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Move Over GPS. Hello Quantum Positioning.

A British submarine may be the first to test quantum locational technology capable of measuring an object's relative position 1,000 times more accurately than current GPS.

What's the Latest?


A British submarine may be the first to test quantum locational technology capable of measuring an object's relative position 1,000 times more accurately than current GPS. Submarines must surface to confirm their location--exposing their position--because GPS doesn't work under water, but new quantum accelerometers could change that. The technology is based on Nobel prize-winning research which determined that lasers can trap and cool atoms to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero. Once chilled, those atoms are easily perturbed by an outside force, and another laser beam can be used to track their movement.

What's the Big Idea?

A more accurate global location system could broadly benefit consumer products from mobile phones to cars. In fact, quantum positioning technology could be the essential ingredient to bring self-driving cars to a dealership near you. Because location is everything with self-driven autos--it knows only to stop if its positioning system identifies an object in its path, say a fallen tree, another car, or a human--a more accurate system could ensure passenger safety. In addition to submarines, quantum positioning could be used to accurately track and deliver explosives to their targets. 

Read more at the New Scientist

Live tomorrow! Unfiltered lessons of a female entrepreneur

Join Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and best-selling author Charles Duhigg as he interviews Victoria Montgomery Brown, co-founder and CEO of Big Think, live at 1pm EDT tomorrow.

Two MIT students just solved Richard Feynman’s famed physics puzzle

Richard Feynman once asked a silly question. Two MIT students just answered it.

Surprising Science

Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.

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Improving Olympic performance with asthma drugs?

A study looks at the performance benefits delivered by asthma drugs when they're taken by athletes who don't have asthma.

Image source: sumroeng chinnapan/Shutterstock
Culture & Religion
  • One on hand, the most common health condition among Olympic athletes is asthma. On the other, asthmatic athletes regularly outperform their non-asthmatic counterparts.
  • A new study assesses the performance-enhancement effects of asthma medication for non-asthmatics.
  • The analysis looks at the effects of both allowed and banned asthma medications.

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Weird science shows unseemly way beetles escape after being eaten

Certain water beetles can escape from frogs after being consumed.

R. attenuata escaping from a black-spotted pond frog.

Surprising Science
  • A Japanese scientist shows that some beetles can wiggle out of frog's butts after being eaten whole.
  • The research suggests the beetle can get out in as little as 7 minutes.
  • Most of the beetles swallowed in the experiment survived with no complications after being excreted.
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Mind & Brain

Why are we fascinated by true crime stories?

Several experts have weighed in on our sometimes morbid curiosity and fascination with true crime.

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