Middle school science adventures
Seeds of the Future
Getting the dirt on carbon
Poison Dart Frogs
Frogs and Toads
Mouse Songs
Glimpses of a Legendary Woodpecker
Dolphin Sponge Moms
Taking a Spill for Science
Puberty gone wild
A Light Delay
Chemistry and Materials
Scientist Profile: Wally Gilbert
Fog Buster
Toxic Dirt + Avian Flu = Science Fair Success
Fingerprint Evidence
Play for Science
Middle school science adventures
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Ancient Critter Caught Shedding Its Skin
Dino Flesh from Fossil Bone
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2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Petrified Lightning
Plastic-munching microbes
Life under Ice
The Oily Gulf
Improving the Camel
Flu river
Finding the Past
An Ancient Childhood
A Volcano's Deadly Ash
Of Lice and Old Clothes
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Food and Nutrition
Building a Food Pyramid
A Pepper Part that Burns Fat
Symbols from the Stone Age
GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Who vs. That vs. Which
Whoever vs. Whomever
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
How are students placed after passing the GSAT exam
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Mathematics
Play for Science
Math and our number sense:
Math Naturals
Human Body
Gut Germs to the Rescue
Hear, Hear
Football Scrapes and Nasty Infections
Camel Spiders
Miscellaneous Mammals
Gray Whale
Vampire Bats
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How children learn
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Electric Backpack
Echoes of a Stretched Egg
Speedy stars
The algae invasion
Cactus Goo for Clean Water
When Fungi and Algae Marry
Boa Constrictors
Garter Snakes
Space and Astronomy
Asteroid Lost and Found
A Dusty Birthplace
A Moon's Icy Spray
Technology and Engineering
Algae Motors
A Micro-Dose of Your Own Medicine
Musclebots Take Some Steps
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
What is a Noun
Problems with Prepositions
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Robots on a Rocky Road
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Catching Some Rays
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Machine Copy

It would be a perfect theme for a horror movie: People build robots that can make copies of themselves. Robots reproduce like crazy. Robots take over the world. Ridiculous? In fact, only part of the story is fiction. Robots haven't yet taken over the world, but scientists from Cornell University have created simple machines that can make more of their own kind. The process is called self-replication. Far from being nightmarish, the researchers say, self-replicating robots could revolutionize space exploration. And they'd be perfect for clearing minefields and doing other risky tasks. Best of all, they'd be able to repair themselves. The new robots are made of stacks of blocks called "molecubes." Each cube is about the size of an adult's fist. Inside, there's a motor, electromagnets, and a tiny computer processor. The cubes are divided diagonally into plastic halves that can swivel back and forth. As a robot copies itself, computer programs tell the cube halves how to rotate. Electromagnets, meanwhile, let go of some cubes and pick up others that have been placed nearby. During the process, the stack of cubes twists and bends into various shapes, such as L's or upside-down U's. In the end, there are two identical objects, where once there was just one. This may not sound very impressive—yet. But it's a step on the path toward complex machines that can make copies of themselves.—E. Sohn

Machine Copy
Machine Copy

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