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The Electric Lilium Jet Hints at Future Air Taxis

A prototype of the Lilium Jet takes off on a vertical takeoff and landing test flight. Credit: Lilium The old science fiction fantasy of a flying car that both drives on the ground and flies in the air is unlikely to revolutionize daily commutes. Instead, Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs and aerospace …

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The first true-color images of Saturn taken during Cassini's close encounter are coming in — and they're beautiful!

A processed, true-color image of Saturn’s polar vortex based on photos taken by Cassini on April 26, 2017 during the spacecraft’s first dive between the planet and its rings. (Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Sophia Nasr) We’ve already been treated to spectacular black and white closeup images of Saturn, beamed home to Earth by the …

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Ecstasy Could Help Adults With Autism Cope

(Lightspring/Shutterstock) For some people with autism, the idea of facing social situations can be so unnerving it impairs their ability to finish school, hold a job or form relationships. And conventional medications and psychotherapy for anxiety often fail. But early results from a new study suggest that MDMA — commonly …

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