Wednesday, January 28, 2009

'Immortal' jellyfish swarming across the world

The Turritopsis Nutricula is able to revert back to a juvenile form once it mates after becoming sexually mature.

Marine biologists say the jellyfish numbers are rocketing because they need not die.

Dr Maria Miglietta of the Smithsonian Tropical Marine Institute said: "We are looking at a worldwide silent invasion."

The jellyfish are originally from the Caribbean but have spready all over the world.

Turritopsis Nutricula is technically known as a hydrozoan and is the only known animal that is capable of reverting completely to its younger self.

It does this through the cell development process of transdifferentiation.

Scientists believe the cycle can repeat indefinitely, rendering it potentially immortal.

While most members of the jellyfish family usually die after propagating, the Turritopsis nutricula has developed the unique ability to return to a polyp state.

Having stumbled upon the font of eternal youth, this tiny creature which is just 5mm long is the focus of many intricate studies by marine biologists and geneticists to see exactly how it manages to literally reverse its aging process

More at the telegraph

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Boy Invents Invisible Sticket to Want Birds About Windows

Eighth grader Charlie Sobcov wants to stop birds from dying in collisions with windows, but he doesn't want to ruin anybody's view.

For his latest school science fair project he has invented painted, plastic decals that can be placed — discreetly — right in the middle of a window pane.

"This paint is a colour that birds can see but humans can't," he said Wednesday on CBC Radio's All in a Day. "It's like putting a big stop sign in the middle of the window."

The colour is ultraviolet, beyond the range of colours visible to humans. That means the "stop sign" lets birds know the window is solid, but is nearly invisible to humans.

Similar flying falcon-shaped decals already exist on the windows of some buildings, but unlike Sobcov's, they are black and can obstruct part of the window.

Read at CBC

Armstead Snow Motor - 1924 Snow Screw Invention

Armstead Snow Motors from Seeking Michigan on Vimeo.

This is a 16mm demo film of the Armstead Snow Motors Company concept snow vehicle. It was filmed in 1924. The concept is applied to a Fordson tractor and a Chevrolet automobile. The original film is part of the collections of the Archives of Michigan.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Guy Gets Arm Replaced Luke Skywalker Style

Evan Reynolds, 19, got his hand and part of his arm ripped off in a car accident and has since been fitted with an i-LIMB, a robotic hand developed by an Apple/Star Wars fanboy.
The i-Limb was developed by a Scottish company, Touch Bionics, and has won awards for its innovative technology. The total cost including the hand itself and the fitting is about £30,000.
Time Magazine named the i-LIMB as one of the Top 50 inventions of 2008.

See video here.

Stain: Tea Cup That Improves With Use

Stain is a unique tea cup created by Bethan Laura Wood, a designer from the UK. At first, the cup looks like any other cup, but the natural staining that comes from using the cup reveals a hidden pattern.

Bethan writes: “This project examines the assumption that use is damaging to a product (For example, scratches on an iPod).”

From this page.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thursday, January 08, 2009

New SanDisk SSD G3 is as fast as a 40,000rpm HDD

Designed as drop-in replacements for hard-disk drives (HDDs) in notebook PCs, the initial members in the SanDisk G3 family are SSD C25-G3 and SSD C18-G3 in the standard 2.5" and 1.8" form factors respectively, each available with a SATA-II interface. Available in capacities of 60, 120 and 240GB, the unit MSRPs are $149, $249 and $499, respectively.

The SanDisk G3 SSDs are more than five times faster than the fastest 7,200 RPM HDDs and more than twice as fast as SSDs shipping in 2008, clocking in at 40,000 RPM and anticipated sequential performance of 200MB/s read and 140MB/s write.
The G3 SSDs provide a Longterm Data Endurance (LDE) of 160 terabytes written (TBW) for the 240GB version, sufficient for over 100 years of typical user usage.

The SanDisk G3 SSD 120GB is selling for less than $250 and the 60GB SSD is has a price of $149.

More at i4u

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Young Boy Saves Girl from Pit Bull Using Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Drew and his mother, a mixed martial arts and Ultimate Fighting Championship fan, started taking classes at Bakersfield Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu about two months ago. The chokehold Drew learned, called a rear naked chokehold, was taught only briefly, instructor Matt Baker said. Drew had practiced, including at home on his mother, she said.

Drew was walking with his neighbor after getting the mail last week when the pit bull started attacking the neighbor's dachshund. She tried to save her dog, but the pit bull started attacking her instead.

That's when Drew, who his mother described as a "passive, sweet little boy" who "gets beat up all the time" in class, stepped in. He wanted to kick it, he said, but thought the dog would just bite his leg. Instead he put the move on him. "He was moving really hard, like one of those rodeo bulls," Drew said. "Then he went limp."

For more than 20 minutes, Drew held the panting dog until Animal Control officials arrived.

The 12-year-old girl is recovering from dog bites to her shoulder. Her family has sent Drew notes and balloons, thanking him for saving her life.

Amy said she is extremely proud of her son, who always sticks up for the underdog and tells Mom not to speed when driving. She said she hopes other parents see the sport as a good self-defense tool.

Read more from this article.

Stem Cells Undo Birth Defects, May Cure Heroin Babies

By injecting stem cells directly into the brain, scientists have successfully reversed neural birth defects in mice whose mothers were given heroin during pregnancy. Even though most of the transplanted cells did not survive, they induced the brain's own cells to carry out extensive repairs.

Joseph Yanai, director of the Ross Laboratory for Studies in Neural Birth Defects at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, in Jerusalem, says that stem-cell therapies are ideal for treating birth defects where the mechanism of damage is multifaceted and poorly understood. "If you use neural stem cells," says Yanai, "they are your little doctors. They're looking for the defect, they're diagnosing it, and they're differentiating into what's needed to repair the defect. They are doing my job, in a way."

Yanai and his colleagues began with mice that had been exposed to heroin in the womb. These mice suffer from learning deficits; when placed in a tank of murky water, for instance, they take longer than normal mice to find their way back to a submerged platform. And in their hippocampus--an area of the brain associated with memory and navigation--critical biochemical pathways are disrupted, and fewer new cells are produced.

All of those problems are swiftly resolved when the researchers inject neural stem cells derived from embryonic mice into the brains of the heroin-exposed animals. When swimming, the treated mice caught up with their normal counterparts, and their cellular and biochemical deficits disappeared. Yanai announced these findings in 2007 and 2008.

Such dramatic results were surprising, considering that just a fraction of a percent of the transplanted stem cells survived inside the mice's brains. But they are consistent with an emerging consensus of how adult stem cells perform their many functions through so-called bystander or chaperone effects. Beyond simply generating replacements for damaged cells, stem cells seem to produce signals that spur other cells to carry out normal organ maintenance and initiate damage control.

From Technology Review, read more there.

Brain Wave Toy trains 'Star Wars' fans to use The Force

In the Force Trainer, a wireless headset reads your brain activity, in a simplified version of EEG medical tests, and the circuitry translates it to physical action. If you focus well enough, the training sphere, which looks like a ping-pong ball, will rise in the tower.

A state of deep concentration is needed to achieve a Force-full effect. "When you concentrate, it activates the training remote," says Frank Adler of toymaker Uncle Milton Industries, which is creating the Trainer. "There is a flow of air that will move the (ball). You can actually feel like you are in a zone."

From USA Today

Monday, January 05, 2009

Novel Space Elevator Idea Demonstrated with a Broomstick

First mooted by Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in 1895, the space elevator idea has captured imaginations as what would be the greatest space mission ever conceived.

The idea rests on making use of the outward centrifugal force supplied by the Earth's rotation. Imagine fixing a short length of string to a football and spinning it - the string flies outward and remains taut.

If the centrifugal force provided by the Earth is balanced with its gravitational force - making use of a space elevator cable or tether whose centre of mass is at geostationary orbit - the tether would be held taut permanently, providing a means to propel people and cargo into space.

A long-standing critical issue is how to power the "climber" that would ascend the cable into space. Prevailing ideas include delivering microwave or laser power to the climber beamed from the Earth's surface, or even from orbiting solar power collectors.

In December the private firm Eurospaceward hosted the Second International Conference on Space Elevator and Tether Design in Luxembourg to discuss such schemes.

But European Space Agency ground station engineer Mr Riise provided a markedly more simple idea.

He proposed sending power mechanically - effectively by providing a carefully timed jerk of the cable at its base.

To demonstrate, he employed a broomstick to represent the cable held in tension, and an electric sander to provide a rhythmic vibration to the bottom of the stick.

Around the broomstick's circumference he tied three brushes representing the climber with their bristles pointing downwards - meaning it took slightly more force to lower the brush assembly than to raise it.

The vibration from the sander allowed the assembly to slide upward along the broomstick as it moved slightly downward, but grip it as it moved slightly upward. The net effect: the assembly rose against gravity straight to the top of the stick.

More, with video, from the BBC.

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