Airplane design could be improved with a little inspiration from mammalian chompers. Or so said aerospace engineer Herzl Chai of Tel Aviv University in a press release Wednesday.
He and his collaborators studied hundreds of extracted teeth from people and sea otters (apparently our molars are quite similar) to see why teeth can take the wear and tear of a lifetime of peanut brittle. When they submitted the teeth to severe mechanical pressure, they found that pearly whites' complex layers of wavy fibers develop many microcracks instead of a few large fractures.
A game called The Great Flu, developed by virologists at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, lets you unleash the flu virus of your choice on the world, then use your $2 billion budget to contain it through a palette of public health moves.
Playing it, I've certainly gained a little knowledge about the flu and a lot of empathy for the WHO.
Researchers are now profiling the chemicals released from decaying bodies, in an effort to create a sensor that might be able to sniff out corpses in the rubble, or determine a dearly departed's precise time of death.
For medicines that do not go down well in pill form, administering drugs via transdermal patches is nothing new. Patches are currently on the market for nicotine replacement, birth control, and even pain relief. But many drugs, such as an effective migraine medication called sumatriptan, do not pass easily from a patch into the skin. Drug company NuPathe has a solution: at the press of a button, an electric current running through the patch gently prods the meds into your body.
New Orleans sits smack dab between the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain, and when a hurricane comes rolling in, those bodies of water tend to spill into the streets. This summer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started construction on a barrier that can block a 16-foot swell blown in from the Gulf and a massive pumping station that will blast floodwaters back to sea.
Polar bears starving, corals dying, ice shelves melting--climate change is wrecking the world around us. But there’s an upside if you’re a fan of the Australian cricket team. Global warming may increase your odds of beating arch rival England.
The goal of the The Bering Strait Project’s International Ideas Competition this summer was to design a bridge or tunnel to connect Alaska to Russia. The purpose of the whole experiment? To bring different cultures together and to increase access to natural resources (Drill, baby, drill?).
The results, despite the seemingly outdated detente-ish rationale, were pretty fantastic.
An Israeli company wants to keep adults focused using a magnetic field to stimulate the brain. The technique, called transcranial magnetic stimulation, involves hooking someone up to a device that creates a magnetic field. The field then induces an electrical current in specific brain regions, which activates that part of the brain. It's worked for depression, and now may help the estimated 8 million adults with ADHD.
In modern warfare, where missions are sometimes over in minutes, a blind enemy is a defeated enemy. The electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear weapon detonated miles aboveground would zap an army’s surveillance equipment, but not without causing heavy collateral damage. Instead, a new Air Force tool will fry electronics using high-power microwaves emitted by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
Yosemite National Park lost a quarter of its large trees over the past 60 years, according to a recent study that analyzed the park’s meticulous records. Ecologists suspect warmer temperatures have cut the trees’ water supply and that the trend could be just as bad around the world. Old trees survive forest fires and infection better than younger ones, and thus are critical for maintaining ecosystem health.
Dolphins are elegant swimmers, but waterlily leaf beetle larvae take first place for the simplest stroke. The insect just arches its back to manipulate a basic physics principle that lets it glide across water. Now engineers have borrowed this technique to make a tiny boat that could autonomously patrol water reservoirs for months on just a watch battery.
Sex for a female Lake Eyre dragon lizard is sometimes like going to bed with a man and a roaring chainsaw. The male lizard bites her neck before mounting her. If he sinks his teeth in with too much vigor, he can chomp her spinal cord and kill her.
So it's no wonder the lady lizards are choosy about sex.
When it comes to contraception, women have their pick of techniques. In addition to sperm-blocking barriers and foreign objects in the uterus (IUDs), there are about a million ways to pump extra hormones into the bloodstream (pill, patch, ring, shot, or implant).
For men, it's always been pretty much condoms or a vasectomy.
Our sperm and eggs give us one of the greatest responsibilities on the planet: the potential to generate new life, to put forth onto the Earth another living, breathing, thinking, feeling being. Or, they can be sold for a buck.
Doctors have miniaturized almost everything they need to send robots inside your brain's blood vessels to treat damaged tissue. But making a motor small enough to squeeze past blood cells has held things up. Now, engineers at Monash University in Australia have built a micromotor that brings bitty 'bots closer to reality.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.