Thursday, February 9, 2012

Growing up on a farm directly affects regulation of the immune system, study finds

Growing up on a farm directly affects regulation of the immune system, study finds: A new study has shown, for the first time, that growing up on a farm directly affects the regulation of the immune system and causes a reduction in the immunological responses to food proteins.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

DARPA's crowdsourced UAV competition heats up, takes off (video)

By   posted Feb 8th 2012 4:58AM

Late last year, DARPA launched UAVForge -- a competition that invites contestants to create their very own unmanned aerial vehicles, and submit them for voter-based evaluation. The project is far from over, but competing teams have already started sending in their proof-of-flight videos, giving us a glimpse of what's to come. So far, it looks like the GremLion UAV (pictured above) is the early favorite, after coming out victorious in the first round of voting. Developed by a team from the National University of Singapore, the GremLion looks like a bite-sized Death Star and flies around using a coaxial set of rotors that expand tulip-style out of its shell. Also included in the UAVForge showdown is a guy known as X-MAUS -- an Arduino-controlled quadcopter that can apparently transform into a more aerodynamic plane form upon liftoff. And, rounding out the list of notables is a submission from TU Delft known as the QuadShot, which is basically a miniature B-Wing from Star Wars. Except it's real. Hit up the break to see all three in action.

Robert Boisjoly Dies At 73, the Engineer Who Tried To Stop the Challenger Launch

Posted by Soulskill  

from the rest-in-peace dept.
demachina writes"Robert Boisjoly has died at the age of 73. Boisjoly, Allan J. McDonald and three others argued through the night of 27 January, 1986 to stop the following day's Challenger launch, but Joseph Kilminster, their boss at Morton Thiokol, overruled them. NASA managers didn't listen to the engineers. Both Boisjoly and McDonald were blackballed for speaking out. NASA's mismanagement 'is not going to stop until somebody gets sent to hard rock hotel,' Boisjoly said after the 2003 Columbia disaster. 'I don't care how many commissions you have. These guys have a way of numbing their brains. They have destroyed $5 billion worth of hardware and 14 lives because of their nonsense.'"

Water Droplets In Orbit On the International Space Station

Posted by Unknown Lamer  

from the can-i-be-an-astronaut-when-i-grow-up dept.

BuzzSkyline writes"Astronaut Don Pettit, who is aboard the International Space Station right now, puts charged water droplets into wild orbits around a knitting needle in the microgravity environment of the ISS. A video he made of the dropletsis the first in a series of freefall physics experiments that he will be posting in coming months."

Monday, February 6, 2012

Why the Brain Is More Reluctant to Function as We Age

ScienceDaily (Feb. 1, 2012) — New findings, led by neuroscientists at the University of Bristol and recently published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, reveal a novel mechanism through which the brain may become more reluctant to function as we grow older.

Early Plants May Have Caused Massive Glaciation

Posted by Unknown Lamer  

from the plot-to-destroy-animals-failed dept.
sciencehabit writes with this excerpt from Science:"The first plants to colonize land didn't merely supply a dash of green to a drab landscape. They dramatically accelerated the natural breakdown of exposed rocks, according to a new study, drawing so much planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere that they sent Earth's climate spiraling into a major ice age."

Massage Reduces Inflammation and Promotes Growth of New Mitochondria Following Strenuous Exercise, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Feb. 1, 2012) — Most athletes can testify to the pain-relieving, recovery-promoting effects of massage. Now there's a scientific basis that supports booking a session with a massage therapist: On the cellular level massage reduces inflammation and promotes the growth of new mitochondria in skeletal muscle. The research, involving scientists from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario appears in the February 1st online edition of Science Translational Medicine.

Here Is What Real Commitment to Your Marriage Means

ScienceDaily (Feb. 1, 2012) — What does being committed to your marriage really mean? UCLA psychologists answer this question in a new study based on their analysis of 172 married couples over the first 11 years of marriage.

Building a Better Light Bulb: Energy Efficient Organic LEDs

ScienceDaily (Feb. 1, 2012) — Incandescent light bulbs are energy hogs, but many people prefer them for the cozy quality of light they emit.

What Makes Spider Webs Tough As Steel

Posted by samzenpus  

from the it's-all-how-you-spin-it dept.
sciencehabit writes"A new analysis reveals the intricacies of spider web design, showing how the unique properties of its silk turn webs into flexible yet strong traps. Computer simulations reveal that heavy forces spread over the entire net rather than stay local. Real spider silk can be either stretchy or stiff at different times, which produces threads that flex and then snap in just the right way to avoid wrecking nearby spokes."

DARPA Works On Virtual Reality Contact Lenses

Posted by samzenpus  

from the seeing-through-new-eyes dept.
gManZboy writes"Binoculars and night-vision goggles have their limits. So DARPA is doing work at Washington-based Innovega iOptiks to create wearable eye lenses with tiny, full-color displays onto which digital images can be projected, to give soldiers better situational awareness. The lenses would allow users to focus simultaneously on images that are both close up (perhaps a display) and far away (perhaps a battlefield.) Using virtual reality technologies to improve how soldiers perform on the battlefield has been a particular interest of the U.S. military for some time."

Aussies Could Use Elephants To Fight Invasive Species

Posted by samzenpus  

from the we're-gonna-need-bigger-needle-snakes dept.
A type of invasive African grass is a major cause of wildfires in Australia. The giant gamba grass is too large for cattle and the native marsupial grazers to eat, but David Bowman, a professor of environmental change biology at the University of Tasmania has a plan. He says that elephants or rhinoceroses could eat the pest grass. "... the only other methods likely to control gamba grass involve using chemicals or physically clearing the land, which would destroy the habitat. Using mega-herbivores may ultimately be more practical and cost-effective, and it would help to conserve animals that are threatened by poaching in their native environments," he said. This plan makes you wonder just how big a Chinese needle snake can grow.

1st Video of Moon's Far Side

Posted by timothy  

from the obviously-faked dept.
chill writes"A gravity-mapping spacecraft orbiting the moon has beamed home itsfirst video of the lunar far side — a view people on Earth never see. Because the moon is tidally locked with Earth, it only presents one face to the planet's surface (the near side). The side of the moon that faces away from Earth is the far side. Only robotic spacecraft and Apollo astronauts who orbited the moon in the 1960s and 1970s have seen the far side of the moon directly."

3,500 Year Old Florida Tree Dies of Natural Causes

Posted by timothy  

from the post-primary-burning-bush dept.
hondo77 writes with an excerpt from The Daily"'Mother Nature claimed one of her oldest living specimens (Monday) in a freak fire that destroyed a 3,500-year-old bald cypress tree towering over central Florida. Known as "The Senator," or simply "The Big Tree," the hollowed-out majestic timber, standing at 118 feet tall, ignited before dawn. Firefighters watched helplessly as the oldest tree east of the Mississippi — and the fifth oldest in the world — blazed and then collapsed in a heap of flaming embers.' The fire likely started by 'either a weeks- old lightning strike that smoldered until combustion occured, or friction caused by buffeting winds that ignited a spark and erupted in flames.'"

Study Finds Social Media Harder To Resist Than Cigarettes, Alcohol

Posted by samzenpus  

from the friends-list-fix dept.
An anonymous reader writes"Checking a Twitter, Facebook or email account for updates may be more tempting than alcohol and cigarettes, according to researchers who tried to measure how well people regulate their daily desires. Researchers also found that while sleep and sex may be stronger urges than certain drug addictions, people are more likely to give in to their addiction to use social or other types of media."

The Engineer Who Stopped Airplanes From Flying Into Mountains

Posted by samzenpus  

from the just-pull-up dept.
First time accepted submitter gmrobbins writes"The Seattle Times profiles avionics engineer Don Bateman, whose Honeywell lab in Redmond, Washington has for decades pioneered ground proximity warning systems. Bateman's innovations have have nearly eliminated controlled flight into terrain by commercial aircraft, the most common cause of fatal airplane accidents."

MIT Envisions DIY Solar Cells Made From Grass Clippings

Posted by samzenpus  

from the growing-power dept.
Zothecula writes"Research scientist Andreas Mershin has a dream to bring inexpensive solar power to the masses, especially those in developing countries. After years of research, he and his team at MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, along with University of Tennessee biochemist Barry Bruce, have worked out a process that extracts functional photosynthetic molecules from common yard and agricultural waste. If all goes well, in a few years it should be possible to gather up a pile of grass clippings, mix it with a blend of cheap chemicals, paint it on your roof and begin producing electricity. Talk about redefining green power plants!"