Feb 12, 2016

Frequent sighing helps keep you alive

posted by Larra Morris

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Good news for hopeless romantics and the perpetually dismayed: All that sighing is good for you. In fact, you’d die without it. Scientists have now pinpointed the region in the brain that transforms normal breathing into a life-giving sigh. They published their findings this week in the journal Nature

Let’s start with the mechanics. Physiologically speaking, sighing is a way of keeping your lungs inflated. “A sigh is a deep breath, but not a voluntary deep breath,” study co-author Jack Feldman said in a press release. “It starts out as a normal breath, but before you exhale, you take a second breath on top of it.” Whether you realize it or not, you do this about 12 times an hour, and even more than that when you’re stressed or anxious.

And it’s a good thing you do. “If you don’t sigh every five minutes of so, the alveoli will slowly collapse, causing lung failure,” Feldman said. “That’s why patients in early iron lungs had such problems, because they never sighed.” The machines had not been programmed to give patients regular deep, lung-filling breaths.
via Mental Floss

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Image: Stanford/Krasnow Lab

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Feb 12, 2016

It's all in the hips: Robotic golfer makes a hole in one

posted by Larra Morris

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This is a video of LDRIC (Launch Directional Robot Intelligent Circuitry) making a hole in one at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona. 
via Geekosystem

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Feb 12, 2016

A programmable smart mannequin that robotically adjusts to a wide range of body measurements

posted by Larra Morris

 

Staff and students at Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Institute of Textiles and Clothing created the iDummy, a smart mannequin that quickly changes to a large range of different clothing sizes and shapes with a “user-friendly GUI” computer program. The project was led by Dr Allan Chan Chee-kooi, who gathered worldwide measurement data using a 3D body scanner. The information was then input into the iDummy OS to create universal sizing abilities. iDummy was acquired by Winswin Technology, who is now marketing the mannequin.
via Laughing Squid

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Feb 11, 2016

The Malware Museum shows the cute computer viruses of the past

posted by Laura Domela

Modern malware is designed to do things like steal your credit card information, enable identity theft, and even shut down nuclear power stations, and usually carries out its attacks silently and behind the scenes so as not to arouse suspicion. But it hasn't always been this way. Rather than hijack them, the creators of the viruses of the past often set out to destroy computers, and trumpeted their activities with garish splash screens, showing scrambled code, animated pot leaves, or laughing skulls.
via The Verge

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Feb 11, 2016

Your brain operates differently depending on the time of year

posted by Larra Morris

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Winter gloom and springtime glee are common seasonal swings. But beyond swaying how you feel, yearly cycles may also shift the way you think, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Comparing the cognitive function of 28 volunteers tested at different points in the year, researchers noted pronounced seasonal patterns in brain region activity. Namely, areas involved in working memory hit peak performance around the autumn equinox, and areas dealing with sustained attention crested around the summer solstice. Though it’s still early in the research to understand the significance of possible annual mental oscillations, the study hints at a previously unappreciated seasonal rhythm of the human brain that could affect learning and behavior.
via Ars Technica

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Image: Diana/Flickr

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Feb 11, 2016

Machine turns your Twitter posts into tasty cocktails

posted by Larra Morris

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Ever wondered what your tweets would taste like if you could distill them into a drink? Probably not, but there's now a way to find out. Clément Gault and Koi Koi Design have whipped up Data Cocktail, an Arduino-powered machine that creates a drink based on Twitter updates. In its current incarnation, it looks for the five latest tweets mentioning keywords linked to ingredients, and fills the glass accordingly. The result is an original, spur-of-the-moment mix -- it'll even print out the 'recipe' (really, a ratio of the keywords) and thank the users who unwittingly contributed to the beverage.
via Engadget

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Feb 11, 2016

Cotton candy machines help create artificial organs

posted by Larra Morris

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From growing a full thymus gland inside a mouse, to creating a slice of artificial liver tissue, to using ink jet printing technology to create a human ear, researchers are steadily moving us toward the day when ordering up a new organ could be as commonplace as ordering an MRI is today. One of the hurdles in creating lab-grown organs, though, is that the cells in such a structure need a way to receive nutrients. Researchers at Vanderbilt University (VU) may have just leaped that hurdle using a most unexpected tool – a cotton candy machine.

Leon Bellan, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at VU, has actually been tinkering with cotton candy machines for some time after realizing the machines were perfect at spinning out tiny threads that resembled human capillaries.
via Gizmag

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Image: Bellan Lab / Vanderbilt

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