Monday, October 31, 2005
Bone marrow transplants can cause false positive matches with criminal DNA testing. For example, there was
...an Alaska case in which a man was linked to an attack, based on DNA obtained with blood tests, but had been in jail at the time.More details here. (Via SciTech Daily.)
It transpired the sex attack had been carried out by his brother, who had donated bone marrow to his sibling in a transplant some years earlier.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
Dolphins don't need 6 degrees of separation: A recent study of the dolphin community off the coast of Scotland shows that "it takes an average of just 3.9 steps to link any two dolphins by the shortest possible route through mutual friends."
Optical Illusion of the Day: "Mr. Angry and Mrs. Calm". The image shows two faces. Up close, the face on the left looks angry while the face on the right looks calm. But if you stand about 10 feet away, they switch places! Here's the technical paper (PDF format) on how it works. (Via Clicked.)
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Mathematical analysis of wobbly tables.
Do you always get the wobbly table at restaurants and cafes? Don't despair. A physicist has proved that, within reasonable limits, it is always possible to rotate the table to a position where all four legs stand solidly on the ground.Here's the full proof for the mathematically inclined (PDF format).
Andre Martin was moved to study the problem because he was fed up with the wobbly tables at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, where he works on abstruse problems in high-energy physics.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
"White House Orders Satirical Paper 'The Onion' to Stop Using Presidential Seal". Apparently this is real. I'm no lawyer, but I would think that The Onion's use of the seal would fall clearly within the bounds of parody/satire. More information at this NY Times article. (Via MeFi.)
Invention of the day: "Naughty" digital camera lens. According to the article,
A camera lens that allows one to see through clothes and other hard surfaces has been introduced by a US Company.Of course, there are some demonstration images. (Via Madville.)
The lens that could well result in it being banned because of its perve potential is called the "Infrared See-Through Filter PF". The PF is a special optical device that helps to visually penetrate an object's surface in order to view whatever lies below. The PF makes it possible for you to see images that are normally invisible to the human eye. It sounds like science-fiction but it isn't, this new product has been developed using newly developed advanced optical technology.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Buckypaper is a carbon nanotubule-based material that is "10 times lighter than steel - but 250 times stronger". (Via SciTech Daily.)
"Farmers have teamed up with scientists to create a farm where the cows choose when they want to be milked using automated booths." More info here.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Friday, October 21, 2005
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Friday, October 14, 2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Friday, October 07, 2005
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Malcolm Gladwell has written an excellent essay on secret quirks of Ivy League admissions policies. Some of the Harvard and Yale anti-Jewish policies in the mid-20th century were especially eye-opening. The section on admissions standards for student-athletes was also quite interesting. (Via ALDaily.)
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
iRobot (the makers of the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner) are developing an anti-sniper robot. According to the article,
When REDOWL's microphones detect a gunshot, the device calculates the source of the sound, swivels the camera, illuminates the target with either visible or infrared light, and uses a laser to calculate the range...The system is not configured to fire back automatically -- this still requires positive human intervention. (Via /.)
"You'll actually see the sniper before the smoke disappears from the shot," said Joe Dyer, iRobot's executive vice president and general manager.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Monday, October 03, 2005
"Scientists have developed miniature robots that can self-assemble using parts that float randomly in their environments. The robots also know when something is amiss and can correct their own mistakes."