Earth’s Heartbeat – The Mysterious Sound Generated Every 26 Seconds

Ever since the 1960s, seismologists on multiple continents have detected a mysterious pulse generated like clockwork, every 26 seconds. But in the last 60 years no one has been able to figure out what this sound actually is.

The “heartbeat of the Earth” was first documented in 1962, by John Oliver, a researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, Columbia University. He figured out that it was coming from somewhere in the southern or equatorial Atlantic Ocean, and that it was more intense during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer months. Then, in 1980, Gary Holcomb, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, also discovered the mysterious pulse, noting that it was stronger during storms. But for some reason, the two researchers’ discoveries remained virtually unknown for over two decades, until a graduate student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, once again detected the “heartbeat” and decided to look into it.

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Engineers Develop “White Cooling Paint” That Could Reduce Use of Air Conditioning

The idea that a simple paint could could compete with modern air-conditioning sounds crazy, but researchers at Purdue University say it could become a reality thanks to a cool new “radiative cooling paint” they developed.

Engineers at Purdue University recently unveiled a revolutionary white paint that they claim can keep surfaces up to 18 degrees Fahrenheit (7.8 degrees Celsius) cooler than their ambient temperature, by absorbing almost no solar energy and actually sending heat away from the surface it is covering. Think of it as a way of turning basically any space into a refrigerator, only without the energy cost.

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Wall of Wind – World’s Most Powerful Fan System Can Reproduce a Category 5 Hurricane

The Wall of Wind is the world’s largest wind simulator, an impressive contraption capable of generating winds of up to 157 miles per hour (70m/s), comparable to those registered during category 5 hurricanes.

In order to better protect against the devastating force of hurricanes, you first have to study them and test various materials against the powerful winds they generate. With this idea in mind, engineers at the International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) and College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) at Florida State University spent 15 years building and perfecting the Wall of Wind, an impressive installation capable of replicating hurricane-force winds.

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This Beetle Can Survive Being Run Over by a Car

The Diabolical Ironclad Beetle is one of the most resilient beings on the planet. Its protective shell can withstand forces that would pulverize most other living things.

In 2015, when entomologists told Jesus Rivera that a beetle found primarily on the west coast of North America had this “superpower” that allowed it to survive being run over by a car, he didn’t believe them. So he staged a rudimentary experiment, laying this nondescript black beetle on a a pillow of dirt in a parking lot and had a friend run it over with a Toyota Camry, twice. The bug played dead afterwards, but as he was poking it, Rivera realized it was very much alive. The bug scientists were right, this beetle could easily survive being run over by cars. Jesus ended up spending his doctoral career studying the beetle’s superpower to find out what made it so strong.

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Cow Dung Chip Reduces Cellphone Radiation, Indian Government Official Claims

Vallabhbhai Kathiria, the chairman of a federal body on animal husbandry in India, recently sparked controversy among his countrymen by promoting cow dung ‘chips’ that can allegedly reduce mobile phone radiation and shield users from disease.

Named ‘Gausatva Kavach’, the cow dung chip is said to be manufactured by Rajkot-based Shrijee Gaushala (cow shelter) as part of an initiative to promote cow dung products. The aim is to have 500 gaushalas produce the anti-radiation dung chips, which cost between Rs. 50 ($0.70) and Rs. 100 ($1.40). Through Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayoghe (RKA), the federal body on animal husbandry, the Indian Government wants to popularize cow dung chips in India, but also sell its products abroad, including in the United States.

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Researchers Find Extremely Rare Half-Male, Half-Female Bird Specimen

Researchers at the Powdermill Nature Reserve in Pennsylvania recently came across a “once in a lifetime discovery” – a half-male, half-female rose-breasted grosbeak.

Annie Lindsay and her colleagues at Powdermill Nature Reserve were catching and banding birds with identification tags on September 24, when a fellow researcher called her over via walkie-talkie to supposedly see something extraordinary. The moment she saw her colleague’s find, Annie knew what she was looking at, an extremely rare half-male, half-female creature known as a gynandromorph. The rose-breasted grosbeak exhibited male-characteristic plumage on one half of its body, and female coloration on the other.

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Scientist Lets Thousands of Mosquitoes Bite His Arm in the Name of Science

An entomologist from the University of Melbourne lets thousands of mosquitoes bite his arm regularly in order to keep them fed for research on eradicating Dengue fever.

Dr Perran Stott-Ross has been involved in mosquito research at the University of Melbourne for many years now, trying to find effective ways of curbing the spread of the Dengue virus, passes between humans via mosquitoes. One of the most promising strategies has been infecting swarms of mosquitoes with Wolbachia, a bacteria that naturally blocks the transmission of dengue fever and is passed on over generations of mosquitoes. But in order to further this research, Dr. Stott-Ross has to monitor thousands of blood-sucking bugs, and as part of that monitoring he offers his own arm as an all-you-can-eat buffet…

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This Remarkable Beetle Can Somehow Survive Being Eaten by Frogs

Scientists recently discovered that a species of tiny water beetles can live through being eaten by a frog by somehow surviving a journey through its gut and simply exiting through the butt hole.

Until this week, Regimbartia attenuata was just another species of water beetle, but ever since a study on its astonishing survival skills came out on Monday, it’s been making headlines in mainstream media outlets around the world. And for good reason, as there aren’t many creatures on this Earth that can survive being swallowed alive, journey through their predator’s digestive system, simply crawl out the “back door” and go on with their lives as if they didn’t just pull off a Houdini-like magic trick.

Regimbartia attenuata were the subject of an unusual study carried out by Shinji Sugiura, an associate professor in the department of agrobioscience at Kobe University in Japan. He put the tiny beetles in the same laboratory bin with specimens from five different frog species, and the little bugs managed to crawl out the frogs’ “vents” in the vast majority of experiments.

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Parasitic Wasp Turns Its Helpless Host Into a Bodyguard for Its Eggs

Thyrinteina leucocerae, the caterpillar of the geometer moth, is targeted as a host for a species of parasitoid wasp that can lay up to 80 eggs inside its body. The caterpillar’s reward is a job as bodyguard for the very parasites growing inside it and a slow, agonizing death.

The Glyptapanteles wasp is one of nature’s most fascinating and, at the same time, terrifying body-snatchers. Not only does its lay dozens of eggs into caterpillar hosts, but scientists claim that the insect can somehow change the behavior of the host, turning into a mindless bodyguard whose only mission is to protect the wasp’s eggs against predators. Once the wasp grubs hatch out of its body and begin to spin their pupae, the caterpillar stops moving, stops eating, gets on its hind legs and goes into statue mode. But at the slightest threat for the wasp “babies”, it starts swinging its head violently to drive predators away.

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World’s Largest Soaring Bird Can Fly 100 Miles Without Flapping Its Wings

According to a fascinating new study, the Andean condor spend almost all of their flying time in soaring mode, flapping their wings only 1.3 percent of the time.

Weighing up to about 16 kilograms and with a wingspan of roughly 3.3 meters, the condor is the largest flying bird in the world by combined measurement of weight and wingspan. With that in mind, it’s almost impossible to believe that it can stay airborne for at least five hours and cover a distance of over 100 miles without flapping its enormous wings once. But that was the most interesting finding of a study published by researchers at the University of Swansea after monitoring a group of condors for five years.

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The Curious Case of a Man Who Cannot See Simple Digits From 2 to 9

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University recently reported the strange case of a man’s whose rare degenerative brain disease left him unable to distinguish basic numbers from 2 to 9.

After studying an engineering geologist diagnosed with a rare degenerative brain disease called corticobasal syndrome for eight years, researchers published a study which they claim suggests that a brain response to a picture or a word does not necessarily mean that person is aware of it. The protagonist of their research had suffered neurological damage to such an extent that he could not distinguish or reproduce numbers between 2 and 9, nor pictures or words with such digits embedded in them. And yet, electroencephalography (EEG) results showed that his brain was able to properly identify all pictures and words, even id he wasn’t aware of it.

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Concerning Number of Americans Drinking and Gurgling Bleach to Prevent Covid-19

The results of a recently-published survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggest that 39 percent of Americans are using bleach and other high-risk cleaners in improper ways in order to prevent getting infected with the novel coronavirus.

After noticing an unusual spike in calls to poison control center about harmful exposures to household cleaning agents like bleach back in April, CDC researchers assumed the phenomenon was linked to the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection. But in order to get a clearer picture of the situation, the agency conducted an online survey regarding household cleaning knowledge and practices, and got some pretty unexpected results. It turns out some people intentionally gurgle bleach or inhale disinfectant fumes in order to prevent Covid-19.

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Scientists Create Alien-Looking Bioluminescent Plants Reminiscent of ‘Avatar’ Jungles

Stunning-looking luminescent plants have become popular in science-fiction and fantasy films in recent years, but if the recent achievement of an international team of scientists is any indication, self-sustaining bioluminescent plants are already a reality.

In 2017, MIT researchers announced an important breakthrough in their quest to make plants that glow in the dark a reality, but their Plant Nanobionics only made watercress leaves dimly glow for about 3.5 hours. Late last month, a team of 27 scientists published a groundbreaking study documenting their ability to genetically tweak virtually any type of plant and make it sustainably luminescent throughout its entire life cycle. By inserting DNA obtained from bioluminescent mushrooms into the DNA sequence of plants, they managed to create plants that glow orders of magnitude brighter than previously possible.

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Swiss Scientists Create Shimmering Rainbow Chocolate

A group of scientists from ETH Zurich and FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland recently filed a patent for a process that makes chocolates shimmer in rainbow colors without using food coloring.

The story of shimmering rainbow chocolate began on the corridors of a university building, when food scientist Patrick Rühs, materials scientist Etienne Jeoffroy and physicist Henning Galinski started chatting about chocolate during their coffee break. The main focus of their discussion is whether it would be possible to make chocolate in other colors than brown and white, and if so, how. Intrigued by the complexity of the topic, they started looking into chocolate, its properties and what makes it brown. Then they started conducting playful experiments in the kitchen of ETH University.

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ZBiotics – A Probiotic Drink Genetically Engineered to Prevent Hangovers

We humans have been looking for an effective way to prevent or at least treat hangovers for a long time, but one Silicone Valley startup claims to have finally found a way to ease the uncomfortable side effects of drinking.

Zbiotics is the world’s first genetically modified probiotic. It’s not marketed as an explicit cure for hangovers, because they include a wide variety of negative side effects; Downing a small bottle of Zbiotics before your first alcoholic drink of the night has a very specific purpose – to help your body break down acetaldehyde, a by-product of metabolizing ethanol. It’s this toxic compound that is associated with known hangover symptoms like headache, nausea, and heart palpitations.

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