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Sound System Keeps to Itself

Personal Sound SystemChan-Hui Lee and his team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology purport that someday we will be able to listen to music within a Personal Sound System that will not bother others standing outside it. Their prototype features 9 1/2-inch speakers arranged in a row. They found that there was a 20 decibel difference between the center and the outside, comparable to a regular conversation and a whisper. Lee foresees the technology being utilized eventually for cell phones and PDAs. We would just settle for using it on the neighbors’ backyard barbecues.

Read More | Live Science

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Scientists inscribe Bible on space less than half the size of a grain of sugar

Posted by Sheila Franklin Categories: Misc. Tech, Science,

BibleThis is another holiday-related story we couldn’t resist. Scientists in Israel have inscribed all of the Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible onto a silicon surface that is less than 0.01 square inch. It took them only an hour to etch all 300,000 words by blasting gallium particles at an object that rebounded and caused the effect. Ohad Zohar, adviser at Technion Institute foresees the technology as a means of storing large amounts of data on DNA and bio-molecules. We wonder if anyone will get the chance to proofread the book.

Read More | RBNI

Eating Turkey May Involve Trust Issues

Posted by Sheila Franklin Categories: Science,

turkey

If you have already had your post-Thanksgiving nap, you might be interested to know that the molecule tryptophan may have another use besides making you nod off. Researchers from Oxford University say that the chemical precursor to serotonin may also induce trust. Volunteers were given a drink that depleted their tryptophan. Although the final results are not in from the experiments, they found that when they reduced it, the chemical also lowered “the reward value of cooperating.” We just wonder why every family Thanksgiving feast we have ever attended has ended in a tussle.

(Happy Turkey Day!)

Read More | Technology Review

Moon in my Room mini-moon nightlight

Posted by Jenny Lewis Categories: Household, Misc. Tech, Science,

DescriptionHave a future astronaut at home?  Or maybe you just like the, um, “comfort” of a little extra moonlight in the room with you at night?  Check out Moon In My Room, a remote controlled nightlight with a detailed lunarscape that displays 12 phases of the moon.  The light sensor makes sure that there’s always a little moonlight around, and the three hanging angles make sure that your view is perfect.  Included with your purchase are lunar phase calendar and an audio CD with a lesson in moon-ology and space.  The lamp measures 10” in diameter and requires 4 AA and 2 AAA batteries (we’re guessing the AAAs are for the remote).

Read More | Discovery via

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Robots Fooled by Optical Illusions

Posted by Sheila Franklin Categories: Misc. Tech, Science, Software,

Optical IllusionResearchers at University College in London have discovered that robots cannot detect optical illusions. The team installed software in bots to give them abilities for processing visual cues into an artificial nerve network. For example, in a simultaneous brightness contrast of two identical tiles, a human will see one tile with a dark background as lighter than one in front of a paler background. The program fooled the software just as it would a person. Lead study author R. Beau Lotto and team found that vision is composed of experiences rather than absolutes. We just think of it as a one-up on robots for us humans.

Read More | National Geographic

Scientist Develop Translucent Frogs

Posted by Sheila Franklin Categories: Misc. Tech, Science,

Translucent FrogMasayuki Sumida and his team at Hiroshima University’s Institute for Amphibian Biology have developed a transparent frog. They say that being able to see past the skin can aid them in disease studies by watching the internal organs and blood vessels without the necessity of dissection. The creatures were created by mating two specimens of Japanese Brown Frogs with the mutation of pale skin. We just hope that the poor amphibians remember to put on their sunscreen before they go for an outside dip in the pond.

Read More | Pink Tentacle

SciVee is Internet Science Fair

Posted by Sheila Franklin Categories: Internet, Misc. Tech, Science,

SciVee logoIf you missed out on your high school science fair and feel someone still owes you, you can now offer up your project on SciVee, a site that opened up this past weekend. Post papers and videos and be critiqued by your peers. There are also drop-down windows for data, references, comments, and a rating system. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation and SDSC’s Supercomputer Center, it will only consist of those who have been published by the Public Library of Science to begin with, but will expand to include others when the idea catches momentum.

Read More | SciVee

Fruit Flies Detect Carbon Dioxide

Posted by Sheila Franklin Categories: Household, Science,

Fruit FlyResearchers say that fruit flies may be attracted to and can taste carbon dioxide dissolved in water. Scientists at the University of California in Berkeley, in a study funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, one of the National Institutes of Health, believe that this may help the diminutive insects to look for overripe or potentially toxic foods.

“Fruit flies contain similar versions of many human genes, which is why we study them for a variety of health issues, including taste,” says James F. Battey Jr., director of the NIDCD. “This research raises the question of whether people also may have the ability to taste carbon dioxide and perhaps other chemicals in food. If this were found to be true, our sense of taste could be even more complex than we realize.”
The study also found that it may be used as merely a flavor enhancer since it offers no nutritional value to the fly. After we saw this view of one laying an egg, we immediately rinsed out our half-empty Cokes, twice.

Read More | NIH

Google Sky Now Available

Who needs a planetarium when you can explore the Google Sky? With it you can view 200 million galaxies, 100 million stars, constellations, a supernova, and planets in motion. You can also see the heavens with over 120 high-res images from NASA’s Hubble telescope. All you need is a download of the current Google Earth, then click on the Sky button on the toolbar. Available in 13 languages, check out the Gallery and discover space from different sources on Earth. We think we would like to experience the Milky Way from Paris, even if it is only on our PC.

 

Read More | Google

This Battery Can Bend

Posted by Sheila Franklin Categories: Design, Misc. Tech, Science,

Bendable BatteryResearchers have developed a flexible battery that can be twisted, bent, or shaped with scissors. The pricey prototype created at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is only one piece with carbon nanotubes and an electrolyte embedded in the paper, and is black on one side and white on the other. Professor Robert Linhardt said he would like to “scale this up to the point where you can imagine printing like a newspaper. That would be the ultimate.”

We just hope that the “ultimate” would be a product that we don’t have to worry about being recalled.

Read More | The Examiner

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