Category Archives: Discover Magazine

Discover Magazine

Tesla’s Electric Semi Shows Promise—But Will it Deliver?

Elon Musk finally revealed the Tesla Semi, an electric big-rig he professes will outstrip the diesel fleets that have dominated American freight for decades.

The Tesla CEO flaunted his latest creation and its “BAMF performance”—it’s a technical term, he says—at an unveiling ceremony Thursday night in Hawthorne, CA. He outlined the semi’s specs, which include parlor tricks like going from 0-60 mph in 5 seconds and potentially industry-upending figures for driving range and cost of operatio

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We Should Toss That $450M da Vinci into a Particle Accelerator

A portrait of the world’s most recognizable person, Jesus Christ, painted by an icon whose renown doesn’t trail too far behind, Leonardo da Vinci, on Wednesday sold at auction for $450.3 million, setting a new record for artistic largesse.

Only a handful of authentic da Vinci paintings exist today, and Salvator Mundi is the only one that could still be purchased by a deep-pocketed collector. Christie’s Auction House billed the work as “The Last da Vinci,” “the holy grail of our business.”

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Antarctic Fossils Reveal the Continent’s Lush Past

Antarctica, a land of near-lunar desolation and conditions so bleak few plants or animals dare stay, was once covered with a blanket of lush greenery.

The conception of the ice-coated continent as a forested Eden emerged in the early 1900s when Robert Falcon Scott, a British explorer, found plant fossils during an expedition to the South Pole. Now, researchers working in the Trans-Antarctic mountains, where they may be the first to tread for hundreds of millions of years, are digging deep

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Robot Nails Backflip Better Than Most Gymnasts

The Atlas bipedal robot made by Boston Dynamics just showed off its new move: a perfectly executed backflip. And the humanoid robot stuck its landing better than most professional gymnasts—no hesitation, no wobble, nothing.

Boston Dynamics, which was acquired by Alphabet (Google’s parent company) in 2013 and then sold this year, released the new video on Thursday. Check out the impressive backflip below.

This is the first

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Darwin Was Right About Bird Vomit

Charles Darwin was a busy man.

When he wasn’t advancing his groundbreaking theory of evolution by natural selection, he could be found carefully analyzing the contents of bird vomit and droppings. No, this wasn’t an obscure hobby. He was getting his hands dirty to stack up more evidence to support one of his many hypotheses.

He suspected that some birds had an unusual way of transporting plants to new locations. “Freshwater fish, I find, eat seeds of many land and water plants; fish ar

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Astronauts Didn’t Sleep So Well on the Moon

The habitable volume of the Apollo lunar module was just 160 cubic feet. That might sound like a lot for two men, but when you consider that it was filled with the bulky lunar EVA suits and life support systems, rocks collected from the surface, and all the other things needed for a lunar stay it wasn’t exactly roomy. Add the noises of the environmental control system and the light streaming in the window and it might be the least restful place for a nap.

https://www.youtube.com/wa

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Flashback Friday: Men with beards are more likely to be sexist.

Despite the recent popularity of beards, facial hair can be controversial: as we’ve previously shown, it makes men less likely to get hired and more likely to be seen as guilty by a jury. Well, all you beard-haters out there, here’s some more ammunition for you. In this study, researchers surveyed men from the USA and India on both their facial hair and their attitudes towards women. They found that men with beards were more likely to be sexist, and they hypothesized that men who have sexist

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Washington’s Glacier Peak and its Secret History of Big Eruptions

For a volcanic arc, the Cascade Range in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and California uis pretty quiet. So quiet that it is an open question in geosciences why eruptions there seem to be so few and far between. The last eruption in the Cascades was the fairly benign 2004-08 eruptions at Mount St. Helens that, beyond an oddly H.R. Giger-looking lava dome, didn’t really impact much outside the crater carved by the 1980 eruption. In fact, in the past 100 years, only Mount St. Helens has

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How Collective Data Contributes to The Science of Breeding Healthier Dogs

By Katherine Leviste

Next Thursday, T.V. viewers across the country will watch Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers,  Portuguese Water Dogs, and other purebreds trot around the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in a Thanksgiving tradition that ranks right up there with parades and football: the National Dog Show. As the dogs sit, stand, and jog, licensed judges evaluate them based on a set of standard character and physical appearance expectations for each breed.

Behind those expectation

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A First Attempt to Edit Genes Inside the Body

For the first time, doctors have attempted to edit a man’s genes inside his body.

The patient is 44-year-old Brian Madeux, who suffers from a rare genetic disease that has left him progressively more debilitated over the course of his life. His liver can’t produce an enzyme necessary for breaking down a type of carbohydrate, something researchers hope to repair with a gene-editing technique called zinc-finger nucleases (ZFN).
Gene Repair
Through an IV, billions of copies of a harmless v

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