When you gaze into the sky, what do you see? If you happen to live in China, the answer might be surveillance drones disguised as birds, according to a new report from the South China Morning Post. The new report alleges that Chinese military and government agencies have been using undercover drones to spy on segments of the population, especially in an area of Western China that borders Russia, Mongolia, and Pakistan, among other countries.
Andy Thomas creates “audio life forms” from bird sounds.
The sound of chirping and singing birds can be enough to inspire a feeling of peace and tranquility. Australian multimedia artist Andy Thomas specializes in creating “audio life forms” and such dulcet tones have inspired something more in him: curiosity about what they might look like as sound-driven 3D animations. (Video)
Super-concentrated sunbeams from BrightSource Energy Plant are deadly for birds flying overhead.
In February, the $2.2 billion BrightSource Energy Plant opened up in the Mojave Desert with good intentions: to harvest clean, sustainable solar power, by using 300 mirrors to reflect sunbeams onto a steam-producing water boiler. But a design flaw has turned the plant into a death trap for birds flying overhead.
Autonomous drone flock
The first drones that can fly as a coordinated flock has been created by Hungarian researchers. The team watched as the ten autonomous robots took to the air in a field outside Budapest, zipping through the open sky, flying in formation or even following a leader, all without any central control. (Video)
Quadcopter drones are built specifically for an easy takeoff and stable flight, but landing can be a tricky task. They generally need to land on flat ground or risk toppling over.
Scientists have discovered that when western scrub jays encounter a dead bird, they call out to one another and stop foraging. Then the jays often fly down to the dead body and gather around it.
There are reports from bird enthusiasts that a rising numbers of snowy owls from the Arctic are winging into the lower 48 states this winter in a mass southern migration that a leading owl researcher called “unbelievable.”
“Because sounds bounce and travel in different ways, birds have to use songs that can cope with this”.
Birds living in urban areas sing at a higher pitch to reduce the impact of echoes from surrounding buildings, a study claims. Higher-pitched songs travel further in built-up areas because their echoes fade more quickly, meaning the following notes are clearer and easier to pick out.
Altering the DNA of chicken embryos can give them qualities they lost millions of years ago.
Chickens and other birds are thought to have descended from dinosaurs through a series of genetic changes. Scientists have rewound 65 million years of evolutionary history by tweaking chicken DNA to create embryos that grow alligator-like snouts rather than beaks.
Researcher Dr Gregory Parker holds a small, winged drone that resembles an insect.
The U.S. military is developing these. innocent-looking devices that are actually some of the most sophisticated drones on the planet. They resemble children’s toys that are left disgarded in closets around the world. (Pics and video)
The ability to see Earth’s magnetic field may also reside in human eyes.
Humans might be able to innately detect Earth’s magnetic field without even realizing it, thanks to a compound found in our eyes. Or we may have been able to do so some time in the past.
Scientists develop GM chickens that do not spread bird flu.
British scientists have developed genetically modified (GM) chickens that cannot transmit bird flu infections — a step that in future could reduce the risk of avian flu spreading and causing deadly epidemics in humans.