The next time you take a trip to the water cooler, just think, what you're about to drink isn't just good for hydration; it makes for a very effective, energy-efficient lens, too. That's what researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have announced after designing and testing an adaptive liquid lens—comprised of a pair of water droplets—that captures 250 pictures per second.
Sometimes the smallest discovery lends itself to the biggest insight. That certainly was the case for University of Texas at Austin graduate student Christian Rabeling, who found a new ant species in the Amazon that is likely the descendent of one of the first ants to evolve on Earth more than 120 million years ago.
Food for thought: Your brain is wired to consider various possible meanings for a word before you've even heard the final sound of a word uttered. It's a conclusion scientists at the University of Rochester reached and also proved for the first time using a functional MRI (fMRI)—a tool for brain imaging—to see split-second activity. In the past, scientists postulated that listeners could only follow up to five syllables per second in spoken language by drawing from a small subset of words already known by the listener.
It's a well-accepted notion that if you want to master multiple languages, you should learn them at a young age. But new research reveals that learning young can have some serious downsides. According to a study released this week in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, children who are bilingual before age five have a higher chance of developing a stutter than those who learned only one language.
What's in a name? A lot more than etymology. When it comes to junk mail, it turns out some names fare better than others in e-mail addresses depending on what letter they start with, according to a study conducted at the University of Cambridge. In an attempt to explain why certain people get more spam, computer security researcher Dr. Richard Clayton reviewed more than 550 million e-mails sent to customers through one of the U.K's. biggest internet service providers between February and March this year.
Think smoking is bad for you? Try just breathing. Louisiana scientists have discovered a group of previously undetected air pollutants that when inhaled exposes the average person to 300 times more free radicals than that of one cigarette in a day.
New materials developed at Berkeley bend light in unnatural -- almost supernatural -- ways
By Jaya JiwatramPosted 08.14.2008 at 1:31 pm 12 Comments
Ever wished you could have Harry Potter's invisibility cloak? Science, not magic, could make that a reality. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have created materials that have the potential to bend light and even redirect it around themselves, cloaking any object behind them. They are metamaterials, materials that gain unusual properties via their structures. While all materials found in nature have a positive refractive index, these man-made metamaterials have a negative one.
Researchers find that memories of older elephants play essential role in herd survival
By Jaya JiwatramPosted 08.12.2008 at 4:16 pm 0 Comments
All elephants are known to have good memories, but it's the older ones that are wisest during times of trouble. According to researchers at the Wildlife Conservation Society and Zoological Society of London, older female elephants with knowledge of distant resources of food and water could help herds survive during crises like droughts.
At RoboCup, an annual robotics and AI competition, international researchers come together to test their robots in simulated emergency situations.
By Jaya JiwatramPosted 08.07.2008 at 11:45 am 1 Comment
No matter which part of the world you're in, there's one thing that disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami have in common—delayed response times. It's understandable considering the logistical problems that abound, but in the future—like many sci-fi movies and novels have postulated—robots could alleviate some of the burden and dangers associated with such emergencies. How real is that possibility?
A quantum cryptographic chip using light particles to encrypt data during electronic transfer could throw off hackers for good
By Jaya JiwatramPosted 08.05.2008 at 12:23 pm 8 Comments
Imagine an encrypted data chip so secure that even the greatest hackers in history would find impossible to crack. That chip is very much a reality thanks to the combined efforts of Siemens, Austrian Research Centers (ARC) and Graz University of Technology who have teamed up to create the first quantum cryptology chip for commercial use to ensure securer electronic communication.