1. Science

    MIT’s Cheetah Robot Sacrifices Speed for Efficiency and Long Battery Life [Video]

    Taking cues from animals when designing robots is all the rage right now, and the big cats have been a particularly popular creature among engineers. We've looked at fast models designed by DARPA and air-powered examples from Osaka University in Japan. Not to be outdone, researchers in MIT's Biomimetic Robotics Lab have been hard at work on their cheetah-bot for more than a year, but unlike other labs that are aiming to mimic the feline's famous fleetness of foot, Sangbae Kim and his team at MIT are concentrating on building a more energy-efficient robot that can go farther on less power.

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  2. Space

    Mercury May Have Once Had An Awesome Ocean Of Magma, Says New Study

    A new analysis of the surface of Mercury has revealed that the planet closest to the Sun was once totally badass. The results of a study by researchers at MIT suggest that at one point, some billions of years ago, the planet hosted a rolling ocean of flowing magma.

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  3. Tech

    Here’s What U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz Has to Say About the Prosecution of Aaron Swartz

    Aaron Swartz's suicide last week was just the beginning. The public outcry from the tech community has been massive, with a petition to remove the prosecuting attorney for Aaron's case, one Carmen Ortiz, from office hitting the required number of signatures for an official White House response relatively quickly. In large part, a majority of these complaints center around the opinion that the prosecution was overzealous at best. Ortiz, for her part, has remained mum on the subject. Until last night, that is. Her office has released an official statement on the matter of Swartz's prosecution and, uh, it's... definitely something.

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  4. Tech

    Petition to Fire Aaron Swartz’s Prosecutor Hits Required Signatures for White House Response

    Aaron Swartz committed suicide on January 11th, and while no one but Swartz will ever truly know why, many have speculated that the legal troubles he was facing were a factor. He was being aggressively prosecuted for unlawfully obtaining information and recklessly damaging a protected computer after he made repeated efforts to steal files from JSTOR. The District Attorney leading the case against him was D.A. Carmen Ortiz, and the We the People petition to have her fired has already hit the required number of signatures needed to receive a White House response.

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  5. Tech

    Anonymous Hacks MIT Site in Wake of Aaron Swartz’s Suicide [UPDATED]

    The hacker group Anonymous defaced pages of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) site just hours after the school announced it would launch a full investigation into their role in Aaron Swartz's death. Swartz committed suicide on Friday while facing millions of dollars in fines and up to 50 years in prison for stealing documents from MIT and academic database JSTOR. In response, Anonymous has publicly called for the reform of computer crime laws and prosecution, and they've been busy the last few days petitioning the White House to classify DDoS attacks as a form of protest while also engaging in this hack of MIT.

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  6. Science

    There’s a New Form of Magnetism, New State of Matter Thanks to MIT

    We all learned in elementary school that the three states of matter are solid, liquid, and gas. Then if you took science classes in high school you probably learned plasma was a state of matter too. For most people, it stops there, but there are actually a lot more states matter can get itself into, and science just went and found a new one. MIT researchers have discovered a new state of matter, complete with its own unique form of magnetism. We can't wait to see what the Insane Clown Posse has to say about this.

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  7. Science

    Large Hadron Collider Creating Never-Before-Seen Kind Of Matter

    A contingent of MIT researchers working with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) think they've found something no one has ever seen in the depths of the reams of data provided by the LHC's particle smashups, and no, it's not the Higgs boson, because jeez, you guys, there's more to life than the Higgs boson, you know? By studying collision patterns in heavy metals, researchers think they may be seeing the first signs of a theorized state of matter known as color glass condensate, which could be the result of particles colliding at near-light speed entering a state of quantum entanglement, becoming inexplicably connected to one another.

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  8. Science

    Guinea Pig Turned Into Living Battery, The Matrix One Step Closer To Just Being Our Lives

    You may think of guinea pigs as just furry little machines designed to process alfalfa into poop, but they are so much more than that! They are furry little poop machines that also make convenient batteries, like potatoes, that have fur and squeal! It's not just them, either -- pretty much any mammal can be turned into a battery, courtesy of our highly conductive inner ears, meaning the plot of The Matrix just got more plausible.

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  9. Science

    Asteroids Could Be Deflected Using Paintballs If We Had 20 Years to Spare

    The potential for a huge asteroid impact is something that doesn't just concern science fiction these days. Scientists have spent a number of hours pondering exactly how the world might deal with an incoming catastrophe from space. Somehow blowing up any wayward asteroids is a constant suggestion in popular culture, but the reality is that an explosion might just create more debris with which to deal. Sung Wook Paek, an MIT grad student, has suggested that we should instead fire two volleys of paintballs at any asteroid on a collision course.

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  10. Science

    A Bit of Algebra Makes Wi-Fi Go Much Faster

    You may be reading this while you're slowly updating a Steam game or watching a buffering Netflix show on your PS3 even though you pay for a fairly speedy Internet. Regardless of how far we've come regarding Internet speed, and how our phones can watch television shows while we wait in line at the bank, there's always something left to be desired when it comes to Internet speed. The maximum speed provided by an Ethernet cable is often preferred to the ease, but slower maximum available speed of a wireless signal, but with the addition of a bit of algebra to clear of network clogging, Wi-Fi signals may become much faster without the addition of any new hardware.

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  11. Science

    This Mechanical Pencil Draws Nanotubes That Detect Toxic Gases

    Carbon nanotubes could be a great way to detect toxic gases in environments from hospitals to mines. So far, though, the detectors have been too expensive and difficult to produce to put into wide practice. That could change thanks to the work of a team at MIT who have developed a new method of deploying the nanotubes, which can be tweaked to detect many different types of gases. By compressing the tubes into a graphite-like substance, the ream has made crafting a nanotube gas detector as easy as drawing a line with a mechanical pencil.

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  12. Tech

    Meet the Like-A-Hug Vest, Inflates to Give Hug for Every Facebook Like Received

    It's unfortunate that social media popularity doesn't always translate to popularity in meatspace. In order to connect these disparate parts, Melissa Chow, Phil Seaton, and Andy Payne from MIT have created the Like-A-Hug vest. Specifically, the vest inflates to simulate a hug whenever someone "Likes" the wearer's photos, videos, or status updates on their connected Facebook account. So not only can you look silly, but everyone can tell just how forever alone you are when it never inflates.

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  13. Weird

    Maker Faire 2012: Robots and 3D Printers and Fiery Unicorns, Oh My

    We spent this Saturday at New York's Maker Faire 2012 gawking at  cool DIY gadgets and gear from labs, garages, and hackerspaces near and far. We'll have a gallery of some of our favorite pictures from the show up soon, but for now, here are our first reactions on this year's Maker Faire.

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  14. Tech

    iPhone App Instantly Identifies Super PACs Behind Political Ads

    It's that time of year again. The time when the airwaves are so saturated with political advertisements that you find yourself wishing democracy would go away and leave us clawing one another's eyes out for the world's last remaining loaf of bread in peace. This year promises to be even worse, with money flooding into political action committees and newly unleashed Super PACs swollen with cash money to buy up the commercial space that should be reminding us about fast food items we might like to purchase. With a new mobile app, Super PAC App, you can at least find out who is responsible for the onslaught of presidential campaign ads you're about to be subjected to -- especially if you're one of the poor lost souls in a swing state whose vote might actually count.

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  15. Science

    New Chemical Compound Database Knows All the Reactions

    After 10 years of work, Northwestern University researchers have assembled a database of all known organic chemical compounds and the ways that they react together. By gathering data from researchers around the world, the Northwestern team was able to cram the collective wisdom of several centuries worth of chemists into a tool they compare to Google, but for looking at chemical reactions instead of wondering "what other show was that guy in, he looks so familiar?" The database, known as Chematica , should speed up development and testing of chemical compounds for things like food additives and pharmaceuticals.

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