Shrimps communicate using a secret, polarized light language

This is my rock!
Image via wikimedia

An University of Queensland study of mantis shrimp discovered a new form of light communication employed by the animals, the findings having potential applications in satellite remote sensing, biomedical imaging, cancer detection, and computer data storage.

Largest genetic complement identified, owned by the water bear

Looks fluffy.
Image via wikimedia

Also known as the water bear, the tardigrade has a lot to be proud of — this tiny organism is nigh-indestructible, known to have survived in extreme temperatures ( -272C to +151C / -457.6F to 303.8F) and to be the only animal that can brave the vacuum of space unprotected and live to tell the tale.

New fingerprinting technique can reveal if you’re male or female

Image credits: Paul Miller/University at Albany

There’s a good chance that what you know about Crime Scene Investigation comes from movie – but there are actually quite many differences between the two. Many of the things you see in the series are not done at all in real life, and sometimes, real life science goes one step ahead of the movies. While fingerprinting has been discussed

Underwater balloons could help us store renewable energy

Image via Hydrostor.

While wind and solar are offering more energy than ever to global grids, there is still much work to be done if we want to properly integrate them; one question that always arise is that of energy storage. Sure, you can harvest a lot of sun during the day, but you need to store it for later usage, and that’s quite a problem. Now, a Canadian start-up believe they may have found a solution for that, and it’s just crazy enough to work: underwater balloons.

Valuable Viruses – ancient infections essential to human development

Pluripotent, embryonic stem cells originate as inner mass cells within a blastocyst. (Credit: Mike Jones for Wikipedia)

According to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine, human cellular development appears to depend on the actions of genetic material left over from ancient viral infections.

The Electronic Rose

rose in hand: permission D Sharon Pruitt

When is a rose not a rose? When it’s a transistorized electronic circuit, of course. Scientists at Sweden’s Linköping University have implanted a rose with conductive polymers and arranged the resulting circuitry into a real transistor system – complete with a digital switch. Here’s how materials scientist Magnus Berggren turned a rose into a piece of electronics. He started with

Dubai firefighters will get jetpacks


If you ever wanted to become a firefighter in an exotic location, now you have the perfect extra motivation: jetpacks. As if Dubai didn’t have enough hi-tech with all the awesome cars and helicopters and all, firefighters will receive jetpacks as part of the new year’s city budget – this is considered a “practical” solution for fighting fires in one

Study finds pigeons are very good at identifying cancer

He's got a real fat paycheck
Image via fatcampus

With robots taking up all the factory jobs and CEO’s outsourcing each and any position they can to China, it’s harder and harder for the common bloke to find a job these days. And it’s only about to get worse as pigeons are now poised to take over the health industry positions for the price of bread crumbs.

Cave dwelling arachnid named after Tolkien’s character

The new species Iandumoema smeagol was named for a fictional character based on its cave-dwelling habits.
Image via nationalgeographic

Biologists have recently identified a new species of harvestman (daddy longlegs spider) near the town of Monjolos in Minas Gerais, southern Brazil, and gave the precious new discovery an accurate but tongue in cheek name: Iandumoema smeagol

Roundworm infections found to increase fertility in women


A study of 986 Bolivian women found that on average, a lifetime infection with a type of roundworm named Ascarius lumbricoides led to an extra two children in the family. Their paper, published in the journal Science, suggests that the worm is altering the host’s immune system, making it easier to become pregnant — in effect, the parasite increases female fertility. The researchers hope this discovery will lead to “novel fertility enhancing drugs.”