The third molars—the last of a group of teeth that grinds food into easy-to-swallow chunks—tend to be overcrowded in adult human mouths, and thus require yanking. But every other toothed mammal has room for their “wisdom teeth,” and so did Neanderthals and other early hominids, says evolutionary biologist Leslea Hlusko of the University of California, Berkeley. So why have those teeth become such a pain for us?
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.
Rice farmers in Asia may no longer need to fear monsoon season's devastating floods. Japanese scientists have identified genes that allow deepwater rice to grow hollow "snorkels" to avoid drowning, and have also introduced those genes into other rice variants.
Today's stealth fighters, such as the F-22 Raptor, may do pretty well in concealing their radar signature, but mathematicians say that a new active cloaking technique could someday generate electromagnetic fields to hide submarines from sonar, or even protect buildings from earthquakes.
Thinking of keeping a giant roach as a pet? Make sure it's infested with beneficial parasites first
By Natalie AvonPosted 08.19.2009 at 1:32 pm 2 Comments
What’s more disgusting than cockroaches? Mites that feed off cockroaches. Here, mites munch moist debris from around the breathing holes of a Madagascar hissing cockroach, an insect sometimes kept as a pet that, unfortunately, can trigger allergies.
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.
With the development of killer drones, it seems like everyone is worrying about killer robots. Now, as if that wasn't bad enough, we need to start worrying about lying, cheating robots as well.
In an experiment run at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems in the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne, Switzerland*, robots that were designed to cooperate in searching out a beneficial resource and avoiding a poisonous one learned to lie to each other in an attempt to hoard the resource. Picture a robo-Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
The next generation of semiconductor technology could take a page from nature's book, letting DNA do the heavy lifting. Straight-laced researchers at IBM, afraid of breaking Moore's Law, have figured out a way to combine lithographic patterning and DNA self-assembly to create semiconductors that built themselves into chips that are smaller, more efficient and less expensive than anything made conventionally.
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.
Creating an adhesive that can bond together bones has long presented researchers with some sticky problems. Many glues will not adhere to slick, wet surfaces, and those that do still tend to dissolve into the surrounding liquid. When setting shattered bones, surgeons instead must turn to metal screws and plates, a less-than-optimal process that often involves multiple surgeries and the lasting effects of metal implements inside the body. But researchers in Utah may have found the key to creating bone-setting glue, in a tiny, sandcastle-building aquatic worm.