Watermelon juice’s reputation among athletes is getting scientific support in a new study, which found that juice from the summer favorite fruit can relieve post-exercise muscle soreness. The report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry attributes watermelon’s effects to the amino acid L-citrulline.
Officials demanded Monday that an advertising firm stop using a network of high-tech trash cans to track people walking through London's financial district. The Renew ad firm has been using technology embedded in the hulking receptacles to measure the Wi-Fi signals emitted by smartphones, and suggested that it would apply the concept of "cookies"—tracking files that follow Internet users across the Web—to the physical world.
One of the biggest mysteries in contemporary particle physics and cosmology is why dark energy, which is observed to dominate energy density of the universe, has a remarkably small (but not zero) value. Now, two physicists suggest that the recently discovered Higgs boson could provide a possible “portal” to physics that could help explain some of the attributes of the enigmatic dark energy and help resolve the cosmological constant problem.
If aliens ever target Earth, Jon Gibson and Amanda White are counting on them having an appreciation for pop art and a sense of humor. The duo has created an elaborate, Andy Warhol-like design that has been etched into a satellite's panel, transforming the spacecraft into a replica of an oversized electrical charging device. Is it the world’s first orbiting work of art? Possibly.
Twice as fast as an airplane, cheaper than a bullet train and completely self-powered: that's the mysterious transportation system that inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk is promising to reveal design plans for Monday. Musk has been dropping hints about his "Hyperloop" system for more than a year, mentioning that it could never crash, would be immune to weather and would move people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour.
Chemists at Oregon State Univ. have identified a compound that could significantly reduce the cost and potentially enable the mass commercial production of silicon nanostructures—materials that have huge potential in everything from electronics to biomedicine and energy storage. This extraordinary compound is called table salt.
The fashion industry in many countries amounts to tens of billions of dollars in value, and has historically been vulnerable to counterfeiters. Scientists from the U.K.’s National Physical Laboratory have published recent research that demonstrates how a technique called terahertz time-domain spectroscopy could be used to help spot fakes and combat textile counterfeiting.
Inspired by prickly cacti, Chinese scientists have developed a new technique for removing oil from water, which could have applications in oil spill cleanup work. An article published in Nature Communications describes the study by Jiang Lei and his co-workers at the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, whose creation of copper spike arrays have proved to be highly efficient in absorbing oil during experiments.
Using imperfections in diamonds as nanoscale thermometers, and gold nanoparticles implanted in cells as laser-induced heating mechanisms, a team of researchers working on DARPA’s Quantum-Assisted Sensing and Readout program recently demonstrated sub-degree temperature measurement and control at the nanometer scale inside living cells.
Two volunteer taste-testers in London got the unusual opportunity of sampling a stem-cell burger. Though it was reportedly short on taste, the burger represents five years of research. Made from meat grown in a laboratory from the stem cells of cattle, the the burger is part of an effort to help solve both the food crisis and climate change.
Cable clutter is an eyesore and a tripping hazard in one. Researchers have developed a new kind of antenna hidden in tables that can wirelessly supply electronic devices with power. The power extends throughout the tabletop without the need for a large, impractical coil. The “tables” can transmit data, too.
Sun-drenched rooms make for happy residents, but large glass windows also bring higher air-conditioning bills. Now a bioinspired microfluidic circulatory system for windows developed by researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University could save energy and cut cooling costs dramatically—while letting in just as much sunlight.
Scientists in Spain have developed a cementitious material incorporating carbon nanofibers in its composition, turning cement into an excellent conductor of electricity capable of performing functions beyond its usual structural function. The transformation relies on the addition of carbonaceous materials.
Researchers at the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics and Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory have used optogenetics techniques to implant false memories into mice, potentially illuminating the mechanisms underlying the human phenomenon of “recalling” experiences that never occurred.
Two years ago, a team from the Univ. of California, Santa Barbara discovered the mechanism by which a neurotransmitter dramatically changes color in the common market squid. Now the researchers have delved deeper to uncover the mechanism responsible for the dramatic changes in color used by such creatures as squids and octopuses. They have found the animals have evolved their own version of a tunable Bragg reflector.
A superfluid, like liquid helium, moves like a completely frictionless liquid. Physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have applied a method called holographic duality to mathematically describe the complex behavior of superfluids—in particular, the turbulent flows within superfluids. Their approach, which generated a model similar to the behavior of cigarette smoke, involved translating the physics of black holes.
A new biosensor, applied to the human skin like a temporary tattoo, can alert marathoners, competitive bikers and other “extreme” athletes that they’re about to “bonk,” or “hit the wall.” The study describes the first human tests of the sensor, which also could help soldiers and others who engage in intense exercise.
Taking inspiration from trees, scientists have developed a battery made from a sliver of wood coated with tin that shows promise for becoming a tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly energy source. The device, developed at the Univ. of Maryland, is 1,000 times thinner than a sheet of paper.
Another reason to eat breakfast: Skipping it may increase your chances of a heart attack. A study of older men found those who regularly skipped breakfast had a 27% higher risk of a heart attack than those who ate a morning meal. There's no reason why the results wouldn't apply to other people, too, the Harvard researchers said.
Concentric hexagons of graphene grown in a furnace at Rice University represent the first time anyone has synthesized graphene nanoribbons on metal from the bottom up—atom by atom. As seen under a microscope, the layers brought onions to mind. Though flat graphene could never be like an onion, the name stuck.
If you squeeze a normal object in all directions, it shrinks in all directions. But a few strange materials will actually grow in one dimension when compressed. A team of chemists has now discovered a structure that takes this property to a new level, expanding more dramatically under pressure than any other known material.
Using a close interplay of neuronal control and clever biomechanical tricks, insects can move their limbs without muscles. So-called “passive joint forces” serve to return the limb back towards a preferred resting position. This surprising finding from neurobiologists at the Univ. of Leicester may provide engineers with new ways to improve the control of robotic and prosthetic limbs.
Scientists have developed an "intelligent knife" that can tell surgeons immediately whether the tissue they are cutting is cancerous or not. In the first study to test the invention in the operating theatre, the "iKnife" diagnosed tissue samples from 91 patients with 100% accuracy, instantly providing information that normally takes up to half an hour to reveal using laboratory tests.
Researchers in Switzerland have been able to make objects such as particles and liquid droplets fly in mid-air by letting them ride on acoustic waves. For the first time, they have been able to also control the movement of objects, merge droplets, letting them react chemically or biologically and even rotate a toothpick in the air.
In one of the most harrowing spacewalks in decades, an astronaut had to rush back into the International Space Station on Tuesday after a mysterious water leak inside his helmet robbed him of the ability to speak or hear at times and could have caused him to choke or even drown. Italian Luca Parmitano was reported to be fine after the dangerous episode, which might have been caused by an unprecedented leak in the cooling system of his suit.