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August 15, 2014

Harvard researchers have created a swarm of 1,024 small robots that work together as a team to form shapes or move, herd-like, toward a light source.

These three-legged robots, called Kilobots, weigh as much as three nickels and cost just $14 a piece to make. Other researchers have been working with swarms in hopes of one day having an army of tiny robots that can go into rubble after an earthquake to find victims, or squeeze into other areas where humans can't go, but those swarms have topped out at 100.

"Building 1,000 robots is hard," James McLurkin, director of the Multi-Robot Systems Lab at Rice University, told The Boston Globe. "Getting 1,000 robots to work together reliably is, how they'd say it in Boston? 'Wicked hard.'" McLurkin did not take part in this study, and called it a work of "engineering majesty."

In a study published Thursday in Science, the Harvard researchers explained that they designed software that allowed the robots to use information from each other in order to act; for instance, when the robots were instructed to build a shape, they would follow the edge of the group and measure their distance from a robot acting as a marker.

Because of the sheer size of the swarm, parties were held to assemble the robots, and it can take a good amount of time to charge and activate them. But this is only the beginning, and researchers are already trying to figure out how to make the robots even smaller. --Catherine Garcia

1:14 p.m. ET
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) maintained Friday that he'll support the Republican presidential nominee, even if that somebody happens to be Donald Trump, The Palm Beach Post reports.

In fact, Rubio might be more impressed with the billionaire business mogul than usual, saying his "performance has improved significantly" recently.

It's also worth noting that Rubio doesn't agree with former House Speaker John Boehner that Ted Cruz is Lucifer. Julie Kliegman

12:39 p.m. ET

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump was none too thrilled Saturday with the protesters who blocked his way into California's Republican convention the day before:

Leave it to Trump to make an off-color joke about the incident once he made it inside the hotel Friday.

'We went under a fence and through a fence," Trump said. "Oh boy, it felt like I was crossing the border, actually." Julie Kliegman

11:51 a.m. ET

Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook is perhaps best used for admiring photos of Mark Zuckerberg's dog. Beast, a Puli Hungarian Sheepdog, is quite good at camouflaging himself, as you can see in photos the social network's founder posted Friday:

This rug has eyes.

That's an awfully big mop. Julie Kliegman

11:29 a.m. ET

Jimmy Fallon has been singing bits and pieces of Styx's "Too Much Time on My Hands" on The Tonight Show for days. On Friday, he and actor Paul Rudd took the obsession to its natural conclusion, creating a shot-by-shot remake of the '80s music video. The end result is sufficiently goofy. Take a look below. Julie Kliegman

11:05 a.m. ET

Hundreds of activists stormed Iraq's parliament building Saturday in support of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who had accused Iraqi politicians of corruption, CBS News reports.

The demonstrators climbed over blast walls in Baghdad's Green Zone, which houses most of the country's ministries and foreign embassies, after parliament couldn't reach quorum to hold a session. The protesters broke furniture, chanted, and waved Iraqi flags.

For months, protesters have been demanding Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi take more steps to fight corruption. The capital announced a state of emergency amid the protests Saturday. Julie Kliegman

10:28 a.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

San Francisco Police Chief Gregory Suhr released nine pages of racist and homophobic text messages sent between officers Friday and ordered all officers to undergo anti-bias training, The New York Times reports.

"We have nothing to hide," Suhr said of his 2,000-member force. "These are the actions of a few."

The messages, which disparaged blacks, Latinos, South Asians, and LGBT people, were found as part of an investigation into a rape charge against one of the officers.

The department is under federal investigation for the 2015 fatal shooting of Mario Woods, a black man. Julie Kliegman

9:33 a.m. ET
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The head of an evangelical legal organization has pledged to carry a gun into Target's bathrooms to defend against transgender women. Liberty Counsel President Anita Staver is calling for a boycott of the retail chain after it announced that it will allow patrons to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity, The Huffington Post reports. Staver tweeted the following:

Staver later claimed she always brings guns into public restrooms. The Week Staff

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