February 12, 2010

Miniature Star Wars for Bugs

1 Zapping Mosquitos with Lasers to Control Malaria

Malaria carrying female mosquitos can be detected in mid flight, tracked, and zapped by lasers, in a new prototype system demonstrated at the annual TED conference in California. The system was conceived and built by the mad scientists at former Microsoft chief egghead Nathan Myhrvold's skunkworks, Intellectual Ventures in Bellevue, Washington. Male mosquitos, which don't bite humans, are distinguished by size and wing frequency and left alone. A higher powered laser could be used in an anti-locust system, according to Mr. Myhrvold. While not battling malaria Intellectual Ventures is busy solving the global warming problem: they've cooked up a scheme to use a garden hose held aloft by balloons to pump sulfur into the stratosphere to mimic the global cooling effects of volcanic eruptions.

More at New York Times | Posted 8 years ago by Mark

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (43%) / No! (57%)

Lower Weight, Better Distance

2 Some Ski Jumpers Scarily Skinny

When most people think of athletes and eating disorders, they probably think of gymnasts or figure skaters, but being obsessively underweight is also a problem among competitive ski jumpers, who actually have an advantage in their sport if they are small. Losing just two pounds can add up to 13 feet in distance to a person's jump, and a study found that 22 percent of the competitors in the ski jump at the Salt Lake City Olympics were underweight by body mass index standards. A 2004 rule ties the men's ski length to his height and body weight, which has made the competitors healthier (there is no women's ski jumping competition). But many of the men are still light, in the 132 pound to 147 pound range with body fat around 5 percent.

More at New York Times | Posted 8 years ago by Sarah E. White

Read the Comments (1) | Was this Interesting? Yes! (64%) / No! (36%)

Let Them Eat 'Roo

3 Kangatarians Emerge in Australia

A group of former vegetarians in Australia has embraced the consumption of kangaroo meat, getting themselves dubbed "kangatarians" in the process. Peter Ampt, a kangaroo-eating advocate who lectures at the University of Sydney, says 'roo is the perfect choice for people who are vegetarians on ethical grounds, because the animals are plentiful, live in the wild and are killed humanely with a single shot. Kangaroos also produce less methane -- a ozone-depleting gas even more powerful that carbon dioxide -- than cows or sheep do, making them a good choice for environmentaly conscious eaters of all stripes. Ampt says his research has found that about 20 percent of all Australians eat kangaroo regularly. It's a low-fat red meat, by the way.

More at Telegraph | Posted 8 years ago by Sarah E. White

Previously: Kangaroos Produce Less Methane Than Cows

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (45%) / No! (55%)

Called Potent Medicine

4 Dark Chocolate, Red Wine May Kill Cancer Tumors

Dark chocolate and red wine have been found to contain cancer-fighting ingredients, according to the Angiogenesis Foundation in a recent presentation of their research. The foods join the list of other comestibles that fight cancer by choking off blood supply to tumors and includes garlic, blueberries, tomatoes, soy and some teas. William Li, Foundation head, pointed to a study undertaken at Harvard Medical School that showed that men who consumed cooked tomatoes a few times per week were 30 to 50 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer. "What we eat is really our chemotherapy three times a day," he said. Said Li of the Foundation’s findings, "If we're right, it could impact on consumer education, food service, public health, and even insurance agencies."

More at Medindia.com | Posted 8 years ago by Melody Lesser

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (43%) / No! (57%)

Paralyzes Not Only Muscles

5 Botox Prevents Frowning - and Depression?

Botox, the popular injectable used to reduce or eliminate forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet has been found to delay recognition of anger and sadness by patients who use it, according to a new study from the University of Wisconsin. "Botox induces a kind of mild, temporary cognitive blindness to information in the world, social information about the emotions of other people," said David Havas, psychologist and lead study author in an article in Discovery News. The study, an evaluation of 40 Botox users, supports the facial feedback hypothesis which postulates that our physical facial expressions signal our brains to produce the component emotion. Since Botox prevents frowning, it appears to impede feelings of sadness, anger and depression.

More at Medindia.com | Posted 8 years ago by Melody Lesser

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (50%) / No! (50%)

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