Feb 09, 2016

Battery anodes made from pollen are nothing to sneeze at

posted by Larra Morris

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As our dependence on mobile devices grows and we continue the shift to electric vehicles, there is a need to not only develop better performing batteries but find more accessible and sustainable materials with which to build them. To this end, researchers have now developed an anode for lithium-ion batteries using something those with allergies certainly wouldn't miss: pollen from bees and cattails.
via Gizmag

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Image: Purdue University image/Jialiang Tang, Kay J. Hagen

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Feb 09, 2016

Indian man could be first recorded human fatality due to a meteorite

posted by Larra Morris

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Indian officials say a meteorite struck the campus of a private engineering college on Saturday, killing one person. If scientists confirm the explosion was due to a meteorite, it would be the first recorded human fatality due to a falling space rock.

According to local reports, a bus driver was killed on Saturday when a meteorite landed in the area where he was walking, damaging the window panes of nearby buses and buildings. Three other people were injured.

On Sunday, various Indian publications, including The Hindu, reported that the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa, issued a statement confirming the death: "A mishap occurred yesterday when a meteorite fell in the campus of a private engineering college in Vellore district's K Pantharappalli village." Tamil Nadu is located in southern India, and has a population of more than 70 million people.
via Ars Technica

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Image: NASA

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Feb 08, 2016

Snow artist stomps awesome fractals with just his two snowshoes

posted by Laura Domela

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Skier and snow artist Simon Beck stomps around in the snow for 11 hours or more to make each of his beautiful fractal snow art masterpieces. He has to walk around 25 or 30 miles to stamp a design of about 100 meters square, using only his two snowshoes. It began as a form of exercise, and has become far more.
via Boing Boing

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Feb 08, 2016

The people who reportedly never sleep. Ever.

posted by Larra Morris

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Vietnamese gentleman Thái Ngọc claims that ever since he suffered a terrible fever in 1973, he hasn't slept a wink. There's also Ines Fernandez who says she's been awake for decades. Of course, these curious individuals and others with similar stories may actually be suffering from a very strange sleep disorder called sleep state misperception (SSM) in which the individuals think they were up all night but actually slept just fine. At Mysterious Universe, Martin J. Clemens looks at SSM and the very scary rare disease called Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI), presented as total insomnia that can last the rest of the person's life, which is usually only 18 months or so after the onset of symptoms.
via Boing Boing

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Feb 08, 2016

Bedbug genome decoded in hopes of destroying the tiny blood suckers

posted by Larra Morris

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Researchers at the American Museum of Natural History and Weill Cornell Medicine took DNA and RNA from both living and preserved bedbugs. They retrieved samples from a bedbug population first collected in 1973 (and since maintained by the museum), as well as from more than 1,400 locations in New York City, including every subway station.

What they found was that gene expression changes after a bedbug has its first blood meal. Some of the genetic mutations the bedbugs undergo allows them to develop resistance to insecticides by creating a better internal detoxification system or by forming a thicker skin.

Knowing this, attacking the bugs during their nymph stage, before they first drink blood, could be smart strategy for stopping them in their bloody little tracks.
via Gizmag

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Feb 05, 2016

Antique mousetrap in a museum catches a mouse

posted by Larra Morris

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The Museum of English Rural Life in Reading, UK has many artifacts from a much older, lost Britain. Among them is a 155-year old mousetrap. The appropriately-named Perpetual Mouse Trap by Colin Pullinger & Sons goes by the tagline “will last a lifetime.”

In fact, it will last several lifetimes. The Assistant Curator recently found a dead mouse in the unbaited trap. 
via Neatorama

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Feb 05, 2016

Scientists made the perfect skipping stone and skipped it across their lab

posted by Larra Morris

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Scientists at Utah State University have figured out how to make the perfect skipping stones. The secret was making sure they were made out of a material that had much more give than stone.

Inspired by a toy called the Water Bouncing Ball, the USU team, led by the Splash Lab’s Tadd Truscott, collaborated with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center to figure out what makes certain moving objects, like balls or stones, walk or skip across water.
via Gizmodo

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