Here’s an unsolved mystery as old as time: blindfolded humans cannot walk straight. If you blindfold a person and tell them to walk straight, that person will quickly begin to walk in circles and not even know it! Says Robert Krulwich in an NPR report, “Humans, apparently, slip into circles when we can’t see an external focal point, like a mountain top, a sun, a moon. Without a corrective, our insides take over and there’s something inside us that won’t stay straight.” Though many scientists have attempted to figure out what exactly that something is, no one has cracked it just yet. Watch the fun animation describing the strange phenomenon in the video above.
Can’t get enough of BBC’s Bang Goes the Theory series. This time host Jem Stansfield travels to the Solar Furnace Research Facility in Southern France to witness the incredible power generated by highly concentrated sunlight. At the core of the “sunshine” temperature can rise to 6,300 degrees Fahrenheit and is powerful enough to almost instantly burn through wood and even melt a rock! Watch a dangerously cool demonstration above.
We all know what happens when you combine Coke with Mentos candies (a fizzy explosion). But have you ever imagined if the force from such an explosion could power a vehicle (of sorts) to move forward in space? Well wonder no more, people! Using 108 bottles of Coke Zero and 648 Mentos mints, the “Coke & Mentos guys” have created a rocket car.
The Coke Zero & Mentos Rocket Car uses a piston mechanism: a six-foot long rod sits inside a six-foot long tube attached to each bottle of Coke Zero. When the Mentos drop into the soda, the pressure tries to push the rod out of the tube. With 108 rods all pushing at once, that gives us a lot of power. All that power is pushing against a wall braced with 3,600 pounds of cement blocks. So all the force is directed into moving the Coke Zero & Mentos Rocket Car forward. We get one big push for six feet, and then it’s all coasting from there.
Watch their successful test run in the video above. Ah, the power of science.
British scientist Dr. Mark Gasson of Reading Univeristy has implanted an RFID chip inside his hand. Today RFID chips have been used to tag animals to keep track of them. But they also have some uses when implanted in humans. With such a chip sitting inside Gasson’s hand, this allows him to gain secure access to the University and it also acts like an internal fingerprint reader for a cell phone (his cell phone recognizes the chip and only allows him to access its features). But with such advances in technology, says Gasson, also comes risks. And here’s the kicker: Gasson has infected the RFID chip in his hand with a computer virus. The risk? After much research, Gasson concludes that a computer virus can spread and infect other medical implants inside the body, such as pace makers. He goes on to propose that such an “infection” could potentially spread to other people! Yikes–so is this how the zombie infestation breaks out? Listen to Dr. Gasson explain his groundbreaking research in the video above.
What exactly happens when you get kicked in the groin? Better question: How come this guy Kirby Roy does not fall over into the fetal position when American Gladiator Justice kicks him square in the balls? I am writhing in pain for this guy and he feels nothing! Sports Science has the answer. Watch it all play out in the video above.
Paleontologists discovered 29 melanosome samples from the body of the 155-million-year-old Anchiornis huxleyi. By comparing the samples to the feathers and colors of modern birds they were able to map out the dino’s colors, making Anchiornis the first true-color picture of a dinosaur. Sure, we’ve seen recreations of dinosaurs in color in textbooks, stories, and film. Difference here is that this is for realz. Neat, huh?
This commercial for Nuveen Investments aired during the Super Bowl in 2000. It imagined a future with major advancements in the struggle against AIDS, cancer, and spinal cord injuries. That’s right–the late Christopher Reeve makes a touching appearence when he walks onto the stage. The ad promises “In the future, so many amazing things will happen in the world.” Though it’s interesting to see what an investment firm envisioned for the first decade of the 2000′s, what’s even more impacting is that we still aren’t there yet. Support your charities; we can all lend a helping hand in the fight against deadly diseases and injuries and make the world a better and safer place to live in.
Russell Turnbull lost eyesight in his right eye when a squirt of ammonia shot into it as he intervened in a fight between two men. The chemical caused significant damage to his right eye and was diagnosed with a condition called Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency (LSCD). LSCD is very painful and requires many trips to the hospital for care. Because he had this rare condition, doctors used him as a guinea pig in stem cell trials. Fifteen years after the frightful incident, Turnbull was miraculously cured of blindness thanks to the stem cells. The treatment involved taking small samples of stem cells from his healthy eye’s cornea, growing it in the lab, and implanting them into his damaged eye. Only eight weeks after the operation, Turnbull regained full eyesight in his right eye. He was cured of blindness. He remains “one of eight patients with impaired vision who have been treated successfully by surgeons at the North East England Stem Cell Institute.”
Though this treatment surely won’t cure all blind people, it is a huge step in the right direction for science and health. Stem cell research is a controversial topic in today’s heated political and religious debates. No matter what side you stand on, you cannot deny that this miraculous story of Turnbull and the advances in science and technology are pointing to a brighter future where incurable diseases become curable ones.
Researchers develop substance that keeps you mildly drunk (plus an antidote to instantly make you sober)
Imagine a world in which you can drink as much alcohol as you like without getting out-of-control drunk and without worrying about feeling hungover the next morning. A new synthetic alcohol is being developed by a research team at Imperial College London, led by Professor David Nutt. The alcohol, which is being developed from chemicals found in Valium, serves the same function as today’s alcohol (induces relaxation, well-being, etc.) except that it has NO affect on other parts of the brain, thus eliminating potentially dangerous side effects such as mood swings and addiction. In addition, the researchers claim that a simple antidote can quickly flush out your system, removing the possibility of feeling hungover.
You can drink as much alcohol as you want. You reach a pleasant state of drunkenness. You can drink as much as you want and you will never leave this state. Now it’s time to drive home; pop a pill and you’re sober as a bird. Sounds great, right? According to the researchers, since the substance is tasteless and colorless, it can replace the alcohol content in beer, wine, and other alcoholic drinks without issue. So why isn’t this in place right now? Unfortunately Professor Nutt has been unsuccessful in finding a test country to market his discovery and he does not have the financial backing to move forward in the process. Also, since the liquor industry has shown little interest in change, this all places the substance on death watch. What a damn shame.
An upcoming National Geographic documentary called “Extraordinary Animals in the Womb” will feature these photographs of dolphins, sharks, dogs, penguins, cats and elephants inside the womb of their parents. Peter Chinn, the show’s producer, “used a combination of three-dimensional ultrasound scans, computer graphics and tiny cameras to capture the process from conception to birth.” These are definitely the most detailed (and first, really) embryonic animal pictures I have ever seen. How beautiful, innocent, and fascinating they all look.
[Via ThisBlogRules, thanks Alli K.]
This here is the Calabi-Yau Manifold Crystal. To find out how it relates to string theory and the dimensions we humans cannot experience, read on:
According to string theory, space-time is not four-dimensional as you might expect, but actually 10-dimensional. The extra six dimensions are believed to be compactified or rolled up into such a small space that they are unobservable at human scales of sight. Their size and six dimensions make Calabi-Yau spaces difficult to draw. But, this model shows a three-dimensional cross-section of this likely space to reveal its structure and shape.
Oh, and it’s only $90 for that lucky physicist in your life, available here to purchase.
But don’t ask me how it’s done because he leaves no explanation…
All you have to do is press the opening of the lung flute to your mouth and blow into it about ten times (short breaths, like blowing out birthday candles), and viola! The enclosed reed that “flaps back and forth” when you blow into the tube manages to send vibrations into your chest which in turn dislodge excess mucus. Neat-o!
Today, doctors in Japan use the $40 Lung Flute as a tool to collect sputum from patients suspected of carrying tuberculosis, and in Europe and Canada it’s used to help test phlegm for lung cancer. Clinical trials in the U.S. have shown that it is at least as effective as current COPD treatments. At press time, Hawkins expected the device to receive FDA approval any day, and says the reusable device could also provide home relief for patients with cystic fibrosis, influenza and asthma.
Project Scientist Anthony Colaprete on the matter: “I’m here today to tell you that indeed, yes, we found water. And we didn’t find just a little bit; we found a significant amount.”
NASA shares: “If the water that was formed or deposited is billions of years old, these polar cold traps could hold a key to the history and evolution of the solar system, much as an ice core sample taken on Earth reveals ancient data.”
And my personal favorite: “In addition, water and other compounds represent potential resources that could sustain future lunar exploration.”
Future exploration means potential living spaces outside our own planet. Just the idea of expanding Earth’s population onto other planets (or moons) provokes massive amounts of excitement. To infinity and beyond!
Clinical trails have begun for Sensium, a wireless body monitoring system that “monitors multiple vital signs, including skin temperature, heart rate and respiration.” Basically, Sensium is a “disposable digital plaster,” or Band-Aid-like patch, that is applied to a patient’s body. The patch contains a power source and sensors inside it that track a patient’s health and sends the gathered data to the doctor’s PDA or smartphone. Sensium is being described as cheap, disposable, long-lasting, intelligent, and efficient way for doctors to keep track of the patient’s health. What differentiates this product from the current way of monitoring patients is that it allows patients to be much more mobile and free to move around the hospital (compared to the bulky, expensive, and wired methods of today). Check out the full press release after the break.
Learn what really happens to a drop of water when it hits a surface. Recording water droplets at 2,000 frames per second makes visualizing it a lot easier (and possible).
Let the fellas at Mythbusters show it to you in this rad PSA that captures a sneeze in slow-mo.
Scientists at Princeton are conducting experiments to study the neurons of mice. What better way to do it than strapping a mouse to a suspended ball and having it run through a computerized maze based on a level from Quake 2?
This is great and all, but I think I’d rather play some “holy water” (physically throwing the water up into the air with my own hands).
Super Mario Sunshine, anyone?