Science

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Ants Use Geometry to Navigate

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Discovery Channel News' article says ants use angled signposts, marked with scent, to find their way home or follow the path into the

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How the Venus flytrap snaps up its prey.

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This Yahoo! News article says American and French scientists believed they have explained how one of nature's marvels, the Venus flytrap, snaps shut to snare its victims. The plant -- described by Charles Darwin as "one of the most wonderful in the world" -- is able to enclose a fly within its clamshell-shaped leaves in just 100 milliseconds, faster than the eye can blink.

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Is President Bush good for technology?

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CNET's News.com and The New York Times articles say George W. Bush probably won't be remembered as "the high-tech president." The strongholds of the biotech and infotech industries, on the East and West Coasts, voted against him. If his State of the Union address next week, his fourth, is like the previous three, it will say next to nothing about the role of science or advanced technology in the nation's economic and social future. The symbol of Al Gore's relationship with gizmos was the early-model BlackBerry he wore on his belt. The symbol of Bush's was his tumble from a Segway computerized scooter in 2003.

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Shuttle Surface More Vulnerable Than Suspected

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The New Yorks Times (no registration required) says the space shuttle's skin is turning out to be even more fragile than NASA engineers thought, its scientists and engineers say. Impact tests and analysis performed as part of the return-to-flight effort show that pieces of insulating foam that weigh less than half an ounce can cause small cracks and damage to the surface coating on the heat-resistant panels on the leading edge of the wing, agency officials said in interviews this week.

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Ant's 2 Compfused.com Video Picks for (1/20/2005)

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Compfused.com posted some cool videos today, but two of them were worth noting:

  • Horrible Weatherman -- Wow, I can be better than this guy! OK, maybe worse.
  • Mini Guns -- A cool video of mini guns being used from helicopters. The sheer amount of firepower one of these guns can spew out boggles the mind. This reminds me of video games, movies, and TV shows. :)
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Cancer the Top Killer for Those Under 85

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A Yahoo! News story says heart disease has been the nation's top killer for decades. Now, cancer has taken its place for Americans 85 and younger.

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Untidy beds may keep us healthy.

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BBC News says failing to make your bed in the morning may actually help keep you healthy, scientists believe. Research suggests that while an unmade bed may look scruffy it is also unappealing to house dust mites thought to cause asthma and other allergies. A Kingston University study discovered the bugs cannot survive in the warm, dry conditions found in an unmade bed.

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How copyright could be killing culture...

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This Globe and Mail's article says the high cost of getting permission to use archival footage and photos threatens to put makers of documentaries out of business...

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A video clip showing what NASA did last summer (2004).

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Compfused.com found a streaming QuickTime video (direct link for download -- 9 MB) showing what NASA did last summer in 2004.

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Statistics of Americans eating food that falls on the floor...

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According to Yahoo! News story, almost eight in 10 Americans say it isn't safe to eat food dropped on the floor. This is despite the so-called rule that says if it's on the floor for a few seconds it's safe to eat.

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Swordfish heat their eyes for better vision...

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This News@Nature.com article reports warm eyeballs allow swordfish to see prey faster in the murky depths. Zoologists have answered the intriguing question of why swordfish keep their eyes warm while the rest of the body remains resolutely cold-blooded: it's all the better to see their prey with.

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Stay Thin by Sleeping More? 20 minutes!

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Yahoo! News' story says a study, published Monday, found that people who sleep less tend to be fat, and experts said it's time find if more sleep will fight obesity. Monday's study from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk covered 1,000 people and found that total sleep time decreased as body mass index -- a measure of weight based on height -- increased. Men slept an average of 27 minutes less than women and overweight and obese patients slept less than patients with normal weights, it said. In general the fatter subjects slept about 1.8 hours a week less than those with normal weights.

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Rats Can Tell Human Languages Apart...

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This Yahoo! News article says rats can use the rhythm of human language to tell the difference between Dutch and Japanese, researchers in Spain reported Sunday.

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Women like men who like cats...

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SFGate.com's article says it seems as if single men are discovering what single women have known since ancient Egyptian times: Cats are worthy of worship. At least unmarried British men say so, in a recent survey conducted by Cats Protection, a leading animal welfare society in the United Kingdom. And judging by the delirious worship that single men I know lavish on their kitties, I'd like to think American men -- those brave enough to stand up and be counted -- feel the same way.

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Video games with heroes make kids aggressive

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This Daily Yomiuri On-Line article says computer games in which children can identify with a hero or heroine who attacks his or her enemies are more likely to make them aggressive than games featuring indiscriminate violence, according to a recent survey. In November and December 2001, researchers led by Ochanomizu University Professor Akira Sakamoto conducted a survey on the effects of video games popular among 592 fifth-grade students at six primary schools, mainly in Kanagawa and Niigata prefectures.

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Computer game addicts fail in the classroom

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Blue's News posted a Mail Online article about computer game addicts failing in the classrooms. Children who spend hours playing computer games and watching television are failing to develop the skills to succeed at school. The warning comes from leading scientist Professor Robert Winston, who said youngsters are not acquiring the long-term powers of study and application they need in class. This is because the games they play and programmes they watch require only short-term bursts of concentration.

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Ants Cutting Human Hair

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Either I am still dreaming (someone please poke me!) or this story is crazy!

Biddybot, a member on my ant message board, mentioned and posted a couple links (#1, #2, and #3 (third one is my find)) about ants cutting people's hair. It is a localized scalp hair shedding/focal alopecia (aka bald spots), in human beings, caused by Pheidole ants and overview of similar case reports.

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Spiders Watch Their Diets Too

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This National Geographic article says spiders and insects that eat other creepy crawlies purposely seek a balanced diet to maintain their health, according to a new study. Scientists found that three predatory invertebrates--all of which use different hunting methods--adjust their feeding to correct nutritional deficiencies. Researchers behind the study say other, much larger predators, like leopards and sharks, may also monitor what they eat to maintain a balanced diet.

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Nose 'more complex than jet wing'

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This BBC News UK article says the way airflow around the nose is more complex than that in a jumbo jet's wing according to scientists. The structure of the nose meant air eddied, whirled and re-circulated as it passed through the nose, the team said. Principal researcher, Dr. Denis Doorly, said people are used to the flows around an aeroplane being complicated but that is in some ways simpler than understanding the flows inside the nose. "The geometry of the nose is highly complex, with no straight lines or simple curves like an aircraft wing and the regime of airflow is not simply laminar or turbulent."

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Men's Fitness Magazine Names The Fittest and Fattest U.S. Cities

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According to Yahoo! News' story, Seattle has been named the fittest city in the United States in the February issue of Men's Fitness magazine, leaping past the buff competition from Honolulu, Colorado Springs, San Francisco and Denver.

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