science: November 2011 Archives

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.

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