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Nature

10 Ig Nobel Prizes For 2012: Recognition Of Funny, Obscure Research

You gotta love the Russian company SKN for converting old Russian ammunitions into diamonds, and didn't you always want to know how many steps you'd have to take to create the inevitable splash of coffee on your carpet?  But the SpeechJammer in 2012?  A machine that delays speech and makes one stutter is decades old, and it actually has the practical application of helping stutterers speak without stuttering.

 

Houston Zoo First To Successfully Breed Big-Headed Turtles In Captitivity

The Houston Zoo proudly announced the birth of five Madagascan big-headed turtles today, the eighteenth most endangered species of turtle in the world.  It was the first birth for zoos worldwide.

As The World Burns, NIST Tries To Cool It Down

On the day the National Snow And Ice Data Center (NSIDC) announced the dreary news that the level of ice in the Arctic Sea is the lowest it has been since such information was recorded, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) presented some positive news regarding its goal to reduce the global warming potential (GWP) of the refrigerants used in our homes and cars.

DARPA Designs New Robots After Cheetah And Pack Mule (Videos)

Biomimicry is almost a byword of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Indeed, if any group has discovered that 'nature does it better,' it's DARPA, and you have to admit the Agency is pretty adept at imitating it.  Here, are two of DARPA's latest robotic tributes to nature's designs: the Cheetah Bot and the Pack Mule Bot.

Can Nature's Forms And Sounds Help The Sleepless?

We know that art has been inspired by nature at least as far back as the Cave Man. Technology too has had a love affair with nature for thousands of years, though we are just recently experiencing a resurgence with a new 'biomimicry' movement.  But besides biomimetic art and technology, there are biomimetic exercises, such as those we find in certain yoga positions... and now, an NYU design student and insomniac, has employed the shapes and sounds of nature to help the sleepless sleep.

Calling All Inventors! Discovery Expedition Wants Your Outdoor Electronic Inventions

Discovery Expedition isn't looking for a new kind of hiking boot - unless it's electronic.  But it is looking for new ways to enhance hiking, sky-diving, camping, mining, surfing... whatever, your outdoor lifestyle needs to take it to the next level to improve your outdoor experience.

 

Tsunami Soccer Ball and Volleyball Kicked 3,100 Miles to Alaska

Now ain't that a kick: signed soccer and volleyballs found washed up on an island off Alaska several weeks apart are to be returned to their surprised but grateful owners. The balls may be the first identifiable pieces of debris from Japan's devastating March 11th, 2011 earthquake and tsunami to reach North American shores.

Enigma: Puzzling Wooden Floor Design By Jamie Beckwith

Floor tiles have moved up a few notches since the vinyl foam tiles first lined the nursery.  And, though these tiles may remind you (somewhat) of those jigsaw like EPA pieces, nowhere have I seen floor tiles so elegant that they must be the center of attention in any room they are laid - the hand-crafted wooden puzzle floor tiles of Jamie Beckwith.

Don't Kill Gambian Pouch Rats! Recruit Them

Annihilation by man or beast is not called for.  The giant African pouch rat, with its pouchy cheeks resembling a hamster, is easily trained.  So easily trained with food as treats that in its native Africa, the giant rat is used to detect land mines and tuberculosis. In Belgium, one of the countries where they are trained, the African giant pouched rat is called "heroRAT!"

Stem Cell Technology Used To Create Neuronal Model For Alzheimer's Disease

Researchers at UC San Diego have developed a "true human neuronal model" that replicates the early stages of Alzheimer's disease in actual human brain cells.  They have accomplished this model by using adult stem cells to more accurately demonstrate the pathology of the disease.

'Dragon Tree' May Bring Good Luck to Japan's Tsunami Ravaged Coast

The massive tsunami that pounded Japan's northeastern coast following the devastating March 11th, 2011 earthquake left few trees standing along the shoreline. Among those few survivors is a battered, twisted pine that now resembles a Chinese Dragon. The so-called Dragon Tree has become a symbol of hope and renewal for the region's hard-pressed residents.

Sequinetic™ Sun Glasses Chase Away Winter Blues

... Light therapy is a traditional method of relief for SAD sufferers, but it requires its subjects to be stationary while under special lamps.  But with the help of Kickstarter, three now-happy engineers have succeeded in raising the funds to produce their answer to SAD - Sequinetic™ 'sun' glasses. 

Scientists Hope Natural Herb Will Prove Effective Treatment For Alcoholism

A tree that is native to China, the Hovenia dulcis, or Asian raisin tree, has been described to contain a hangover remedy since 659 AD.  If you can fathom how long it's been in use, you may wonder why it's taken so long for modern research to study its potential as a treatment for alcohol addiction.  Well, now a multi-disciplinary team from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) are actively studying its impact; first on rats....

 

Polymer Shown To Rehabilitate Soil After A Wildfire

Wildfires claim hundreds of thousands of farm acres yearly, causing famines and permanent devastation to the soil that produced the farmed crops.  But a graduate student at Tel Aviv University (TAU), along with his supervising professors from TAU and the University of La Coruña in Spain, has identified an anionic polymer polyacrylamide (PAM) that seems to enable reforestation more rapidly and less expensively than current methods.

Groundbreaking Research Supports Calorie Reduction As Key To Healthy Aging

It has long been known that calorie restricted diets have positive impacts on better mental and physical health, but now a team of researchers at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome have discovered the molecule that is triggered by caloric restriction.  CREB1 is the molecule and, once activated, it triggers another group of molecules linked to longevity - the sirtuins.

Tap Water Is OK To Drink, But Watch What You Put Up Your Nose

Neti-pot nose rinses have recently been reported to have caused the death of two persons in Louisiana.  The pots, used by many to drain their sinuses during colds, flu, or allergy flare-ups, convey salt water through the nostrils....

Chinese Medicinal Plants Garden is World's Largest According to Guinness

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM for short) has roots that extend back thousands of years, with seeds in folk cures that were already old when ancient Chinese scholars first began writing them down. It's no wonder, then, that one of China's oldest official medicinal plants gardens has been declared by Guinness World Records to be the world's largest of its kind.

Japanese Scientists Listen to Oysters, Pick Up Pearls of Wisdom

Put a shell to your ear and you can hear the ocean. Japanese scientists have taken that concept to a higher level, inventing a device called the “kai-lingual” that can “hear” oysters commenting on their environment. Well shucks!

X Prize: Geneticists Compete To Duplicate Genomes Of Centenarians

The search is truly on for what makes people live past 100 years ... aside from eating right, exercising regularly, and having lots of social contact.  It's about their genomic makeup, and Archon Genomics is holding a big, as in 10 million dollars, prize for the first genetics team to develop the sequence of genes that can produce medical grade genomes from 100 centenarians.  Personalized medicine, here we come!

Polar Bear & Penguin Ice Cube Cups Raise Environmental Awareness While Cooling Your Drink

Global warming poses grave consequences for polar bears and penguins. Raise awareness of their plight while you raise your glass... cleverly chilled with global warming warning ice cubes from cups conceived by Japan's Atsuhiro Hayashi.