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Cars that drive themselves?   Being cut up by some remote hand that never touches you?  It's not a Stephen King novel, it's the latest in robotics and it's coming to a Senate floor near you.

Last week the National Science Foundation (NSF) presented took over the Hart Senate Office Building and had a luncheon briefing for Senate members and staff on cyber-physical systems (CPS).
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) discovered that the Earth orbits the Sun, thus paving the way for our modern view of the world.  It took a few hundred years for religion to apologize for the reception his discovery got but luckily the  the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) only took a dozen years after the discovery of element 112 to honor him.

Element 112 was discovered at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung (Center for Heavy Ion Research) in Darmstadt.
Ancient nomadic hominids moved from place to place but often how has been subject to speculation.   Now researchers think they have one answer, using the dental fossils of animals eaten by Homo heidelbergensis.

In the French cave of Arago, an international team of scientists headed by researchers from the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES) in Tarragona has analyzed the dental wear of herbivorous animals, the first time that an analytical method has allowed the establishment of the length of human occupations at archaeological sites. The key is the last food that these hominids consumed. 

This told them some details on the vegetation in the environment and the way of life of Homo heidelbergensis
Is it a magic trick?   A man takes a paper clip and bends it so that it is just a crooked piece of wire, then he throws it into a bowl of hot water and instantly the metal wire returns to the shape of the paper clip.

This phenomenon is called the shape memory effect and it can be observed in certain metallic alloys, known as shape memory alloys. These kinds of materials are ideal for many applications. In aerospace technologies, solar sails can unfold in outer space.  In cardiology, stents are small tube-shaped, metal grid frameworks folded together and inserted into blood vessels where they expand and prevent the vessels from becoming blocked.
Does fasting lead to a longer life?   You never see any really old fat people but that has more to do with other issues than starvation.   

Some studies indicate that caloric restriction does extend life spans in fruit flies, mice and, most recently, rhesus monkeys, apparently by slowing the aging process, but in the case of most, they were also weaned that way from birth, which will get you thrown in jail if you do it to your kids.

Virtually all those studies had been performed in sterile environments, on animals raised under relatively pathogen-free conditions.   Stanford University School of Medicine researchers decided to see if reduced caloric intake also helps creatures cope with infection.
Designing a new hydroelectric power station can be a laborious task - the pressures, temperatures and fluid flows can be simulated but the actual results outside FEA showbiz graphics will still be columns of numbers or a one-dimensional representation which need analysis.

A new technique could make the process a lot more elegant. Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg have developed a method that visualizes the processes inside energy conversion plants, e.g. such as photovoltaic, wind, biogas and hydroelectric power stations. To do so, they have coupled 3-D plant engineering and simulation results with a virtual reality (VR) program developed at the IFF.