How Mantis Shrimp Punch So Hard Without Hurting Themselves

By Nathaniel Scharping | January 16, 2018 2:58 pm
Watch out for those fists! (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Watch out for those fists! (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Oftentimes, throwing a punch at something (or someone) ends up hurting the hand behind it more than anything else. Bruised skin, sore knuckles and even cracked wrists can result from an ill-fated punch, and that’s just with human-level strength. Just imagine what it’s like to be a mantis shrimp. Read More

MORE ABOUT: animals

A Black Hole ‘Double Burps’

By Alison Klesman | January 16, 2018 1:32 pm

The galaxy SDSS J1354+1327 (just below the center of the image) hosts a supermassive black hole that has let out two “burps” in the past 100,000 years. The older burp can be seen to the lower left of the galaxy as a diffuse, blue-green glow. The more recent burp appears as a bright blue-white arc to the upper left of the galaxy’s center. Its companion galaxy, SDSS J1354+1328, lies just above the center of the image. (Credit: NASA , ESA, and J. Comerford/University of Colorado-Boulder)

Supermassive black holes reside at the center of most, if not all, massive (and possibly low-mass) galaxies. They range in size from millions to billions of solar masses, and they can eat voraciously or not at all, depending on their surroundings. But one thing is clear: Black holes don’t have very good table manners, as a team led by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder confirmed last week at the 231st Meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: black holes

Fart-Sniffing Pill Reveals Secrets of the Gut

By Carl Engelking | January 16, 2018 12:54 pm

A close up of the swallowable sensor. (Photo: Peter Clarke/RMIT University)

Your nose, mouth, skin pores and…other…body holes each serve their unique functions. But most of them also double as biological exhaust pipes, spewing gaseous byproducts of the myriad internal chemical reactions keeping you alive.

And, just as we measure emissions form our internal-combustion vehicles, advances in medical technology make it easier to analyze the gases you leak into the atmosphere. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: medical technology

Suppressing a Sneeze Could Rupture Your Throat

By Carl Engelking | January 15, 2018 5:30 pm
Never do this. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Never do this. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Attempting to contain a sneeze could be a recipe for disaster.

A 34-year-old patient visited a hospital in the United Kingdom complaining of an extremely sore throat and a dramatic voice change after attempting to suppress a sneeze by pinching his nose and closing his mouth. He told doctors he felt a popping sensation in his neck and noticed immediate swelling after trying to contain the sneeze. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: personal health

Surfers 3 Times More Likely to Harbor Dangerous Bacteria

By Nathaniel Scharping | January 15, 2018 4:24 pm
(Credit: EpicStockMedia/Shutterstock)

(Credit: EpicStockMedia/Shutterstock)

British surfers are coming back from the beach with more than good vibes.

A study from University of Exeter researchers found the surfers had levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that were three times higher than those who didn’t hang ten. It’s likely the result of ingesting seawater laden with bacteria from sewage and run-off, they say, and it’s another sign of the impending health crisis such bacteria could represent. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Living World

Google App Matches Your Face With Famous Art

By Lauren Sigfusson | January 15, 2018 3:02 pm


People are matching their faces with famous art — and some of the results are hilarious. They’re using the Google Arts & Culture app, which uses image recognition to scour art collections from more than 1,200 museums, galleries and institutions across the world.

The app has been around since 2016, but recently updated to include a selfie feature that made it take off. Tapping into the curiosity of people and the love of selfies and sharing was a smart move on Google’s part. Users can also use the app to learn more about the art and explore participating venues in virtual reality. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts

Machines Best Humans in Stanford’s Grueling Reading Test

By Carl Engelking | January 15, 2018 12:56 pm

(Credit: Shutterstock)

The ability to read and understand a passage of text underpins the pursuit of knowledge, and was once a uniquely human cognitive activity. But 2018 marks the year that, by one measure, machines surpassed humans’ reading comprehension abilities.

Both Alibaba and Microsoft recently tested their respective artificial neural networks with The Stanford Question Answering Dataset (SQuAD), which is an arduous test of a machine’s natural language processing skills. It’s a dataset that consists of over 100,000 questions drawn from thousands of Wikipedia articles. Basically, it challenges algorithms to parse a passage of text and write answers to tricky questions. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: computers

Make a List; Fall Asleep Faster

By Lauren Sigfusson | January 12, 2018 3:46 pm

(Credit: ShutterStock)

About 40 percent of Americans have problems falling asleep and they spend billions every year on sleep aids and remedies. Instead of spending hard earned cash, falling asleep could be as simple as writing a to-do list.

Previous research has shown writing about worries can help someone quickly get to sleep, but is there a specific type of writing that’s more effective? A group of researchers from Baylor University set out to answer that question. Read More

Your Weekly Attenborough: Nepenthes attenboroughii

By Nathaniel Scharping | January 12, 2018 2:37 pm

Nepenthes attenboroughii. (Credit: YouTube)

Oh, to be a pitcher plant. Unlike most of the animal kingdom, who run around chasing money, antelopes, Twitter mentions and whatnot, pitcher plants just sit there and let it all come to them. It’s like being inside one of those money booth things with dollar bills flying around and just letting them stick to your face.

It’s not a lifestyle for everyone, of course, but if these guys can make it work, there’s hope for the rest of us. I mean, they live on a freaking mountain for Chrissakes. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

The Wall of Westeros Would Be Its Own Worst Enemy

By Nola Taylor Redd | January 12, 2018 12:09 pm

The Wall. (Credit: HBO)

The Wall that defends the Game of Thrones universe would need to be made of more than pure ice if it had stood for over 8,000 years.

According to the plot of George R. R. Martin’s famous book and television series, the massive wall of ice protects humanity from the blue-eyed White Walkers, an ancient race of ice zombies that threaten all living things. But if the wall that shields the realm was made of pure water ice, it would not remain a wall for long; instead, it would quickly become a low hill.

Although it’s easy to think of ice as rock-hard, it’s anything but, especially for a wall reported to be over 700 feet tall. With that in mind, let’s dig into the science of big hunks of ice. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: physics


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