National Geographic News
BBC News | Science/Nature | World Edition
|Giant Bugs a Thing of the Past, Study Suggests - For the giant insects that roamed Earth 300 million years ago, there was something special in the air. A higher concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere let dragonflies sometimes grow to the size of hawks, and some millipede-like bugs reached some six feet (two meters) in length, a new study suggests.|
|One cannabis joint as bad as five cigarettes: study - Smoking one cannabis joint is as harmful to a person's lungs as having up to five cigarettes, according to research published on Tuesday. Those who smoked cannabis damaged both the lungs' small fine airways, used for transporting oxygen, and the large airways, which blocked air flow, the researchers said.|
|Caffeine, exercise may help ward off skin cancer - Exercise and moderate caffeine consumption together could help ward off sun-induced skin cancer, researchers said on Monday, but cautioned against ditching the sun screen in favor of a jog and a cappuccino. Experiments on mice showed that caffeine and exercise together somehow made them better able to destroy precancerous cells whose DNA had been damaged by ultraviolet-B radiation, according to scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey.|
BBC News | Science/Nature | World Edition
|Robot fins to propel submarines - The distinctive swimming technique of a bony fish is being used to develop agile, propellerless submarines. The hope is that in the future propellerless, fish-like submarines could carry out a range of tasks, such as mapping oceans, surveying shipwrecks or sweeping for mines, with more agility and speed than current autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) controlled by propellers.|
|Office printers 'are health risk' - The humble office laser printer can damage lungs in much the same way as smoke particles from cigarettes, a team of Australian scientists has found. An investigation of a range of printer models showed that almost a third emit potentially dangerous levels of toner into the air.|
|Left-handedness gene discovered - Scientists have discovered the first gene which appears to increase the odds of being left-handed. The Oxford University-led team believe carrying the gene may also slightly raise the risk of developing psychotic mental illness such as schizophrenia.|
|Swifts inspire morphing wings - Tiny microplanes with unique "morphing" wings have been developed by engineering students in the Netherlands - based on studying the flight of swifts. The RoboSwifts, which have a wingspan of 50cm (20in) and weigh just 80g (3oz), mimic the swifts' abilities to change the shape of their wings in flight - potentially allowing them to be highly manoeuvrable at both very high and very low speeds.|
|Why do people have sex? Researchers explore 237 reasons - Many scientists assume people have sex for simple and straightforward reasons such as to experience sexual pleasure or to reproduce, but new research at The University of Texas at Austin reveals hundreds of varied and complex motivations that range from the spiritual to the vengeful.|
|Scientists grow insulin in tobacco plants - U.S. researchers have discovered insulin grown in plants can resolve diabetes in mice -- a finding holding promise for humans afflicted with the disease.|
|Fish eyes could hold clue to repairing damaged retinas in humans - A special type of cell found in the eye has been found to be very important in regenerating the retina in zebrafish and restoring vision even after extensive damage. Now, a UK team of scientists believe they may be able to use these cells – known as Müller glial cells – to regenerate damaged retina in humans, according to a study published this month in the journal Stem Cells.|
|Life elsewhere in Solar System could be different from life as we know it - The search for life elsewhere in the solar system and beyond should include efforts to detect what scientists sometimes refer to as "weird" life -- that is, life with an alternative biochemistry to that of life on Earth -- says a new report from the National Research Council. The committee that wrote the report found that the fundamental requirements for life as we generally know it -- a liquid water biosolvent, carbon-based metabolism, molecular system capable of evolution, and the ability to exchange energy with the environment -- are not the only ways to support phenomena recognized as life. "Our investigation made clear that life is possible in forms different than those on Earth," said committee chair John Baross, professor of oceanography at the University of Washington, Seattle.|
|Researchers working on a way to make snack foods with extra fiber -Trying to get more fiber in your diet? Munching on cookies or tortillas probably doesn't come to mind. But a Kansas State University researcher is experimenting with ways to add fiber to the foods we love without changing what we like about our favorite snacks. Sajid Alavi is an assistant professor of grain science and industry at K-State's College of Agriculture. His expertise is in extrusion processing, which is used to make products from cheese puffs to pet food. Alavi is researching how this process can be used to make fiber-enriched flour taste like the kind used in most cookies and tortillas so that manufacturers can make a more healthful snacking alternative that consumers want to eat.|
|Original or fake? - Even for art historians, it can be difficult to distinguish original works of art from fakes. Research scientists now screen the pictures with infrared radiation. This shows up the watermarks of the paper mills, which allows them to date the works without risk of damage. Screening paintings (left picture) with infrared light reveals the watermarks (right picture) of the paper mills. These enable works to be dated and examined for authenticity without risk of damage.|
|Active Protection System - Dow Corning's Active Protection System is a "smart" textile that remains soft and flexible until it is struck by high-impact force, in which case the material instantly stiffens to help protect against injury. When the collision has passed, the material immediately becomes flexible again.|
|The Jet Kayak - Heading straight for a rock wall along New Zealand's Waimakariri River Gorge wouldn't normally faze Shaun Baker. But this was a new experience even for the world-record-holding waterfall jumper—this time his kayak had an engine in it, skipping him like a stone at more than 30 mph. Finally he backed off the throttle just enough to steer himself parallel to the wall and avert disaster, before gunning it back up to full speed.|
|Turn off TV to teach toddlers new words - Toddlers learn their first words better from people than from Teletubbies, according to new research at Wake Forest University. The study was published in the June 21 issue of Media Psychology. Children younger than 22 months may be entertained, but they do not learn words from the television program, said Marina Krcmar, associate professor of communication at Wake Forest and author of the study.|
|Juries wrong 1-in-8 times? - Juries across the country make decisions every day on the fate of defendants, ideally leading to prison sentences that fit the crime for the guilty and release for the innocent. Yet a new Northwestern University study shows that juries in criminal cases many times are getting it wrong. In a set of 271 cases from four areas, juries gave wrong verdicts in at least one out of eight cases, according to “Estimating the Accuracy of Jury Verdicts,” a paper by a Northwestern University statistician that is being published in the July issue of Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.|
|Using fat to kill cancer - Researchers in Slovakia have been able to derive mesenchymal stem cells from human adipose, or fat, tissue and engineer them into “suicide genes” that seek out and destroy tumors like tiny homing missiles. This gene therapy approach is a novel way to attack small tumor metastases that evade current detection techniques and treatments, the researchers conclude in the July 1 issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.|
|Inhaling from just 1 cigarette can lead to nicotine addiction - A new study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine shows that 10 percent of youth who become hooked on cigarettes are addicted within two days of first inhaling from a cigarette, and 25 percent are addicted within a month. The study found that adolescents who smoke even just a few cigarettes per month suffer withdrawal symptoms when deprived of nicotine, a startling finding that is contrary to long-held beliefs that only people with established smoking habits of at least five cigarettes per day experience such symptoms.|
|Engineered Blood Vessels Function like Native Tissue - Blood vessels that have been tissue-engineered from bone marrow adult stem cells may in the future serve as a patient's own source of new blood vessels following a coronary bypass or other procedures that require vessel replacement, according to new research from the University at Buffalo Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.|
Source: Coolest Gadgets
Roboglove contains a metal detector that vibrates when brought close to things like guns and knives during a pat-down. How's that for getting frisky with a vibrator.
Source: Sci Fi Tech
The C-Quester comes in one-and two-person styles, and are capable to diving to more than 50 metres. Don't expect the spend long down below; they have a dive time of about 2.5 hours.
Source: SciFi Tech
Heliodisplay is the next best thing to the Star Wars-type holographic display, but only displays in 2D; albeit, projecting the image into the air above the screen. Follow the link for a video of the $18,400 device. Apparently it can detect hand movements in the area where the image is being projected so is suitable for interactive systems.
Source: Sci Fi Tech
Yes, this is a real boat, not a land speeder. The 215-hp motors are in the front to pull the cabin along, much like the Star Wars pod racer.
Source: Sci Fi Tech
Add this to the list of odd inventions. The saucer-shaped thingie (a technical term, trust me) can be use to track down RFID-tagged staples, which apparently is enough of a problem to warrant building this device.
Display your manliness (no, not like that) with this keychain featuring the testosterone molecule for only $22(US).
It being Gizmag, the photo was not be visible (and no other images were found on the net) so I encourage you to follow the link to see the pretty pictures. The Skimmer is a winged ground-effect watercraft capable of reaching speeds of 100km/hr. It flies over water at a maximum height of 1.5 metres and is steered much like a motorcycle. It's still a concept craft, but the concept is cool.
This laser-etched replica of the Milky Way galaxy could be a geeky-but-cool addition to your desktop (the real desk, not the virtual one) for only $90(US).
An Australian start-up by the name of Emotiv is offering a computer interface that reads EEG signals. The helmet is PC compatible, and the company offers software that claims to "...interpret player facial expressions in real-time...", "...monitors player emotional states in real-time...", and "...reads and interprets players' conscious thoughts and intent.". It will be interesting to see if the reality matches the hype.
Source: Coolest Gadgets
Charity Canine Partners apparently has a special program to teach guide dogs to put your bank card into an ATM and pull out the money for you. All you have to do is enter your PIN and the dog does the rest. Do you suppose they slip a couple of bills off the top for a good time with the poodle on the corner?
Follow the link to find out how to make a human-powered hydrofoil. For the uninitiated, a hydrofoil is a craft that "flies" over water. Stretching the definition, this one is propelled by flapping a set of wings. As long as you keep flapping, you stay afloat and move in the direction you are steering. Stopping, it's not so good for you. The video is long and explains how to make such a craft.
Intel has just unveiled an 80-core processor, capable of 1-teraflop (1 trillion floating-point operations per second). Now, they just need to figure out how perform massively-paralleled programming before it can be of more than academic use. Thanks to ancalagon_tb for catching this story as it broke.
Source: New York Times
ThinkFree provides a free Word-compatible online word processor, Excel-compatible spreadsheet, and a Presentations-compatible presentation package. Those who have tried Google's Word processor and spreadsheet might be interested in giving it a go to see how it compares. The software can be found at http://www.thinkfree.com/ for those who are interested. So far, I've been unsuccessful in attempting to create an account so I have no idea how well this system works.
Source: Washington Post
Apparently, one of the downfalls of providing free wireless is the inability to track who is using it, and for what reason. In this article, a police descends on what they thought was the source of child pornography, only to discover an elderly woman whose wireless router was being used by one of her neighbours to distribute child pornography. Unable to determine which neighbour it was, they could proceed no farther. An increasing number of criminals are making use of the anonymity of free wireless to perpetrate crimes that cannot be traced to the source.
Source: BBC News
Scientists are developing ways to use fMRI to read people's intentions, opening the door to a new form of computer control. This is of particular interest to paraplegics who might be able to use this technology to attain greater autonomy. Significant work is still required before this will find real-world application.