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Flush-Free Fertilizer
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A Butterfly's New Green Glow
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Longer lives for wild elephants
Dino-bite!
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Sticking Around with Gecko Tape
These gems make their own way
Screaming for Ice Cream
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Electronic Paper Turns a Page
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What is groundwater
Salty, Old and, Perhaps, a Sign of Early Life
Sky Dust Keeps Falling on Your Head
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Hazy with a Chance of Sunshine
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Ancient Cave Behavior
A Human Migration Fueled by Dung?
Decoding a Beverage Jar
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Salmon
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Results of GSAT are in schools this week
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Detecting True Art
GSAT Mathematics Quiz, Teaching Math, teaching anxiety
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Heart Revival
A Long Trek to Asia
Kids now getting 'adult' disease
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Sea Anemones
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Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Children and Media
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
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Project Music
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Speedy stars
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Fastest Plant on Earth
Farms sprout in cities
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Black Mamba
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Melting Snow on Mars
Rover Makes Splash on Mars
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Squeezing Oil from Old Wells
Machine Copy
Algae Motors
The Parts of Speech
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What is a Verb?
What is a Preposition?
Transportation
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Where rivers run uphill
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Weather
Catching Some Rays
The solar system's biggest junkyard
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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