Modular construction: Using Lego-like blocks to build structures of the future

Buildings don't have to be permanent — modular construction can make them modifiable and relocatable.

Freethink
  • Modular construction involves building the components of a habitable structure in a factory, and then assembling those components on-site.
  • The history of modular construction stretches back centuries, and it became briefly popular in the U.S. after World War II, but it's never quite caught on.
  • Construction firms like iMod Structures, which constructs buildings that can be modified and relocated, may soon change that.
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Moral and economic lessons from Mario Kart

The design of a classic video game yields insights on how to address global poverty.

Credit: CARL DE SOUZA via Getty Images
  • A new essay compares the power-up system in Mario Kart to feedback loops in real-life systems.
  • Both try to provide targeted benefits to those who most need them.
  • While games are simpler than reality, Mario's example makes the real-life cases easier to understand.
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  • A major hurdle for any human mission to Mars is how to feed astronauts during the extended spaceflight.
  • NASA is currently crowdsourcing solutions through its Deep Space Food Challenge.
  • The challenge is open to all U.S. citizens and ends July 30, 2021.
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    Monkeys are capable of inferential reasoning, study shows

    A recent study showed that monkeys can make logical choices when given an A or B scenario.

    Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Public domain
    • For centuries, humans have wondered which cognitive abilities animals share with people.
    • In a new study, researchers presented baboons with a "hidden-item" task designed to test their understanding of disjunctive syllogisms.
    • The results showed that the baboons were not only successful in the task, but also displayed signs of confidence in their decision making.
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    How a mother’s voice shapes her baby’s developing brain

    Most of us carry a mother's voice in the neural patterns of our brain.

    Photo by kevin liang on Unsplash
    It is no surprise that a child prefers its mother's voice to those of strangers.
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