Even if math doesn’t rank high on your list of favorite subjects, chances are you still look forward to Pi Day. That’s because though the discussions may begin with Pi — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — they invariably end with a piece or two of yummy pie! The event is commemorated on March 14 because though the irrational number (its decimal representation never ends and never repeats) has been calculated to over ten trillion digits, it is widely recognized as 3.14.
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In August 2013, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk released a 57-page white paper concept for Hyperloop — a supersonic mass transit system between high-traffic cities that lie within short distances. The founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX envisioned it to be a frictionless system where pods inside low-pressure, vacuum-sealed tubes would transport passengers and cargo at up to 760 miles an hour — approximately the speed of sound. Powered by solar energy, it would be strong enough to withstand extreme weather and earthquakes.
The steady increase in global temperatures has been particularly disastrous for the polar ice caps. Experts warn that if this trend continues, there will be no late summer ice in the Arctic region by the 2030’s. The most effective solution, of course, is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions before it’s too late. But since that is not happening, scientists are frantically trying to come up with alternative ways to try to reverse the situation.
The about million species of insects known to humanity thus far have managed to neatly fit into one of 31 existing scientific orders. However, when George Poinar, Jr., the world’s leading expert on plant and animal life forms, found preserved in amber, saw the carcass of this 100-million-year-old insect, he knew it would require its own scientific order – an incredibly rare event.
While the world is still debating the safety of self-driving cars, the futuristic city-state of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, is preparing to launch an autonomous aerial taxi. Starting in July, commuters will be able to summon the world’s first passenger drone, the EHang 184, to transport them to their desired destination without having to deal with Dubai’s congested freeways.
About forty light years, or 235 trillion miles, away in the constellation Aquarius lies a planetary system with seven Earth-sized planets, at least three of which could be habitable. The exciting news was revealed to the public at a NASA press briefing and through the release of a study in the journal Nature on February 22.
It has always been believed that the final segment of the human vertebral column, the coccyx, or tailbone, is the remnant of a lost tail. Now, some researchers assert it may be the vestige of not one but two tails, both of which, humans and their closest relatives (great apes) managed to shed over millions of years of evolution.