Feb 10, 2016

Study: Suspects shocked by Taser “more likely” to waive Miranda Rights

posted by Larra Morris

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A new study says the obvious: suspects' brains are briefly scrambled when they are on the receiving end of a Taser stun gun and its 50,000-volt delivery. But the study, "TASER Exposure and Cognitive Impairment: Implications for Valid Miranda Waivers and the Timing of Police Custodial Interrogations," questions whether suspects who were just shocked have the mental capacity to validly waive their Miranda rights and submit to police questioning.

"TASER-exposed participants resembled patients with mild cognitive impairment, which suggests that not only might our participants be more likely to waive their Miranda rights directly after TASER exposure, but also they would be more likely to give inaccurate information to investigators," reads the study, which appears in the journal Criminology & Public Policy. "Thus, part of our findings implicates a suspect’s ability to issue a valid waiver, whereas another part implicates the accuracy of information he or she might give investigators during a custodial interrogation (e.g., false confessions or statements)."
via Ars Technica

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Image: Christopher Paul

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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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