The Subhuman project will be both an incredible physical challenge and a potentially groundbreaking scientific endeavor. It also looks really cool.
The sub's design incorporates the dolphin-inspired tail of the Lunocet Ciamillo introduced earlier this year, a monofin that--with a little practice--lets normal people like you and me swim twice as fast as Michael Phelps.
Right there? That extra second? At 6:59:59 p.m. EST, 2008 just got a second longer.
Leap seconds are added to the atomic clock every once in a while, because the Earth's orbit around the sun get a tiny bit slower every year: 0.000017 seconds slower, to be exact, mostly due to tidal friction.
Some people say we shouldn't bother.
People like this fascinate, inspire and intimidate me all at once. I imagine it's like meeting any super-talented and/or -driven individual, like an NFL quarterback or a professional mountaineer. They're just normal people, but their abilities and motivation can't help but put your own--or lack thereof--into ruthless perspective.
That's a katydid that mimics a dying leaf, with stunning accuracy.
Nature never ceases to blow me away. I mean, mimicking a leaf or a stick, or another poisonous or foul-tasting critter, sure. I can dig that. (For the record, the latter is called Batesian mimicry, while two dangerous species coming to resemble each other is called Mullerian mimicry.)
I've seen things like this in the wild, mostly in the tropics: poisonous snakes that look like piles of leaves, fuzzy caterpillars that look like bits of moss but will make you sick as hell for a day if you brush against them.
It usually goes something like this:
It always makes you conscious of how much else you're missing. Lucky they're all tiny. What if there were things that looked just like trees, or hillsides?
If you don't, he'll short out the lights and start juggling the hermit crabs.
Researchers from Montana State University have discovered a fungus in the rainforest of Patagonia that makes diesel compounds from cellulose.
The fungus, Gliocladium roseum, lives inside the Ulmo tree. (Sounds like a Lewis Carroll poem.) It churns out hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon derivatives, which lead author Gary Stroebel has called "myco-diesel."
Producing these compounds directly from cellulose on a large scale could be a game-changer for the biofuels industry.
IEEE Spectrum reports that we're one step closer to conquering paralysis. In at lab at the University of Washington, macaque monkeys have moved temporarily paralyzed arm muscles using "brain-controlled electrical stimulation."
Researching an upcoming article on advanced prostheses, I've come across a lot of fascinating research like this. It's not just the devices themselves that are approaching Steve Austin levels; the brain interfaces are too.
Now you can even buy a video game controller you operate using just your thoughts.