Aug 7, 2010

Indian Officials Held Pigeon Captive on Suspicion of Spying

“Indian police, seemingly terrified that a rat with wings will glean some secrets for neighboring enemies in Pakistan, recently took into custody a white pigeon found near the border of the two countries. The cause for suspicion: a ring around the bird’s foot and written on its body in red ink a phone number and address from Pakistan.

Although it was taken into captivity in late May, seeing as how Indian police took a pigeon to jail, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to assume that it’s still there for refusing to talk. No note was found with the pigeon, so unless it has a little camera somewhere in that band of his, I don’t think keeping the bird in captivity is going to do much good.

Despite this, at least the pigeon is being kept safe. The health of the bird was a major concern, and its lodgings in captivity are being kept nice and air conditioned for maximum comfort.

The best part of the story is the news that the pigeon is being kept on lock down under armed guard. I’m guessing a cage and a small room wasn’t official enough?”

Read more at Weird Asia News

Neanderthal's Cozy Bedroom Unearthed

Anthropologists have unearthed the remains of an apparent Neanderthal cave sleeping chamber, complete with a hearth and nearby grass beds that might have once been covered with animal fur.

Neanderthals inhabited the cozy Late Pleistocene room, located within Esquilleu Cave in Cantabria, Spain, anywhere between 53,000 to 39,000 years ago, according to a Journal of Archaeological Science paper concerning the discovery.

Living the ultimate clean and literally green lifestyle, the Neanderthals appear to have constructed new beds out of grass every so often, using the old bedding material to help fuel the hearth.

"It is possible that the Neanderthals renewed the bedding each time they visited the cave," lead author Dan Cabanes told Discovery News.

Cabanes, a researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science's Kimmel Center for Archaeological Research, added that these hearth-side beds also likely served as sitting areas during waking hours for the Neanderthals.

"In some way, they were used to make the area near the hearths more comfortable," he said, mentioning that artifacts collected from various other Neanderthal sites suggest the inhabitants prepared stone tools, cooked, ate and snoozed near warming fires.

For this study, Cabanes and his team collected sediment samples from the Spanish cave. Detailed analysis of the samples allowed the scientists to reconstruct what materials were once present in certain parts of the cave at particular times.

Read more at Discovery News

Stem cells used to repair boy's windpipe

Pioneering surgery to rebuild an 11-year-old boy's windpipe using his own stem cells was hailed a success today as he prepared to leave hospital.

Ciaran Finn-Lynch became the first child in the world to undergo the pioneering trachea transplant in March and is now preparing to return home to Northern Ireland.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street hospital in London took stem cells from the youngster's bone marrow and injected them into a donor windpipe which had been stripped of its own cells.

They implanted the organ and allowed the stem cells to transform themselves in his own body, avoiding the potential problem of Ciaran's immune system rejecting the organ.

Great Ormond Street said that the transplant was considered a success four weeks ago after doctors proved the blood supply had returned to the trachea.

Ciaran's parents, Colleen and Paul, now hope to take him home for the first time since November. They said the last few months had been a "rollercoaster" and paid tribute to the surgeons who saved their son.

Read more at The Guardian

Sharpest Image Yet of Massive Galaxy Collision

These two spiral galaxies have been colliding for over 100 million years. The intergalactic battle has spurred the creation of millions of new stars, the most massive of which have already exploded into supernovae.

Three of NASA’s space telescopes have combined forces to create the sharpest image yet of the merging Antennae galaxies, located 62 million light years from Earth. X-ray data from Chandra X-Ray Observatory is blue, optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope is gold and brown, and infrared data from Spitzer Space Telescope is red. The photos were taken between 1999 and 2002, and combine 117 hours of observation.

The image gives us a sneak preview of what may happen when the Milky Way collides with the neighboring Andromeda galaxy in several billion years.

Nearly half the faint objects in the image are young star clusters that contain tens of thousands of new stars. The Hubble data reveals old stars in the core of the old galaxies: star-forming regions in gold, and massive filaments of dust in brown. The red infrared data from Spitzer shows warm dust clouds that have been heated by the newborn stars, with the brightest clouds between the two original galaxies.

Read more at Wired

Aug 6, 2010

Cat-like crocodile roamed earth with the dinosaurs

The discovery of the bizarre, lanky creature had mammal-like teeth and skinny legs shows that bony plated reptiles were once far more diverse than they are today.

It enjoyed land-based lifestyle on the African floodplains far removed from its aquatic descendants, preying on dragon flies and other insects and small animals.

The new species' fossilised remains were dug up from 105 million year old rock by palaeontologists scouring a river bank in Tanzania.

They were then able to create detailed digital images of its unusual teeth accurate to millionths of a meter using state of the art medical scanners.

Professor Patrick O'Connor, of Ohio University, said: "At first glance, this croc is trying very hard to be a mammal. Its head would fit in the palm of your hand.

"If you only looked at the teeth, you wouldn't think this was a crocodile. You would wonder what kind of strange mammal or mammal-like reptile it is."

"This gives us a number of interesting evolutionary-developmental research questions to begin addressing using living crocodiles as models."

He said it wasn't as heavily armoured as other crocodiles, except along the tail. This suggests the creature was quite mobile and probably actively foraged on land, unlike water-dwelling crocs.

Read more at The Telegraph

Damaged heart could be coaxed into mending itself, claim scientists

In as little as five years, researchers hope to be able to coax the heart into regenerating itself, repairing the damage caused by cardiac arrests and old age.

The revolutionary treatment could be possible after scientists discovered a technique for turning ordinary connective tissue into muscle cells inside the heart.

It works in a similar way to stem cells but instead of the new cells being grown outside the body and then injected back in, the technique simply makes the cells switch at the point where they are needed.

Around 700,000 people in Britain suffer from heart failure because it has virtually no ability to repair itself after an attack.

The main problem is that when beating muscles cells – known as cardiomyocytes – die during an attack there is no way to reactivate them and the surrounding connective tissue – known as fibroblasts – cannot take over their role.

Now Professor Deepak Srivastava at the Gladstone Institute, University of California, and his team have discovered a way of reprogramming fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes.

The system involves slowly administering three substances – using an artificial tube called a stent – into the blood that trigger the conversion.

Professor Srivastava believes this could be achieved over just two weeks.

Read more at The Telegraph

Aug 4, 2010

Study Shows Women Attracted to Men in Red

“What could be as alluring as a lady in red? A gentleman in red, finds a multicultural study published Aug. 2 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
Simply wearing the color red or being bordered by the rosy hue makes a man more attractive and sexually desirable to women, according to a series of studies by researchers at the University of Rochester and other institutions. And women are unaware of this arousing effect.

The cherry color’s charm ultimately lies in its ability to make men appear more powerful, says lead author Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. “We found that women view men in red as higher in status, more likely to make money and more likely to climb the social ladder. And it’s this high-status judgment that leads to the attraction,” Elliot says.

Why does red signal rank? The authors see both culture and biology at work. In human societies across the globe, red traditionally has been part of the regalia of the rich and powerful. Ancient China, Japan and sub-Saharan Africa all used the vibrant tint to convey prosperity and elevated status, and Ancient Rome’s most powerful citizens were literally called “the ones who wear red.” Even today, the authors note, businessmen wear a red tie to indicate confidence, and celebrities and dignitaries are feted by “rolling out the red carpet.””

Read more at Techvert

Medicine gives man lead poisoning

THE severe lead poisoning of a Sydney man who bought traditional medicines from India has sparked warnings from New South Wales health professionals.

The middle-aged man recently presented to Campbelltown Hospital, in Sydney's southwest, vomiting and in severe pain.

Toxicology results revealed he had nine times the acceptable level of lead in his blood.

Several months ealier, he had bought a traditional Ayurvedic medicine by phone from India after reading an advertisement in an online Indian newspaper.

Ayurveda is a traditional medicine practised in India and includes the use of naturally occurring elements in vegetable, animal and mineral substances.

The quantity the man bought tested high in levels of mercury, arsenic and lead, and caused him to became progressively ill over the months until his hospitalisation.

Doctor Stephen Conaty, NSW Public Health unit director of the Sydney South West Area Health Service, said the man was lucky his diagnosis was not more life-threatening.

"When ordering traditional medicines from overseas, people need to bear in mind that no assurance can be given regarding their safety, quality or effectiveness," Dr Conaty said.


Aug 2, 2010

Undersea river discovered flowing on sea bed

Researchers working in the Black Sea have found currents of water 350 times greater than the River Thames flowing along the sea bed, carving out channels much like a river on the land.

The undersea river, which is up to 115ft deep in places, even has rapids and waterfalls much like its terrestrial equivalents.

If found on land, scientists estimate it would be the world's sixth largest river in terms of the amount of water flowing through it.

The discovery could help explain how life manages to survive in the deep ocean far out to sea away from the nutrient rich waters that are found close to land, as the rivers carry sediment and nutrients with them.

The scientists, based at the University of Leeds, used a robotic submarine to study for the first time a deep channel that had been found on the sea bed.

They found a river of highly salty water flowing along the deep channel at the bottom of the Black Sea, creating river banks and flood plains much like a river found on land.

Dr Dan Parsons, from the university's school of earth and environment, said: "The water in the channels is denser than the surrounding seawater because it has higher salinity and is carrying so much sediment.

"It flows down the sea shelf and out into the abyssal plain much like a river on land. The abyssal plains of our oceans are like the deserts of the marine world, but these channels can deliver nutrients and ingredients needed for life out over these deserts.

"This means they could be vitally important, like arteries providing life to the deep ocean.

Read more at The Telegraph

Rock 'n' roll best sung in American accents

Ever since the Sixties, some of the biggest names in British music have been accused of faking their style to become stars in the US.

But a study has found that people lapse naturally into a stateside twang because it is actually easier to sing that way – and feels more natural.

That is why it is difficult to detect Robert Plant's West Bromwich roots in the hits of Led Zeppelin, or a London accent in the Rolling Stones or hear any trace of South Wales when husky-voiced Bonnie Tyler belts out a ballad.

According to researcher Andy Gibson, the American voice is easier to sing with and is so commonplace that it should be called the "pop music accent" instead.

Mr Gibson, of the Auckland University of Technology, made the claim after tests on New Zealand singers.

He found that despite speaking with distinct Kiwi accents, they would automatically sing the same words just like true Americans.

This is because singing in a local accent would sound funny and because American rounding off of words makes it easier to sing them.

Mr Gibson said, "There were huge differences between the sung and the spoken pronunciation of the same words.

Read more at The Telegraph

Mcdonalds Aces

Here is a little version of McDonalds Aces, a classic card trick! This version was thought up by the Swedish magician Jahn Gallo and in this video it's Danny Boston who is the Magician!

Aug 1, 2010

Sex Boosts Brain Growth, Study Suggests

Sex apparently can help the brain grow, according to new findings in rats. Sexually active rodents also seemed less anxious than virgins, Princeton scientists discovered. Past findings had shown that stressful, unpleasant events could stifle brain cell growth in adults. To see if pleasant albeit stressful experiences could have the opposite effect, researchers studied theeffects of sex in rats.

Scientists played matchmaker by giving adult male rats access to sexually receptive females either once daily for two weeks or just once in two weeks. They also measured blood levels of stress hormones known as glucocorticoids, which researchers suspected might lie behind the detrimental effects that unpleasant experiences have on the brain.

Read more at Live Science