SicariusMan writes "The age old question: do Guinness and other stouts' bubbles really sink, or is it an optical illusion? Well, some mathematicians have figured it out." Full paper via arXiv; From the article: "To analyze the effect of different glass shapes, the mathematicians modeled Guinness beer containing randomly distributed bubbles in both a pint glass and an anti-pint glass (i.e., an upside-down pint). An elongated swirling vortex forms in both glasses, but in the anti-pint glass the vortex rotates in the opposite direction, causing an upward flow of fluid and bubbles near the wall of the glass."
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A lot of us are going to be standing over a grill today cooking for friends and family. Here's an article that lists some of the best gadgets to help you grill like a geek. Whether you want some high-tech tongs, thermometers you can monitor from your phone, or a complete grilling station with wi-fi, there is bound to be a tool here that will make your day easier and a lot more fun.
ananyo writes "Chemists in the UK have made a five-ring polyaromatic hydrocarbon and dubbed it 'olympicene'. The molecule is just a couple of nanometers wide and can be regarded as a little fragment of graphene. Strictly speaking, of course, the molecule might constitute an 'unofficial use' of the motif and land the scientists in court for copyright infringement."
New submitter mrnick writes "Eric Simons, 19 years old, was working at incubator Imagine K2 in Silicon Valley, which was hosted at AOL's Palo Alto campus. His grant money eventually ran out, but his access badge kept working, so he moved into AOL's office. He slept on a couch, took showers and washed clothes in the office gym, and ate for free in the cafeteria, all the while working on his new start-up. He was able to get away with this for two months before being discovered by security guard."
An anonymous reader writes "First we had a superhydrophobic spray that meant no dirt or sweat could stick to your clothes. Then a hydrophobic nanocoating was created for circuit boards to make them water resistant. Now MIT has gone a step further and solved one of the ongoing problems of using condiments: they've figured out how to make a food-safe superhydrophobic coating for food packaging. It means ketchup and mayonnaise will no longer be stuck to the insides of the bottle, and therefore there will no longer be any waste. What's amusing is this seems to be a happy accident. The MIT team was actually investigating slippery coatings to stop gas and oil lines clogging as well as how to stop a surface from having ice form on it. Now their lab is filled with condiments for continued testing of their food-safe version."
ananyo writes "From the Nature story: 'Scientists from Archimedes to Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein are said to have had flashes of inspiration while thinking about other things. But the mechanisms behind this psychological phenomenon have remained unclear. A study now suggests that simply taking a break does not bring on inspiration — rather, creativity is fostered by tasks that allow the mind to wander.' The researchers gave 145 students 2 minutes to list as many possible uses for an everyday object (the creative thinking task). Participants then either rested, undertook a demanding memory activity that required their full attention or engaged in an undemanding reaction-time activity known to elicit mind-wandering. A fourth group of students had no break. The researchers then set the students a second set of unusual-uses tasks and found those that had, in the interim, been set the undemanding task that encouraged mind-wandering performed an average of around 40% better than they did before. The students in the other three groups showed no improvement."
New submitter BLT2112 writes "Inspired by the Oracle of Bacon, the Oracle of Wikipedia finds the shortest path between two Wikipedia articles, as in Wikipedia Golf. As explained in the site, 'One selects one article as the tee and another article as the hole and then completes the course between them clicking as few links as possible. No typing is allowed. . . . The Oracle also allows you to search for the most challenging potential Wikipedia Golf courses. Can you find a longer course and merit a place in the "records" section?'"
lukehopewell1 writes "A Penn State robotics student has gone to the effort of building a working, automated turret from the video game series Portal. Powered by a webcam, Arduino boards and hacked up USB-missile launchers, this is one serious piece of kit that is just as adorable as its in-game counterpart. "
Okian Warrior writes "Tattoo artist Jersey from Dynasty Tattoo (in New Jersey) implanted sub-dermal magnets in his arm to wear his iPod touch like a watch. From the article: '“Those magnets are actually called micro-dermal anchors, and in body piercing they are very common. The tops are actually just 5 millimetre magnetic tops,” he said. “I took the ends of magnets and actually adhered them to the back of the iPod, and that’s how they click into my skin.” He added: “I can go for a run and it won’t come off. I’ve already taken it to the gym and jogged with it on.”'"
Nancy_A writes "An engineer has proposed — and outlined in meticulous detail — building a full-sized, ion-powered version of the starship Enterprise. The ship would be based on current technology, and would take about 20 years to construct, at a cost of roughly $1 trillion. 'We have the technological reach to build the first generation of the spaceship known as the USS Enterprise – so let's do it,' writes the curator of the Build The Enterprise website, who goes by the name of BTE-Dan."
gotfork writes "The world's largest scavenger hunt, covered in previous years on Slashdot, is now taking place at the University of Chicago. The competition is fierce: in 1999 one team build a working breeder reactor in the quad, but only won second place. Items on this year's list include your appendix in a jar (210), a disappearing spoon made of metal (105), a chromatic typewriter (216), a xyloexplosive (33) and a weaponized Xerox machine (83). Check out the full list here (PDF). Not bad for the school where 'where fun comes to die.'" Does your school have any equivalent annual hijinks?
sciencehabit writes "Three years ago, a stone-throwing chimpanzee named Santino jolted the research community by providing some of the strongest evidence yet that non-humans could plan ahead. Santino, a resident of the Furuvik Zoo in Gävle, Sweden, calmly gathered stones in the mornings and put them into neat piles, apparently saving them to hurl at visitors when the zoo opened as part of angry and aggressive 'dominance displays.' But some researchers were skeptical that Santino really was planning for a future emotional outburst. Now Santino is back in the scientific literature, the subject of new claims that he has begun to conceal the stones so he can get a closer aim at his targets—further evidence that he is thinking ahead like humans do."
Big Hairy Ian writes "An American expert in violent self-defense has been excluded from entering the UK by the Home Office. From the article: 'Tim Larkin tried to board a plane from his home in Las Vegas on Tuesday, but was given a UK Border Agency letter saying "his presence here was not conducive to the public good." Mr Larkin, who was due to host seminars, told the BBC the move was a "gross over-reaction." The Home Office said he was subject to an exclusion order. A spokeswoman said: "The home secretary will seek to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good." Mr Larkin — who trained as a US Navy Seal — runs a company teaching combat to military and law enforcement clients in the United States.'"
coondoggie writes "An innovative project, called Autonomous Dynamic Analysis of Metaphor and Analogy, or ADAMA, aims to build a software system that can automatically analyze metaphorical speech in five different languages by analyzing huge quantities of online data got off the ground this week when the U.S. Army Research Laboratory awarded a $1.4 million contract to the team conducting the research. The research is backed by the US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), which develops high-risk, reward research projects for the government, and is intended to build a repository of speech metaphors from American/English Iranian Farsi, Mexican Spanish and Russian speakers. ADAMA could have immediate applications in forensics, intelligence analysis, business intelligence, sociological research and communication studies, researchers stated."
scibri writes with bits and pieces from the article: "From the early 1950s to the end of the cold war, nearly 250,000 animals were systematically irradiated in the Russian town of Ozersk. Fearful of a nuclear attack by the United States, the Soviet Union wanted to understand how radiation damages tissues and causes diseases such as cancer. Now, these archives have become important to a new generation of radiobiologists, who want to explore the effects of the extremely low doses of radiation — below 100 millisieverts — that people receive during medical procedures such as computed-tomography diagnostic scans, and by living close to the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan."