This is a subject very important to me right now. I recently spend some time in a rainy part of Maine, and came back with at least two dozen mosquito bites. They’re finally starting to ease up a little, but I’ve lost a lot of sleep from waking up scratching myself.
I found this article on Slashdot: Neuron Path Discovery May Change Our Conception of Itching. It turns out that itching isn’t really just another form of mild pain. There are separate circuits of nerve cells to convey itchiness and pain, and their studies suggest that itch and pain signals are transmitted along different pathways in the spinal cord.
From Slashdot: Sticky Tape Found To Emit Terahertz Radiation. Reading through the comments, this is more of an interesting curiosity than a practical discovery, but I find the explanation fascinating. Terahertz-range radiation can be used for imaging, like C-rays. Denser objects absorb more of the energy, so looking at the “shadow” from the other side of the object can show hidden weapons, etc. Unlike C-rays, though, terahertz-range radiation does not harm the body.
From Slashdot: Chicken Feathers May Hold Key To Hydrogen Storage. While what they say is plausible (in the MythBusters sense of the word), the original article is from Oregon Live.com, a source I know nothing about.A practical hydrogen car has been elusive for decades. Before the announcement this week by University of Delaware engineers, a nonstop trip from Portland to Eugene in a hydrogen car would need a tank bigger than 100 gallons to store liquid or gaseous fuel, even under high pressure.
Treated chicken feathers work like a sponge. They soak up large amounts of hydrogen and hold it in a small space so the tank can be a conventional size and the fuel won’t need to held under dangerously high pressures….
“It’s the most energy-rich material we have,” says Roger Ely, an Oregon State University professor who specializes in hydrogen, “It’s three times the energy content of gasoline on a pound-for-pound basis.”
Yes, you read it right. According to CNN by way of Slashdot, GM is selling it’s Hummer division to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. of China. They will still be made here for a while, so lots of jobs stay here.
From Slashdot: DJ Danger Mouse Releases Blank CD-R To Spite EMI.
DJ Danger Mouse famously fought with EMI over his Beatles/Jay-Z mashup, ‘The Grey Album,’ and now seems to be battling with the label again. Rather than release his latest album and face legal issues with EMI, Techdirt is reporting that Danger Mouse will be selling a blank CD-R along with lots of artwork, and buyers will be responsible for finding the music themselves (yes, it’s findable on the internet) and burning the CD.
I find it fascinating how many of our largest staple industries are screwing themselves over by not keeping up with the times. The music, auto, banking, telecommunications, and power industries are all in deep kimchee because the world changed around them (their supply, demand, competition, regulations, ecology), and they just stood there and said “This is the way my father did it, and the way my father’s father did it…” Their advisers tell them to cleanse their blood with leaches and stay out of the night air.
From the only news source that matters, I found this article that says this scholar found a 1,600 year old Greek version told by a comedy duo of the day. Only it wasn’t a parrot. It was a slave.
The joke was discovered in a collection of 265 jokes called Philogelos: The Laugh Addict, which dates from the fourth century AD.
Hierocles had gone to meet his maker, and Philagrius had certainly ceased to be, long before John Cleese and Michael Palin reinvented the yarn in 1969.