Boston Dynamics showed off its latest creation this week, an impressive jumping robot the company is calling the Sand Flea. Weighing just 11 pounds, the remote control robot is capable of jumping as high as 30 feet, allowing it to overcome a wide variety of urban obstacles. The Sand Flea uses a piston powered by CO2 that can power up to 25 jumps before it needs recharging. The robot is also accurate enough to jump into an open window two stories up thanks to a special stabilization system.
James Cameron, director of blockbuster films like “Titanic” and “Avatar,” made history this weekend by becoming the first man to reach the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean alone. In fact, the journey has only been taken once before, when two men traveled to the deepest spot in the world's oceans in 1960. Cameron began his journey early Sunday afternoon eastern time, and took two hours and 36 minutes to descend the nearly seven miles to the bottom of the trench. He spent several hours on the ocean floor before beginning a 70-minute ascent back to the ocean's surface.
A wave of solar flares battered Earth's magnetic field on Thursday, but the effects on power grids and GPS systems were minimal. The solar storm was one of the worst in years to hit the planet, but scientists say that it was headed in a direction that causes the least amount of problems. Several hours after the storm hit, officials reported that they have not received any reports of issued with technology that is susceptible to interference from heightened solar activity.
A paper from the Biological Conservation journal published this week suggests that as many as 900 species of tropical birds around the world may become extinct this century due to rising temperatures and loss of habitat. The study was based on the effects of a 3.5 degree Celsius increase in surface temperature across the planet, which is a conservative estimate of global warming by most estimates.
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced this week that a headless robot called “Cheetah” has broken the world speed record for legged robots. According to the agency, Cheetah achieved a speed of 18 miles per hour on a treadmill, breaking the previous record of of 13.1 mhp. DARPA siad that Cheetah is part of a project aimed at developing robots to "more effectively assist war fighters across a greater range of missions".
Scientists searching for a rare species of deep sea snailfish not seen in 60 years discovered an even rarer species of giant amphipods, or shrimp. The researchers hauled up seven of the fish, known as “supergiant” amphipods from more than 30,000 feet below the surface of the ocean near New Zealand. The species, shown in the video above, measure up to 11 inches, more than ten times the average size of normal shrimp, which barely exceeds one inch.
A new study conducted by researchers at Brock University in Ontario, Canada suggests that people who scored low on IQ tests in childhood are more likely to grow up with racially prejudiced beliefs and conservative political leanings. IQ stands for intelligence quotient, and tests measuring the IQ of people have long been determined by standardized tests. But psychologists have long argued over whether IQ is actually a measure of intelligence, or just a measure of test-taking ability.
Scientists from the CERN research facility in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday said that they may have finally seen evidence of the Higgs boson particle, and believe they may be close to being able to prove its existence. Discovery of the particle would be huge news as it is considered the missing piece of the puzzle of the Standard Model of particle physics to explain how matter is structured.
As of Tuesday, Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has been erupting continuously for 29 years, making its name all-the-more appropriate. In Hawaiian, Kilauea means “spewing” or “much spreading”, something the volcano has been doing non-stop since January 3rd, 1983. According to geologists, enough lava has been blown out of Kilauea over that span to pave a road around the world three times. The occasion was commemorated by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory with a lecture on Kilauea's history, which more than 200 people attended.
A group of hackers are reportedly developing a plan to launch their own communications satellites to help bring the Internet beyond the reach of government control. Dubbed the Hackerspace Global Grid, the elaborate plan was unveiled last week at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, Germany. The movement started due to the growing amount of legislation around the world which hackers view as restrictions on online freedom, such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which is currently being looked at in the US Senate.