How Curious!

June 17, 2009 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

I’ve collected a few curious (if not downright bizarre) items for your enjoyment. Let’s start off with what will surely become the next action-packed thriller adventure movie starring Samuel L. Jackson – Bees on a Plane.

 No doubt the pilot of a plane at a flight school in Massachusetts wondered if he was appearing in a sequel to Snakes on a Plane, this time starring bees. 10,000 honeybees swarmed the left wing of an airplane at the school (weren’t honeybees said to be inexplicably dying off in the US?). The owner of the flight school called the cops (not sure cops are known for their bee removal abilities). The cops called a bee removal expert who sucked the bees off the wing by using a vacuuming tool and then shipped the bees off to hives (hope they survived the huge vacuum cleaner!).  Experts are saying that the Queen bee most likely was on the left wing and the honeybees swarmed to protect her (that or they all thought they’d hitch a ride). Source: Discover Magazine.

Have dog will travel. If you cannot be parted from your beloved canine even for one minute, no problem. Honda has just unveiled a dog-friendly car, complete with a cushioned dog bed in the boot (trunk), a built-in water bowl and fan and a ramp to assist the senior dog up into the pooch mobile. (Is there a cat version I wonder?). The car also comes with fitted restraints, rubber mats with a toy bone pattern and paw print exterior badging. It will be on sale from Fall 2009 in the US. Americans spend $41 billion a year on their pets so I guess the $20,000+ price for this car will be a breeze for the serious dog owner. Source: Reuters.

One day I have no doubt that we will no longer need to lug mobile phones and laptops around with us. Ultimately, we’ll have electronic devices embedded within the human body and it seems a transitionary step to this is already happening. Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems in Dresden, Germany have created head-mounted display eyeglasses that use eye movements to control what is shown onscreen. Users can influence the information content presented by moving their eyes or fixing on certain points in the image shown.  A chip is embedded in the eye glasses and projects an image onto the retina. The image appears to be at a distance of about one metre. The eye glasses, however, are apparently heavy and cumbersome at this early stage of development in augmented reality. Source: Science Daily. Image credit: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Your cheese-grater could be radioactive: an investigation into thousands of common items like elevator lift buttons, shovels, metal bits on handbags and the humble kitchen cheese-grater shows that these items might not be made of innocent looking metal but could in fact be slightly radioactive. Did you know that the banana is slightly radioactive because it contains radioactive potassium isotope? Better cut down on my banana intake! Potentially radioactive recycled metals don’t need to be tested or reported so they can be used in chairs, airline parts and even in the construction industry.  Perhaps we could just encase ourselves in lead. Source: Discover Magazine.

Don’t Beam Me up Scotty: If you’re thinking of taking one of those civilian space flights that will happen in the future, you might want to think again. Because it will be no Star Trek adventure. The human body is designed to have two feet firmly planted on the Earth. If there’s no gravity, then this is what can happen to you: motion sickness; puffy face-bird leg syndrome (what the? apparently, during launch, body fluids move toward the torso and head. This causes a distended jugular vein, headaches and persistent nasal congestion – charming); muscle wastage; organs and tissues are assaulted by galactic cosmic rays; your bones shrink; your immune system alters; the spine can be stretched; the circadian rhythms and sleep quality are stuffed; and ionizing radiation can kill cells and damage DNA, which may lead to cancer and an increased risk of cataracts.  Even worse, you could return from space looking not so much like the deletable Chris Pine (the new Capt Kirk of Star Trek) but more like a bloated, bald dude. Humans need gravity to look “normal” and long distance space travel will cause bodily fluids to shift eg from the torso to the head so you end up with a “fat head”.  Astronauts on short flights have complained about exploding headaches that make a migraine feel like a slight ache.

Sources: The Star and Discover Magazine.</p

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