Robot grip is becoming more human all the time. (Lilian Hsiao)
Robot grip is becoming more human all the time. (Lilian Hsiao)Algorithms are required to give traits to robots — they're computers that lack intuition, after all — and newly released formulas represent a specific type of friction intrinsic to human grip that takes into account fingerprints, sweat and dexterity.

Doctors may have a new way to assess a baby's likelihood of allergies very early on. (Unsplash/Chiến Phạm)
Doctors may have a new way to assess a baby's likelihood of allergies very early on. (Unsplash/Chiến Phạm)A baby's first poop correlates with whether the newborn will develop allergies later on, because the metabolite content of this earliest excretion may play an important role in teaching an infant's immune system to accept stimuli ranging from peanuts to pollen.

"Shadow banks" profited off the pandemic and then made it worse. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
"Shadow banks" profited off the pandemic and then made it worse. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)Shadow banks have made a killing on the market during the coronavirus pandemic, perpetuating and intensifying the economic status quo in a system working well for the ultra-rich while destabilizing the lives of everyday people, a new paper argues.

Microplastics aren't good for any sea creatures, even the smallest ones. (Wikimedia/Adriana Zingone)
Microplastics aren't good for any sea creatures, even the smallest ones. (Wikimedia/Adriana Zingone)The ocean’s oxygen levels may be taking a hit from the indirect impacts of zooplankton gobbling up tiny bits of plastic rather than more nutritious fare, perhaps exacerbating the effects of global warming.

Rather than taking jobs, immigrants to the U.S. are creating them. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Rather than taking jobs, immigrants to the U.S. are creating them. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)Immigrants in the United States are more likely to create jobs than to take them, according to a new study examining the role of immigrants in entrepreneurship.

Kratom use is legal at the federal level, but several states are less indulgent, and its therapeutic properties are unproven as yet. (AP Photo/Mary Esch)
Kratom use is legal at the federal level, but several states are less indulgent, and its therapeutic properties are unproven as yet. (AP Photo/Mary Esch)Americans' use of kratom, a plant-based drug often promoted as an alternative to opioids that has been banned in several states, is rare overall but more common among those who use other drugs, according to research published Thursday.

Lighthouses have helped ships navigate for centuries. Now acoustic ones might help birds avoid hazards. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Lighthouses have helped ships navigate for centuries. Now acoustic ones might help birds avoid hazards. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)Projecting targeted sound into the airspace surrounding buildings, communication towers and wind turbines could give birds a heads-up before they fatally strike such obstacles, researchers say.

The number of trees in a neighborhood has an impact on residents' well-being. (Unsplash/Craig Vodnik)
The number of trees in a neighborhood has an impact on residents' well-being. (Unsplash/Craig Vodnik)The vast majority of lower-income urban neighborhoods across the U.S. have fewer trees per capita than higher-income neighborhoods, an inequity that contributes to higher temperatures, poor health outcomes and, in some cases, premature death.

One of the many effects of Parkinson's disease is that some patients see "ghosts." Now we might know why. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
One of the many effects of Parkinson's disease is that some patients see "ghosts." Now we might know why. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)Using robotics and brain imaging, researchers have discovered an abnormality in the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease that may explain why some experience "presence hallucinations," sensing the shadowy presence of another person when nobody is there.

Blacks and other minorities bear the brunt of U.S. air pollution. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Blacks and other minorities bear the brunt of U.S. air pollution. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. are consistently exposed to more deadly fine particulate air pollution on average than white people, a disparity that is present across virtually all regions and income levels, research published Wednesday shows.

This image shows lymphocytes (purple) among blood vessels (orange), and the calcium signalling (green) that results from noradrenaline neurotransmitter release and causes immune cells to stop moving. (Scott Mueller)
This image shows lymphocytes (purple) among blood vessels (orange), and the calcium signalling (green) that results from noradrenaline neurotransmitter release and causes immune cells to stop moving. (Scott Mueller)In a finding that could have key implications for cancer and viral infections in human patients, Australian researchers induced sickness in mice and then stressed them out, showing for the first time that the rodents' white blood cells effectively lost the ability to move, potentially leading to a slowed immune response and an increased vulnerability to further infection.

Hallucinogens such as peyote could have therapeutic uses with the aid of a new sensor. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Hallucinogens such as peyote could have therapeutic uses with the aid of a new sensor. (AP Photo/LM Otero)A new bioluminescent sensor can identify substances that provide the clinical benefits of hallucinogenic drugs for depression, substance use disorder and other conditions without hallucinogens' intense psychoactive side effects, allowing researchers to find potential psychiatric treatments more efficiently.

Satellite images have shown the global threat to glaciers from the warming climate. (Brian Menounos)
Satellite images have shown the global threat to glaciers from the warming climate. (Brian Menounos)The pace of glacier melting has sped up over the last two decades, according to an analysis of hundreds of thousands of glaciers that researchers called the most accurate of its kind.

We're getting closer to having a full map of vertebrate genomes. (NIH/Genome.gov)
We're getting closer to having a full map of vertebrate genomes. (NIH/Genome.gov)Researchers have published the most complete and highest-quality set of reference genomes for 16 vertebrate species, creating a resource that could help scientists address fundamental questions in biology, medicine and biodiversity conservation.

A colorized lattice of tornado-like vortices within a spinning Bose-Einstein condensate of rubidium atoms, imaged by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 2007. (NIST)
A colorized lattice of tornado-like vortices within a spinning Bose-Einstein condensate of rubidium atoms, imaged by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 2007. (NIST)For the first time, molecules have been put in an extreme quantum state of matter known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, an experimental result that sets the stage for applications such as new kinds of chemistry and quantum computing.

New technology is bringing better images and greater insight into the lives of a creature of legend. (Edith Widder)
New technology is bringing better images and greater insight into the lives of a creature of legend. (Edith Widder)Only recently have scientists shown us video evidence of the giant squid in its deep sea habitat, and both of the landmark recordings were captured with a stealthy undersea camera that researchers say could be adapted to get a better view of the iconic creature.

New capsules might replace the scratch-and-sniff test currently used for COVID-19 diagnosis. (Unsplash/Kate Hliznitsova)
New capsules might replace the scratch-and-sniff test currently used for COVID-19 diagnosis. (Unsplash/Kate Hliznitsova)A new smell testing device developed by U.K. researchers, which uses breakable capsules filled with scented oils, has the potential to replace the "gold standard" scratch-and-sniff tests and help diagnose both chronic neurological conditions and acute respiratory infections that involve an impaired sense of smell, including COVID-19.

Scientists have found a way to buy the Great Barrier Reef some time in hopes that climate initiatives will have some effect. (David Westcott)
Scientists have found a way to buy the Great Barrier Reef some time in hopes that climate initiatives will have some effect. (David Westcott)By modeling the effects of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef over the next 50 years, researchers were able to determine a set of local interventions that could delay its decline by up to 20 years, allowing more time for global climate initiatives to take effect.

Antihelium? Antistars? It all sounds like science fiction, but one of those is real. (NASA)
Antihelium? Antistars? It all sounds like science fiction, but one of those is real. (NASA)Cautioning that the existence of antistars would shatter known models of the universe, researchers put the prospect of finding such an object at one in every 400,000 regular stars within the Milky Way galaxy — 20 times lower than what previous studies suggest and the strictest reported limit to date.

Interviews with a Kenyan group lead to new insight on PTSD. (Unsplash/Imani Manyara)
Interviews with a Kenyan group lead to new insight on PTSD. (Unsplash/Imani Manyara)Members of the Turkana, a pastoralist ethnic group in northwest Kenya, have post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms following herding raids and other traumatic events, like those seen in U.S. service members after combat, suggesting PTSD may be a human universal.

Not only is it the most important meal of the day, breakfast might help you avoid risky behavior. (Unsplash/Rachel Park)
Not only is it the most important meal of the day, breakfast might help you avoid risky behavior. (Unsplash/Rachel Park)New evidence shows that changing the amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in breakfast impacts serotonin levels in the brain and the riskiness of people's behavior.