Popular Science


Master python programming for thousands of dollars off

Popular Science

Not only is this versatile language the go-to language taught at top schools, but it's widely used in a variety of areas of tech. Even with no previous experience, you can start writing scripts on day one with the Python Programming Bootcamp 2.0. With 37 hours of beginner-friendly videos, this bundle covers apps, data and devices. There are two main reasons why Python is such a popular programming language: it's easy to learn and super versatile.


DJI Spark drone review: A powerful little flying machine for the average person

Popular Science

Setting up the Spark drone is a relatively simple process that takes about 10 minutes once you have the battery charged and the DJI app downloaded. Sync up a smartphone with the Spark's ad hoc wifi signal and you'll seen see a remote feed from the drone's built-in camera. Setup will, however, require that you register your new flying machine with DJI. You can use the smartphone app to fly the Spark or spring for the optional dedicated controller, which will set you back an extra $150.


Brain training apps don't seem to do much of anything

Popular Science

Scientists have found that choosing immediate and risky rewards is associated with unhealthy behavior like smoking, drinking, eating poorly, and generally being more prone to addiction. It could be that one app on the market does help improve one certain type of brain behavior, but we just haven't pinned those results down yet. One group received 10 weeks of training with Lumosity. The other, the control group, played video games for 10 weeks.


Amazon's delivery drone hive patent is an urban planning nightmare

Popular Science

It still sounds like science fiction, but Amazon's drone delivery program is actually deep into testing, and it is built like infrastructure, to accommodate the instantaneous demands of a massive population, where it can. The latest patent depicts a hive-like tower that houses and launches delivery drones throughout a dense city. "Fulfillment centers are typically large-volume single-floor warehouse buildings used to temporarily store items prior to shipment to customers," reads the patent, "Often, due to their large footprint, these buildings are located on the outskirts of cities where space is available to accommodate these large buildings. Thus, there is a growing need and desire to locate fulfillment centers within cities, such as in downtown districts and densely populated parts of the cities."


What moral code should your self-driving car follow?

Popular Science

Until now, no one believed that autonomous cars -- robotic vehicles that operate without human control-- could make moral and ethical choices, an issue that has been central to the ongoing debate about their use. They believe eventually it may be possible to introduce elements of morality and ethics into self-driving cars. The concept of driverless cars has grown in popularity as a way to combat climate change, since these autonomous vehicles drive more efficiently than most humans. Driverless cars will also encourage car-sharing, reducing the number of cars on the road and possibly making private car ownership unnecessary.


Create your own commands for Amazon Echo and Google Home

Popular Science

In the case of Google Home, you can add text or number "ingredients" when you create an applet, ingredients that can then be used in the subsequent actions. A text ingredient might be a tweet you want posting, or a number ingredient might be the temperature at which you want to set your thermostat. So to create a Google Home command to send a tweet, select Twitter as your action, then choose Post a tweet. The {{TextField}} ingredient (the words you spoke after the voice command trigger) should already be filled out as the Tweet text.


Think weather forecasts are bad? Try forecasting a volcanic eruption.

Popular Science

In a study published Wednesday in Frontiers in Earth Science Mary Grace Bato, a volcanology PhD student at the Institut des Sciences de la Terre (ISTerre) in France, and colleagues detailed how weather forecasting techniques can be applied to volcanic eruptions, potentially setting the stage for volcano forecasts to show up alongside weather reports in places like Alaska or Iceland. In this new study, Bato and her colleagues showed that by combining GPS data from satellites with an existing model of how a volcano functions, and applying applying weather forecasting techniques--also called data assimilation--they could predict what situations would lead to an eruption. That's similar to how meteorologists take real-time data and measurements from around the world and combine them with weather models to predict the track of a storm or a heat wave. Bato hopes that as volcanic eruption models become more robust, volcano forecasting might become more common, eventually helping people and communities living in the shadow of volcanoes be better prepared for the hazards they face.


Meet drone dueling, the sport California is about to inadvertently kill

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In its current form, California Senate Bill 347 says "A person shall not weaponize a remote piloted aircraft or operate a weaponized remote piloted aircraft." Without exceptions for sporting use or clarifying what, exactly, a weaponized drone is, California's "State Remote Piloted Aircraft Act" could end drone duels, and limit what exactly a future sport could be. The Aerial Sports League runs drone events, including racing and drone combat, in the Bay Area, and has since its founding in 2011. Before each event, the Aerial Sports League sets guidelines, and then there's a check-in at the event to make sure the weapon is calibrated so that it won't cause harm.


Now kids can easily program a complex robot to recognize a smile

Popular Science

But in a sea of coding-for-kids products, an update to Anki's holiday-shopping darling, Cozmo the robot, offers a chance for young would-be coders to tap into a complex machine capable of advanced feats, like facial recognition. It's also a complex machine, with 1.6 million lines of code running between the robot itself and its companion app. The adorable bot can recognize individual faces, expressions, and imitate human emotions. That changed on Monday, when Anki opened up Cozmo's brain to novice code-writers via a simple visual system based on Scratch, a graphical programming language developed at the MIT Media Lab.


A new microscope uses light to "cut" through tissue samples and find cancer

Popular Science

Without the ability to look at tissue under a microscope, it's currently impossible to tell whether the area surrounding a tumor contains cancerous cells or not. It uses a super powerful light to optically "cut" through the area and see what's inside in around 30 minutes, so that surgeons can know whether that tissue sample still contains cancerous cells. Because the new microscope design works quickly and without wrecking tissue, the surgeons can get results during the surgery itself, determine what needs to be done next, and save samples for other tests. The researchers say they are currently testing out the microscope on breast cancer samples, but in the future they plan to use it on other cancers that also involve solid tumors.