geek: December 2010 Archives

275x250.jpg What is it with nano-scientists and Christmas? Last year they created the world's smallest snowman - this time it's Christmas cards.

Engineers have produced the world's smallest Christmas card which measures just 200 micro-metres wide by 290 micro-metres tall.

In case you don't know exactly how small that is (a micro-metre is a millionth of a metre) the card is invisible to the naked eye and you could fit 8,276 of them on an area the size of a stamp.

Which means if you forgot to send anyone a card this year, you can always tell them you sent them one of these and they must have lost it.

275x250.jpgNano scientists from the University of Nottingham have produced the world's smallest periodic table by etching it onto a human hair.

Using a combination of ion beam writer and electron microscope, the team carved the symbol of all 118 elements into the strand of hair.

And it wasn't just any hair, it was one plucked from the impressive head of Professor Martyn Poliakoff, an expert in Green Chemistry.

Experts say the etching is so small that a million of the periodic tables could be replicated on a typical post-it note.

Because its Christmas the boffins have also written the message "Merry Christmas" on a snow fragment. Those crazy boffins eh?

Facebook map shows worldwide connections

facebook social connections map An intern at Facebook has used data from the social network to produce an amazing map of the world, visualising where friends live.

Paul Butler took a random sample of 10 million pairs of friends and plotted on a blank screen the city where they live, and the relative position of friends.

This means each line represents the number of friendships between cities and after tweaking the graphics Butler said it produced a "surprisingly detailed map of the world."

While big chunks of the world appear out of the data, down to costal and international borders, others are obviously missing such as China and central Africa… until they begin to like Facebook there too.

275x250.jpgThe sonic screwdriver, as wielded by Doctor Who since 1968, could become soon become a real-life tool, claim ultrasonic engineers.

Boffins at Bristol University say technology has already reached a point where a working sonic screwdriver could be produced.

By operating waves at frequencies beyond the realms of human hearing, they claim they could manipulate objects using ultrasonic force fields.

This would mean a sonic screwdriver could be used to dot things like open locks and undo screws.

So, while it might not be much good for fighting off the Daleks, researchers say it could tackle the other big enemy of mankind… furniture from Ikea.




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