science: December 2009 Archives

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?




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