The perceived size of your hand affects how intensely your hand feels pain, according to a new study.
A paper published in Neuropsychologia details the results of an experiment in which each participant was subjected to a pinprick-like sensation on one fingertip. The researchers used a lens to modify the size of the hand receiving the painful stimulus to look larger or smaller than normal in some of the experiments. They compared these responses to the pain response in the participants’ unmodified hand.
When the participants viewed their hand under a magnifying glass, they responded less intensely to the actual pain than in their unmodified hand. However, they anticipated the pain more when their hand was enlarged.
The shale gas boom has transformed the energy landscape in the U.S., but in some drier locations, it could cause conflict among the energy industry, residents and agricultural interests over already-scarce water resources, say researchers. They add that degraded water quality is a potential risk unless there are adequate safeguards. The feature article appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The Iron Curtain was traced by an electrified barbed-wire fence that isolated the communist world from the West.
It was an impenetrable Cold War barrier — and for some inhabitants of the Czech Republic it still is. Deer still balk at crossing the border with Germany even though the physical fence came down a quarter century ago, new studies show.
Trips down memory lane are now available on Google’s digital maps. The new twist on time travel is debuting today as part of the “Street View” feature in Google’s maps, a navigational tool that attracts more than 1 billion visitors each month.
Street View snapshots will now include an option to see what neighborhoods and landmarks looked like at different periods in the last seven years, as Google Inc. has been dispatching camera-toting cars to take street-level pictures for its maps.
A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision.
Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a teenager, Pontz has been almost completely blind for years. Now, thanks to a high-tech procedure that involved the surgical implantation of a “bionic eye,” he’s regained enough of his sight to catch small glimpses of his wife, grandson and cat.
A Queensland Univ. of Technology Senior Lecturer in Physics, Stephen Hughes, sparked controversy over how a humble siphon worked when he noticed an incorrect definition in the prestigious Oxford English Dictionary.
In 2010, eagle-eyed Hughes spotted the mistake that had gone unnoticed for 99 years: the OED incorrectly described atmospheric pressure, rather than gravity, as the operating force in a siphon. Hughes demonstrated the science of siphons in a paper published yesterday in Nature Publishing Group journal Scientific Reports.
Today in Lab History: April 23, 1981- Artificial Skin
On April 23, 1981, artificial skin was first transplanted in the U.S. on patients at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. The combination of cowhide, shark cartilage and plastic was developed by Ioannis Yannas and a research team at MIT. This material makes possible the treatment of burn patients whose injuries might otherwise be fatal.
Nanostructures Trap Photons in Ultrathin Solar Cells
In the quest to make sun power more competitive, researchers are designing ultrathin solar cells that cut material costs. At the same time, they’re keeping these thin cells efficient by sculpting their surfaces with photovoltaic nanostructures that behave like a molecular hall of mirrors.
“We want to make sure light spends more quality time inside a solar cell,” says Mark Brongersma, a professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford and co-author of a review article in Nature Materials.
The amount of research data being generated is currently increasing at an annual rate of 30 percent. As scientific data output grows even further, effective data organization is not only going to become more important, but also more difficult.
One study has found that 80 percent of scientific data is lost within two decades and the odds of sourcing datasets decline by 17 percent each year. If data continues to be poorly managed, science will ultimately suffer, with experiments being hard to replicate, findings called into question, papers retracted and careers impacted.
By combining the powers of two single-atom-thick carbon structures, researchers at the George Washington Univ.’s Micro-propulsion and Nanotechnology Laboratory have created a new ultracapacitor that is both high performance and low cost. The device, described in the American Institute of Physics’ Journal of Applied Physics, capitalizes on the synergy brought by mixing graphene flakes with single-walled carbon nanotubes, two carbon nanostructures with complementary properties.
Ultracapacitors are souped-up energy storage devices that hold high amounts of energy and can also quickly release that energy in a surge of power. By combining the high energy-density properties of batteries with the high power-density properties of conventional capacitors, ultracapacitors can boost the performance of electric vehicles, handheld electronics, audio systems and more.
People More Aware of Upper Half of Field of Vision
A new study from North Carolina State Univ. and the Univ. of Toronto has found that people pay more attention to the upper half of their field of vision. This discovery could have ramifications for everything from traffic signs to software interface design.
“Specifically, we tested people’s ability to quickly identify a target amidst visual clutter,” says Jing Feng, an assistant professor of psychology at NC State and lead author of a paper on the work. “Basically, we wanted to see where people concentrate their attention at first glance.”
Over the last few decades researchers have characterized a set of clock genes that drive daily rhythms of physiology and behavior in all types of species, from flies to humans. Over 15 mammalian clock proteins have been identified, but researchers surmise there are more. A team from the Perelman School of Medicine at the Univ. of Pennsylvania wondered if big-data approaches could find them.
To accelerate clock-gene discovery, the investigators, led by John Hogenesch, professor of Pharmacology, and first author Ron Anafi, an instructor in the department of Medicine, used a computer-assisted approach to identify and rank candidate clock components. The approach found a new core clock gene, which the team named CHRONO. Their findings appear this week in PLOS Biology.
In the American Chemical Society’s (ACS’) newest Reactions video, scientists explain the chemistry behind marijuana’s high, and investigate what scientists are doing to ensure that legalized weed won’t send users on a bad trip.
A pair of supermassive black holes in orbit around one another have been spotted by the European Space Agency’s X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission, XMM-Newton. This is the first time such a pair have been seen in an ordinary galaxy. They were discovered because they ripped apart a star when the space observatory happened to be looking in their direction.
Most massive galaxies in the Universe are thought to harbor at least one supermassive black hole at their center. Two supermassive black holes are the smoking gun that the galaxy has merged with another. Thus, finding binary supermassive black holes can tell astronomers about how galaxies evolved into their present-day shapes and sizes.
A Univ. of Adelaide mineralogy researcher has discovered a new mineral that is unique in structure and composition among the world’s 4,000 known mineral species.
Published in Mineralogical Magazine, Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences Peter Elliott has described “putnisite,” found in a surface outcrop at Lake Cowan, north of Norseman in Western Australia.