May 26, 2018

Week In STEM – 9 May

How To Spin Super Strong Webs

A team of researchers working in Italy has found that simply spraying a spider with a carbon nanotube solution can cause the spider to spin stronger webs. The team describes their experiments with both graphene and nanotube solutions and what happened when they sprayed it on ordinary spiders.

To find out, they wandered out into the natural environs near their lab and collected a host of cellar spiders and carefully brought them back to their lab. They then proceeded to spray ten of them with a solution and five with a graphene solution (the particles were 200 to 300 nanometers in width). Sadly, four of the spiders died shortly thereafter, and some produced poor quality webs, but a few of them produced webs that were actually stronger than their normal webs.

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Shape changing car

A truly smart car might be able to drive sideways, like the equally tiny, shape shifting EO Smart Connecting Car 2.

A research project from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, the EO 2 is designed for crowded cities where rush hours are nightmares and parking in nearly non-existent.

Though just a prototype, the EO 2 gives ample evidence of how some of its innovations could lead to truly smart, even flexible cars.

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Supercomputer strives to be jack of all trades

The IBM supercomputer is becoming a jack of all trades for the US tech giant—including in its new role as a business consultant and analyst for various industries by using massive Internet databases.

Watson, which gained fame in 2011 for defeating human opponents on the “Jeopardy” quiz show, has been reaching into its since then for an array of other services.

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Space In Photos

A collection of some of the weeks best pictures taken of the world beyond earth. Prepare to be awed, from Saturn’s Death star to a new view of Ceres.

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Celebrating the Female contributions to STEM

Some of history’s unsung innovators get their due in the new book Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science — and the World by Rachel Swaby. A sample of the distinguished discoverers….

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Using Drones To Tackle Tuberculosis

Crocodile-infested rivers, choppy seas and a lack of proper roads make it difficult for aid workers in remote areas of Papua New Guinea to transport medical supplies, but aid workers have come up with a new solution: drones.

Unmanned drones are often used in humanitarian efforts for mapping, but using them to get medicines and samples to hard-to-reach areas is new, said Isaac Chikwanha and Eric Pujo of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

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New Discovery To Bridge Evolutionary Gap

A newly discovered life form could help resolve one of the most contentious conundrums in modern biology.

All organisms on Earth are classified as either prokaryotes, which have simple cells, or eukaryotes, which have larger, more complex cells. But the two cell types are so divergent that understanding how one evolved from the other has foxed biologists.

The new microbes, reported in Nature journal, go some way to bridging that gap.

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