science! stories

 
Dark matter makes up about 84% of the universe, which is strange, since we have no idea what it is and we've never seen any of it before. A new type of directional dark matter detector has the potential to spot the signature of dark matter coming from the center of our galaxy, and it's made out of customized strands of DNA and sheets of solid gold.
 
Ionization is when an an atom loses or gains an electron. This happens to lots of atoms, but it happens so fast that nobody has ever caught ionization in the act. Now, scientists at the Vienna University of Technology have used an attosecond laser pulse to watch as a single electron packs its bags and takes off on its own.
 
A study from the Harvard School of Public Health suggested that yogurt is the food that does the best job at preventing age-related weight gain. To figure out what the deal was, researchers at MIT fed a bunch of yogurt to mice to see what would happen, and when the scientists say that their results were "entertaining," you know they've come up with something good.
 
Whether potholes are formed by the impacts of space rocks or by the drug-induced rampages of some new species of mutant moles may still be up for debate, but in either case, nobody likes them. Now, some plucky undergrads have come up with a way to fix potholes with a weird sort of non-Newtonian goo, because goo is good for fixing everything.
 
Over the last year or so, crowdsourcing has emerged as a way for lots of people to contribute small amounts of money to make amazing new things possible. Kickstarter (which focuses on commercial projects) has been the best example of this, and a new site called Petridish.org wants to take that model and apply it to scientific research. It's brilliant.
 
Italian astrophysicists, well-known as the party animals of their field, have decided that it would be fun to launch a disco ball into orbit and then shoot lasers at it. Besides giving the astronauts on the ISS a good excuse to get their boogie on (like they need one), the disco ball should also help measure one of the weirdest effects of general relativity to an accuracy of 1%.

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