Science

Scientists develop mind-controlled wheelchair

New York, March 6 : US scientists have developed a machine that enables people to navigate a robotic wheelchair through their thoughts. "In some severely disabled people, even blinking is not possible," said Miguel Nicolelis, a neuroscientist at Duke University.

"For them, using a wheelchair or device controlled by non-invasive measures like an EEG (a device that monitors brain waves through electrodes on the scalp) may not be sufficient," he said.

"We show clearly that if you have intracranial implants, you get better control of a wheelchair than with non-invasive devices," he added.

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You become what targeted online ads say you are

Washington D. C, Mar 3 : A new study has revealed that online advertisements targeted specifically at you because of your behavior can actually change how you view yourself.

In a series of experiments, the Ohio State University researchers found that young Internet users tended to embrace the identity labels, such as "environmentally conscious" or "sophisticated," implied by the online ads they received. The key was that they needed to know that the ads were targeted to them because of their browsing history.

For example, in one experiment, people felt more environmentally conscious after they received a behaviorally targeted ad for a "green" product.

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US physicists discover new elementary particle

New York: A team of US researchers has detected a new form of elementary particle called the "four-flavoured" tetraquark that can affect scientists' understanding of "quark matter" -- the hot, dense material that existed moments after the Big Bang and may still exist in the super-dense interior of neutron stars.

For most of the history of quarks, it's seemed that all particles were made of either a quark and an antiquark or three quarks,

"This new particle is unique -- a strange, charged beauty. It's the birth of a new paradigm. Particles made of four quarks -- specifically, two quarks and two antiquarks -- is a big change in our view of elementary particles," explained ," said Indiana University physicist Daria Zieminska.

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NASA to spend USD 20 million developing supersonic 'X-plane'

Washington, Mar.2 : The National Aeronautic Space Agency (NASA) has awarded Lockheed Martin USD 20 million to design a new series of supersonic aircraft.

Known as "low boom" flight demonstration aircraft, NASA hopes these quieter "X-planes" will pave the way for the reintroduction of commercial supersonic flights.

Charles Bolden, the administrator of NASA, announced the news during an event at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Virginia yesterday.

The design for Lockheed's test plane will be about half the size of a commercial plane and will "likely" be piloted, according to NASA, which leaves some room for autonomy.

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Deep-ocean sound waves may aid tsunami detection

Boston: Scientists are developing a system that may help predict a tsunami by detecting sound waves that race through the deep ocean more than 10 times faster than the more destructive wave. "Severe sea states, such as tsunamis, rogue waves, storms, landslides, and even meteorite fall, can all generate acoustic-gravity waves," said Usama Kadri, a research affiliate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT). "We hope we can use these waves to set an early alarm for severe sea states in general and tsunamis in particular, and potentially save lives," Kadri said.

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NASA announces plans to build supersonic passenger jet

Washington, March 1 : US space agency NASA announced that it is planning to build a supersonic passenger jet which will be as quiet and efficient as possible, the media reported on Tuesday.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Monday said that it has awarded a first contract, worth $20 million, to the US company Lockheed Martin to develop a preliminary design of an aircraft which surpasses the speed of sound, EFE news reported.

Despite using a jet engine, which traditionally causes loud noise, the sound levels produced by the new aircraft would be minimal.

The new design would also meet the requirements for reduction of pollution as it would optimize fuel consumption.

"NASA is working hard to make flight greener, safer and quieter," said Bolden.

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As for relationships, opposites `don't` attract

Washington D.C, Feb 28 : An old dating cliche may state "people are like magnets-opposites attract," but a team of scientists has found that this may not be the case as people are attracted to others, who have the same views and values as themselves.

Co-authored by researchers at Wellesley College and the University of Kansas, the study could lead to a fundamental change in understanding relationship formation and it sounds a warning for the idea that couples can change each other over time.

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NASA explorer decodes interstellar magnetic field

Washington: What is out there at the edge of our solar system? Scientists using data from NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer
(IBEX) have pinned down an interstellar magnetic field which lies at the very edge of the giant magnetic bubble surrounding our solar system called the heliosphere.

Immediately after its 2008 launch, IBEX spotted a curiosity in a thin slice of space: More particles streamed in through a long, skinny swath in the sky than anywhere else.

The origin of the so-called "IBEX ribbon" was unknown - but its very existence opened doors to observing what lies outside our solar system, the way drops of rain on a window tell you more about the weather outside.

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Grammar of politics: Conservatives prefer nouns

Washington D. C, Feb 25 - Reflecting the psychological pulls that underlie our political differences, right-wingers and left-wingers tend to construct sentences in different ways. According to new transatlantic research, conservatives prefer using nouns.

As part of the study, the University of Kent researchers found that the US presidents, who were considered conservative, used a greater proportion of nouns in major speeches.

The researchers, led by Dr Aleksandra Cichocka, also established that conservatives generally, to a greater degree than liberals, tend to refer to things by their names, rather than describing them in terms of their features. An example would be saying someone 'is an optimist', rather than 'is optimistic'.

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Learn from 'Candy Brush' app how to brush your teeth

New York: While you are busy bursting candies on Candy Crush game on your smartphones, Oral-B has introduced a new "smart" toothbrush which works in tandem with a special app "Candy Brush" to help you correctly brush your teeth.

The special app record metrics such as interdental cleaning, pressure applied, brushing duration, and tongue cleanliness, NBCnews.com reported.

Oral-B unveiled the high-tech toothbrush called "Genius" at the ongoing Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, this week.

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Sea level rising faster than ever: Report

Washington: Sea levels rose faster in the past century than during the previous 27 centuries due to man-made global warming, a group of scientists has said in an alarming report.

Global sea level rose by about 14 centimeters, or 5.5 inches, from 1900 to 2000, the scientists said in a latest report, adding that without global warming, global sea level would have risen by less than half the observed 20th century increase.

"The 20th-century rise was extraordinary in the context of the last three millennia -- and the rise over the last two decades has been even faster," said Robert Kopp, the lead author and an associate professor in Rutgers' Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

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NASA astronaut coming back to Earth but efforts on to reach Mars

Washington: NASA astronaut Scott Kelly who along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) in March last year will return together to Earth in little more than a week.

Kelly paved the way for future missions including Mars when he embarked on a one-year mission. The year-long endeavour has seen Kelly accomplishing several key missions, including growing the first space vegetable and flower, the US space agency said in a statement.

NASA has partnered with other space agencies to conduct numerous human research investigations to see how the human body changes during a year in space.

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Record number of Americans apply to be astronauts: NASA

Washington, Feb 20 - US space agency NASA said on Friday that a record number of Americans have applied to be astronauts this year.

NASA said in a statement it has received more than 18,300 applications for its 2017 astronaut class, almost three times the number it received in 2012 for the most recent astronaut class, and far surpassing the previous record of
8,000 in 1978.

"It's not at all surprising to me that so many Americans from diverse backgrounds want to personally contribute to blazing the trail on our journey to Mars," said NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, himself a former astronaut.

"A few exceptionally talented men and women will become the astronauts chosen in this group who will once again launch to space from US soil on American-made spacecraft."

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Astronomers record rotation of cloudy 'super-Jupiter'

Washington, Feb 19 - In a maiden attempt to decode the rotation of a massive exoplanet, astronomers using Hubble Space Telescope have measured the rotation rate of a cloudy "super-Jupiter" by observing the varied brightness in its atmosphere.

The planet called 2M1207b is about four times more massive than Jupiter. It is a companion to a failed star known as a brown dwarf, orbiting the object at a distance of five billion miles.

By contrast, Jupiter is approximately 500 million miles from the Sun. The brown dwarf is known as 2M1207. The system resides 170 light-years away from Earth.

“The result is very exciting. It gives us a unique technique to explore the atmospheres of exoplanets and to measure their rotation rates,” said Daniel Apai from University of Arizona in Tucson.

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Why it's easy to get people to go bad

Washington D. C, Feb 19 : When it comes to convincing good people to do bad things, it is quite easy and now, a new study has provided new evidence that might help to explain why it is so.

According to the new work by researchers at University College London and Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, when someone gives us an order, we actually feel less responsible for our actions and their painful consequences.

Patrick Haggard said, "Maybe some basic feeling of responsibility really is reduced when we are coerced into doing something. People often claim reduced responsibility because they were 'only obeying orders.' But are they just saying that to avoid punishment or do orders really change the basic experience of responsibility?"

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