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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Feb 04, 2016

Infants can see image differences that adults cannot, study finds

posted by Larra Morris

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Babies may be able to see image details that are invisible or imperceptible to adults. According to a recent study from Japanese scientists Jiale Yang, So Kanazawa, Masami K. Yamaguchi, and Isamu Motoyoshi, three- and four-month-old infants may view certain images differently because they lack perceptual constancy. That means they can see small image differences that are invisible to adults because of changes in lighting conditions.

For example, when adults see the same objects in different lighting, their brains automatically adjust to those lighting conditions. If your friend steps in front of a blue spotlight, they might appear blue, but you still recognize them. That’s perceptual constancy in action: Your brain recognizes that, though your friend is bathed in blue light, they aren’t suddenly a totally different blue person. Young babies who haven’t yet developed perceptual constancy, meanwhile, are able to see subtle images differences that adults ignore, but may be unable to recognize the same objects in different light.
via Mental Floss

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Feb 04, 2016

Robotic welding arm used to 3D print a stainless steel bike

posted by Larra Morris

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Although they're still far from being common, 3D-printed metal bicycle frames do now exist. Usually they're made using a sintering process, in which a laser is utilized to selectively melt steel powder, building it up in successive layers. Now, however, a team of students at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands has taken another approach – they've created the world's first stainless steel bike made via a welding-based 3D-printing technique.

The students worked with Amsterdam-based company MX3D, which helped bring us the Mataerial 3D printer in 2013. Unlike traditional 3D printers, which build up objects horizontally on a flat stage, the Mataerial uses a robotic arm to extrude resin onto horizontal or vertical surfaces. Those columns of resin can be curved and linked together as they're being extruded, quickly hardening into modern art-like creations.
via Gizmag

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Image: TU Delft

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