• Articles

    Why Mars Died, and Earth Lived

    The Mars rover, Curiosity, is the latest in a long line of missions to Mars… Landers sent to scoop its soil and study its rocks, orbiters sent to map its valleys and ridges. They are all asking the same question. Did liquid water once flow on this dry and dusty world? Did it support life in any form? And are there remnants left to find? The science that comes out of these missions may help answer a much larger, more philosophical question… Is our planet Earth the norm, in a galaxy run through with life-bearing planets? Or is Earth a rare gem, with a unique make-up and history that allowed…

  • Behind the Mic: The Science of Talking with Computers
    Articles,  Blog

    Behind the Mic: The Science of Talking with Computers

    [MUSIC PLAYING] [SPEAKING IN FRENCH] [VOICES SPEAKING] [LAUGHTER] [COMPUTER NOISES] GEOFFREY HINTON: We come into this world with the innate abilities to learn to interact with other sentient beings. Suppose you had to interact with other people by writing little messages to them. It’d be a real pain. And that’s how we interact with computers. It’s much easier just to talk to them. It’s just so much easier if the computers could understand what we’re saying. And for that, you need really good speech recognition. NARRATOR: The first speech recognition system was developed by Bell Laboratories in 1952. It could only recognize numbers spoken by one person. In the 1970s,…

  • The Giant, Amazing Machines NASA Built for the Shuttle
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    The Giant, Amazing Machines NASA Built for the Shuttle

    [ ♪ Intro ] The Space Shuttle may have been out of commission for nearly a decade now. But it’s still arguably one of humanity’s greatest achievements. Unlike the rockets and capsules we use today, the shuttle was ideal for short trips to space. You could launch into orbit, stay there for a couple of weeks to do what you needed to do, then come home and touch down on a runway like it was just another transatlantic flight. Thanks to the shuttle, we were able to repair the Hubble Space Telescope multiple times and build the International Space Station. Exploration today would be vastly different without it. But no…

  • Recreating a Cockroach’s Natural Habitat
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    Recreating a Cockroach’s Natural Habitat

    Over the past few months, our quest to improve the quality of life for the millions of ants hailing from the different beloved colonies on this channel, saw extravagant and beautiful makeovers to the worlds in which the ant colonies live, breathe, and die. But there was still one important colony that patiently awaited its turn for a home and lifestyle upgrade, and AC Family, this time, it wasn’t a colony of ants. No, today, we’re going to be setting up the stage for a very big intrusion. It’s finally time to upgrade the home, of our ants’ livestock, and if this channel has successfully perked your intrigue for insects…

  • This New ‘Perfect’ Battery Has Experts Stumped
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    This New ‘Perfect’ Battery Has Experts Stumped

    The Lithium ion battery has made our modern phones, laptops, and electric cars possible. The secret is its ability to cram a lot of power into a tiny package, but for its inventor John B Goodenough, that wasn’t good enough. Nearly 40 years after he helped create a battery that would change the world, Goodenough and researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have announced they’ve invented a new battery that sounds too good to be true. Goodenough has a few issues with his old lithium ion battery. It’s still too weak, too expensive, and has the pesky habit of exploding from time to time. If a battery is…

  • Articles

    How Hackers Hack, and How To Stop Them

    You hear about this all the time: A big bank was hacked. Tumblr was hacked. The infidelity website Ashley Madison was hacked and now everybody knows who was cheating on each other. But there’s a lot more to it, and it’s a lot less flashy than what you see in the movies. Hacking isn’t about typing in a few magic words with one hand on one keyboard and the other hand on another keyboard. Or like, two people using the same keyboard at once. Hacking is difficult, and it usually takes careful planning and a fair amount of time. Stopping malicious hackers can be even more challenging. But some people…

  • How to take a picture of a black hole | Katie Bouman
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    How to take a picture of a black hole | Katie Bouman

    In the movie “Interstellar,” we get an up-close look at a supermassive black hole. Set against a backdrop of bright gas, the black hole’s massive gravitational pull bends light into a ring. However, this isn’t a real photograph, but a computer graphic rendering — an artistic interpretation of what a black hole might look like. A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein first published his theory of general relativity. In the years since then, scientists have provided a lot of evidence in support of it. But one thing predicted from this theory, black holes, still have not been directly observed. Although we have some idea as to what a black hole…

  • How to Measure Sound with Google’s Science Journal App
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    How to Measure Sound with Google’s Science Journal App

    You can use Google Science Journal to measure sound intensity using your phone’s built-in microphone. Enter observe mode by selecting the menu icon in the upper left, select observe, and then select the speaker icon. You can now measure sound intensity in decibels. Meter mode displays the instantaneous reading. You can switch to graph mode to see how the reading changes over time. In order to take accurate measurements, make sure the microphone is not blocked or covered. Try using the microphone to do some simple experiments. Measure ambient noise levels at the places you live, play, or work. Or, measure how sound intensity changes with distance from the noise…