Environment, News, Physics

Smart ‘curtains’ open and close just by responding to light only

Schematic for two different types of PC/SWNT photoactuators made by tuning the built-in strain of the bilayers. (c) Nature Communications

Researchers at University of California, Berkeley toyed around with novel materials and found a way to make them move and twist in response to light. A first application would be smart curtains that simply open or close according to how much light is in the room – no remote, no batteries, no electricity. It uses only the energy it absorbs…

Psychology, Studies, World Problems

Living a happy or meaningful life – what’s the difference?


While happiness and meaningfulness often overlap, the two are distinct states of being. A Stanford project looked into the lives of various people inline between the two and found some key differences based on how people choose spend their time and what experiences they cultivate. The findings may surprise some of you, while others will choose to dismiss them. After all,…

Environment, Green Living, Renewable Energy

Hamburg wants to become a car-free city in 20 years


One of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Hamburg has embarked on an ambitious plan that aims to promote cycling and walking as the main means of transportation throughout the huge hub.  The local administration claims that within 15-20 years the city would have completed its green network that virtually connects any part of the city. Even animal inhabitants will…

Health & Medicine, News, Pollution

Smog in Beijing reduces life expectancy by 15 years


The effects of urban pollution in China are started to get out of hand, and by now, it’s pretty safe to say that they are dealing with a major pollution crisis – the smog in Beijing particularly is so severe you can easily see it from outer space. Now, a new study has concluded that the smog alone is so…

Environment, News

People show up at the hospital with burns after trying boiling-to-freezing water trick


This week a big part of North America was paralyzed after powerful winds and freezing gusts swept the continent in the aftermath of the polar vortex. Well, that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun. Apparently, throughout the Midwest people have tried to recreate a neat trick where your boil water and then quickly throw into the sub-freezing air, as…

Environment, Technology

All Intel microprocessors are ‘conflict-free’ starting today


Whenever you buy an electronic, that ‘Made in [country]‘ label only shows where it was maufactured or put together – there’s no way of knowing where the materials for it came from; usually, they come from troubled countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. But today Intel CEO Brian Krzanich promised at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las…

Animals, Other

ZME Science animal of the month: The stoat, one of the world’s top 100 invasive species


This is the stoat. Also known as the short-tailed weasel, this little animal is nominated as one of the world’s 100 most invasive species; that list is actually dominated by plants and insects, so this cute guy actually ranks as one of the top 10 invasive mammals. Why are they so invasive? Well, as it turns out, they’re really adaptive;…

Animals, Biology, News

Mongooses synchronize births to escape despotic females


When you think about mongooses, cruel, despotic females probably don’t come to mind – but according to a new study, that’s exactly the case. To ensure groups remain ‘productive’, some social animals ‘police’ selfish reproduction by subordinate animals by killing any offspring they produce. In order to adapt to this behavior, some mammals may have evolved to synchronize births as…

Animals, Genetics, Health & Medicine

Chimeric organ harvesting: growing human organs inside pigs

brown pig

Sure to raise a slew of controversy and debate, researchers in Japan are currently investigating the possibility of growing human organs, like kidneys, livers or even hearts, inside pigs. A real life chimeric tale, as if spawned from the Island of Dr. Moreau. The challenges are numerous though, both technical (we’re talking about growing human organs in a foreign host),…

News, Renewable Energy

High tech farm aims to clean up Fukushima and provide energy


Japanese authorities have approved the construction of a futuristic farming project in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture, in a part of the land which has been radioactively contaminated. It seems the most unlikely place to try to put a utopian blueprint into practice, since the prefecture was severely contaminated by the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, following the earthquake and…