Football, frogs, and far far away

Our favorites of the week

[Image Credit from left to right: Alan Light via Flickr, Christopher Austin via National Geographic, NASA/ESA/ESO]
By | Posted January 13, 2012
Posted in: Blogs, Scienceline Staff Picks

From Allison McCann:

Tim Tebow might be getting all the NFL attention right now, but this Popular Mechanics piece highlights the heating technologies used to keep NFL stadiums warm during winter months. Who knows, he might even consider taking a knee for the groundskeepers who keep Denver’s stadium nice and cozy.

Great news for everyone: eating ice cream will prevent cavities! At least according to a new study published in the Acta Odontologica Scandinavica which found that probiotic ice creams reduced the levels of bacteria known to cause tooth decay. Best part of the study: compliance was not an issue.

Next time your phone rings, you could very well feel it vibrating as if it were a throbbing heart or a Harley-Davidson motorcycle revving up. At least that’s the plan for electroactive sensor company Artificial Muscle, who introduced their new technology that produces realistic vibrations for phones and tablets at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

 

From Jonathan Chang:

I love animals of the slimy and scaly variety. So of course I squealed with delight when I saw a frog smaller than a dime. This critter is now the world record holder for smallest animal with a backbone.

Remember how a couple weeks ago, I pointed to Vi Hart’s musings on spirals? Part two is now available, explaining why the Fibonacci series pops up so often in nature.

On a somewhat serious note, you might notice a dip in internet activity on Wednesday. Several high traffic websites, such as Reddit and the Cheezburger network, are shutting down on the 18th to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (or SOPA). Wikipedia is also thinking about joining the cause. Not sure what exactly SOPA is about? Here’s a couple of brief summaries.

 

From Virat Markandeya:

If every star has an orbiting planet, there would be billions of alien worlds in the Milky Way alone. Around 100 billion, but that may be a conservative estimate, astronomers reckon. There may be abundant two-sun planets like Star Wars’  Tatooine as well.

What would a sunset with another sun look like? A University of Exeter scientist has tried to render an accurate image of a sunset seen from one of the first exoplanets to be discovered, a “hot-Jupiter” 150 light years away.

Yeti crab, stalked barnacles and predatory seven-armed starfish.  A hydrothermal vent near Antarctica teems with such exotic life, reports The New York Times. Twenty-three new animal species have been found and more will likely follow.

I need a regular science flick fix. The Sundance Film Festival, which begins this week, holds out promise.

 

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