science: September 2010 Archives

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.

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