Tech

Skype data of 500 million people reveals the real patterns of social adoption

Skype data of 500 million people reveals the real patterns of social adoption

Global patterns of adoption spreading are induced by local adoption cascades initiated by multiple spontaneous adopters arriving at a constant rate, amplified by a large number of adoptions induced by social influence, and controlled by individuals who are immune to the actual adoption.

Researchers develop key power-splitting component for terahertz waves

Researchers develop key power-splitting component for terahertz waves

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] -- One of the most basic components of any communications network is a power splitter that allows a signal to be sent to multiple users and devices. Researchers from Brown University have now developed just such a device for terahertz radiation -- a range of frequencies that may one day enable data transfer up to 100 times faster than current cellular and Wi-Fi networks.

Building a better battery

Building a better battery

Forget mousetraps -- today's scientists will get the cheese if they manage to build a better battery.

An international team led by Texas A&M University chemist Sarbajit Banerjee is one step closer, thanks to new research published today (June 28) in the journal Nature Communications that has the potential to create more efficient batteries by shedding light on the cause of one of their biggest problems -- a "traffic jam" of ions that slows down their charging and discharging process.

Campgrounds alter jay behavior

Campgrounds alter jay behavior

Anyone who's gone camping has seen birds foraging for picnic crumbs, and according to new research in The Condor: Ornithological Applications, the availability of food in campgrounds significantly alters jays' behavior and may even change how they interact with other bird species.

At the droplet of a hat: Capturing mixable liquid interaction

When raindrops fall into bodies of water, milk is added to a cup of coffee, and in other mixing and rinsing processes, you might wonder how one liquid is absorbed by the other. Small droplets can be absorbed so fast that our minds perceive it to be instantaneous. However, in reality, there is much more to the process than first meets the eye.

Tampon makers could help reduce violence against women

Manufacturers of feminine hygiene products, including tampons and sanitary products, could dedicate a part of their revenues to support public health programmes that prevent violence against women, argues an expert in The BMJ this week.

Physical and sexual violence is a public health problem that affects more than one third of all women, equivalent to at least a billion women globally, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) study.

'Squishy' motors and wheels give soft robots a new ride

A small, squishy vehicle equipped with soft wheels rolls over rough terrain and runs under water.

Future versions of the versatile vehicle might be suitable for search and rescue missions after disasters, deep space and planet exploration, and manipulating objects during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), according to its creators at Rutgers University.

New mid-infrared laser system could detect atmospheric chemicals

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have found a new way of using mid-infrared lasers to turn regions of molecules in the open air into glowing filaments of electrically charged gas, or plasma. The new method could make it possible to carry out remote environmental monitoring to detect a wide range of chemicals with high sensitivity.

One giant leap for the future of safe drug delivery

Sheffield engineers make major breakthrough in developing silk 'micro-rockets' that can be used safely in biological environments.

By using an innovative 3D inkjet printing method, researchers from Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Sheffield have taken the biggest step yet in producing microscopic silk swimming devices that are biodegradable and harmless to a biological system.

This means that these devices have the potential to be used in the human body in the future in applications such as drug delivery and locating cancer cells.

Insurance causes costs of services to rise

Honesty is a fundamental building block for cooperation in human societies, and hence also for their economic prosperity. But people do not always behave honestly. Markets for so called credence goods such as repair costs or medical therapies give sellers strong incentives for dishonesty. Since the buyer often cannot assess the quality of the rendered services, the seller can cheat more easily than in the case of other goods.