We've seen hydrogels--the squishy material of the future--do some neat tricks before. Researchers, for example, have already tried to make them autonomous self-healers, ready to repair themselves when they break. But what if they just didn't break at all under strain? Then you'd get something like this video, which shows a new, super-strong hydrogel shrugging off a ball of metal.
In Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond, which published last week, Robert R. Provine, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County sets out to answer some of biology's burning questions: Why are yawns contagious? Why do we cry tears? Why does light make (some of) us sneeze? And my personal favorite: Why don't we talk out of our butts?
Almost all mammals have a network of veins near a hairless part of their skin that controls rapid temperature management--and it's no different for people. For us it's the palms (as opposed to, say, a dog's dangling tongue). But like some other biological processes, the technique can be gamed, with engineering topping physiology. That's the case with a body-cooling glove out of Stanford that researchers say might be more potent--and obviously much more legal--than steroids.
By Amber WilliamsPosted 08.28.2012 at 5:55 pm 0 Comments
In June, NYU bioethics and philosophy professor S. Matthew Liao and colleagues proposed a new way to deal with climate change: reengineer humans to make us less of a burden on the planet. Their paper proposed that doctors could use in-vitro fertilization to select for embryos with genes for short stature, making future generations physically smaller and thus less carbon-intensive. Drugs could induce meat allergies, reducing consumption of carbon-intensive beef.
Researchers at Caltech, working with French colleagues, have figured out a mechanical means to weigh the previously un-weigh-able--things like individual molecules, viruses, proteins, and other particles--at the individual level, one by one.
Researchers have just discovered that gibbons not only compete with our top ranks of singers--they have the technique down pat with almost no effort. How did we find this out? By gassing them with helium and listening in on the results, of course.
It's widely assumed that training on top of a mountain will give an athlete a major leg-up when competing closer to sea level. But it turns out it's not quite that simple, and in fact, athletes are discouraged from conducting training exclusively at high altitudes. How much altitude training helps, and how to tweak the finer points of a high-altitude training regimen are questions still under consideration. It's not nearly as simple as running on a mountain, coming down, and feeling prepped for your marathon.