science: February 2011 Archives

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.




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