Over the weekend Felix Baumgartner became the first person to jump from the edge of space when he stepped out of his capsule which had been carried by a giant helium balloon to over 128,000 feet (24 miles) above Roswell, New Mexico.


But of more interest to us at Newslite Towers is the fact the record-breaking jump has been recreated with LEGO, we're a bit like that!

The 1 minute 44 second video is said to recreate the amazing achievement at 1/350th the size of the real thing and is complete with footage from the balloon and a bird's eye-view  of LEGO felix diving back to Earth.

The video was created to promote the Model Maker Fair which is taking place in Vienna from 25th to 28th of October.

275x250.jpg Research has discovered that looking at cute animals could actually help boost office productivity.

Japanese boffins conducted a study which required subjects to complete a hand-eye coordination task, 50% having been shown images of baby animals first, 50% having looked at adult animals.

Those who had looked at the cute baby animals consistently outperformed those who had looked at the adult animals. The experiment was then repeated with cute images again winning out.

A spokesperson said: "Results show that participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing cute images

"This is interpreted as the result of a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing."

275x250.jpg The weirdest and craziest scientific achievements of the year have been celebrated at the Ig Nobel Awards, including the discovery chimpanzees can identify each other from seeing photographs of their bottoms.

The annual event at Harvard University celebrates research which makes you laugh and then think, this year this included a Japanese team who created a machine that disrupts a person's speech, by making them hear their own spoken words at a very slight delay.

Also picking up gongs were boffins who studied the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail and those who looked at the liquid dynamics of walking with a cup of coffee.

Medical experts who advise doctors who perform colonoscopies how to minimize the chance that their patients will explode also took home a prize.

But our personal favourites were the team who showed that brain researchers, by using complicated instruments and simple statistics, can see meaningful brain activity anywhere — even in a dead salmon.

275x250.jpg Scientists have discovered that people think men who are carrying a weapon are bigger than they actually are.

Researchers from UCLA asked hundreds of people guess the size and muscularity of four men based solely on photographs of their hands holding a range of objects.

It was found that brandishing a weapon makes men appear bigger and stronger, with boffins concluding an unconscious mental mechanism recognises a threat and makes us think it is worse.

On average, participants judged pistol-packers to be 17 percent taller and stronger than those judged to be the smallest and weakest men.

"There's nothing about the knowledge that gun powder makes lead bullets fly through the air at damage-causing speeds that should make you think that a gun-bearer is bigger or stronger, yet you do," said Daniel Fessler.


An "exquisitely preserved" woolly mammoth has been discovered in a frozen cliff in Siberia, giving a important insight into the animals.


Named 'Yuka' by scientists, the creature is thought have been three or four years old when it was killed lions and humans who took over the kill at an early stage.

Since then it has spent more than 10,000 years it an icy tomb -- but amazingly its foot pads and "strawberry-blonde" hair are still clearly visible.

"Already there is dramatic evidence of a life-and-death struggle between Yuka and some top predator, probably a lion," said Prof Daniel Fisher of the University of Michigan.

275x250.jpg While some scientists were busy trying to cure cancer, others were apparently more preoccupied by the question 'Can trees suffer jetlag?"

Researcher from say that the internal biological clock that gets altered in humans when travelling across time zones, leading to jetlag also applies to trees.

But it's not a wast of time, the team from the University of Western Sydney say their findings could be useful in an era of tackling climate change.

Dr Víctor Resco de Dios said: "If you could move a whole forest from Sydney to Barcelona all of the trees – in fact the whole ecosystem – would likely have the plant equivalent of jetlag.

"The research results provide a much better understanding of ecosystem function and its capacity to store carbon which is essential in an era of climate change and carbon accounting."

275x250.jpg Boffins from Russia and South Korea have signed an agreement which will see them attempt to clone a woolly mammoth.

That's right the researchers hope to go all Jurassic Park and  recreate a creature which last walked the earth 10,000 years ago.

North-Eastern Federal University of the Sakha Republic and Hwang Woo-Suk of South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation will work on the project.

They will start by working with thawed woolly mammoth remains which were recovered after global warming thawed Siberia’s permafrost.

If they are able to restore mammoth cells (after suitable science-pokerey) the eggs will be implanted into the womb of a live elephant.

275x250.jpg There's something reassuring about seeing a boffin wearing a white lab coat isn't there?

Well apparently the feeling is justified, because researcher have discovered wearing a lab coat makes people concentrate on their work and make fewer errors.

The boffins from Northwestern University -- who we assume were wearing their own lab coats -- tested their theory with 58 undergraduates.

The students (half wearing lab coats) were asked to name the colour of a word flashed on a computer screen, while ignoring the word itself.

It was found that those wearing the classic white lab coat made half as many errors.

275x250.jpg Boffins have proposed creating the world's most accurate clock -- a device tied to the orbiting of a neutron around an atomic nucleus.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales say the proposed clock would neither gains nor loses 1/20th of a second in 14 billion years, the age of the Universe.

Because the neutron is held so tightly to the nucleus, its oscillation rate is almost completely unaffected by any external perturbations, unlike those of an atomic clock’s electrons, which are much more loosely bound.

"This is nearly 100 times more accurate than the best atomic clocks we have now," says one of the researchers, Scientia Professor Victor Flambaum, of the UNSW School of Physics.

"It would allow scientists to test fundamental physical theories at unprecedented levels of precision and provide an unmatched tool for applied physics research."

275x250.jpg School children in Birmingham have burst their way into the record books and made science history by taking part in the World’s Biggest Practical Science Lesson.

More than 250 pupils from Bishop Challoner Catholic College took part in the science lesson led by world bubble mastermind, Samsam Bubbleman, and hoped to master the science behind bubble-blowing.

Equipped with bubble swords, and under the watchful eye of an official Guinness World Records adjudicator, they were blown-away with a lesson in gravity and light refraction, producing thousands of gigantic soap spheres and bouncing bubbles.

Samsam said: "Today has been un-bubble-ievable! (oh yes he did!) I can’t think of a better way to celebrate The Big Bang Fair coming to Birmingham than blowing our way into the books of Guinness World Records.

275x250.jpg Men are more attracted to women who wear red coloured clothing… because they think they'll be more interested in having sex, it has been found.

Researchers at the University of Rochester say that in many non-human primate species, female red displays are a signal of sexual receptivity and this signal attracts male conspecifics.

As such they decided to look at whether the same in humans and conducted experiments in which man were asked to rate the attractiveness of women and gauge, on a scale of 1 to 9, if they was "interested in sex."

It was found that not only did men perceive women in red as sexually receptive, but that they  also perceive sexually receptive women as attractive… like we needed a scientific study to tell us that.

275x250.jpg Here's some bad news for arachnophobes. People who are scared of spiders will actually believe creepy crawlies they encounter are bigger than they really are.

Researchers conducted a study of arachnophobes to see how the condition impacted their impression of spiders.

Psychologist Professor Michael Vasey from the Ohio State University had his team recruit 57 arachnophobes who were then subjected to five encounters with live tarantulas.

The suitably scared participants were then asked to rate their anxiety and describe how big they thought the hairy spiders were.

It was found that the more scared people were of the spiders the more they tended to overestimate the size of the beasts.

275x250.jpg Scientists claim the D'oh catchphrase of Homer Simpson could have been one of the first words ever uttered by modern man.

Boffins from the University of Amsterdam say this is because of the way in which our prehistoric ancestors vocal tract was formed.

The shape and mechanics of the mouth and throat meant that while speech would have been limited, the 'u' sound would have been one of the easiest to make.

Dr de Boer -- who studied the hyoid bone of ancient vocal tracts -- says this would frequently have been put together to make 'Duh' and 'Buh' sounds.

He suggests the first words would have been spoken about million years ago… and are not dissimilar to those used by many men today.

275x250.jpg A team of researchers in the US have created the world's lightest material -- which is about one hundred times lighter than Styrofoam.

The new material is said to redefine the limits of lightweight materials because of its unique “micro-lattice” cellular architecture.

That means researchers were able to make a material that consists of 99.99 percent air by designing the 0.01 percent solid at the nanometer, micron and millimeter scales.

"The trick is to fabricate a lattice of interconnected hollow tubes with a wall thickness 1,000 times thinner than a human hair,” said lead author Dr Tobias Schaedler.

275x250.jpg A couple of years ago we made up a April Fools story that iPods get heavier with more music -- so  we approached this story with some trepidation.

But according to respected scientists from University of California, Berkeley, E-readers really do get heavier with each book. Honest.

Prof John Kubiatowicz recently claimed that holding more books on your Kindle does make it heavier -- even though each new book is only as heavy as a single molecule of DNA.

Kubiatowicz claims this is because storing new data involves holding electrons in a fixed place and take up more energy. Personally we preferred our explanation about the ratio of ones to zeros.

275x250.jpgLast year Alan Billis was a taxi driver in Torquay, now he's become the first person in 3,000 years to be mummified like Tutankhamum -- all in the name of a TV show.

Before his death from lung cancer in January, Alan had signed on to be part of a bizarre experiment in mummification, to be filmed for Channel 4.

In a bid to better understand how the ancient Egyptians were able to preserve pharaohs perfectly for millennia the 61-year-old's corpse was put through a variety of special techniques.

Scientists now think -- thanks to Alan -- they've been able to crack the mystery of mummification and say their finding turn much accepted wisdom about the process it's bandaged head.




Beach-goers in Southern California are being treated to a rare light show with waves there glowing bright blue as the crash at night.

The rare phenomena is caused by the presence of a bio-luminescent algae called Lingulodinium polyedrum.

During the day this means the water at San Diego-area beaches appear a brownish red, but at night they look a whole lot more magical.

Boffins say movement of the water causes each organism to flash blue with a chemical reaction - when this happens billions of times as each wave crashes, you get the blue glow.

275x250.jpgBoffins who noticed certain Australian beetles will try to have sex with discarded beer bottles have won a scientific prize.

Entomologists Professor Darryl Gwynne and David Rentz were awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for their discovery about buprestid Beetles.

They'd discovered the male beetle would try to mate with beer bottles -- but only brown ones with bobbly bits on them.

This was enough to bag the boffins the Ig Nobel Prize, which celebrates research which makes you laugh and then think.

Other winners on the night included the team who devised a wasabi fire alarm for deaf people and a group who looked at why discus throwers get dizzy.

275x250.jpg We all know what a meteor shower looks like, we've even seen what they look like from space, but have you ever wondered what they sound like?

Well if so you're in luck, because this audio clip was recently captured by the U.S. Air Force Space Surveillance Radar in Texas.

Boffins say this is the echoes of the Perseid Meteors passing over the monitoring facility which detects, tracks and catalogues artificial objects orbiting Earth

While we think it sounds a bit like aliens trying to make contact, the experts insist that it's not… and point out that we say the same everytime the radio isn't quite tuned in.

200x190.jpgWhile you might think sparrows' birdsong is a relaxing sound of the British countryside - but it's actually an aggressive exchange of insults, it's been claimed.

Academics say the soothing sounds are really more like an abusive rap battle between birds who are showing off and trying to appear macho.

The researchers from a number of Canadian universities discovered that when they're looking for a mate, male sparrows move away from their usual sweet tweeting.

Instead they become louder and more aggressive - often repeating the insulting noises of other birds - in a bid to attract attention and outdo other feathered rivals.

Personally we'd like to know what constitutes an insult for a sparrows, we're guessing it's all 'mother flapper' this and 'cockatoo' that.

275x250.jpg Between 1% and 5% of the population - including certain Bond villains - are said to have an additional nipple… but until recently none were recorded as having one on their foot.

However, that all changed with the discovery of this foot which belongs to a 22-year-old woman and was recently featured in a dermatology journal.

Researchers say the foot nipple is particularly rare because the condition (supernumerary breast tissue) is normally found above the waist.

Unsurprisingly the owner of the nipple-totting foot has chosen to remain anonymous fearing she'd be mocked with people asking her to put her breast foot forward and dodgy puns like that… some people would really milk it.

275x250.jpgResearchers have discovered men with index and ring fingers close to the same size are more likely than men with mismatched digits to have a long penis.

The odd findings were recently published in the Asian Journal of Andrology after being discovered by a study at Gachon University Gil Hospital in South Korea.

Boffins had recruited 144 volunteers who were undergoing urological surgery and when they were under anaesthesia measured their fingers and penis length (both flaccid and stretched).

It was then found that the smaller the difference between the two fingers, the longer the penis -- stretched penis length correlates to erect size.

But before you start staring at everyone's hands, it's worth noting the average size difference between fingers is just 0.97 cm… obviously ours is much smaller.

275x250.jpgCows not only have best friends, but also get stressed when they're not with them, academic researchers have discovered.

Boffins from the University of Northampton say they have found proof that cows are more social than previously thought after conducting a series of tests.

Doctoral student Krista McLennan looked at the heart rate and cortisol levels of cows when in a variety of environments, including a period of isolation.

It was found the cows were more relaxed when with a 'preferred partner' compared to being with a random other cow or alone.

The findings are said to be important to the dairy industry because the stress levels of cows can strongly impact their milk yield… more than whether they are finding something funny anyway.

275x250.jpgThe sound of a whining child has been scientifically found to be the most annoying and distracting noise on the planet.

Researchers from Clark University in Massachusetts discovered the annoying properties of the noise after testing a series of sounds on volunteers.

The subjects were asked to complete a set of math problems while wearing headphones and listening to the various sounds - include a saw, conversation and crying.

It was found that people made the most mistakes - and got the least work done - when trying to block out the sound of a whiny infant.

It's said children are able to make their most annoying sounds between the ages of about 2 and 4 years old… which as the parent of younger baby is a terrifying thought.

275x250.jpg Given how many times boffins have attempted to calculate the formula behind the perfect cup of tea, you'd think they'd already cured cancer.

And now they're at it again with a team from the University of Northumbria this time claiming to have unlocked the secrets of the perfect cuppa.

After 180 hours of research and 285 cups of tea, the boffins say they deduced tea is best drunk six minutes after two minutes of brewing and adding 10ml of milk.

However, we realised the study was rubbish (or that we were tea snobs) after reading that they said a teabag should be used, rather than loose tea.

275x250.jpgResearchers say they've discovered an Amazonian tribe which has no abstract concept of time or dates.

This means the Amondawa people of Brazil don't have the linguistic structures that relate time and space and lack words for "time", "week", "month" or "year".

Instead they only have divisions of day and night and rainy and dry seasons. Also no-one in the tribe has an age and their name changes to reflect their life stage.

The result is that there's never a rush to get anything done and no-one is talking about what will be happening "tomorrow" or "next week".

A team of academics including linguists and anthropologists say they made the find after spending eight weeks living with the Amondawa… though the tribe say it felt like longer.

275x250.jpg Continuing his one-man quest to conquer all environments, Sir Richard Branson has revealed his next target -- the deepest parts of the world's oceans.

Virgin Oceanic will see Branson and fellow adventurers exploring the bottom of the deepest oceans in a specially constructed craft, DeepFlight Challenger, which was designed by Graham Hawkes.

The submersible is built from carbon fibre and has a viewing capsule made from a single piece of quartz which can endure the pressure of 1,000 atmospheres at depth.

Over the next two years the Virgin sub will be used to dive to the deepest parts of each of the world's oceans… and some people said Branson couldn't sink any lower.

275x250.jpgA quite frankly terrifying one-in-five Brits think that the lightsabers used in the Star Wars movies really exist, it has been found.

In a bid to discover just how blurred the line has become between science and fiction the people behind Birmingham Science City decided to conduct a poll.

It was discovered that not only do a fifth of adults believe light sabres exist, but 24% think teleportation technology already exists too.

40% said they were under the impression Back to the Future hover boards exist and half think your memory can be erased like in Men in Black.

The survey also asked people what inventions they would most like to see created. Men wanted time machines or teleportation with women opted for a universal cure for all diseases.

275x250.jpgResearchers say a spider venom which can cause four-hour long erections could help develop treatments for erectile dysfunction.

Scientists say a single bite from the Brazilian wandering spider can have the side-effect of causing long-lasting erections in victims.

A team from the Medical College of Georgia say the venom from the spider - also known as armed spider, banana spider or Phoneutria nigriventer - is a rich mixture of several molecules.

And tests on "erection-challenged rats" found that the venom gave then a much needed boost - a side-effect which has also been observed in bitten humans.

However before you buy a Brazilian wandering spider to keep in your bedside table, it's worht noting other side effects include severe pain, difficulty breathing and possibly death.

275x250.jpgA NASA astrobiologist claims to have found evidence of alien worms inside meteorites discovered from the depths of space.

Dr Richard Hoover says he has discovered microscopic fossils of worm-like bacteria inside three meteorites which landed on Earth.

In research published in the Journal of Cosmology, he claims this proves that life must be widespread in the universe and that we are not alone.

The fossilised space worms are said to have been found in a rare class of meteorite called CI1 carbonaceous chondrites - of which only nine are known to exist on Earth.

Hoover believes his find suggests life on earth could have been seeded by meteors and comets - critics claim the fossils were contaminated after they landed.

Thunder-thighs dinosaur We love it when a new dinosaur is discovered. And when that dino is called something bizarre like 'Thunder-thighs' it's even better.

Scientists in Utah say they've discovered a new species of dinosaur which may have used it's powerful and huge legs to kick predators.

Also known as Brontomerus mcintoshi the dinosaur lived 110 million years ago during the Early Cretaceous Period was the size of a large elephant, and measured 14 meters in length.

Researchers say Thunder-thighs probably had to contend with fierce "raptors" and could have also used its huge legs to fight with love rivals… and anyone who called it Thunder-thighs.

275x250.jpgSports coaches who wear suits on match days and tracksuits on training days get the optimum out of their teams, according to new research.

Scientists from the University of Portsmouth studied the effect a coach's appearance had on the players' impressions of their competence.

This was done by rating the reaction of 97 people to photographs of four different "coaches" - lean and large physiqued men in a tracksuit or suit.

It was found that those wearing a tracksuit were rated best for technical and character-building abilities while those who were suited and booted were seen as better strategists.

This means managers who wear tracksuits when training and suits on match-days, get the best of their teams… but not mater of costume changes will help Mick McCarthy and Wolves.

275x250.jpgResearchers have discovered that Van Gogh's famous yellow sunflowers are beginning to lose their shine, actually they're turning brown.

A chemical change in one of the yellow pigments favoured by Vincent van Gogh is said to be slowly changing the look of his images.

It's been know for some time that the bright yellows which once featured in van Gogh paintings, are slowly fading and being covered by a brown shade, but no-one knew why.

But art boffins have now used sophisticated X-ray techniques to identify the problem, a "reduction" reaction that alters the chromium in the paint.

Using the results, a team from the University of Antwerp have been able to predict how the the images will now deteriorate over time… though they still look pretty good to us.

275x250.jpgResearchers say they've finally solved a 44-year-old mystery of exactly how fleas are able to jump so high… it's all about their toes.

While scientists in 1967 discovered that fleas store the energy needed to catapult themselves into the air, they didn't know exactly how.

For years debate raged between academics as to how fleas harness this explosive energy, but only now has technology advanced enough for them to find out for sure.

Using high-speed recording equipment and sophisticated mathematical models, a team from the University of Cambridge took a close look at jumping fleas.

Analysing the footage they discovered the fleas use their toes to push off and propel themselves into the air… now we know that we will finally be able to sleep at night.

275x250.jpgResearchers have discovered that when a woman is looked at with an 'objectifying gaze" - her mathematical ability suffers.

Boffins from the University of Nebraska conducted their study on the impact of being ogled, by using 150 undergraduates.

After training some of the men to 'visually scan women’s bodies and then to stare at their chests' they were asked to interview them.

It was then discovered the ogled women suffered decreased math performance in the interviews. When the roles were reversed, there was no impact on the maths ability of men.

Interestingly, the objectified women also wanted to spend more time with the men who were looking at them… but that had to wait until after the study.

275x250.jpgScientists say we're one step closer to a Star Trek-style cloaking device... after making a paper clip invisible.

Physicists from the University of Birmingham say they were able to successfully make the paperclip disappear - by using a light bending crystal.

While studies have previous used used meta-materials to hide tiny scale objects, the use of calcite crystal has allowed this to be scaled up thousands of times.

This is said to be the first time an object visible to the naked eye has been made to disappear and was achieved by covering the object with the double-refraction crystal.

It works by bouncing light around the object and rendering it totally invisible to the naked eye… either that or the office stationery thief nicked it off their desk without them noticing.

275x250.jpg Astronomers have revealed what is said to be the most detailed map of the universe ever created - stitched together from seven million images.

The resulting image - which is made from more than a trillion pixels - is so big it would take 500,000 HD televisions to be fully displayed.

While the picture has been released toady by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III, it was originally started in 1998 using a 138-megapixel imaging detector.

Since then astronomers have been scanning the sky to help identify and describe nearly half a billion stars and galaxies.

275x250.jpgArchaeologists say they have discovered the world's oldest winery… inside an Armenian cave.

The 6,000-year-old distillery was uncovered near the Iranian border and included a wine press, a clay vat, withered grape vines and a cup.

Boffins say it was only in such a good condition because the ceiling of the cave had collapsed preserving the find under a layer of rock.

It's said to prove the manufacturing of wine is at least 1,000 years older than previously identified, though no actual wine was found.

Experts added the complete wine production facility would have only been used to produce drinks for ceremonial purposes, rather than a daily tipple. Which seems a waste.

275x250.jpg Surgeons say they have found a new must-have tool which can help them when performing operations… the IKEA pencil.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, experts from University of Oxford and the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford say the humble pencil is increasingly being used in operating theatres across the UK.

It's claimed the little yellow pencils are used because they're better at marking out cuts in the bone for facial and head surgery than normal surgical pens.

However, they say many doctors are surprised when the IKEA pencils are handed out halfway through a surgical case… they probably get worried they are going to be asked to assemble a bedside table.

eyes make people behave better Scientists say people behave themselves more if they are being watched… even by a photograph of staring eyes.

Boffins put up two posters in a cafe telling people to tidy up after themselves, one with a picture of flowers, the other with staring eyes.

The team from Newcastle University then monitored behaviour and measured the impact each had.

It was found the presence of the staring eyes caused twice as many people to clean up as the floral posters.

In other news, students at Newcastle University noticed a lot of eye posters telling them to get on with their dissertations.

275x250.jpg Researchers at NASA say they've discovered a new form of life which is alien to anything else living on plant Earth.

The bizarre bacteria, catchily called GFAJ-1, was discovered in the toxic waters of Mono Lake in California and is able to thrive on arsenic - and incorporate it into their DNA.

This means the bacteria is radically different to all other life on Earth which is made of six components: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur.

Boffins say the new form of "weird life" has huge implications for the search for extraterrestrial life as we now know habitable planets do not need to conform to what we previously thought… that means there could be intelligent life in Birmingham.


275x250.jpgResearchers say they've finally discovered how cats lap up liquids elegantly and without getting wet. And it's more complex than you'd think.

Using high-speed cameras the boffins filmed cats tucking into a bowl of milk and analysed exactly what they did with their tongues.

It was found cats draw up liquid without breaking the surface by brushing smooth tip of the tongue along the surface before rapidly drawing it back up.

This causes a column of milk to form between the moving tongue and the liquid's surface allowing the cat to pinch off the top of the column and drink.

They then carefully lap at a rate of about four laps per second to maintain the balance of gravity and inertia and keep the liquid flowing… dogs just get their face in there and make a mess.

275x250.jpgMen feel instantly relaxed and are less aggressive when they look at cooked red meat, scientists have claimed.

Boffins from  McGill University in Canada conducted a study involving 82 men and found looking at cooked red meat made them significantly less aggressive.

The researchers - thinking about historical competition between hunters - had initially expected seeing meat to prompt aggression between people.

But after using standard aggression measuring techniques they found that looking at images of cooked red meat had the opposite effect.

It's now though this calming effect could be traced back to early humans who would have been relaxed while eating in the company of family members… well they weren't trying to watch TV were they?

275x250.jpg A species of grasshopper has been named as the animal with the world's largest testicles -- in relation to body weight, obviously.

Researchers at the University of Derby (who we assume had a good reason for investigating the topic) say the tuberous bushcricket has testicles which amount to 14% of its body mass.

The boffins claim this makes the record-breaking testicles bigger than any other animals and takes the title from the fruit fly (Drosophila bifurca) with 10.6%.

To put this into perspective the scientists say if the same was true for humans the average testicles would weight the same as six bags of sugar.

275x250.jpg
There's now yet another good reason for dog owners to clean up after their pets -- their waste can be used to create energy.

A dog park in Massachusetts has revealed an ingenious system which uses dog poo to create energy to power a streetlamp.

Dog owners simply clear up after their dog and dump the waste into a steel oil tank on the edge of the park in a bio-degradable bag.

The then spin a wheel to 'stir things up' and generate burnable methane from the bacteria, which is then fed to gaslight street lamp above.

Oddly the idea did not come from an engineer but from artist Matthew Mazzott… though we dread to think what Tracey Emin would have suggested do with the poo.

275x250.jpg Boffins have created a cotton-based material which can be sprayed onto your body to create instant clothes, from t-shirts to trousers.

Fabrican -  literally a fabric in a can - is the result of researchers who have spent years with the aim of developing an instant, sprayable, non-woven fabric.

Spanish designer Dr Manel Torres - who worked with Imperial College London - says the resulting sprayed clothes can even be taken off, washed and worn again.

However, as the material is sprayed directly onto the body from an areosol, it means all resulting garments are skin-tight… and we don't know what happens to any stray hairs which get caught.

275x250.jpg Men who exhibit low stress levels are significantly more attractive to women, university researchers have found.

Psychologists at Abertay University took photos of men and measured their hormone levels before producing composite images of faces with low and high stress.

The images were then shown to women who were asked to judge how attractive the guys were - those with low levels of stress were said to be found much more attractive.

In unrelated news, we would just like to take this opportunity to point out how incredibly relaxed we are about the findings... and life in general.

275x250.jpgExperts claim action computer games can help make players better at making quick and accurate decisions in the real world.

Researchers from the University of Rochester tested their idea by getting a sample of gamers and non-gamers to complete a series of decision tasks.

They were presented with images of dots and asked to identify the direction of the dots' motion.

It was discovered people who regularly played action computer games were able to complete the tasks faster and more accurately than non-gamers.

Please feel free to print this article out and hand it over to your mother when she tells you playing Halo: Reach for 18 hours per day will rot your mind.

275x250.jpgScientists say they have calculated the true price of happiness as £50,000.

Researchers from Princeton University analysed over 450,000 responses to a quality of life study to see what makes people happy.

They found that while a persons life evaluation rose with annual income, happiness stopped rising beyond a salary of $75,000 (£50,000).

After that everyday experiences and things like family and friend relationships have more of an impact than additional cash.

Should the boffins want to test this finding, we are more than willing to put ourselves forward to accept a £100,000 salary… for purely scientific purposes you understand.

275x250.jpgScientists say they've finally discovered science behind why men are able to kick a football harder than women.

Using 10 video cameras, 21 retroreflective markers and 16 electrodes researchers monitored what happens when men and women kick a ball.

They discovered significant differences in knee alignment and muscle activation between men and women, giving men more power.

Male players apparently activate the hip flexors in their kicking leg and the hip abductors in their supporting leg more than females.

Next up the researchers will study throwing like a girl and investigate whether their dad can indeed beat up your dad.

Boffins say they have finally explained the science behind Roberto Carlos' amazing free kick goal against France in 1997.

The goal scored by the Brazilian in the Tournoi de France is widely regarded as one of football's best ever free-kicks.

Some commentators joked it "defied physics" and keeper Fabian Barthez was embarrassingly left standing still and red-faced by the strike.

But while some thought it was a fluke, physicists have now computed the trajectory equation and shown that Carlos' goal was all skill… and science, obviously.

They claim any ball kicked hard enough, with the right spin and from far enough away will follow the 'spinning ball spiral' -- so prepare to see lots of dodgy long range attempts this weekend.

275x250.jpgA bizarre substance known as "dry water," which resembles powdered sugar but is 95% 'wet' water could help fight global warming.

Scientists claim the powdered water will change the way chemicals are used and that it could even be used to soak up greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

Each powder particle contains a water droplet surrounded by modified silica, which prevents the water droplets from combining and turning back into a liquid.

This means it has an amazing ability to slurp up gases, which chemically combine with the water molecules to form what chemists term a hydrate.

Speaking of the find, Dr Ben Carter, from the University of Liverpool said: "We may see dry water making waves in the future" -- Oh Dr Carter, how long had you been working on that one?

275x250.jpgResearchers have discovered a new species of micro-frog on Borneo island which only grows to the size of a pea.

The tiny amphibians - catchily dubbed Microhyla nepenthicola - measure between 10.6-to-12.8mm long and were found in the Kubah National Park.

While specimens are already held by many museums around the world, they have previously been misidentified as juveniles of other species.

Now scientists say the frogs are a distinct micro-species and the smallest frogs found anywhere in found in Asia, Africa or Europe.

In fact they're so small the frogs were only found when researchers heard their "harsh rasping note" call at sundown -- much the same way Cheryl Cole was discovered.

275x250.jpg Scientists have discovered they can make the humble spud more healthy for you... by subjecting it to electric shocks and ultrasound treatments.

The boffins from Japan say the 'potato torture' improves the nutritional content of the spud by boosting antioxidant levels.

In the tests potatoes were blasted with up to 10 minutes of high frequency sound waves and then submerged in saltwater and zapped with a electrical charge for up to 30 minutes.

It's claimed this could eventually be used to turn spuds into a superfood capable of preventing things like cancers and diabetes… otherwise they will be water-boarded too.

275x250.jpgAncient birds once lived in South America which used their powerful beak to jab prey like an agile boxer, according to a new study.

Experts say the ninety-pound flightless bird used its unusually large, rigid skull—coupled with a hawk-like hooked beak—for to fight like Muhammad Ali.

The agile creature - dubbed terror bird - is said to have repeatedly attacked and retreated, landing well-targeted, hatchet-like jabs until it made a kill.

Paleontologists say the birds evolved 60 million years ago and grew up to 7-foot-tall but because they no close analogs among modern-day birds their life habits have been shrouded in mystery.

But after using CT scans and advanced engineering methods to study they bird they know how it operated… and are pretty glad the only had fossils to work with.

275x250.jpgExperts claim humans didn't hunt woolly mammoths into extinction, but that the hairy giants died out because of climate change.

It had been thought the last woolly mammoths died out 4,000 years ago after  years of over hunting by pre-historic humans and retreating to northern Siberia.

But now scientists from Durham University claim their demise was more to do with rising temperatures and loss of vegetation it lived on.

They claim that at the end of the ice age, the grasslands woolly mammoths lived on were replaced by forests as carbon dioxide levels increased.

This left the mammoths with nothing to eat and means trees effectively killed them off… why couldn't they just leaf them alone?

Scientists who analysed video footage of orangutans amassed over 20 years, claim the creatures are able to explain things to each other, and humans, via mime.

The boffins say they found 18 occasions in which orangutans used "elaborated gestures of pantomime" to get what they wanted.

Examples ranged from rubbing a leaf on their forehead and then passing it to a human as an instruction to clean them, to holding an object over their head because the want an umbrella passing to them.

Professor Anne Russon said the finding could offer new insight into the evolutionary origins of human language.

Which is all well and good… but what we want to know is when will the world's first inter-species charades tournament take place.

275x250.jpgResearchers looking at the mathematics behind the Rubik's Cube say that no matter how jumbled one is, it's only ever 20 moves from completion.

After a 30-year study (and borrowing a bit of computer processing power from Google) the boffins have calculated the secrets of the Rubik's Cube.

They have been trying to calculate the 'God Number' of the 1974 puzzle -- the optimal number of steps needed to solve the puzzle.

It's now claimed all 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible starting positions can be solved in just 20 moves.

Slightly worryingly (if you are as bad at Rubik's Cube as we are) this also means there are 43 billion billion ways of getting it wrong.

275x250.jpgPsychological scientists who turned their eye to humour claim they've come up with a formula which explains how immoral behaviour can be funny.

The boffins from the University of Colorado-Boulder say it is all to do with how a violation or threat to the way the world ought to be, can also being benign.

They tested their hypothesis by presenting various situations to volunteers including ones like a firm hiring a rabbi as spokesman for their new line of pork products.

It was found people tended to find situations "seen as wrong" as also being funny. But that this increased when people were not connected with the subject.

People found jokes the funniest when the moral violation seemed benign to them… though the researchers jokes could do with a bit of work.

275x250.jpgChildren who enjoy Popeye cartoons generally eat more vegetables than those who don't watch the classic show, it has been found.

Researchers at Mahidol University in Bangkok claim the type and amount of vegetables children eat can be directly linked to TV shows they watch.

Tests on four to five-years-olds found watching Popeye scoff spinach before beating up Bluto made kids want to eat more greens.

In fact the researchers claim the twenty six children in their study - which also saw them plant seeds and cook - doubled their vegetable intake as a result.

Next up the boffins will study the impact of watching Tom and Jerry on the level of infant frying pan attacks.

275x250.jpgScientists have discovered the 105 million-year-old fossil of a creature which looks like a cross between a cat and a crocodile.

Palaeontologists in Tanzania, who unearthed the previously unknown croc, say it had mammal-like teeth and lived between 144 and 65 million years ago.

It's claimed the find suggests crocodiles were once far more diverse than they are today and dominated ecological niches in the Southern Hemisphere.

Dubbed Pakasuchus kapilimai experts say the cat-sized croc also had a extremely flexible backbone and was much smaller than crocodiles of today

In fact they say it's head would have fitted into your hand… though we're not sure about experts who would suggest putting a crocodile's head in your hand.

275x250.jpgResearchers looking to answer a 100-year-old question posed by Charles Darwin about venus flytraps say the plants are not merciless killers.

Darwin had pondered why, when the carnivorous closed their traps, there were gaps between the 'teeth' at the edge of the trap, which a small creature could escape through.

Now experts think this is because the plant has developed to only kill victims which can offer it more energy than it will use digesting.

Scientists from Comenius University conducted tests on the toothy plants, using high-tech cameras to look at the amount of energy expended when closing a trap.

They had previously tried to make the calculation simply by watching Little Shop of Horrors, but those findings didn't hold up to peer review.

275x250.jpgScientists now believe the iconic Triceratops dinosaur - complete with three facial horns - 'never really existed' and was merely a young Torosaurus.

It had previously been thought the Triceratops and Torosaurus were two distinct types of dinosaur albeit with similar physical characteristics.

But now experts think dinosaur skulls underwent extreme changes throughout their life and that what's commonly known as a Triceratops was simply a juvenile form of a Torosaurus.

John Scannella and Jack Horner at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman say that as a Torosaurus aged its horns changed shape and orientation while its frill became longer and thinner.

However all is not lost for those who grew up as fans of the Triceratops (like most boys) -- as a result of the find Torosaurus will now be abolished as a species and specimens reassigned to Triceratops.

275x250.jpg Simply wearing the colour red makes a man more attractive and sexually desirable to women, it has been found by researchers.

Psychologists conducted tests by getting women to rate the attractiveness of a variety of men and state their willingness to date, kiss, and engage sexual activity with them.

They then digitally altered the colour of the T-shirts the men were wearing and compared the responses, finding men in red were consistently scored as being more attractive.

Those who have been wearing red were seen as more "powerful, attractive, and sexually desirable" said professor Andrew Elliot… who only wears red from now on.

275x250.jpgResearchers say they've discovered the world's oldest creature, the tadpole shrimp, which is the same now as it was 220 million years ago.

Two colonies of the tadpole shrimp 'Triops cancriformis' have been found in Scotland which experts say is a massive wildlife discovery.

The tiny crustacean had been thought to be extinct before it was found at Caerlaverock on the Solway Firth after heavy rain.

The tadpole shrimps live in temporary water pools and when the water dries up the adults die but leave eggs behind which can remain dormant for years.

Comparisons with fossil finds show the shrimp is almost identical now to how it was when dinosaurs roamed the Earth… and boffins double checked by asking Bruce Forsyth.

275x250.jpgResearch into the psychological well-being of pigs has found they are capable of feeling optimistic or pessimistic about life.

Boffins from Newcastle University say the environment a pig lives in can have a massive impact on how they feel.

They came to this conclusion after devising an experiment in which pigs were split into two groups, one half in plush surroundings, the others in basic environmemnt.

Each group were then repeatedly played a note on a glockenspiel with those in the better surrounding given a treat each time, and the others something less pleasant.

Both sets were then played a new sound and those who had lived better lives expected another treat while the others shied away pessimistic about what might happen to them… like find themselves in another scientific study.

275x250.jpg British astronomers have discovered the biggest star ever seen in the universe - a whopping 250 times the mass of the sun.

Using the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope which is located in in Chile they say the star R136a1 is a massive find, in more ways than one.

The gargantuan star is said to shine millions of times brighter than the sun, burn seven times hotter and goes beyond what was thought to be physically possible.

Spotted in the R136 cluster around one hundred thousand light years away it is twice the size of any object ever seen -- which makes you wonder how they missed it for so long.

275x250.jpgScientists have discovered what is thought to be the world's oldest doodle, carved into a rock by a bored caveman over 4,500 years ago.

The etching - which probably bares a striking resemblance to your doodles when you're on the phone - was etched into the rock.

The crude concentric circles can clearly be seen on the 17cm sandstone slab which was unearthed in the Cambridgeshire village of Over during an archaeology 'fun day'.

Experts think the Neolithic rock art could date back to 2,500 BC and might have belonged to a prehistoric Picasso, or it could just be an aimless inscription.

Okay, we are going to say it, does anyone else think the "concentric circles" could be an early caveman attempt at drawing boobs?

275x250.jpgWomen are consistently better at multitasking than men, it has been claimed by psychology experts.

Boffins from the University of Hertfordshire say they've conducted a study into multitasking ability and found women come out top.

While men and women performed equally when they multitasked on simple maths and map reading tasks - as the tasks became harder the women far excelled the blokes.

In one test where people were asked to 'search for the lost key' by drawing on a piece of paper how they would search a field 70 per cent of women performed better than the average male.

However, this could just be because women have had much more practice looking for lost keys... and they know they are actually always in the bottom of their handbag.

275x250.jpgResearchers claim they have discovered a formula for perfect handshake... and it's much more complicated than you would think.

Despite shaking hands nearly 15,000 times in the average lifetime, 70 percent of people say suffer a crisis of confidence every time the lock hands.

As a result experts from the University of Manchester set out to calculate the perfect handshake and a way of repeatedly recreating it.

Professor Geoffrey Beattie came up with a mathematical formula which takes into account 12 aspects of a hand-shake including vigour, eye contact, hand temperature and positioning.

Beattie then converted this to a five-step process and claims his findings mean everyone can now enjoy worry-free hand shaking… if they have a mathematics degree.
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275x250.jpgWomen who struggle losing weight and have pear-shaped bodies are predisposed to suffer from poor memory, scientists have found.

Researchers say women with wide hips are significantly more likely to experience memory loss and mental decline as they get older.

The team from Northwestern University in Chicago conducted a study of 8,745 women aged 65 to 79, testing memory and brain function along with weight.

A connection between brain function and body-shape was found, with each increase in BMI resulting in a loss in memory score points.

At least the study give those women with pear-shaped bodies a reason their diet isn't working -- they probably keep forgetting they are on it.

Researchers have discovered gorillas often play games of tag, in much the same way as school-children in a playground.

Experts say they observed the games - where the apes would hit a playmate and then run away - between infant and teenage gorillas in a series of German zoos.

During the hit-and-run games the apes would swap roles, with the chaser becoming the chased and trying to get away.

Behavioural biologists from the University of Portsmouth say this shows how apes test the limits of what is acceptable behaviour and to test their peers and even their parents.

However, we think it shows our dreams inter-species games of tag could yet become a reality.

275x250.jpgArchaeologists say they have uncovered the oldest written document ever found in Jerusalem, dating from the 14th century BC.

The tiny clay fragment is believed to be part of a tablet from a royal archives and was found in excavations outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls.

Experts from the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology say the 2-by-2.8cm document contains symbols in ancient Akkadian and predated the previous 'oldest' document by 600 years.

Assyriology scholar Wayne Horowitz - who has been trying to decipher the text - says it was in all likelihood prepared tablets for the royal household of the time.

However, so far they've only managed to interpret the symbols for the words "you," "you were," "later," "to do" and "them" -- which could also make this the world's oldest "to do" list.

275x250.jpgTiny telescopes designed to be implanted in the eye to help solve vision problems have been approved for use in the US.

The 'implantable miniature telescope' can be used on people with a specific macular degeneration problem which causes blind spots in their central vision.

It works by magnifying the central part of what a person can see onto a healthy portion of their retina, improving their vision.

But makers say the implant can only be used in one eye because the other will still be needed for peripheral vision.

They added it can take a while before users are able to make a coherent image out of their new vision… which normally coincides with they getting bored of making cyborg jokes.

275x250.jpg Feeding sheep curry spices could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help save the planet, claim experts.

Boffins from Newcastle University say a trial has shown the level of methane produced by sheep can be reduced by 40 percent if they eat certain spices.

It's said munching coriander and turmeric – traditionally used in curries – works like an antibiotic killing off methane producing bacteria in the stomach.

The impact could be huge when considering Defra say there are currently 30 million sheep in the UK, each producing around 20 litres of methane a day… and you wondered what that smell was in the countryside.

275x250.jpg Felix Baumgartner - who plans to do a free-fall skydive from the edge of space - has tested his pressurised space suit by doing bungee jumps.

During his Red Bull Stratos mission Baumgartner will use a helium balloon to float to the edge of space before plummeting back to Earth at speeds of 690mph.

To make sure he is comfortable in his suit, which needs to protect against temperatures of -56C, his team are now conducting a series of tests which have included stepping-off from the actual capsule, high-altitude skydives and the bungee jumps -- carried out in a deserted fairground.

But at just 200ft fall per bungee jump, Baumgartner will have to do 600 to match the 120,000ft he will fall during the actual jump.

275x250.jpgA 245-year-old mummified man has been given a CT scan at a US hospital -- to see what illnesses he might have suffered when alive.

The remains are currently on loan from the Hungarian Natural History Museum to the California Science Center in LA and due to go on show to the public.

But while he's there, experts wanted to conduct a computerised tomography scan to get a 3D record of his condition and insight into the way he lived.

It's hoped the non-invasive scan will show if Michael Orlovits - born in 1765 - suffered from tuberculosis like his wife who was also preserved by the cool, dry air of the family crypt.

There was us thinking hospital waiting lists were a new thing. This poor guy had to wait 245 years -- including the time it took for the tech to be invented.

275x250.jpgCutting edge science is being used to reveal the hidden secrets of some of the world's most famous paintings and uncover fakes, it has been revealed.

The National Gallery has teamed up with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to cast a scientific eye over the Gallery's priceless works of art.

They are now using a high-tech device called a gas-chromatography-mass-spectrometer to reveal how images have changed over time… and uncover the fakes which tricked experts.

An exhibition called "Close examination: fakes, mistakes & discoveries" will now display 40 painting which have had something revealed about them.

The public airing of mistakes includes a painting acquired as a 15th-century work proven to be a 20th-century forgery… you'd have thought the digital watch would have given it away.

275x250.jpg Scientists have created underwear which has sensors printed directly on the elastic and can detect the blood pressure and heart rate of the wearer.

The team from University of California San Diego say their electronic biosensor innovation could lead to a range of life saving smart underwear.

Professor Joseph Wang says the system looks at the biomarkers in human sweat and tears to make autonomous diagnoses.

In the future it's thought the clever pants could even administer drugs -- and maybe say when they need to be changed.

275x250.jpgBoffins have developed a complex mathematical formula which they claim reveals the secret to riding a bicycle.

The formula - which includes 31 numbers and symbols - explains the motion of a bicycle by combining a variety of forced.

For anyone with their maths head on, it states: Inertia forces + gyroscopic forces + the effects of gravity and centrifugal forces = the leaning of the body and the torque applied to the handlebars of a bike.

Or put more simply: If you don’t peddle fast enough to keep moving while keeping the bike straight, you fall over.

Our advise is to just peddle and hope for the best, the last time we got out the calculator and started doing maths while riding, we ended up in a ditch.

275x250.jpgResearchers claim women are more likely to agree to a date with a man if they've been listening to romantic music before he asks.

The French boffins (yes, they even research romance) set up a scenario where 87 women each met an 'average' looking man as background music played.

He then asked them out on a date and it was found those women who'd been listening to 'Je l'aime à mourir' by Francis Cabrel were significantly more likely to say yes.

52% of those listening to romantic music say yes to the date compared with 28% who had been listening to 'neutral' tunes.

In odd news there is now a French psychologist with a very busy social life -- by our reckoning he now has 32 dates lined up.

275x250.jpgThe faeces from Southern Ocean sperm whales removes the same amount of carbon as emissions from 40,000 cars each year, scientists have claimed.

Researchers from Flinders University in Australia say their discovery highlights the important role of whales in removing carbon from the atmosphere.

While it had been thought whale respiration would increasing atmospheric carbon levels, it turns out this is more than offset by their poo, which is rich in iron.

The iron-rich poo stimulates phytoplankton to grow in turn trapping carbon. When the phytoplankton dies the trapped carbon sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

It's hoped the research will create enough of a stink to renew calls for a ban on whaling.

275x250.jpgFrench psychiatrists have diagnosed Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars - who later became Darth Vader - with borderline personality disorder.

Eric Bui of the Toulouse University Hospital says he made the diagnosis after watching the prequel movies and comparing Anakin to diagnostic criteria of mental disorders.

He says the young Jedi matched six out of the nine borderline personality disorder criteria, thanks to his separation from parents, his impulsiveness, violent outbursts and anger management issues.

His illusions of invincibility and crises of identity are also said to have made him a classic example of the disorder.

Suggesting they may be in need of a stint one the psychiatrists couch themselves, the experts even claim with psychotherapy the fictional character may not have turned to the dark side.

275x250.jpg A 5,500-year-old leather shoe - the world's oldest - has been discovered in a cave in Armenia perfectly preserved, and complete with laces.

Archaeologists say the cow-hide shoe dates back to 3,500 BC (Chalcolithic period) and was made of a single piece of leather and was shaped to fit the wearer’s foot.

The shoe is the equivalent of a current size 4 (or EU 37) and it's thought the cool and dry conditions in the cave resulted in exceptional preservation.

Experts say the shoe could have belongs to a man or a woman… though if it belonged to a woman, we would expect them to find another 14 pairs at the back of the cave.

275x250.jpgAnimal experts say lions, tigers and cheetahs have a strange 'obsession' with Calvin Klein aftershave.

Zookeepers from the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo in New York claim CK Obsession stimulates the curiosity of big cats.

Tested against 23 other fragrances - by spraying it on objects in an cheetah enclosure - Obsession was found to hold attention for longest.

In fact, the cats spent over 11 minutes nuzzling up to a tree sprayed with Obsession for Men, compared to a couple of minutes with other sprays.

The results were so compelling Obsession is now used in zoos and wildlife areas around the world… and quite a few nightclubs too.

275x250.jpgSix volunteers have begun 18 months of isolation in a Russian research centre - to see what a mission to Mars would be like.

The men - an Italian, a Frenchman, three Russians and one Chinese man - will spend 520 days in the sealed facility to see if they could cope psychologically.

While in there they will have to survive on the limited rations that would be available on a mission to Mars, and their only contact without he outside world will be email.

The study will recreate a real mission as much as possible, with the centre mimicking the size and shape of a space craft and the team will be given daily roles.

However, given they will not leave Moscow the chances of them encountering aliens it considerably slimmer.


275x250.jpgResearchers have found 80 percent of poker players around the world use drugs and other substances to enhance their performance.

Cocktails of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, valium and caffeine are said to be used by players to get an edge over their opponents.

A team from Nova Southeastern University say that while the substances allow people to play for longer and concentrate more - they can be harmful too.

After conducting hundreds of interviews with professional, semi-pro and amateur player the researchers said short-term and long-term side effects were also being caused.

73% of players had said they used drugs to focus and concentrate better, while the rest used then to calm their nerves and stay awake. Some just wanted to make poker interesting.

275x250.jpgResearchers have discovered some sharks can become invisible to their prey by creating an odd optical illusion.

Emitting light from their body, by regulating the photophores underneath the body, the sharks are able to match the light from the sun.

According to researchers from the University of Louvain, this means the already efficient killers don't stand out as silhouettes to their prey - making them even more deadly.

Lead researcher Julien Claes says that about 10 percent of known sharks are able to glow, and that this could also be used to attract a mate.

We've always worried about being attacked by a shark… but after hearing this will now be glancing even more nervously around the bathroom before getting into the tub.

275x250.jpgResearchers say rhythm and not genre is the key to discovering new music that you will enjoy.

A team from Brazil looked at the characteristics of 400 songs from four musical genres – rock, blues, bossa nova and reggae - specifically rhythmic sequences.

By using hierarchical clustering, a visual representation of rhythmic frequencies, they were able to come up with a new way of defining musical genres.

And they claim this could be used as a better way of predicting a song someone might like based on a list of tracks they also enjoy.

Of course you might like to think of yourself a heavy metal fan and suddenly find out based on you rhythm preference that you will enjoy Girls Aloud.

275x250.jpgFish get scared by looking at their own reflection and  try to fight themselves in a mirror, biologists have discovered.

Researchers compared the behaviour and brain activity of fish during one-on-one encounters with a mirror and another male of about the same size.

The team from Stanford University found male African cichlid were scared when they saw their reflection, and that this fear increased when they realised it was making the same movements as them.

It's said this means fish are actually smarter than most people give them credit for and their brains work in much the same way as humans.

I think we all know someone who gets confused by their own reflection and will pick a fight with it -- especially after a few drinks on a Friday night.

275x250.jpgBoffins have saved the world's smallest water lily - which had vanished from its only known growing spot in Africa - from becoming extinct.

Known as "thermal water lily" the plant, which has pads as little as 1cm in diameter, was discovered in the muddy edges of a freshwater hot spring in Rwanda in 1985.

But recently it disappeared from there, meaning it's only chance of survival was seeds which had been stored at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, but had been difficult to propagate.

However, horticulturist Carlos Magdalena has worked out how to grow the plant by altering the carbon dioxide levels in the water and says it could soon be growing in a cup on your windowsill… well plenty of other things manage that.

275x250.jpg Boffins have used the skeleton of a medieval knight which was discovered at Stirling Castle to reconstruct what he would have looked like.

Forensic anthropologists are now attempting to discover the identity of the warrior, who is thought to have been killed in the late 13th or 14th centuries.

His skeleton was one of 10 excavated from a site at Stirling Castle and it is hoped analysis could provide more information about life at that time.

Tests are now being done to work out whether he was a Scot, an Englishman or even French… and Scottish people are still trying to work out which of the last two would be worse.

275x250.jpgResearchers have found drinking coffee can help people working shifts to make fewer errors at work.

Scientists say those who work shifts disrupt their body clocks and tend to be more tired at work, as a result they suffer increased errors.

Looking at how to combat this they compared the impact of taking caffeine (by drinking coffee or energy drinks) with placebos or naps.

Work-related tests showed those on the caffeine suffered significantly less mistakes and had better memory, attention, perception and reasoning.

In that case we dread to think how many mistakes we would make if we didn't have an intravenous drip of espresso hooked up next to the desk.

275x250.jpgPatients undergoing operations at a Scottish hospital are being given the option of watching DVDs rather than receiving anaesthetic.

Docs claim watching a DVD like of Only Fools And Horses during an operation can distract patients from pain, meaning they need less anaesthetic.

Dr Nick Pace of Gartnavel Hospital had idea after being tasked with trying to reduce the number of people having knee surgery who opted for a general anaesthetic.

It's now suggested patients are numbed from the waist down and watch a portable DVD player to distract them from the surgery sights and sounds.

About half of patients now opt for watching a movie and a spinal anaesthetic rather than full body anaesthetic… but if they started offering popcorn they could get that number up.

275x250.jpgAn Italian doctor claims that he has been able to diagnose the illnesses suffered by some of the people in the world's most famous paintings.

Dr Vito Franco of the University of Palermo says the intriguing smile of the Mona Lisa was the result of very high levels of cholesterol.

He came to this conclusion by studying the details of the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece, where he says he can see a build up of fatty acids around her left eye.

But he has not stopped there, he has analysed a host of renaissance works -- finding that most subjects suffered from one disease or another.

It sounds to us like someone has been watching too many episodes of House. 

275x250.jpg A computer scientist has used a humble desktop computer to calculate Pi to a record 2.7 trillion digits.

Fabrice Bellard says it took his computer 131 days to make the calculation which beats the previous record - set using a supercomputer - by 123 billion digits.

He used a custom program on his PC to work out the gargantuan number which takes over a terabyte of hard disk space to store.

Apparently the number is so long that if you were to recite it at a pace of one number a second, it would take more than 49,000 years… but it would still be more interesting that Celebrity Big Brother.

275x250.jpgWomen have a better sense of touch because of their smaller hands and fingers, researchers have found.

Boffins tested the tactile acuity and sensitivity of 100 students by pressing progressively narrower parallel grooves against their stationary fingertips.

It was found that people with smaller fingers could discern tighter grooves thanks to having more closely spaced sensory receptors in their tiny digits.

The boffins from McMaster University say that this explains why in previous tests women were found to have more acute sensation in the fingers.

It also explains why women who wear extra-large gloves aren't generally that 'acute'.

275x250.jpgBoffins say they have finally cracked the all important Christmas secret of ensuring you win a cracker pull.

They say the formula 0=11xC/L+5xQ - which uses info on the length, circumference, and quality
of the cracker - can be used to make sure you end up with the prize.

Using the formula is said to give a two digit figure between 20 and 55 degrees, the ideal angle below the horizontal at which to pull.

While countless people will be sure to use the calculation to work out the angle with which they need to pull the cracker to get the big bit, it's not exactly be in the sprit of Christmas is it?

'Golden ratios' of female beauty discovered

275x250.jpgBoffins claim the distance between a woman's eyes and her eyes and her mouth are the key to her being attractive.

Researchers say they have now found the ideal facial feature arrangement and ratio which ensures a woman's face will be attractive to other people.

Apparently the space between their eyes and the mouth should be 36 percent of the face's length and the distance between their eyes 46 percent of the face's width.

This means celebrities including Liz Hurley and Jessica Alba have scientifically perfect facial proportions… like we need science to tell us Jessica Alba is sexy.

Wine tastes better in red or blue rooms

275x250.jpgPeople think the same wine tastes better if they are drinking it in a room with red or blue ambient lighting, scientists have found.

German psychologists got 500 people to taste Riesling wines in a variety of lighting conditions.

They asked the drinkers to rate the plonk and say how much they would pay for a bottle as they went.

It was found that the same wine tasted better when exposed to red or blue ambient light rather than green or white light and drinkers said they were consistently willing to pay more for it.

Just don't show this article to the landlord down at your local, he will be putting some red lightbulbs in a hiking the price of his wines.

275x250.jpgSome people really do exhibit 'werewolf tendencies' during a full moon and become more violent, it has been found.

An 11 month research project at an Australian hospital looked at the way in which patients behaviour changed with the lunar cycle.

Scientists discovered that patients were twice as likely to be admitted to the emergency department displaying 'violent and acute behavioural disturbance' during a full moon than any other lunar phase.

In this state they were much more likely to attack staff by biting, spitting and scratching them. It was concluded violence manifested more commonly during the full moon… but there was no growth of fangs or excessive hair.

Next up they will test the Teen Wolf hypothesis that a full moon makes people better basketball players.

Why some footballers are bad at penalties

275x250.jpgBoffins claim they have worked out why some footballers are better at taking penalties, and it's all about anxiety and eye position.

Researchers say that footballers like Frank Lampard and Peter Crouch naturally feel anxious when taking part in a penalty shootout, and that this controls their behaviour.

Anxiety causes a player's eye gaze to focus on the centrally positioned goalkeeper - which in turn impacts they motor control and kick.

The team from the University of Exeter say that this means a shot is more likely to end up at the centre of the goal, making it more easier for the goalkeeper to save.

In that case Chris Waddle (are we showing out age here?) must have a lazy eye.

Scientific formula for perfect parking

275x250.jpgBoffins have created a complex equation which they claim shows the best way of getting a car into a parallel parking space, if you are good at sums.

Maths professor Simon Blackburn came up with the formula after hearing that 57 percent of drivers lack confidence in their parking ability.

He claims being able to park is about understanding the angles and dimensions involved and with that anyone could park their car into a street space. By using his formula he says drivers will know exactly when to turn the steering wheel to fit into the space perfectly.

Obviously there is one mistake in his logic. Their maths ability is the one think most people worry about more than their parking skills.

Why dogs DO make better pets than cats

275x250.jpgResearchers claim they can now scientifically answer the age-old question "Which are better, dogs or cats?"

A team from New Scientist magazine looked at the various benefits of each pet across 11 traits - before coming to a considered conclusion. Dogs are better, but only by a whisker.

While cats came out top as far as factors such as brain size, popularity, noise, senses and eco-friendliness were concerned, dogs pipped them to the overall title.

The pooches were deem to be scientifically better in terms of domestication, bonding, understanding language, problem solving, training and usefulness.

While we are not going to say where we come in of the dog versus cat debate we would like to remind you (and the scientists) what great pets goldfish make?

275x250.jpgResearchers have developed the world’s first motor-powered bionic finger.

The £35,000 'ProDigits' can bend and move like a real finger, and are controlled by the brain signals sent to the nerves and severed muscles.

Makers Touch Bionics say the realistic-looking fingers can allow help partial hand amputees do basic things like point and pick up small items.

The fingers are attached to a silicone skin, designed specifically to fit around a patients hand, and are connected to a wrist strap which provides power and communication.

Patients who have tested the device have given it the thumbs up (sorry) saying it has allowed them to do things they never thought they would be able to do again … like pick their nose.


275x250.jpgThe average Brit will lose their temper after waiting for just eight minutes and 22 seconds, it has been claimed.

A recent study looked at how long it took Brits to reach breaking point in a variety of situations, from waiting for an internet page to load, to being put on hold by a call centre.

Unsurprisingly people were willing to wait longer for friends to show up than the kettle to boil - but the average time was eight minutes and 22 seconds.

After that people admit they tend to 'lose it' with common responses being to shout at someone, cancel a service, walk out or even punch someone.

If you would likes to find out more about the waiting study just hover your cursor HERE and wait for us to take you to the relevant page.

Blue whale songs are getting deeper

275x250.jpgScientists say they are baffled by the fact that Blue whales are beginning to sing in deeper voices.

A recent study found that all around the world the world's largest mammals have changed their sounds.

The lower voices were first noticed eight years ago in California, since then experts have been getting samples from some of the 10,000 Blue whales world-wide.

All the samples showed lower voices than previously recorded, some by as much as 31 percent.

It is not known why the change is happening though some experts suggest it could be because the seas are getting noisier… others think they have just been inspired by Barry White.

275x250.jpgThey wanted to compare how the views of men who regularly watched porn compared to those who had never seen it.

But researchers from the University of Montréal hit a snag… they were unable to find a single man who had never watched porn.

Prof Simon Louis Lajeunesse had recruited and interviewed 20 men about their use of pornography and wanted examine how this had impacted their sexuality.

So he set off trying to find man who had never watched porn - but despite several searches was unable to find any.

If anyone out there knows a man who might be suitable for the study and has never seen any porn we would ask you to contact the Professor… but the man is just lying to you.


Youngsters who exercise have a higher IQ

275x250.jpgYoung adults who are fit and healthy have a higher IQ and are more likely to go on to university, it has been revealed.

Researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy looked at the results of both physical and IQ tests taken by 1.2 million youngsters doing military service in Sweden.

They found a clear link between good physical fitness and better results for the IQ test.

Also those who were fit at 18 were more likely to go into higher education, and many secured more qualified jobs.

"Being fit means that you also have good heart and lung capacity and that your brain gets plenty of oxygen," said Michael Nilsson, professor at the Sahlgrenska Academy


275x250.jpgThe giant Christmas tree in Copenhagen City Hall Square is a mass of hundreds of lights… but only while people are pedalling.

That's because in a bid to be environmentally friendly, the lights are connected to a selection of exercise bikes which generate power as they are pedalled.

As peoples legs spin they light up the tree - and burn a few calories while they're at it.

It is predicted the alternative way of lighting up the Christmas tree will save the environment a total of nine tonnes of CO2 compared to the traditional way of powering the lights.

But isn't it hard to be full of Christmas sprit if you are panting for breath?

Doing a sudoko can help you lose weight 

275x250.jpgSpending an hour each day doing sudoko puzzles can help you keep trim, researchers have claimed.

The experts think battling with a challenging mental puzzle can burn off up to 90 calories for every 60 minutes spent trying to solve it.

While it doesn't exactly compete with the 800 calories you could burn on a treadmill in the same time, it's not bad for being sat at hoome.

It is said that while an 'at rest' mind uses 0.1 calories per minute, one which is being challenged burns through 1.5 calories every minute.

But make sure you don't have a cup of tea and chocolate biscuit while you do the sudoko - that would give you an additional 100 calories to burn off.

275x250.jpgDesigners have created a supersonic car which they claim will be able to reach speeds of 1,000 mph breaking the current land speed record.

The Bloodhound Super Sonic Car will essentially be a rocket with wheels and attached to a Eurofighter-Typhoon jet engine.

It will measure 12.8m-long, weight 6.4-tonne and be capable of travelling faster than bullet fired from a handgun. It will accelerate from 0-1,050mph in just 40 seconds.

The first attempt at breaking the 1997 record of 763mph will take place in 2011 -- after that they might test their bullet hypothesis.


Darwin book worth £60k found in toilet

275x250.jpgA rare first edition of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" is expected to be sold at auction for around £60,000 -- after it was found in a toilet.

The book, one of the first 1,250 copies ever printed, was discovered in an Oxford toilet where it had been left on a shelf.

While going to the loo, the son-in-law of the current owners spotted the On the Origin of Species, and thinking it looked old, gave it a closer inspection.

He then noticed a picture of the spine of the work and as he flipped the book open he realised it was a rare first edition.

At that point (but hopefully after pulling his trousers up) he told the owners who will sell the but at a Christie's auction today.

275x250.jpgBizarre sea creatures including an octopod dubbed Dumbo because of his giant ear-like fins, have been found as part of a deep sea census.

The previously unseen creatures live more than a mile beneath the ocean in pitch black conditions.

A total of 5,722 odd species were discovered as part of the Census of Marine Life - which used deep-towed cameras to give us a better picture of what lives in our oceans.

One such critter was the elephant-eared octopod (pictured) which was dubbed Dumbo of the deep - it is a six-foot-long cirrate octopod which was found on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

Another was the sea cucumber (below) whcih was found at 2,750 metres in the Northern Gulf of Mexico - I think looking at them we can see why they live in pitch black conditions.

SuperCroc was 12m long and ate dinosaurs

275x250.jpgAn ancient species of crocodile which weighed eight tonnes and snacked on dinosaurs has been discovered in the Sahara.

The 'SuperCroc' lived over 100 million years ago and was uncovered by a team from University of Chicago who have led a series of fossil croc hunting expeditions around the world.

But explorer-in-Residence (what a great job title) Prof Paul Sereno says Supercroc was, amazingly, not the oddest remains they found.

The also found a croc with dagger-like fangs, one which fed on plants or grubs - and one with a dog-like soft nose.

The crocs were (very scientifically) given the names, BoarCroc, RatCroc, PancakeCroc, DuckCroc and DogCroc. Click through to find out all about them.

Admin error could lead to fish extinction

275x250.jpgAn 80-year-old admin error could lead to the extinction of a fish species it has been claimed.

Experts say the mistake occurred in the 1920s when common skate were being classified by academics.

In an important piece of paperwork they were logged as a single species 'D. batis' - even though it was known that two existed, 'D. batis' and 'D. flossada'.

This has meant that for the past 80 years they have been fished as one species - resulting in the unmonitored depletion of the flapper skate (D. flossada) the more endangered species of the two.

As a result the risk of extinction is now far higher than previously expected. And you thought your mistake at the office was bad, at least you never wiped out an entire species.

Harry Potter invisibility cloak could exist

275x250.jpgScientists say a Harry Potter invisibility cloak could soon be real after they were given the go-ahead for a £4.9 million project.

Boffins from Imperial College London have been given the money by the Leverhulme Trust after proving that metamaterials can bend, control and manipulate light and other kinds of electromagnetic waves.

They will now work to create these materials - which lie at the border of physics and materials science - which are believed to be the key to invisibility.

It is claimed such a device would grab light as it approaches and forces it to flow smoothly around the cloak instead of striking it - rendering the object concealed beneath it invisible to the human eye.

While we don't pretend to understand the science behind this, we can't wait to be able to spend our days sneaking around under the cover.

275x250.jpgWhen you think cutting edge physics, pop-up books may not be the first thing that spring to mind.

But that hasn't stopped the boffins behind the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva from releasing a pop-up book about their experiment.

The 'Voyage to the Heart of Matter' book by Emma Sanders aims to explain the science behind the experiment in which protons travelling at nearly the speed of light collide 40 million times a second within the heart of particle detectors.

Pages detail how big the 27km tunnels are in relation to Geneva, how the particle detectors were built and readers are even able to build their own ATLAS device - one of the six particle detector experiments at LHC - albeit a non functioning paper one.

275x250.jpgScientists have developed a new test to measure the condition of old books and precious historical documents - on the basis of smell.

A team of academics from University College London say the musty smell of an old book is the result of hundreds of so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released into the air from the paper.

This means that simply by 'sniffing' books it is possible to assess the condition and suggest how a book should be stored to keep it at its best.

It's claimed the new non-destructive "sniff" test could help libraries and museums preserve a range of prized paper-based objects.

The traditional test involves removing samples of the document which causes obvious physical damage… but at least doesn't get you a odd reputation with librarians. 

275x250.jpgBoffins claim they will soon be able to add nutrients, antioxidants and pro-biotics to make ice cream into a healthy food.

A team of ice cream researchers from the University of Missouri-Columbia say their advancements could soon make the frozen food a healthy alternative.

Using the remnants from grapes in wine-making they claim they are able to add things like fibre into the food without spoiling the taste or texture.

Even better they say it works best in rich flavoured ice creams like chocolate where the healthy additives don't impact on taste.

Suddenly parents won't have much to say when their child asks for a side-serving of ice cream with their Sunday lunch.

275x250.jpgThe X-ray machine has been named as the most important scientific invention by the London Science Museum.

A poll of over 50,000 people found that nearly one-in-five opted for the 100-year-old machines ahead of other innovations.

It beat off competition from the likes of the Apollo 10 capsule, Stephenson's Rocket and the Pilot ACE Computer which museum bosses had expected to do well in the vote.

But medical inventions took the top three slots with Penicillin and the DNA double helix coming in second and third place.

A spokesperson for the museum said: "X-rays have radically changed the way we see and understand our world - our bodies in particular." Yeah and they sure beat a photocopier for drunken scanning at the office Christmas party too.

Most depressing day of the year

(Odd News) Scientists have calculated that Monday 24 January is going to be the most depressing day of 2008.

Poor weather, credit card bills from christmas and failed new year resolutions all add up to a pretty depressing day says Cliff Arnalls, a tutor at  Cardiff University.

He has even produced an equation (1/8W+(D-d) 3/8xTQ MxNA) which explains why today will be a dark day for many.


Suicide tree can be seen from space

200x175.jpg
Botanists have discovered a new kind of Palm so big it can be seen from space.

The gigantic Tahina spectabilis, found by accident in Madagascar, grows over 18m high and it's leaves can each measure 5m in diameter.

But the plant has an unusual and spectacular life-cycle, after growing to dizzying heights it bursts into branches of hundreds of tiny flowers using so much energy it dies.

Black is the new black

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Boffins have developed a new shade of black  30 times darker than the current benchmark for the colour.

For years a carbon substance has been kept by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology as the international guide for black, but now scientists have created one so black it absorbs 99.9 percent of light.

Normal black paints, by contrast, only absorbs around 90 percent of light - meaning that most of us can hardly imagine the darkness of the new black.

Whale 'missing link' found

200x175.jpg(Strange News) Scientists have discovered the 'missing link' which proves whales and dolphins are the descendants of land based animals.

The deer like animal is believed to have lived 48 million years ago spending most of its time on land, but diving into deep waters to escape preditors.

While 'Indonyus' might not look like modern-day whales scientists say fossil evidence proves they share key anatomical features.






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