News, Pollution

Ocean sediments are a cemetery for plastic

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A few days ago we were telling you about a study which quantified the amount of plastic in the Earth’s waters – 5.25 trillion pieces which weigh an estimated 269,000 tonnes. But another study found that tens of thousands of plastic (or even more) are actually lying on the bottom of the ocean floor, trapped in mud and sand. Previous studies…

News, Technology

Force Field Umbrella – Coming Soon, to a town near you!

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It’s not Jedi technology, but it’s pretty close – scientists and students from China have devised an umbrella that eliminates the need for awkward and hard to wield umbrellas; the technology creates a force-field of air around you to shield you from the rain. We first wrote about this technology in June 2013, when the technology was announced for the first time….

Materials, News

Adding water to solids can actually make them stronger, providing engineers with exciting new material composites

Scientists can make composite materials stronger by up to 30 percent by embedding water. Image credits: The Speaker.

Some findings are just counterintuitive. I mean, you’d think that adding water to materials would always make them softer, right ? Well according to Yale researchers, that’s not necessarily the case. The team found that you could improve the strength of a composite by 30 percent by embedding droplets of water into its structure. Adding pockets of water to solids can…

News, Technology

Internet addiction affects over 400 million people globally, study finds

Internet addiction affects over 400 million people, study finds.

We’ve probably all experienced it at some point – you really have no reason to stay online… but you do so nonetheless. But six percent of the global population actually suffers from internet addiction (IA). Addiction is defined as a substance or activity which is initially pleasurable, but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities,…

Biology, News

Birds can detect approaching storm from 900km away

A tornado in Brisco County, Texas. The birds didn’t appear to have used changes in pressure, wind speed or precipitation to warn them of the approaching storm. Photograph: Reed Timmer/Jim Reed Photography/Corbis

Some animals have extraordinary sensorial abilities; there have been scientific works documenting dogs which react to an earthquake 5 minutes before the waves reached the surface, but this is perhaps even more spectacular – some birds can sense an earthquake from 900 km away (560 miles). It seems that have avoided a devastating storm by fleeing their US breeding grounds after…

Mind & Brain, News, Psychology

When following goals, people pay attention to progress more than they do to setbacks

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Hopes are high this time of year, but before your make your New Year’s resolution you might want to consider an important cognitive bias: when following goals, progress is given a lot more consideration than setbacks. Say your resolution is to lose weight, so next year you’ll be on a diet. Chances have it, according to a study made by University…

Agriculture, Archaeology, News

8,000-Year-Old Olive Oil Found in Ancient Clay Pots

8,000 year old olive oil was found in Israel. This is the earliest evidence of olive oil production. Credit: Courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority

We know that ancient populations really liked olive oil, and it’s not that uncommon to find oil-filled pots from Ancient Greece. However, archaeologists were really excited to find that pressed olive oil goes as back as 8,000 years ago. Researchers found residues of the Mediterranean-diet staple on ancient clay pots dating back to the 6th millennium B.C. “This is the earliest evidence…

Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain, News, Technology

Quadriplegic instructs robot hand to flex, move, rotate or grip objects with her thoughts

The four robot positions: fingers spread, scoop, pinch, and thumb up (credit: Journal of Neural Engineering/IOP Publishing)

The latest in brain-computer interface technology was recently demonstrated after woman with quadriplegia shaped a sophisticated robotic hand with ten degrees of freedom using her thoughts. Through the interface, she instructed the robotic hand to move up, down or sideways, pick up small or big objects and even squeeze them. In just a couple of years, brain-computer interfaces have shown they…

Health & Medicine, News, Nutrition

Holiday season weight gain myth busted – it’s a lot less than most people think

Credit: Trainer Jack

It seems like every year, at least one major TV station cautions us that the average person gains between 7 and 10 pounds during the holiday season and as such we should all be careful. In reality, studies show this is a myth and only one pound is gained on average. …

Environment, Geology, News

Experimental flow of water along Colorado River leads to Green Rebirth

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In March 2014, the US and Mexican governments decided to release a flow of water down the Colorado River, in an experimental attempt called “Minute 319″. The river has experienced record droughts in 2014, but surprisingly, this initiative reversed a 13-year decline in the greenness along the delta. The Colorado River stretches along 1,450-miles (2,330 km), encompassing seven US and two Mexican states. Known…