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University of Chicago

  1. New Data on Extraterrestrial Cloud Cover Could Double the Number of Habitable Exoplanets

    In news sure to delight off-world travel agencies everywhere, there could be as many as 60 billion habitable planets just in the Milky Way.

    There may be something like 60 billion potentially habitable planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone. Just let that sink in for a minute: 60 billion. If it seems like an unusually high number, it's because it's been doubled from what we thought was possible before. The new higher estimate comes from astronomers at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University who realized that earlier calculations done to determine which alien planets might support life may have underestimated a major climactic influence: clouds.

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  2. Grad Student Creates His Own Working Spider-Man Suit

    My Spidey Sense Is Tingling

    Who says you have to get bitten by a radioactive spider to get the power of Spider-Man? One student has used technology to acquire a spidey-sense. 

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  3. University of Chicago’s Indiana Jones Diary Mystery Solved In A Completely Satisfying Way

    And All Was Right With the World

    Late last week, we brought you a mystery straight out of Indiana Jones lore. An extremely detailed replica diary from Raiders of the Lost Ark was delivered to the University of Chicago addressed to Henry Walton Jones Jr., aka Indiana Jones. The school, and internet at large, speculated as to its origins but we've got the official answer. And it's much more interesting than we expected.

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  4. University of Chicago Receives Mysterious Package Addressed to Indiana Jones

    It Belongs in a Museum!

    Do you like a good mystery? Do you also like Indiana Jones? (What am I talking about? Of course you do.) Then this story is for you. A mysterious package found in the mail room of the University of Chicago was addressed to Henry Walton Jones, Jr.... better known as Indiana Jones. As per a post on the UChicago College Admissions Tumblr, "The package contained an incredibly detailed replica of 'University of Chicago Professor' [and Indiana's mentor] Abner Ravenwood’s journal from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark."

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  5. We Knew It! Doing Math Can Literally Hurt Your Brain

    Warning: do not look at the image above if you have math anxiety. A new study by researchers at the University of Chicago has found that for people who get anxious at the idea of doing mathematics, just preparing to do a math problem can trigger activity in a part of your brain that registers physical pain.

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  6. Scientists Discover the Fabled ‘Vampire Dwarf’… Dinosaur!?

    A new report out of the University of Chicago provides the first insight on a new species of Dinosaur that sounds like the coolest, most terrifying creature to ever roam the face of this planet. The Pegomastax africanus was about the size of your average house cat, was covered in pointy spines, and had a pair of Dracula-esque giant canine teeth. I like to call to call it "Vampire-Dwarfosaurus".

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  7. Robot Shoots Baskets, Makes Bullseyes Without Hands or Anything Even Like Hands

    A team of clever robotics-minded folks from Cornell University and the University of Chicago have demonstrated a truly novel way for robots to interact with the world around them. Their "Positive Pressure Universal Gripper" can pick up and toss an object of just about any shape without the need for pesky and complex hands. Instead, their gripper uses a robotic arm with -- no kidding -- a balloon.

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  8. University of Chicago Shows Off its Automated Library

    The University of Chicago will be opening its new Joe and Rika Mansueto Library later this week. Upon entering the glass and steel dome, some patrons may be surprised by what they find. From Big Think:

    Inside this dome, visitors will find no book shelves and no stacks. Only reading tables in a reading room. It is what is beneath this room that makes the library interesting. Below this reading room is a vault where the books are bar-coded and stored in bins. Because the items are not meant to be browsed, they are not sorted by subject. They are sorted by size in order to maximize the efficient use of each bin. The volumes are searched for online and retrieved by cranes, then delivered to the researcher.
    Of course, this will separate patrons of the library from the books, and drastically change the way they browse. Instead of being able to see what books are around a volume or a subject patrons are interested in, they'll be using a computer search system. We've covered the plans for other libraries that would employ automatic retrieval systems and do away with book stacks, but this system is fully functional. What's more, it will serve major university, giving the whole scheme something of a seal of approval. Perhaps getting lost in the labyrinthine stacks will soon be a thing of the past. Read on after the break to see video of the book retrieval system in action.

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