World’s Strangest

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Move Over, Rover — Here Comes the Space Hedgehog

Stanford University researchers are working with NASA to design a spiked space apparatus capable of maneuvering efficiently across asteroid and moon surfaces on which low gravity and rough terrain would bog down a regular rover. Scientists nicknamed the robots “hedgehogs” due to their round, spiky appearance. Those working on the project hope to eventually land the ‘hogs on [...]

Runner Falls, Gets Trampled, Stands Up, Starts Running Again and Wins Third Place

Alicia Follmar, a student at Stanford University, fell hard early in a race. Then several runners ran over her. Most people would then quit. But Alicia Follmar is not most people. She stood up and, though bloody, bruised and in great pain, started running again: As she powered her way from 10th to third over the [...]

Why America’s Top Colleges Offer Free Classes Online

Elite universities are throwing open their classrooms’ doors to anyone with an Internet connection—for free. Why are colleges offering free classes? They don’t want to be left behind in the digital revolution that has already transformed the way we consume news, music, and books. Stanford, Duke, Princeton, and Johns Hopkins are among the 16 universities that have [...]

"Anternet": What Ants and the Internet Have In Common

Quick: what do ants and the Internet have in common? A Stanford ant biologist and a computer scientist came up with the answer: On the surface, ants and the Internet don’t seem to have much in common. [...]

Free Artificial Intelligence Class

If you’ve ever been drawn to the idea of artificial intelligence, Stanford University School of Engineering is giving out the opportunity to learn how to build software that “reasons about the world around it.” The free class is as challenging as courses given to Stanford students and starts on October 10. So far over 100,000 [...]

The Menace Within

In 1971, psychology professor Philip Zimbardo began an experiment that became known as the Stanford Prison Experiment. Students were randomly assigned to be “guards” or “prisoners” in an imaginary prison scenario. It shocked the academic world and led to new standards for ethics in psychology studies. Forty years later, the Stanford Prison Experiment remains among the [...]

The New Literacy

New technologies are often blamed for the “dumbing-down” of new generations, but it’s hard to see that any generation is “dumber” than the one before it in a historical context. Professor Andrea Lunsford of Stanford University studied college student’s writing and how it changed from 2002 to 2006. The first thing she found is that young [...]

Putting Liposuction Leftovers to Good Use

Ever wonder what happens to all the fat sucked out during liposuction? If you feared it was going to waste, worry no more. According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the gelatinous material can be converted into embryonic stem cells. “We’ve identified a great natural resource,” said Stanford surgery professor [...]