The screws used by doctors to repair broken bones and torn ligaments enable recovery from a wide range of injuries. Unfortunately, they also leave holes in bones, require secondary surgery for removal, and make going through airport security a real pain. But by crafting the screws from a special designed composite of polymer and mineral, researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute have managed to solve all those problems in one fell swoop.
Beloved by Bay Area natives and loathed by the rest of the country, the term "hella" has entered the general American lexicon thanks to the combined efforts of No Doubt and South Park. And now, if University of California, Davis, physics student Austin Sendek gets enough signatures, it might enter the scientific dictionary as the prefix for numbers with 10^27 zeroes.
Sure, the maze gets boring every so often. And yeah, there's not much variety in the food. But compared to the kill or be killed world of the wild, being a lab rat is a pretty good life. So good, in fact, that researchers at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) believe many lab rats are so overfed they distort research results from experiments intended to help cure everything from cancer to Alzheimer's to, you guessed it, obesity.
The mismanagement of human waste is a serious health problem for the 2.6 billion people who don't have regular access to toilets. In fact, in the slums of Kenya, waste management is so haphazard that residents dispose of feces-filled plastic bags by simply flinging the bags away without concern about where they land. And it was discovering those flying sacks of waste that inspired Anders Wilhelmson to invent the PeePoo, a chemically treated toilet bag that sterilizes human waste and converts it to fertilizer, all for only two or three cents.
While retina scans still give a James Bond feel to security, and finger prints have a bit of retro charm, the cutting edge of biometric identification has moved to a new body part: the nose. According to researchers at the University of Bath, England, the nose is both unique and easily scanned in a crowd, making it the perfect biometric identification marker.
In 2006, famed film critic Roger Ebert lost the ability to speak after larynx surgery. Today, thanks to computer voice specialists CereProc, he gets it back. The new voice, which he will debut in an appearance on today's Oprah, samples DVD audio commentaries recorded before Ebert lost his voice.
Microelectromechanical devices (MEMS) have the potential to enable a wide range of nanomachines. Unfortunately, MEMS suffer from the critical drawbacks of an expensive manufacturing process, a high rigidity that restricts their use, and a limited pool of suitable materials for construction. Now, it seems that MIT scientists have accidentally solved all those problems by stamping gold MEMS into a sheet of plastic.
For all the government conspiracy militia nuts out there, I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there is no such thing as silent, stealth black helicopters. The bad news is that, thanks to Eurocopter's noise-canceling Blue Edge rotor blades, there soon will be.
This month, an iceberg roughly the size of Luxembourg slammed into an Antarctic glacier known as the Mertz Ice Tongue. Then, last week, a Rhode Island-sized section of the Mertz Ice Tongue finally snapped off. Some scientists are excited about the new research opportunities this ice reconfiguration opens up, but others worry that the newly freed ice will significantly threaten life in the ocean.
To perfect the vertical and short takeoff and landing ability of the F-35 Lightning II, test pilots have been taking off and landing at progressively shorter distances and slower speeds, building up to the final, true vertical boost. And today, engine manufacturers Pratt and Whitney released video of the slowest, shortest takeoff and landing yet, in which the jet cruises to a stop at 130 knots.