‘Leaders and lifters’ help ants move massive meals

Scientists in Israel have discovered how ants co-operate to move big chunks of food back to their nests.
A large team of ants does the heavy lifting but they lack direction, while a small number of “scouts” intervene and steer for short periods.
They appear to have a mathematically perfect balance between individuality and conformism, the researchers said.
The discovery was made by analysing videos of ants carrying oversized food items, including Cheerios.

via ‘Leaders and lifters’ help ants move massive meals – BBC News.

Material Science | 10 Futuristic Materials

Transparent alumina is three times stronger than steel and is as you may have guessed, transparent. Imagine skyscrapers that look like floating blocks or the ability to see inside a complex machine as it’s working – perfect for maintenance.

Here is the list, click the link at the bottom for descriptions and photos.

1. Aerogel
2. Carbon nanotubes
3. Metamaterials
4. Bulk Diamond
5. Bulk fullerenes
6. Amorphous metal
7. Superalloys
8. Metal foam
9. Transparent alumina
10. E-textiles

via 10 futuristic materials you should know about |Interesting Engineering.

Generate Electricity Without Any Moving Parts

Two years ago, researchers from Deft University of Technology in the Netherlands came up with a design for a windwheel that could generate electricity without any moving parts, imagining that it could offer a safer and quieter alternative to wind turbines.

Now Dutch architects have taken their idea and run with it, designing a giant version of the windwheel that would not only generate enough electricity to power 1,000 homes, but would soak up solar energy, collect and recycle water, and also serve as a tourist attraction, a hotel, and a home packed with 72 apartments.

via This Dutch windwheel holds 72 apartments and could power an entire town – ScienceAlert.

The EM Drive actually works

The drive is so exciting because it produces huge amounts of propulsion that could theoretically blast us to Mars in just 70 days, without the need for heavy and expensive rocket fuel. Instead, it’s apparently propelled forward by microwaves bouncing back and forth inside an enclosed chamber, and this is what makes the drive so powerful, and at the same time so controversial.

via Independent expert confirms that the “impossible” EM Drive actually works – ScienceAlert.

Scientists discover why pendulum clocks swing together

A study in the journal Scientific Reports has proposed a solution: the pendulums transfer energy to one another through sound pulses.

A pair of Portuguese scientists hypothesised that these pulses might move from clock to clock, perturbing the swing of the pendulums and eventually causing them to synchronise. They developed a complex mathematical model before conducting experiments with a pair of clocks attached to a rail fixed to a wall. The theoretical predictions and simulation matched, they found.

“We could verify that the energy transfer is through a sound pulse,” said co-author Luis Melo, from Lisbon University’s physics department. This not only solves “an old, fundamental problem,” it also boosts understanding of other types of oscillator, he said.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/24/portuguese-scientists-discover-why-pendulum-clocks-swing-together

Open letter urging the ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems

<> on June 5, 2015 in Pomona, California.

 

 

Hundreds of the world’s leading robotics and artificial intelligence experts have released an open letter urging the United Nations to support a ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems.

The letter is signed by 700 researchers and more than 600 other experts including Elon Musk, famed physicist Stephen Hawking, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniack, Skype co-founder Jaan Talinn and activist philosopher Noam Chomsky.

Autonomous Weapons: An Open Letter from AI & Robotics Researchers

Autonomous weapons select and engage targets without human intervention. They might include, for example, armed quadcopters that can search for and eliminate people meeting certain pre-defined criteria

http://www.sciencealert.com/elon-musk-and-steve-wozniak-lead-a-team-of-ai-experts-who-want-killer-robots-banned

Salt water for lamp designed to serve people without electricity

A startup team calls their work a product. They also call it a social movement. Many people in the over-7,000 islands in the Philippines lack access to electricity .The startup would like to make a difference. Their main ingredient is salt.

Their product is a lamp that takes two tablespoons of salt and a glass of water in order to work. This is from the Sustainable Alternative Lighting, or SALt Corp. This is a startup focused on delivering a cost effective, environmentally safe lamp that runs on .

http://phys.org/news/2015-07-salt-lamp-people-electricity.html

Scientists have finally discovered massless particles, and they could revolutionise electronics

They can theoretically carry charge 1,000 times faster than ordinary electrons.  After 85 years of searching, researchers have confirmed the existence of a massless particle called the Weyl fermion for the first time ever. With the unique ability to behave as both matter and anti-matter inside a crystal, this strange particle can create electrons that have no mass.

via Scientists have finally discovered massless particles, and they could revolutionise electronics – ScienceAlert.