When it comes to moving your limbs, you don't need to see to believe. Intuitively, you know where your limbs are, as well as the positions they're making. This kind of awareness, called kinesthesia, is missing from prosthetic limbs--especially advanced, motorized ones. But a new study published in Science Translational Medicine lays out how a sense of self can be extended to prostheses, through cleverly crafted illusions. "By restoring the intuitive feeling of limb movement--the sensation of opening and closing your hand--we are able to blur the lines between what the patients' brains perceived as'self' versus'machine'," said Paul Marasco, director of the Cleveland Clinic's Laboratory for Bionic Integration, in a statement.
Stephen Hawking presents a lecture at Texas A&M in April 2010. In the 1970s, Stephen Hawking, who died on Wednesday age 76, turned the physics world upside down when he announced that black holes aren't so black after all, and that some light can in fact escape the singularity's edge, called the event horizon. That bombshell, which inspired a whole new way of looking at black holes through a quantum lens, would certainly not be the last time Hawking made shocking pronouncements about the nature of the cosmos. Here, we revisit some of the most famous wagers and provocative statements that Hawking made during his more than 40 years of public life. As tribute to the life and works of world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, watch host Neil deGrasse Tyson's recent StarTalk interview with the groundbreaking theoretical physicist.
The memory mechanisms of great pond snails could one day help develop drugs for trauma and dementia patients. If you think of a snail, and then think of a human, there are some obvious differences. But decades of studies say our memories might have more in common than some might guess. Memory, and its formation, has been the subject of neuroscientific research for quite some time, yet science has only made incremental steps in this extremely complicated field. One of the recent advances is the discovery that memory is likely similar across organisms, at least at a molecular level.
Scholars have long held the belief that Hurrians were a roving mountain people who emerged in the region sometime between the fourth and third millennium B.C., and eventually settled down and adopted cuneiform as a script. New excavations of Hurrian cities, however, have revealed an advanced culture with a distinctive language and belief system that may have played a key role in shaping the first cities and states of the Near East. The forthcoming DNA results from Megiddo may for the first time reveal the Hurrian role in running Canaanite city states, as well as change our perception of the population of Canaan.
How do you study the world's more widespread predator? When a team of researchers set out to see how prevalent industrial fishing was around the world--who was fishing where and when--they were met with a dearth of information. They lacked access to vessel monitoring systems closely held by regional fishery managers, says Juan Mayorga, a marine data scientist from National Geographic's Pristine Seas project. And that information would have shown only pieces of the puzzle. To circumvent this obstacle, Mayorga and a team of researchers took a step back--way back--and tracked marine vessels from space, using satellites to learn where industrial fishing vessels fished and when.
If you blinked, you would have missed it. Flattie spiders or wall crab spiders, which make up the Selenopidae family, have the fastest leg-driven turning maneuver of any land animal. Although their rapid turns are blurry to the naked eye, the crawlers are on par with the speeds of aerial spinners like hummingbirds and fruit flies. But now, researchers from the California Academy of Sciences and the University of California Merced are taking an in-depth look at these speedy spiders. By using slow-motion cameras, they've been able to identify how these animals can lunge for prey so quickly.
The world's most patient mom may be a deep-sea octopus that tends her eggs for nearly 4.5 years. But now, there may be a new contender for her throne. Scientists have caught a rare glimpse of another deep-sea dweller that may also spend four or more years nursing its eggs, and it does it in an even more unusual place: on hydrothermal vents, where hot water spews from the ocean floor. It's called the Pacific white skate (Bathyraja spinosissima), a bone-white, bug-eyed relative of sharks that can live almost two miles (2,900 meters) underwater. Deep-sea skates, which are shark relatives that resemble rays, lay large eggs that can take years to hatch in cold water.