CLIMATEWIRE | A new California bill would turn electric vehicles into a backup power supply for the state’s troubled grid. But experts say the idea — while promising — still has some technological hurdles to overcome. And they warn that mandates such as the one prescribed in the California measure could increase the cost of electric… Continue reading What It Would Take for Electric Vehicles to Help Power the Grid
Category: Quantum Stuff
Dogs Can Carry Mutant Flu Strains
Mutant strains of a common human flu virus have been found in dogs for the first time, prompting concerns that such viruses could start to spread easily among pets—and potentially evolve into dangerous new strains that jump back to humans. Nanjing Agricultural University virologist Shuo Su and his colleagues identified two dogs in southern China… Continue reading Dogs Can Carry Mutant Flu Strains
Memories Help Brains Recognize New Events Worth Remembering
Memories are shadows of the past but also flashlights for the future. Our recollections guide us through the world, tune our attention and shape what we learn later in life. Human and animal studies have shown that memories can alter our perceptions of future events and the attention we give them. “We know that past… Continue reading Memories Help Brains Recognize New Events Worth Remembering
Are There Reasons to Believe in a Multiverse?
By definition, the universe seems like it should be the totality of everything that exists. Yet a variety of arguments emerging from cosmology, particle physics and quantum mechanics hint that there could also be unobservable universes beyond our own that follow different laws of nature. While the existence of a multiverse is speculative, for many… Continue reading Are There Reasons to Believe in a Multiverse?
Secret Messages Can Hide in AI-Generated Media
The result comes from the world of information theory, which provides a mathematical framework for understanding communication of all sorts. It’s an abstract and tidy field, in contrast to the complicated messiness of practical steganography. The worlds don’t often overlap, said Jessica Fridrich, a researcher at Binghamton University who studies ways to hide (and detect)… Continue reading Secret Messages Can Hide in AI-Generated Media
After Nearly a Century, a New Limit for Patterns in Graphs
“I was floored,” said Yuval Wigderson, a mathematician at Tel Aviv University, on hearing about the new result. “I was literally shaking for half an hour to an hour.” The Party Lines Ramsey theory most commonly asks questions either about the integers or about graphs. A graph, in this context, refers to collections of points called… Continue reading After Nearly a Century, a New Limit for Patterns in Graphs
50,000 Worms Tangled Up in a Ball Unravel in an Explosive Burst when a Predator Appears
Anyone who’s grappled with jumbled headphones knows the difficulty of disentangling snarled cords. A tight knot is nothing for a California blackworm, however. These tiny worms twist together by the thousands to form tightly packed blobs reminiscent of a forkful of squirming spaghetti. While these tangles take minutes to form, intertwined blackworms can wriggle free… Continue reading 50,000 Worms Tangled Up in a Ball Unravel in an Explosive Burst when a Predator Appears
Alan Turing’s Most Important Machine Was Never Built
Computation is a familiar concept most of us understand intuitively. Take the function f(x) = x + 3. When x is three, f(3) = 3 + 3. Six. Easy. It seems obvious that this function is computable. But some functions aren’t so simple, and it’s not so easy to determine if they can be computed,… Continue reading Alan Turing’s Most Important Machine Was Never Built
Is Perpetual Motion Possible at the Quantum Level?
Perpetual motion machines are impossible, at least in our everyday world. But down at the level of quantum mechanics, the laws of thermodynamics don’t always apply in quite the same way. In 2021, after years of effort, physicists successfully demonstrated the reality of a “time crystal,” a new state of matter that is both stable… Continue reading Is Perpetual Motion Possible at the Quantum Level?
What Makes a Mammal? 423,000 Newly Identified DNA Regions Guide Our Genes
Running wolves, flying bats and swimming dolphins seem to have few similarities. But these widely disparate animals are among at least 240 mammalian species—including humans—that share a full 10 percent of their genome. This discovery includes more than 400,000 never-before-identified stretches of DNA that likely control the way that genes—the segments of genetic material that… Continue reading What Makes a Mammal? 423,000 Newly Identified DNA Regions Guide Our Genes