DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

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Archive for the 'News You Can Use.' Category

Spiders Ingest Nanotubes, Then Weave Silk Reinforced with Carbon

5th August 2015

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The dragline silk spiders use to make a web’s outer rim and spokes is amazing stuff. It matches high-grade alloy steel for tensile strength but is about a sixth as dense. It is also highly ductile, sometimes capable of stretching to five times its length.

This combination of strength and ductility makes spider silk extremely tough, matching the toughness of state-of-the-art carbon fibers such as Kevlar.

So it goes without saying that the ability to make spider silk even stronger and tougher would be a significant scientific coup. Which is why the work of Nicola Pugno at the University of Trento in Italy and a few pals is something of a jaw-dropper.

These guys have found a way to incorporate carbon nanotubes and graphene into spider silk and increase its strength and toughness beyond anything that has been possible before. The resulting material has properties such as fracture strength, Young’s modulus, and toughness modulus higher than anything ever measured.

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Second Recall at Kraft After Consumers Choke on Plastic Jade Scipioni

4th August 2015

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The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC) is voluntarily recalling 36,000 cases of select code dates of Kraft Singles individually-wrapped slices after customers reported choking on the plastic wrapping.

Three consumers choked and ten complaints were filed after some sections of the plastic remained connected to the cheese after it was unwrapped.

“If the film sticks to the slice and is not removed, it could potentially cause a choking hazard,” according the company’s statement.

I’m astonished that they could tell the difference.

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Sixth DNA Base Discovered?

2nd August 2015

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DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the main component of our genetic material. It is formed by combining four parts: A, C, G and T (adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine), called bases of DNA combine in thousands of possible sequences to provide the genetic variability that enables the wealth of aspects and functions of living beings.

In the early 80s, to these four “classic” bases of DNA was added a fifth: the methyl-cytosine (mC) derived from cytosine. And it was in the late 90’s when mC was recognized as the main cause of epigenetic mechanisms: it is able to switch genes on or off depending on the physiological needs of each tissue.

In recent years, interest in this fifth DNA base has increased by showing that alterations in the methyl-cytosine contribute to the development of many human diseases, including cancer.

Today, an article published in Cell by Manel Esteller, director of the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), ICREA researcher and Professor of Genetics at the University of Barcelona, describes the possible existence of a sixth DNA base, the methyl-adenine (mA), which also help determine the epigenome and would therefore be key in the life of the cells.

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HIV Flushed Out by Cancer Drug

2nd August 2015

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The cornerstone of treatment, anti-retroviral therapy, kills the virus in the bloodstream but leaves “HIV reservoirs” untouched.

The study, published in PLoS Pathogens, showed the drug was “highly potent” at reactivating hidden HIV.

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High School Student Proves Professor Wrong When He Denied “No Irish Need Apply” Signs Existed

1st August 2015

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I have long had a personal interest in this question. When Jensen’s original article appeared in 2002 I was active on the Urban Legends Message Board (snopes) where it was an object of much discussion. Even with the more limited data bases of the time I came up with two ads that said Irish would not be accepted for employment. However, in later years Jensen’s Thesis became part of the wallpaper of discussion, with a lot of academics just accepting that the signs had never existed.

And once again the Narrative is undermined by reality.

 

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The $1-a-Week School

1st August 2015

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ACROSS the highway from the lawns of Nairobi’s Muthaiga Country Club is Mathare, a slum that stretches as far as the eye can see. Although Mathare has virtually no services like paved streets or sanitation, it has a sizeable and growing number of classrooms. Not because of the state—the slum’s half-million people have just four public schools—but because the private sector has moved in. Mathare boasts 120 private schools.

This pattern is repeated across Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. The failure of the state to provide children with a decent education is leading to a burgeoning of private places, which can cost as little as $1 a week.

The parents who send their children to these schools in their millions welcome this. But governments, teachers’ unions and NGOs tend to take the view that private education should be discouraged or heavily regulated. That must change.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

1st August 2015

Work-From-Home Excuse Generator. Refresh page to generate a new excuse.

Sticklets connectors.

Imperial Spherificator.

‘Swiss Army jacket’.

Emergensee Variable Focus Eyeglasses.

Eyejusters.

Portable Inflatable Bathtub.

SkySaver Backpack.

GravityLight.

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New Ebola Vaccine Shows 100 Percent Effectiveness In Early Tests

31st July 2015

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A paper published today in the British medical journal Lancet reports that the vaccine, which has been tested in Guinea since March 2015, has shown extraordinary results so far, with 4,123 people voluntarily vaccinated and all safe from the disease.

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This Giant Free-Form 3D Printer Can Print Houses

30th July 2015

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The good folks at Branch Technology, a startup founded by architects in Chattanooga, Tennessee, are developing technology that would allow architects and constructors much more freedom in the kind of buildings they erect. Using a repurposed automotive manufacturing robot made by Kuka, the Branch team developed a giant free-form 3D printer that extrudes a mix of plastic and carbon fiber. This is used to create a 3D lattice which is then reinforced with denser, stronger materials like concrete, eventually becoming a solid structure. The idea being that walls of pretty much any shape can be pre-built this way, and sent in scaffolding form to the construction site. Once there, construction workers assemble them and fill them with stronger materials, turning a fanciful curved wall into a permanent structural element. Each modular element fits together with the others like LEGO, making it possible for a project manager to simply send a digital file to Branch, only to later receive a completed framework for their building, ready for solidification and assembly.

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Washington DD Is Sinking Into the Sea Through a Process of “Forebulge Collapse”

30th July 2015

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Some good news for a change.

Geologists say Washington DC is gradually sinking into the sea through a process known as “forebulge collapse.” This means the government of the United States is sitting on a waterbed that is heaving and could gradually collapse over the next century unless active preparations are put in place.

Good luck with that.

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43 Different Ways To Lace Shoes

30th July 2015

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If, of course, you still use shoe laces.

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New Dissolving Ring Delivers Drugs Through Your Stomach For Seven Days

29th July 2015

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If, of course, that’s what you want to do.

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On the Farm, Algae May Be the New Corn

28th July 2015

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Apart from human uses, corn makes up the majority of feed for livestock. At one point, over 95% of the feed grains grown in the United States were based on corn. It’s no surprise then that in 2015 alone, some 89.2 million acres will be grown in the United States. This represents around 40% of all the corn grown worldwide.

But corn has seen a decline due to a number of factors. Crops have been hard hit by climate change. Higher temperatures have led to decreased yields and less overall abundance. As a result, the value of corn has dropped since 2012. This has put additional pressure on farmers, suggesting they may have to forego corn and look to other crops to maintain viability. This could harm corn stocks and hinder food security.

There may be an answer to the corn dilemma, but to find it, one has to look not in the prairies but the sea. Within the salty brine are algae. These microorganisms, once believed to be primordial plant species, are nutrient-making machines. They are known to produce high levels of antioxidants and also a variety of essential fatty acids. Some companies have even seen their algal-derived products make it to market.

Hmm. Kelp-fed beef just doesn’t have the same ring, somehow.

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New Study Into Lack of Women in Tech: It’s NOT the Men’s Fault

27th July 2015

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Shucks, I could have told you that.

A new study into causes of the scarcity of women in technical and scientific fields says that it is not discrimination by men in the field keeping the ladies away. Nor is it a repugnance felt by women for possibly dishevelled or unhygienic male nerds.

No, the reason that young women don’t train in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) areas – and thus, don’t find themselves with jobs at tech companies, in IT etc – is quite simply that they mostly don’t know enough maths to do those courses.

“It is all about the mathematical content of the field. Girls not taking math coursework early on in middle school and high school are set on a different college trajectory than boys,” says economics prof Donna Ginther.

Ginther and a colleague, Shulamit Kahn, examined statistics on young women’s maths qualifications and mathematical requirements for college courses in America. Put simply, they found that absence of women studying a given course can be accounted for simply by the fact that most young women don’t know much maths.

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Lockheed Martin’s New Compact Fusion Reactor Might Change Humanity Forever

26th July 2015

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Or maybe not.

A compact fusion reactor presented by Skunk Works, the stealth experimental technology section of Lockheed Martin. It’s about the size of a jet engine and it can power airplanes, most likely spaceships, and cities.

“We would like to get to a prototype in five generations. If we can meet our plan of doing a design-build-test generation every year, that will put us at about five years, and we’ve already shown we can do that in the lab. So it wouldn’t be at full power, like a working concept reactor, but basically just showing that all the physics works.”

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

25th July 2015

Cubrick cabinet.

Tactical Baby Carrier.

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Malaria Vaccine Gets ‘Green Light’

24th July 2015

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The world’s first malaria vaccine has cleared one of the final hurdles prior to being approved for use in Africa.

The European Medicines Agency gave a positive scientific opinion after assessing its safety and effectiveness.

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Learn to Read Korean in 15 Minutes

23rd July 2015

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If, of course, that’s what you want to do.

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An Inventor Built a Solar-Powered, High-Tech ‘Man Cave’

21st July 2015

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Conceived one night over a few beers, New Zealand-based engineer and inventor Jomo Williams worked over three years to design and build his Skysphere. At 33 feet tall and 270 square feet, the project looks straight out of the Jetsons and boasts some novel smart home credentials: solar power, fingerprint access, a beer cooler that texts you when running low, and voice command LED lighting. Williams aims to consolidate these functions, plus a few more, on a single smart phone app. The project set him back $50K but, unlike most retreats, this one is mobile: Williams plans to eventually move it to the coast and build a house underneath it.

Makes a beautiful target.

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Rhinos’ Horns to Be Fitted With Spy Cameras and Alarms to Help Catch Poachers

19th July 2015

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I suggest we start with Lindsey Graham and Chris Christy.

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Scientists Have Discovered the Taste of Fat

19th July 2015

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There have been many failed attempts to provide evidence of a sixth sense, but now scientists have at least, they claim, come up with a sixth taste – the taste of fat.

Fat, which now joins sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami (savoury) has a unique and unpleasant taste that researchers have called oleogustus. They suggest its identification could lead to new ways of fighting obesity and heart disease, and to the creation of improved fat replacements.

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Airless Tires Roll Towards Consumer Vehicles

18th July 2015

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Air-filled (pneumatic) tires give our vehicles comfortable, cushiony rides. (Thanks tires, we appreciate that.) Looking at it from another perspective, pneumatic tires are containers of pressurized gas that are being subjected to constant abuse, and when something happens to them, it can result in a situation that falls somewhere between a minor annoyance and a deadly catastrophe. We’ve ridden on these things for about 130 years now, and while they’ve improved substantially since John Dunlop invented them to keep his kid from getting headaches while riding his bike, it seems that we can still do better. Hankook is trying to make better happen with a consumer-oriented airless tire.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

18th July 2015

Slapsee Sunglasses. These are very clever.

Make Your Own Pocket Laser Engraver. When tattoos just aren’t narcissistic enough.

Thermos Stainless Steel Can Insulator.

Transparent Padlock to practice picking locks.

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Scientists Have Discovered a Seaweed That Tastes Like Bacon

16th July 2015

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Well. There it is.

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Wisconsin’s Shame: State Supreme Court Vindicates Victims of ‘John Doe’ Witch Hunt

16th July 2015

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In a ruling this morning, the Wisconsin Supreme Court rendered official what observers have long known: Wisconsin Democrats did, in fact, launch a massive, multi-county “John Doe” investigation of the state’s conservatives, featuring extraordinarily broad subpoenas and coordinated “paramilitary” raids of private homes; the “crimes” that provided the investigation’s pretext were not crimes at all, but First Amendment-protected speech; and the legal theory underpinning the investigation was bunk, “unsupported in either reason or law,” as the court put it.

The Democratic prosecutor’s legal theory — the theory that launched this multi-county reign of terror — was that various Wisconsin conservatives engaged in “illegally coordinated issue advocacy” in violation of Chapter 11 of the Wisconsin Statutes. To prove his case, the prosecutor sought authority under the state’s broad “John Doe” statute to launch a secret investigation of dozens of Wisconsin conservatives and conservative groups. The John Doe statute empowered the prosecutor to issue gag orders on raid targets, prohibiting them from defending themselves even as leaks to the press cast them as suspected criminals. The Court has now ruled that the legal reasoning from which the entire investigation proceeded was fatally flawed.

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Why We Have Chins

16th July 2015

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“In some way, it seems trivial, but a reason why chins are so interesting is we’re the only ones who have them,” says Nathan Holton, who studies craniofacial features and mechanics at the University of Iowa. “It’s unique to us.”

Just in case you were wondering. I know I was.

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Sound Waves Could Speed Up Wound Healing

15th July 2015

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I’m pretty sure that putting a purring cat on an injury is beneficial.

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HAPPY ST. SWITHIN’S DAY

15th July 2015

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St Swithin’s day if thou dost rain, For forty days it will remain

St Swithin’s day if thou be fair, For forty days ’twill rain nae mare

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Clockmaker John Harrison Vindicated 250 Years After ‘Absurd’ Claims

12th July 2015

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One of Guinness World Records’ more unusual awards was presented at the National Maritime Museum yesterday. After a 100-day trial, the timepiece known as Clock B – which had been sealed in a clear plastic box to prevent tampering – was officially declared, by Guinness, to be the world’s “most accurate mechanical clock with a pendulum swinging in free air”.

It was an intriguing enough award. But what is really astonishing is that the clock was designed more than 250 years ago by a man who was derided at the time for “an incoherence and absurdity that was little short of the symptoms of insanity”, and whose plans for the clock lay ignored for two centuries.

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The US Navy Is Giving Up on Fighter Pilots and Turning to Drones

12th July 2015

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The US Navy is planning to stop using crewed fighter jets in the coming years, according to Navy secretary Ray Mabus, turning instead to uncrewed aerial vehicles and drones to perform missions at sea, on land, and in the air. Speaking at the Sea-Air-Space 2015 conference on Wednesday, Mabus said that the currently used F-35 Lightning fighter “should be, and almost certainly will be, the last [crewed] strike fighter aircraft the Department of the Navy will ever buy or fly.”

Well, that will certainly save a lot of money.

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US Navy Develops Cannon-launched ‘Swarming’ Drones

11th July 2015

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The US Navy is developing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, that can be launched from a cannon and “swarm” in a co-ordinated attack.

Wings unfold once the drones are in the air and then they can fly in formation.

US use of military drones has attracted criticism from human rights groups, who say that despite their highly targeted nature, innocent non-combatants are often killed in the process.

Innocent non-combatants are almost always killed in a war. Why this should come as a surprise to these people escapes me. But we live in a time where much less of that goes on, by orders of magnitude.

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The Colors We Eat

11th July 2015

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When it comes to food, color is money. Food companies scan their products on the line with custom colorimeters to ensure mathematically consistent hues. Fruits and vegetables are shipped in chemically “modified” atmospheres, because “better stem and fruit color gives better prices,” according to the website of the delivery company TransFresh. Color is judged by a legion of standards all along the food chain. The hue of orange juice, for example, is carefully calibrated by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Orange Juice Color Standards (Grade-A orange juice from concentrate has to be “not as good as OJ 5 but much better than OJ 6.”) There are few worse fates, in the eyes of federal regulators, than for a berry to be “undercolored.”

Oranges and berries are just the beginning. The color matching business Munsell sells color standards for French fries, tomatoes, pumpkins, olives, molasses, honey, and cherries. Art Schmehling, a manager with Munsell, tells me a product like the maraschino cherry actually has two color standards: One for the cherry after it is bleached to a pale yellow, which is done so the cherry can be properly dyed its trademark iridescent red; and another for that red.

The attention to color is not just for show: For all the talk of the tongue and palate, our eyes are arguably the most important gustatory organ. As Charles Spence, who heads the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at Oxford University, points out, more than half of our cortical real estate is dedicated to processing vision—just a percent or two is given over to taste faculties (making us rather unique among mammals). The result is not just that color flavors our expectations: It actually changes how we taste food.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

11th July 2015

Tabletop Charcoal Grill.

Emergency Wrist Flotation Device.

Tactical War Hammer. Don’t know what I’d use it for, but I want one.

Survival Shoelaces.

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Death Metal Music Attracts Sharks, Documentary Crew Finds Out

11th July 2015

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A documentary film crew hit upon a novel technique to attract great white sharks – blasting death metal through an underwater speaker.

The Discovery Channel crew, filming for the Shark Week show Bride of Jaws, were on the hunt for a large great white, wonderfully nicknamed ‘Joan of Shark’.

Desperate to feature the 16-foot, 1.6 tonne shark in their documentary, they submerged a speaker to see if the shark would react. Unfortunately they didn’t manage to attract Joan, but did catch the attention of two others, one of which was 12 feet long.

The implications are staggering.

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What Do You Do With a Cannon That Fires Dead Birds?

10th July 2015

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Make funny home video?

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New GM Cereal Crop Produces Fish Oil in Its Seeds

9th July 2015

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I am not making this up.

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Drivers Fill Up on ‘Brewtroluem’ a Beer-Based Biofuel

9th July 2015

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New Zealand drivers can now fill up their cars with a biofuel made from beer by-products. Brewtroleum is, its makers say, cleaner than normal petrol or diesel.

Created by Gull fuel and DB Export brewers, Brewtroleum is made from ethanol which has been extracted from yeast left over from local beer brewing and normal fuel.

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This ‘Transforming Castle Truck’ is as Magical as You’d Imagine

6th July 2015

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Well, not really, but it is pretty clever.

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How Owls Could Quiet Wind Turbines and Planes

6th July 2015

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Owls have an impressive superpower in silent flight, made possible by specialized wings and feathers that disperse the sound of air rushing past them. Now an international research team says they have taken a tip from owls that could eventually lead to turbine blades and jet aircraft that produce significantly less noise.

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Strong Glass Sea Sponge Hairs Could Inspire Better Construction Materials

6th July 2015

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The Venus’ flower basket sea sponge uses extraordinarily strong spicules — strands of nested glass columns–to anchor itself against flowing currents.

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Chemists Design a Quantum-Dot Spectrometer

4th July 2015

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Instruments that measure the properties of light, known as spectrometers, are widely used in physical, chemical, and biological research. These devices are usually too large to be portable, but MIT scientists have now shown they can create spectrometers small enough to fit inside a smartphone camera, using tiny semiconductor nanoparticles called quantum dots.

Such devices could be used to diagnose diseases, especially skin conditions, or to detect environmental pollutants and food conditions, says Jie Bao, a former MIT postdoc and the lead author of a paper describing the quantum dot spectrometers in the July 2 issue of Nature.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

4th July 2015

Shelf-Pack Suitcase.

Rear-View Bike Radar.

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Student Invents Shapeshifting Pinecone-Inspired Building Material

3rd July 2015

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Chao Chen, a Master’s student in design at London’s Royal College of Art, was inspired by an ordinary pinecone he saw in Hyde Park. Pinecones close when wet, and Chen decided to see if he could mimic the movement for a class project.

He discovered that by layering a veneer, fabric, and a thin layer of film together he could make a material that reacted just like the pinecone to water: opening on sunny days, and curling in the presence of water.

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The World’s Tallest Cow Dies After a Lifetime of Photoshop Accusations

2nd July 2015

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Blosom, the world’s tallest cow, was measured to be a full 6-foot-2 inches tall (190 cm) from hoof to withers when this photo was taken in early 2015.

Guinness officials had awarded the bovine beauty an official world record in August of 2014 while visiting her owner’s farm in Orangeville, Illinois, to verify that yes, a cow could really be that tall.

Gone, but not forgotten.

“Blosom was born to two normal-sized cows, and according to Patty, was even taller when she was eight years old,” wrote Rachel Swatman on guinessworldrecords.com. “Always friendly with her owners, Patty treated Blosom like any other household pet and loved nothing more than spending time with her out in the field.”

She’s a fool if she’s not trying to breed another one.

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A Monument to Mercantilist Superstitions Shuttered!

1st July 2015

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I.e. Ex-Im Bank authorization expired. One less Crustian transnational slush fund down, hundreds left to go.

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Man Called Rod Is Hit by Lightning for a Second Time

29th June 2015

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Dude, take the hint.

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Scientists Figure Out Why Humans Have Chins

29th June 2015

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Hey, tenure doesn’t grow on trees, you know.

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Hadrian the Robot Bricklayer Can Build a Whole House in Two Days

27th June 2015

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Doing jobs that Americans won’t do….

I wonder whether it speaks Spanish?

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

27th June 2015

Wooden Watch.

Wooden Combination Lock.

Automatic Parked Car Finder.

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These Absurd Robots Do Pointless Jobs

22nd June 2015

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Doing the jobs that Americans won’t do. (Probably for good reason.)

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