science: December 2010 Archives

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.

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