China Profits as US Hesitates on Selling Armed Drones

More than 15 years after a U.S. Predator drone launched its first Hellfire missile, the United States remains reluctant to sell armed drones to even its closest allies. That hesitation in selling armed drones has left the door open for countries such as Israel and China to dominate military drone sales across the world. Now the U.S. government runs the risk of losing influence in a world of drone proliferation unless it reconsiders its policy on sales of military drones, according to a new r

Nearly Perfectly Preserved Fossil Puts This Reptile Back on Land

A new, beautifully preserved specimen of a reptile from the Triassic boots the species out of the water and back onto land. The fossil in question is a small reptile dating to around 241 million years ago called Esaurosphargis dalsassoi. It was found by researchers from Switzerland in the eastern part of the Swiss Alps, armored plates, frilly spikes and all. It's only the second fossil of this species ever discovered, and the exquisite detail of the find is helping researchers to better u

A convict’s face could determine whether he gets the death penalty

Despite evidence to the contrary, many like to think that the U.S. justice system works pretty well. This is especially true when it comes to the ultimate punishment -- the death penalty. But as we know, not everyone on death row is guilty. So where does the process go wrong? Here, researchers tested whether snap judgements of peoples' faces affected whether they were given the death penalty. To do so, the researchers had volunteers judge the "trustworthiness" of the faces of people who had

As wildfires explode across the western U.S., satellites above spy the giant smoke plumes — and bloviating partisans below politicize what’s happening

In blaming western wildfires on environmentalists and the Forest Service, politicians are ignoring science — and putting people at risk Thanks to hot, dry and windy conditions, new wildfires have exploded across the western United States in the last few days, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes and flee from encroaching flames. As of Thursday, June 29th, 29 large wildfires were blazing in ten states, 28 of them in the West, according to the National Interagency Fire Cente

Do Criminals Read Psychology Papers?

Psychologists and social scientists tend to see their research as a force for good. But can we assume this? Couldn't knowledge of human behaviour be exploited for malicious ends? As an example of what we might call the "goodness of psychology" assumption, consider this recent paper about Psychological Characteristics of Romance Scam Victims, from the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. The research is about online romance scams in which victims are convinced to s

An Algorithm Can Pick the Next Silicon Valley Unicorn

In the world of venture capitalists, not everyone is Peter Thiel. The Silicon Valley investor reaped 1 billion dollars in 2012 when he cashed in his Facebook stocks, turning a 2,000 percent profit from his initial $500,000 investment. Stories like Thiel's may be inspirational, but they are by far the outlier. The start-up world sees thousands of hopeful companies pass through each year. Only a fraction of those ever return a profit. Picking a winner, the elusive "unicorn," is as much a ma

Will Robots Rule Finance?

The year is 2030. You’re in a business school lecture hall, where just a handful of students are attending a finance class. The dismal turnout has nothing to with professorial style, school ranking or subject matter. Students simply aren’t enrolled, because there are no jobs out there for finance majors. Today, finance, accounting, management and economics are among universities’ most popular subjects worldwide, particularly at graduate level, due to high employability. But that’s cha

Scientists analyzed orgasms in the 50 most-viewed videos on PornHub. Here’s what they found.

It's probably no surprise to anyone that watching pornography can give unrealistic expectations of what sex is really like. But how skewed is this representation? These heroic scientists took it upon themselves to find out. To do so, they watched the top 50 most-viewed videos on PornHub, and recorded "the frequency of male and female orgasm, orgasm-inducing sex acts (and whether activity inducing female orgasms included some form of clitoral stimulation), and auditory (verbal, vocal) and vis

Spit Take: Surprise! Indian Monocled Cobras Can Spit Venom

Vishal Santra got more than he bargained for when he peered into a chicken coop in the Hooghly District of West Bengal, India in 2004. He was helping the local community with dangerous snake removals when he was called upon to wrangle an unwelcome guest in a fowl pen: a monocled cobra, Naja kaouthia. Monocled cobras, which can reach lengths of about 5 feet, are highly venomous animals, so Santra knew to avoid a quick strike. But the animal didn't lunge—instead, from over a foot away, the ser

This Company Claims It Will Deliver Lab-grown Meats by 2018

Patties of beef grown in a lab could be hitting supermarket shelves as early as 2018. That's the bold statement from Hampton Creek, a San Francisco-based food company that produces mainly vegan condiments and cookie doughs. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the company says they are working on growing cultured animal cells in the lab to turn into cruelty-free meat products, and the product could be ready as early as next year. If the rocky history of lab-grown meats is anything to judge

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