Satellite imaging has revolutionized our knowledge of the Earth, with detailed images of nearly every street corner readily available online. But Planet Labs’ Will Marshall says we can do better and go faster — by getting smaller. He introduces his tiny satellites — no bigger than 10 by 10 by 30 centimeters — that, when launched in a cluster, provide high-res images of the entire planet, updated daily.
How many times does the chorus repeat in your favorite song? How many times have you listened to that chorus? Repetition in music isn’t just a feature of Western pop songs, either; it’s a global phenomenon. Why? Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis walks us through the basic principles of the ‘exposure effect,’ detailing how repetition invites us into music as active participants, rather than passive listeners.
How does the world’s favourite drug actually work?
Having a dog for a pet is a great way to find love, loyalty, friendship and fun; but canines are now using their keen senses for something remarkable. New studies have shown that through intense observation and an astute sense of smell (which is is about 100,000 times more powerful than that of a human), our canine friends are able to alert us when cancerous cells are present. In many instances dogs have pointed their noses on the precise locations of unidentified tumors.
Ever go to pour ketchup on your fries…and nothing comes out? Or the opposite happens, and your plate is suddenly swimming in a sea of red? George Zaidan describes the physics behind this frustrating phenomenon, explaining how ketchup and other non-Newtonian fluids can suddenly transition from solid to liquid and back again.
For years, scientists have debated the evolutionary reason behind a zebra’s stripes. Are they: a. Costumes for courtship? b: Camouflage to confuse lions and other predators? c: A natural way to cool off? d: Bug repellent? New research strongly suggests that they have evolved to deter parasitic flies.
If you answered “d,” you’d win the prize, at least in the eyes of Tim Caro, a biologist at the University of California at Davis. He and his colleagues report in Nature Communications that the geographic range of zebras and other horsey species with stripes overlap nicely with the range of bloodsucking flies.