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Watering the Air
Tree Frogs
Hot Pepper, Hot Spider
Red Apes in Danger
Insect Stowaways
When Darwin got sick of feathers
The Other Side of the Zoo Fence
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Carnivorous Birds
Chemistry and Materials
The Incredible Shrunken Kids
Supergoo to the rescue
Graphene's superstrength
Middle school science adventures
Games with a Purpose
It's a Small E-mail World After All
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Downsized Dinosaurs
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Some Dinos Dined on Grass
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Ice Age Melting and Rising Seas
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Explorer of the Extreme Deep
Plastic Meals for Seals
Cactus Goo for Clean Water
The Down Side of Keeping Clean
Finding the Past
Untangling Human Origins
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Stone Age Sole Survivors
Food and Nutrition
How Super Are Superfruits?
Recipe for Health
Healing Honey
GSAT English Rules
Whoever vs. Whomever
Order of Adjectives
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
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GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
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Setting a Prime Number Record
Math of the World
Human Body
From Stem Cell to Any Cell
Hear, Hear
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Dust Mites
Scottish Folds
Giant Panda
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
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Children and Media
Electric Backpack
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Dreams of Floating in Space
White fuzzy mold not as friendly as it looks
Flower family knows its roots
Seeds of the Future
Box Turtles
Space and Astronomy
Zooming In on the Wild Sun
A Dusty Birthplace
Pluto's New Moons
Technology and Engineering
Squeezing Oil from Old Wells
Crime Lab
Model Plane Flies the Atlantic
The Parts of Speech
Problems with Prepositions
What is a Preposition?
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Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Charged cars that would charge
Where rivers run uphill
A Dire Shortage of Water
Recipe for a Hurricane
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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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