Science & Technology

Science news

Making Space

Dec 5, 2014
Duke Professor Jennifer Groh's new book "Making Space" takes a look at our brain's ability to handle spatial relationships.
Harvard University Press

Our brains devote incredible amounts computational power trying to figuring out the simplest details about spatial relationships. 

Broadband internet, computers,
www.planetofsuccess.com/blog/

The high-tech nonprofit behind the North Carolina Research and Education Network is celebrating advances in broadband infrastructure. 

MCNC brings high speed Internet access to Universities, community colleges and the state's K-12 public schools. 

The organization's new President and CEO Jean Davis says the next step involves even faster connectivity.

A hummingbird in flight
Ed Yoo / Endeavors Magazine, UNC

New modeling from Vanderbilt and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill gives a 3-D breakdown of how a hummingbird's wings work. The method by which the birds move has eluded scientists for some time. But new video imaging shows the airflow the birds create which allows their agility.

Wonder what that proposed 17-mile light rail project that would connect Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina would look like? Take a look at the latest model. It's made using Google Earth's virtual tour capabilities and other 3D software:

Project planners will have an environmental impact statement ready for public review in early 2015. The project is set to be constructed between 2020 and 2026 depending on approvals and funding.

Patches relaxes at the zoo.
NC Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo's popular polar bear, Patches, died on Sunday.

In recent weeks, Patches had become uninterested in food, and was lethargic, according to Ken Reininger, the zoo’s general curator. Tests revealed the female bear had an extensive lung mass which was likely cancer.

“In the wild the average life span of a polar bear is 15-to-18 years old,” said Dr. David Jones, director of the zoo. “Patches was 26-years-old. She exceeded wildlife expectations by living a long life.”

The odorous house ant (Tapinoma sessile) was the most common species found in parks and forests, but was absent in street medians.
Adrian Smith

A new study out of North Carolina State University suggests there's a remarkably high diversity in the types of ants found in cities.

Published in the journal Insect Conservation and Diversity, the paper looks at different environments along Broadway Avenue in Manhattan. Researchers found more than 20 different species of ants in the median of the road alone. They found more than 20 other species in the surrounding parks and urban forests.

Image of Duke Professor Missy Cummings, drone advocate and expert.
Missy Cummings

  

Although the word drone may at first evoke an image of a stealth killing machine, the work of Mary 'Missy' Cummings proves drones are much more than that initial thought. 

Holden Mora shows his new hand, and a pumpkin spice cookie.
Carol Jackson

Seven-year-old Holden Mora's hand is something that Iron Man might envy. It's bright red, and appears indestructible. Holden was born with something called Symbrachydactyly, and his hand didn't develop properly in the womb.

The 3D hand was created specially for Holden by a UNC  biomedical engineering student, Jeffrey Powell. Powell didn't use high-tech prosthetic engineering tools to create the hand. He used a 3D printer.

The State of Things is broadcasting live from the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. Watch here:

Florida predatory stink bug nymph
Matt Bertone, 2014

  

Stink bugs, moths, fireflies, and caterpillars are just a few of the creepy crawlers featured at Bugfest, a showcase of more than 100 exhibits about an array of arthropods at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

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