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Still Grossed Out and Needing to Share

"Scratching is one of the sweetest gratifications of nature, and as ready at hand as any," Montaigne wrote. "But repentance follows too annoyingly close at its heels." For M., certainly, it did: the itching was so torturous, and the area so numb, that her scratching began to go through the skin. At a later office visit, her doctor found a silver-dollar-size patch of scalp where skin had been replaced by scab. M. tried bandaging her head, wearing caps to bed. But her fingernails would always find a way to her flesh, especially while she slept.

One morning, after she was awakened by her bedside alarm, she sat up and, she recalled, "this fluid came down my face, this greenish liquid." She pressed a square of gauze to her head and went to see her doctor again. M. showed the doctor the fluid on the dressing. The doctor looked closely at the wound. She shined a light on it and in M.'s eyes. Then she walked out of the room and called an ambulance. Only in the Emergency Department at Massachusetts General Hospital, after the doctors started swarming, and one told her she needed surgery now, did M. learn what had happened. She had scratched through her skull during the night--and all the way into her brain."


I'm so disturbed i can't read the whole article.

By min | June 27, 2008, 3:40 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

Are You Listening, Food Advertisers?

"Consumers, especially those with a lower self-esteem, might be more susceptible to over-consumption when faced with images of death during the news or their favorite crime-scene investigation shows," the authors conclude.


Although, i don't know how true this is. There were a few times fnord was away on a business trip during the time period i was addicted to CSI and i still forgot to feed myself most nights. I guess death doesn't do it for me.

By min | June 27, 2008, 2:39 PM | Science | Comments (1)| Link

Nothing So Wrong As Fish With Feet

Ugh. I hate fish with feet (if you want to hear the legendary snake fish story, go ask my mom), i don't care if they're part of the evolutionary process of our ancestors getting out of the primordial goo. It's just gross.

In 2006 the situation changed dramatically with the discovery of an almost perfectly intermediate fish-tetrapod, Tiktaalik, but even so a gap remained between this animal and the earliest true tetrapods (animals with limbs rather than paired fins). Now, new fossils of the extremely primitive tetrapod Ventastega from the Devonian of Latvia cast light on this key phase of the transition.
The recontructions made by Professor Ahlberg and Assistant Professor Henning Blom together with British and Latvian colleagues show that Ventastega was more fish-like than any of its contemporaries, such as Acanthostega. The shape of its skull, and the pattern of teeth in its jaws, are neatly intermediate between those of Tiktaalik and Acanthostega.

"However, the shoulder girdle and pelvis are almost identical to those of Acanthostega, and the shoulder girdle is quite different from that of Tiktaalik (the pelvis of Tiktaalik is unknown), suggesting that the transformation from paired fins to limbs had already occurred. It appears that different parts of the body evolved at different speeds during the transition from water to land", says Per Ahlberg.


By min | June 27, 2008, 1:58 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

Best GPS Device

For those of you who think your fancy shmancy GPS devices with the flat screen and the Mr T. voice is something to brag about, think again.

On June 3, engineers at iXs Research Corporation unveiled a robotic teddy bear designed to work as a talking car navigation system. The prototype robot stands 30 centimeters (1 ft) tall and has 6 joints in its arms and neck, which it uses to make gestures while providing spoken directions.

The robot bear is also equipped with functions to improve auto safety, such as an alcohol detection sensor embedded in its neck. If it smells booze, the robot confronts the driver, saying, "You haven't been drinking, have you?" Other sensors detect wreckless driving, so if the driver suddenly accelerates or slams on the brakes, the robot says, "Watch out!"

As a bonus feature, the robot bear provides information about nearby landmarks when you stroke its head.

The plan is to make it available next year. I want one. It's a robot teddy. I clearly want one.

By min | June 5, 2008, 2:18 PM | Science | Comments (3)| Link

First Plastics, Then Killer Robots

They made a self-replicating machine called RepRap and they're teaching it how to make more of itself. Couple this with Japan using robots in formerly human jobs because of the aging population and what do you get? The Matrix.

Check out all the stuff this one guy has made using his at home RepRap.

By min | June 5, 2008, 2:12 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

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