Mar. 19th, 2009
Robots could flex muscles that are stronger than steel - tech - 19 March 2009 - New Scientist
Scientists have developed a material made of ribbons of nanotubes that expand up to 220% when a voltage is applied, then return to normal when the voltage is removed, all within a few milliseconds. The material is apparently stronger than steel and stiffer than diamond, and operates over a range of temperatures extending from liquid nitrogen to above the melting point of iron. The downfall is that the material, made from an aerogel, is 1000 times less dense than human muscle. As a result, large volumes of the material are needed o achieve a strength approaching that of the human arm.
Python Snakes, An Invasive Species In Florida, Could Spread To One Third Of US
|Apparently escaped pythons are breeding like crazy in the Florida everglades. Biolgists are concerned that the snakes could spread through the entire portion of the US pictured here in green. Pythons can grow to be more than 20 feet long.|
Is Salt Nature's Antidepressant?
A physiologist suggests that, based on his studies with rats, that salt may be an anti-depressant. Sodium-deprived rats exhibited symptoms similar to depression but when provided salt they return to their normal activity levels. As for a link to humans, the researcher points to a study that found many people with chronic fatigue syndrome were on sodium-reduced diets and increasing their salt intake alleviated many of their symptoms.
Circadian rhythms: Of owls, larks and alarm clocks : Nature News
It is estimated that half of us have circadian rhythms that are out of phase with our daily schedules, resulting in a form of "societal jet lag". Now, researchers postulate that some health problems are as a result of the circadian rhythms of different parts of our bodies being out of synch with each other. (A PDF of the article is available at the site).