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Tag Archives: Science

This Is How You’re Supposed To Hold Your Burger


Burgers, along with pizza, are quite probably the most versatile (and satisfying!) food items ever invented. But a burger can be challenging to eat if you’re doing it wrong. Tired of ending up with half the bottom bun contents being spilled while eating, producers at the Japanese TV show “Honma Dekka!? hired experts in fluid mechanics, engineering, and dentistry to determine the best way to hold a burger so that you don’t end up wearing most of it after one bite.” The results of their “research”? Well, hold your burger with three fingers on the top bun, and two on the bottom. Your thumb and pinky finger will serve to hold the bottom bun in place, while the top three fingers… prevent the top bun from flying away?

This editor prefers to up the ante and use three fingers on the bottom and two on top. This way the burger is carefully cradled and the toppings don’t even try to escape from the sides. One could even argue for a 4-1 configuration, but that may be living life too dangerously for some.

Alternatively, one can try the daring one-handed 3-2 hold, so as to free one hand for fry retrieval, but that too may require excessive amounts of coordination and dexterity.

[ Kotaku ] VIA [ ThatsNerdaLicious ]

Fun Experiment To Do At Home: Imploding Soda Can


If you’re bored at home (or heck, even in the office), you could have a bit of fun imploding soda cans. It’s surprisingly easy, and requires absolutely no force. What you do is fill up an empty soda can with about 1 ounce of water, heat it up until it’s steaming, then turn it upside down and dunk it in ice water. As soon as it hits the water, the steam inside probably condenses immediately, creating a vacuum and allowing the outside air to crush the can. It’s not only fun to do, but also makes you aware that atmospheric air pressure is a real thing, even though we don’t “feel” anything. Could also be a cool trick to do in front of the kids.

VIA [ Sploid ]

This Is What Cellular Signals Would Look Like If You Could See Them With The Naked Eye


The above is a visualization by Nickolay Lamm that shows us what Chicago would look like if cellular signals were visible with the naked eye. It’s trippy and fascinating, and above all it isn’t just a fanciful interpretation, but is based on some solid understanding of how our cellular infrastructure works. “Danilo Erricolo, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago and Fran Harackiewicz, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Southern Illinois University Carbondale—who consulted on the psychedelic project—explain:”

A regular, hexagonal grid of cellular base-station sites is conceptualized for Chicago [above], with stations at the corners of the hexagons. The area within each sector antenna radiation pattern has different users being assigned different frequencies and their signals combine to form a single perceived color in that instant. Different channel combinations from sector to sector are indicated by different colors. The channel combinations shown are not static, but rather change rapidly in time as different users are assigned different channels. But, if you were to take a photo of these rapid changes, you’d likely see a wide array of colors as seen in the illustration. Near the downtown area more users are likely to be found and the hexagonal cells are smaller to serve approximately the same numbers of users found in larger cells elsewhere. Antenna signals extending beyond the original cells provide coverage over part of Lake Michigan.

We are surrounded by an always-on cacophony of electromagnetic radiation; it’s a blessing that our eyes are only able to see a small sliver of it. Visualizing it only serves as a fascinating reminder of this.

Hit the jump for a bunch more of these.

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SafeFlame Torch Uses Water As Fuel


Propane or acetylene torches are essential tools for an almost endless list of tasks. And while they do their job quite well, they do present a small but not negligible risk since they require containers of highly flammable gas nearby. The SafeFlame torch uses plain water as its fuel instead, along with a healthy dose of electricity. The current electrolyses the water, separating it into oxygen and hydrogen. The system then takes the two gases and doses them in varying proportions to power your flame. This means that by controlling the current and the fuel mixture, the temperature and the length of the flame can be fined tuned to a high degree, ensuring that you never use more heat than is required for the job. Additionally you’ll never have to order, transport, and store flammable gases again, which is that much less to worry about.

Although the product is not on the market yet, it is currently being tested in Europe and should roll out “in the near future”. As for costs, none have been specified but the makers claim they’ve found a way to reduce the need for Platinum, the required catalyst, in order to keep costs down. Whether that means it’ll be affordable, rather than just “not outrageously expensive” remains to be seen.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

High-Tech Beauty: Activate Gadgets With a Wink and a Smile

Conducive Makeup

How you control your devices might soon change, thanks in part to these developments by computer scientist Katia Vega. Instead of actually manipulating your device or using a remote control, Vega envisions that people–specifically those who wear makeup–will be able to unlock or activate their devices by moving a certain part of their face. Not just any part, but parts where specialized makeup has been applied.

Apparently, Vega was able to come up with a method to integrate sensors and conductive elements to makeup. For example, when eyeshadow is applied to both the top and bottom of the person’s eye where metalized lashes have also been affixed, then a longer-than-usual blink will allow the sensors in the eyeshadow and lashes to connect, completing the circuit.

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3D Printed Microscopic Monkey Head Shows Off What Printers Are Capable Of


We’re not exactly sure how small the monkey skull above is, but we’re fairly certain that each dot that makes up its surface (you can see some granularity on the image) is a little bigger than one quarter of one percent the width of a human hair. That’s small. It’s being shown to you to demonstrate what the machine that printed it is capable of. But then they’re not making monkey skulls to show off, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin are using the tech to print elaborate microscopic scaffolds which are then filled with specific kinds of bacteria, in order to determine the influence that their spacial distribution has on their pathogenecity, or their ability to infect. The structures are created with a laser, which focuses in a special jello-like resin that hardens with heat. At it’s smallest focal point, the laser beam is the size mentioned earlier, and so it creates the structure point by point, layer by layer. That right there is some cool tech, and we’re excited to hear that 3D printers are being used to make more than just fancy iPhone cases.

[ ] VIA [ DVice ]

This “Suit” Grows Algae From The Breath You Exhale


Well you’re unlikely to see anyone out on the street wearing this, but creators Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta hope that just seeing it will get you thinking about food production in the future. See, the Algaculture Symbiosis Suit is seeded with algae which is then fed the CO2 and water vapour that you exhale throughout the day through that freaky looking mouthpiece. Walk around in the sun a bit, and you’ve created the conditions for the growth of food which you could theoretically eat later. The end game here, at least for Burton and Nitta, is a future where we seem to gain some “super-powers”:

It proposes a future where humans will be enhanced with algae living inside new bodily organs, allowing us to be semi-photosynthetic. Almost enabling us to become plant-like by gaining food from light. As such, we will be symbionts (meaning that both entities entirely depend on each other for survival), entering into a mutually beneficial relationship with the algae.

So… that’s what’s in store for the human race? We’re going to be… “plantimals”? That, by the way, is a word coined by scientists Debora MacKenzie and Michael Le Page who wrote about photosynthetic creatures, or what they call “plantimals” in the New Scientist (2010.) Granted, it’s not an exciting superpower, but it certainly is a practical one. Suck it, Bane!

Algae Opera

[ Product Page ] VIA [ DVice ]

Would You Eat This Lab-Grown Burger?

Cultured Beef1

The burger above is still, essentially, beef. However, it’s not meat from the cows you see out in the pasture; rather, it’s meat that’s been cultured in a Petri dish in a lab. The beef was “grown” by Professor Mark Post and his team at the Maastricht University. Their goal was to develop a humane way to meet the world’s ever-growing meat demands without over-taxing natural resources.

To produce one pound of meat, 2,400 gallons or so of water is required. It’s a more energy-intensive process than, say, cultivating crops, so it requires so much more fossil fuel for a smaller output. Cultured meat is Post’s solution to this, and many people think it’s actually a good idea–including Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin.Continue Reading

You’ll Never Look At Them The Same: This Is What A Mosquito’s Mouthpiece Looking For A Blood Vessel Under Your Skin Looks Like

Squeamish? Please abstain. It’s not as gory or gross a video, as much as it is a disquieting perspective on just what exactly it is that goes on under the skin when a mosquito catches you distracted, and starts to feast. The stunning footage was grabbed by Valérie Choumet at Paris’s Institut Pasteur, where she anaesthetized a mouse, stuck a microscope against a flap of its skin and convinced a mosquito to bite in the right spot. What you see is the insect’s mouthparts probing around, looking for a blood vessel.

The large central needle in the video is actually two parallel tubes—the hypopharynx, which sends saliva down, and the labrum, which pumps blood back up. When a mosquito finds a host, these mouthparts probe around for a blood vessel. They often take several attempts, and a couple of minutes, to find one. And unexpectedly, around half of the ones that Choumet tested failed to do so. While they could all bite, it seemed that many suck at sucking.

We’ll include only this video in the article, but if you’re interested in just what is going on, you should follow the link at the bottom. It leads to a National Geographic article with tons more detail and a couple more vids.

[ National Geographic ]