Stories tagged cool

Do you like hot weather? Do you like playing with graphs? Combine those two interests in at this interactive website that charts the fluxuation in global temperature over your own personal lifetime.

It's been happening the past few summers, but researchers say it's getting bigger each season. It is a lake covering the North Pole during these summer months caused by ice melting in the summer sun. This year's lake formedn on July 13 and is about a foot deep. And since water absorbs more solar radiation than ice, researchers expect this lake to keep growing each season ass the ice underneath gets thinner.

Nabbing terrorists: Robotics experts are analyzing how automated devices played a part in apprehending the Boston Marathon bombers.
Nabbing terrorists: Robotics experts are analyzing how automated devices played a part in apprehending the Boston Marathon bombers.Courtesy Mashable
Law enforcement authorities aren't giving out specific information, but robotic experts are chiming in with their thoughts on how robots played a role in capturing the Boston Marathon bombers. Here's a pretty interesting online article theorizing the use of robots in the case. The link includes a video that shows how these robots do their jobs. While TV reports Friday night said that a robotic arm was used to pull the tarp off the boat where the second suspect was hiding, those reports, have now been called incorrect.

What do you think about using robots to handle dangerous tasks involving terrorism and crime?

Just in time for Super Bowl week, Sports Illustrated shares some pretty wild news about top-line pro and college football players using some dubious products with hopes of helping their on-field performance. Care to spritz a little deer antler mist under your tongue anyone? You can read the full report here. Check out the video in the story, as an SI reporter tests out the validity of stickers that supposedly deflect energy-draining cellphone waves from the football players who wear them.

Aug
15
2012

Before you turn me into bacon, I might give you the flu: Pigs will be under extra scrutiny at the Minnesota State Fair this year as a new strain of "swine flu" has been detected around the country.
Before you turn me into bacon, I might give you the flu: Pigs will be under extra scrutiny at the Minnesota State Fair this year as a new strain of "swine flu" has been detected around the country.Courtesy titanium22
The Minnesota State Fair starts next week and as you prepare to go, you just might want to assess your flu risk in the swine barn.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have just announced the results of a study they conducted at the 2009 fair, testing pigs for the H1N1 flu virus that was spreading widely across the nation at that time.

Their findings showed that 19 percent of the pigs they tested at the fair that year had the virus. Some appeared to be perfectly healthy, exhibiting no flu symptoms. Two pig exhibitors from that year's fair from the same family came down with the flu from pigs they were showing, researchers added.

Adding some urgency to the announcement of the study is a new nationwide outbreak of a different strain of swine flu this year: H3N2v. More than 150 people across the country have come down with symptoms of this new flu.

So does this mean you should stay away from the pig barn? Not entirely, fair officials say. Veterinarians will be conducting extensive testing of all pigs coming to the fair this year. And the fair has issued this guidelines to help people decide how much time, if any, they should spend with the pigs.

• Avoid eating in the barns
• Use hand-washing stations after visiting
• Skip the barn if you feel ill

People who are at high risk for flu should also consider avoiding the swine exhibit entirely – including children younger than 5, pregnant women, people 65 and older and those with chronic conditions.

You may now resume eating your pork chop on a stick, but first share with Science Buzz readers your thoughts about visiting the pig barn at this year's fair.

Pine Needles cabin
Pine Needles cabinCourtesy Dave Brandon
Many people don't realize that the Science Museum of Minnesota features a world class water and environmental research station 40 minutes outside the cities on the Saint Croix river. Even fewer know about their long standing artist in residence program at the Pine Needles cabin. This year's crop of artists have just been announced. Having just made a trip out to this lovely neck of the woods myself, I'm excited to see what they come up with.

The Iceman bleedeth

by Anonymous on May. 03rd, 2012

Otzi the Iceman
Otzi the IcemanCourtesy South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology via Wikipedia
Otzi, the five-thousand year-old corpse found frozen in a glacier in the Alps in 1991 has given up more secrets. Using a nano-sized probe, scientists at The Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy have successfully extracted from the 5300 year-old "Iceman" the oldest samples of human blood known. The find surpasses that of Egyptian mummies by 2000 or so years, the previous record holder. What's more, the researchers have determined that Otzi died fairly quickly after taking an arrow in the back. Fibrin, a blood clotting protein that appears in fresh wounds then disappears as healing progresses, was present in the samples. This means the healing process stopped soon after Otzi was shot.

SOURCES
Nat Geo story
New Scientist article

Jan
02
2012

A brisk walk in the fresh air: Sure it's cold and miserable but it's inexpensive and easy to do (once you get off the couch). It also has nothing on Ernest Shackleton.
A brisk walk in the fresh air: Sure it's cold and miserable but it's inexpensive and easy to do (once you get off the couch). It also has nothing on Ernest Shackleton.Courtesy Mark Ryan
Okay. It’s 2012! The beginning of a brand new year. A time for making resolutions, a time for change. That special new era that began with a magical tick past midnight on December 31st when you suddenly emerged from a decades-long thick-skinned cocoon of self-destructive behavior, and miraculously transformed into a brand new person of action, rebirth, and eventual six-pack abs.

Okay, maybe not suddenly, but let’s say 12 to 15 hours after midnight when you finally came out of the bacchanalian stupor you’d plunged yourself into the night before.

But the point is you can now become that perfect human being you (and mainly your mother) always suspected was hiding beneath that sweatpants ensemble. Imagine what you can do now when you replace your mantra of instant gratification with one of self-control. Nicotine’s mastery over your soul will dissipate like a smoke-ring in the breeze. Inappropriate outbursts at dinner parties will be a thing of the past as you’re transformed into the designated driver instead of driving the host’s porcelain bus. Oatmeal will substitute for Twinkies for breakfast, and broccoli will become your new BFF.

The possibilities for improvement seem limitless, don’t they? It just takes a little effort.

You know, with obesity plaguing the US, this would be a perfect time to let go of the game controller, drag your ample hinderbutt off the couch, and get some of that exercise you’ve been promising to do since 1988. It doesn’t mean you have to join a high-priced health club, or spend hours contorted into a pretzel at a local yoga class. The easiest thing to do is just head outside for a good old fashion walk, a nice long stroll in the bracing winter air. It’s not going to cost you a cent to do it (unless you live here in Minnesota and the legislature decides to tax it to help pay for a brand new stadium for the Vikings).

What’s that you say? You’d like to lose those extra 65 lbs but you just can’t seem to get motivated? What? You think it sounds like a nice idea but it’s only 25° above zero? Yes, yes, I know. Getting all bundled up in long underwear, winter coat, and boots to face the elements is a real drag.

Well, poooooooooooor you. WAH, WAH, WAH, WAH, WAH! You are unbelievable. What a sniveling crybaby! Is that all you can do is whine? You think it’s too cold? You crave motivation?! Well, here’s some motivation for you: Starting next weekend, have your mommy drive you to the Science Museum of Minnesota and buy you a ticket for the Omni Theater so you can watch the magnificent Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure, one of five large format films that are part of the museum’s annual OmniFest 2012.

Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure is an amazing - no! – an astounding story of man against nature. It details the struggles of the fearless and eternally optimistic Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 27 men who set sail on the ship Endurance headed for Antarctica. I don’t want to give away the story but let’s just say after you see what these courageous guys endured over a period of seventeen months, I guarantee you’ll feel deeply ashamed for driving to work in your heated car and living inside four walls.

OmniFest 2012 runs from January 6 – February 17, 2012 at the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Omni Theater, and features five big-screen films: Amazing Caves, Amazon, Wolves, Search for the Great Sharks, and of course Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure. The films rotate throughout the day, so check the OmniFest 2012 website to make sure you have the correct times for the shows you want to see. Of course, if you were anything like Shackleton, you'd just show up after a 20 mile trek in the blinding snow and expect things to work out your way. Wimp!

Twin Cities Naturalist
Twin Cities NaturalistCourtesy Twin Cities Naturalist
Check out this week's Phenology Roundup where professional naturalist Kirk Mona of Twin Cities Naturalist discusses what's been seen around the Twin Cities area in the last week. Phenology is the science of the seasons. It looks at how and when nature changes according to seasonal climatic conditions.

View a summary of phenology sightings in the Twin Cities this past week.