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Microbes at the Gas Pump
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Revenge of the Cowbirds
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Pothole Repair, Insect-style
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A Recipe for Happiness
Brain cells take a break
Swine flu goes global
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Roadrunners
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Boosting Fuel Cells
Hitting the redo button on evolution
Batteries built by Viruses
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Hubble trouble doubled
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Fossil Fly from Antarctica
Teeny Skull Reveals Ancient Ancestor
A Dino King's Ancestor
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Results of GSAT are in schools this week
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Power of the Wind
Toxic Cleanups Get a Microbe Boost
Finding the Past
A Plankhouse Past
Of Lice and Old Clothes
A Long Trek to Asia
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Eat Out, Eat Smart
The Color of Health
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Who vs. Whom
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42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
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GSAT Mathematics
Prime Time for Cicadas
GSAT Mathematics Quiz, Teaching Math, teaching anxiety
How to Slice a Cake Fairly
Human Body
Nature's Medicines
Speedy Gene Gives Runners a Boost
The tell-tale bacteria
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Rottweilers
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Blue Whales
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The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
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Echoes of a Stretched Egg
Gaining a Swift Lift
Speedy stars
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City Trees Beat Country Trees
Getting the dirt on carbon
Cactus Goo for Clean Water
Reptiles
Reptiles
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Space and Astronomy
Asteroid Lost and Found
An Icy Blob of Fluff
A Star's Belt of Dust and Rocks
Technology and Engineering
Musclebots Take Some Steps
Spinach Power for Solar Cells
Reach for the Sky
The Parts of Speech
What is a Noun
Pronouns
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Transportation
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Where rivers run uphill
Flying the Hyper Skies
Weather
Either Martians or Mars has gas
Watering the Air
The solar system's biggest junkyard
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Invisibility Ring

Scientists can't yet make an invisibility cloak like the one that Harry Potter uses. But, for the first time, they've constructed a simple cloaking device that makes itself and something placed inside it invisible to microwaves. When a person "sees" an object, his or her eye senses many different waves of visible light as they bounce off the object. The eye and brain then work together to organize these sensations and reconstruct the object's original shape. So, to make an object invisible, scientists have to keep waves from bouncing off it. And they have to make sure the object casts no shadow. Otherwise, the absence of reflected light on one side would give the object away. Invisibility isn't possible yet with waves of light that the human eye can see. But it is now possible with microwaves. Like visible light, microwaves are a form of radiant energy. They are part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which also includes radio waves, infrared light, ultraviolet rays, X rays, and gamma rays. The wavelengths of microwaves are shorter than those of radio waves but longer than those of visible light. The scientists' new "invisibility device" is the size of a drink coaster and shaped like a ring. The ring is made of a special material with unusual abilities. When microwaves strike the ring, very few bounce off it. Instead, they pass through the ring, which bends the waves all the way around until they reach the opposite side. The waves then return to their original paths. To a detector set up to receive microwaves on the other side of the ring, it looks as if the waves never changed their paths—as if there were no object in the way! So, the ring is effectively invisible. When the researchers put a small copper loop inside the ring, it, too, is nearly invisible. However, the cloaking device and anything inside it do cast a pale shadow. And the device works only for microwaves, not for visible light or any other kind of electromagnetic radiation. So, Harry Potter's invisibility cloak doesn't have any real competition yet.—C. Gramling

Invisibility Ring
Invisibility Ring








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