Aug 24, 2016

The proto-Aztec bunny farmers of ancient Mexico

posted by Larra Morris

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A group of anthropologists describe their discovery in PLoS One, filling in details of what appears to be a rabbit farm and butcher shop in a Teotihuacan neighborhood called Oztoyahualco. From roughly the 4th through 6th centuries, this neighborhood was home to an apartment compound that immediately stood out for a few reasons. Several rooms contained an enormous number of cottontail and jackrabbit remains, as well as soil with high phosphate levels that would indicate a lot of blood or fecal matter on the ground. One room had low stone walls "suggestive of a pen for domestic animal management," the researchers write. Other rooms were full of obsidian blades and rabbit limbs, as if they were part of a butcher shop.
via Ars Technica

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Aug 24, 2016

MIT is exploring phones that put themselves together

posted by Larra Morris

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We've seen a tiny chair that can assemble itself from MIT, but now the lab responsible for that adorable experiment has their eye on a much more complicated project: self-assembling cellphones. Specifically, MIT's Self-Assembly Lab is looking at how putting together a handful of components in a rotating tumbler could come together as a complete cellphone, Fast Company reports
via Engadget

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Aug 23, 2016

25,000 LED roses illuminate a rooftop garden in China

posted by Larra Morris

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The fake flowers covering the rooftop of a building in Chengdu may not look like much during the day, but at dusk they come to life. According to inhabitat, the 25,000 LED roses are part of a traveling art installation currently on display in the Chinese city.

The project, titled “Light Rose Garden” is a collaboration between the creative agencies AllRightsReserved, PANCOM, and Amherst Inc. Between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. every night, the field of roses is switched on to illuminate the rooftop venue. The flowers are densely packed together, with 25 of them squeezed into every 32 square feet of space.
via Mental Floss

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Aug 23, 2016

Soft robotic caterpillar uses light to get a wriggle on

posted by Larra Morris

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Robots that are soft in nature have come along in leaps and bounds of late, forming the basis for machines that are safer to work with, can grasp different objects and better handle rugged terrain. But the need to pack things like power sources and actuators inside has generally meant that miniaturization is out of the question. Researchers may have now opened the door to tiny, millimeter-scale soft robots, by developing a robotic caterpillar that is powered and controlled purely by external light.
via New Atlas

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Aug 22, 2016

A curious and creepy owl theremin

posted by Larra Morris

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Delightfully mad sculptor David Cranmer makes functional art pieces that put the fun in funky, and his strange contraptions often make a pretty funky racket too...

Flipping the switch labeled "Activate Owl" causes the owl to arise while the theremin starts up, and as the player waves their hand to make sweet, spooky "music" the owl silently judges them from on high.
via Neatorama

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Aug 22, 2016

This jellyfish-inspired material can conceal secret messages

posted by Larra Morris

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Researchers at the University of Connecticut were inspired by the skins of squids and jellyfish, which can change color or texture in response to certain factors in their surroundings.

In a move that would make Q from the James Bond series blush, the scientists—who presented their findings at the 52nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society on Sunday, said they’ve replicated the properties of skin in a thin film that can be used to encrypt secret messages or create anti-glare surfaces. When exposed to moisture, its properties can change, thereby revealing things that weren’t there before.
via Gizmodo

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Aug 19, 2016

Baby born on international flight gets 1 million airline miles

posted by Larra Morris

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A recent flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to Manila, Philippines took an unexpected turn when a pregnant woman went into labor about halfway through the nine-hour journey, 36,000 feet in the air, The Guardian reports. According to another passenger, the woman returned to her seat with baby Haven shortly after giving birth in the front of the plane. It was the first time a child has been born on a Cebu Pacific Air flight, and in celebration, the carrier awarded Haven and her family 1 million travel points.
via Mental Floss

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