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Science is spooky

Halloween is upon us, and we've got plenty of spooky actions at a distance to share.

Gather 'round and listen to a tale about creepy crawlies, reptile zombies, decomposing bodies, and more.

Read on if you dare, but enter at your own risk . . .

Eight legs

Spooky spiders — everybody’s afraid of them, right? What with their cobwebs clinging to your face, their googly eyes, and those eight legs scurrying as they crawl down the back of your neck . . . Yikes!

<strong>Dead in their tracks. </strong> Science has the ability to reconstruct an animal from the tracks it left eons ago. Courtesy Peter Falkingham.

Somehow, these scientists overcame their arachnophobia to see what spidey-sense might lend to the design of morphologically-informed computers.

Zombie apocalypse

OK, so maybe you’re not so easily scared. If bugs don’t bug you, how about . . . ZOMBIES!

That’s right, it’s the living dead. Even worse: Long-dead reptiles walking and stalking a late-night laboratory near you!

It’s ingenious what these mad scientists from Scotland have concocted. By tracing the fossilized footsteps of these ancient beasts, these geniuses conjure the departed dinosaurs, computing their gait and inferring physiological nuances.

But we’ve all seen Jurassic Park — what happens when these zombie dinosaurs get loose?

<strong>Go with the flow. </strong> What happened to Harvey may seem (ahem) heartless, but simulating the circulatory system before operating is a smart move. Courtesy Amanda Randles.

Poor Harvey

If Hollywood is any guide, zombies usually get their start in some scientist’s lab. Seems researchers are always toying with the building blocks of nature. (Remember Victor Frankenstein?)

Take the scientists at Duke, for instance. With the help of these new-fangled devices known as 'supercomputers,' they strapped poor Harvey down and discarded his skin and skeleton. His circulatory system is all that's left.

How cruel!

Now Harvey’s running around loose, terrorizing people across the country. Can anybody stop him?


Ok, so zombies and oozing monsters aren’t quite your cup of tea?

Well, when you’re out and about this All Hallows' Eve planning to make mischief, wreak havoc, and generally terrorize your neighborhood in the secure anonymity your clever sexy Gandalf costume provides, think again.

Someone is watching you — always watching you!

Think you’re unseen? Scientists have trained computer algorithms to identify you through your disguise. That’s right: When you’re hidden behind a mask, computers know who you are.

<strong>Dead language. </strong> Courtesy Alison Langmead.

Even in your home, you're not safe, because your house is watching you too.

Is that creepy or what?


Not horrified yet? Well, you will be after you get a load of these decomposing bodies!

Full of creaky prisons from the olden days, this deadly article brings you close to departed convicts now dismembered, reassembled, and reanimated by the spirit of digitalis humanitatis.

What it reveals about the human propensity to harm other humans is downright dreadful.

Ok, so these aren't really ghost tales, but they are a sample of the broad range of research we cover here at Science Node.

In fact, there's nothing to be scared of — advanced computing is making our lives safer.

There's plenty more stories like these, so take a tour of our archives — if you think you're brave enough!

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