Dave and Frank… 2001
Part 1 in my new “Explaining Science” series.
Here you see a dipole magnet revealing it’s characteristic right handed atomic spin. Its energy was derived from the fast paced movement of it’s feet on the carpet below.
Question: Do Black Holes radiate Dark Matter?
Killer shot of a Russian volcano erupting as seen from the space station!
Click on the photo to make it bigger…
With a head like a fighter-plane cockpit, a Pacific barreleye fish shows off its highly sensitive, barrel-like eyes—topped by green, orblike structures—in a picture released today but taken in 2004.
The fish, discovered alive in the deep water off California’s central coast by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, is the first specimen of its kind to be found with its soft transparent dome intact.
The 6-inch (15-centimeter) barreleye (Macropinna microstoma) had been known since 1939—but only from mangled specimens dragged to the surface by nets.
Since 2008 sucked in so many major ways I decided to not bother you with my negative dribble. Instead, let’s talk about what was right and fresh and rewarding about 2008!
Best new musical artist: Kate Nash
Best sports team: Tampa Bay Rays
Best TV series: Boston Legal
Best TV cartoon: Family Guy
Best movie drama: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (france)
Best action movie: The Dark Night (us)
Best movie comedy: Kamikaze Girls (japan)
Best computer app: Google Earth 4.3
Best discovery: Liquid methane oceans on Titan
Best politician: Dennis Kucinich (Ohio congressman)
Best food: Pineapple
Best wife: Pam
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has seen something never before seen on another planet – a mega anus. It is approximately 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) across, or two thirds the diameter of Earth.
“At first it looked like a hurricane, but it didn’t behave like a hurricane,” said Dr. Andrew Ingersoll, a member of Cassini’s imaging team at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. “Then when the sun illuminated it fully we realized it was the largest anus any of us had ever seen.”
Located at the planets south pole it has evaded detection until now. “We have been seeing very high winds emanating from the South Polar Region for several years but we could not determine their origin until today.”
A movie taken by Cassini’s camera over a three-hour period reveals winds around Saturn’s south pole blowing clockwise at 550 kilometers (350 miles) per hour. The camera also saw the shadow cast by the actual anus.
A US company has created a waterless urinal, which it says conserves water, reduces odour, and prevents the spread of bacteria. It looks like a normal urinal – white enamel mounted on the wall. But it doesn’t have a handle to flush, freeing germ-conscious men from having to wiggle an elbow or bit of sleeve to keep their hands clean as they push the lever that is often suspiciously damp.
That’s because this urinal has a cartridge lodged inside the drain, filled with a special biodegradable sealant that traps odours and reduces the spread of germs as the urine passes through. A normal urinal uses 150,000 litres of water in a year, according to Falcon Waterfree Technologies, which along with the US firm Waterless and Germany’s Duravit is one of the leaders in the market. The water saved in one year by six of the new urinals would be enough to fill an Olympic-sized pool. “It’s the best invention since the flush toilets were invented,” microbiologist Charles Gerba said.
An American woman developed a British accent after suffering a stroke, although she had never been to Britain or followed British TV programs. When Tiffany Roberts, 57, recovered from the stroke she found she had an accent placed somewhere between East London and the West Country.
Even the pitch of her voice changed, becoming much higher than the deep Indiana drawl she once had. The dramatic change was even more surprising because she had no links with Britain of any sort. Doctors have diagnosed her with a rare condition called foreign accent syndrome, which is caused when part of the brain is damaged.
Roberts, from Florida, told American television: “People started asking me ‘where in England are you from?’ and a friend said ‘why are you talking that way?’ “That’s when I became conscious that a part of me had died.” Roberts has even picked up British slang using the word “bloody”. What was once a “restroom” or “bathroom” has become the “loo”.
Roberts has lived with the condition since her stroke in 1999 but decided to speak out now in search of other people who may be in the same situation. She said people accused her of lying or trying to be aloof by adopting the accent. Despite listening to a tape of her previous voice, she has been unable to mimic it.
Dr Jack Ryalls, of the University of Central Florida, who diagnosed Roberts’ condition, described the change as a “phenomenon”. It is linked to the damage caused to brain tissue during a stroke, but not fully understood, he said. Only a handful of cases of foreign accent syndrome have ever been reported.
The first recorded case was in 1941, when a Norwegian woman suffered a shrapnel injury to the head during an air raid. After overcoming language problems she was left with a strong German accent. In 1999 a woman from Sevenoaks, Kent, developed a French accent after a minor stroke even though she did not speak French and had only visited the country once for a weekend in Paris.
I wonder if she eating French Fries when it happened?
Herrings converse via flatulence, researchers find
Herrings appear to be sociable fish who like to communicate among themselves and use their natural flatulence to do so, a team of British and Canadian researchers has reported.
“At night herring squeeze bubbles out of their swim bladders through an anal pore, producing sounds not unlike people blowing raspberries,” the team of three recounted. The Pacific species (Clupea pallasii) were found to emit distinctive bursts of pulses, known as “fast repetitive tick”, or FRT sounds, mostly at night. It was the same story with Clupea pallasii’s Atlantic cousin, Clupea harengus.
“Atlantic herring also produce FRT, or “Fart” sounds and video analysis showed an association with bubble expulsion from the anal duct region,” the researchers found. “The functions of these sounds are unknown but as the per capita rates of sound production by fish at higher densities were greater, social mediation appears likely. “These sounds may have consequences for our understanding of herring behaviour and the effects of noise pollution.”
… noise pollution?
UK scientists say a hi-tech test focused on flatus — the pungent gas emanating from stool — is highly effective in quickly identifying tough-to-spot viral or bacterial infections of the gut. “There are very specific (chemical) ‘fingerprints’ in the gas, so that you can make specific diagnoses very quickly,” lead researcher Dr. Christopher Probert, of the University of Bristol. Probert presented the findings here Sunday at Digestive Diseases Week, the largest annual gathering of gastroenterologists in the world. “The machine will analyze these molecules and tell you what the infection is,” Probert explained. “Whether this can be used for other infectious diseases in the bowel we have yet to determine,” Probert said, “we’ve got a program ongoing to look at other things like cholera and typhoid and so forth.”
And yes, sometime in the future, your GI specialist might dispense with collecting stool samples altogether, asking you to simply emit a quick “flatus sample” instead. “We did at one stage discuss the possibility of a ‘smart lavatory,’ so that you could have a device that could sample the gas in that way,” Probert said with a smile.
I smell big profits for this technology!