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Sarah Bergbreiter: Why I make robots the size of a grain of rice

By studying the movement and bodies of insects such as ants, Sarah Bergbreiter and her team build incredibly robust, super teeny, mechanical versions of creepy crawlies … and then they add rockets. See their jaw-dropping developments in micro-robotics, and hear about three ways we might use these little helpers in the future. Sarah Bergbreiter Microroboticist…

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Stephen Hawking’s big ideas…made simple

No time to read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time? In just two and a half minutes, Alok Jha explains why black holes are doomed to shrink into nothingness then explode with the energy of a million nuclear bombs, and rewinds to the big bang and the origin of the universe.

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Jeremy Heimans: What new power looks like

Here’s a great, balanced critique of power — old and new. Well worth a watch.

We can see the power of distributed, crowd-sourced business models every day — witness Uber, Kickstarter, Airbnb. But veteran online activist Jeremy Heimans asks: When does that kind of “new power” start to work in politics? His answer may surprise you.

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What is the speed of dark?

Most of us already know that darkness is the absence of light, and that light travels at the fastest speed possible for a physical object. In short, this means that, the moment that light leaves, darkness returns. In this respect, darkness has the same speed as light. However, in some instances, darkness actually moves faster than light.

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Nancy Kanwisher: A neural portrait of the human mind

Brain imaging pioneer Nancy Kanwisher, who uses fMRI scans to see activity in brain regions (often her own), shares what she and her colleagues have learned: The brain is made up of both highly specialized components and general-purpose “machinery.” Another surprise: There’s so much left to learn.