Sweet Wooden Wheels: DNews Nuggets

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March 2

Sweet Wooden Wheels Want a way to remember that neighborhood tree the city cut down? Masterworks Wood and Design has a sweet option. The team takes wood from condemned city trees to build bicycles. OK, the wheels may be rubber, but the frame is all tenderly crafted wood. The result is more than just a way to get around –- it’s art. (8:07 a.m.) via Spots Unknown

on Vimeo.

Iran Voters To Make Ahmadinejad Lame Duck? Today marks the first parliamentary election since street protests erupted over allegations that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election in 2009 was rigged. But "with reformists mostly sidelined and opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi under house arrest, the election will pit hardline factions against each other, all proclaiming loyalty to Iran's Islamic revolutionary ideals," Reuters reported. Making the likely winners loyalists to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Ahmadinejad a lame duck. (6:30 a.m.) via Reuters

March 1

Cat Crazy: Do you own a cat? You might want to read this article, especially if you've been acting … oddly. A Czech scientist is building support for his theory that a known parasite that is passed from cats to humans can cause changes in personality by "rewiring circuits in parts of the brain that deal with such primal emotions as fear, anxiety, and sexual arousal," according to The Atlantic. Humans are exposed to the bug, Toxoplasma gondii, through litter boxes, but also by contaminated drinking water, unwashed veggies or undercooked/raw meat. Infection rates in France are as high as 55 percent because of their love of rare steak. But don't worry; in the U.S., rates are much lower — but still up to 20 percent. (3:20 p.m.) via The Atlantic

Euro McDonald's Fries Up McRib: Making its debut in Austria, a deep-fried version of the McRib, called the McRibster, resembles that country's schnitzel, according to The Week.  "The new version boasts a breaded pork patty that's deep fried, then topped with bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, red onion, honey mustard, and sweet chili sauce, all stuffed into a bun." Fear not fans of deep-fried pork products — the McRibster might make its debut stateside at some point. It has a Facebook page, after all. (2:30 p.m.) via The Week.

Get Smart With Rosemary: Compounds absorbed from rosemary "aroma affect cognition and subjective state independently through different neurochemical pathways," according to a new study. For the study, 20 volunteers performed serial subtraction and visual processing tasks in a cubicle diffused with the aroma of rosemary. Could this be a new tactic for workspaces? (11:45 a.m.) via Psychopharmacology 

Get Smart With Rosemary: Compounds absorbed from rosemary "aroma affect cognition and subjective state independently through different neurochemical pathways," according to a new study. For the study, 20 volunteers performed serial subtraction and visual processing tasks in a cubicle diffused with the aroma of rosemary. Could this be a new tactic for workspaces? (11:45 a.m.) via Psychopharmacology 

No Mars for Canada? Canada haz a sad. Not only was the European Space Agency left in the lurch when NASA had to pull the plug on its involvement with the joint ESA/NASA ExoMars mission earlier this month, Canada had also committed money and expertise to develop instruments for the mission. "The news ain't good. That's the reality," said James Drummond of Dalhousie University, in Nova Scotia, who has spent a decade working on a key ExoMars instrument. "We were all pretty upset." (10:20 a.m.) via @astVintageSpace and The Gazette

HMS Neanderthal: Turns out the Neanderthals might have beaten modern humans when it comes to the high seas. Some tools found on islands off the coast of Greece have been determined to exist only after they were islands, meaning the Neanderthals who lived around the Mediterranean would have to brave the sea to transport them there. Even with this evidence, they might not have been the first; even older tools have been found on other islands in Indonesia, suggesting Homo erectus might have been a sailor as well. (9:45 a.m.) via New Scientist

Got To Move It Move It: How many steps do you take in a day? If you’re an average American, it’s likely fewer than 5,000, or about 2.5 miles of total walking. Guidelines from the American Heart Association recommend taking at least 10,000 steps a day. A new study shows why it matters. A test group of normally active people was instructed to cut in half the amount of time they spent up and about. The volunteers stopped exercising, took the elevator whenever possible and ordered meals in. In their new, typically American lifestyles, these adults experienced blood sugar level spikes after meals when they hadn’t before. These spikes have been associated with a higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The researchers point out that the body quickly springs back from occasional lulls in activity, but over the long term, it’s worth taking those extra steps. See a full DNews report here. (9:20 a.m.) via The New York Times

Costa Allegra Towed Into Port: The powerless cruise liner arrived this morning into the Seychelles after three days in the Indian Ocean without plumbing, showers, lights or air conditioning. Seychelles towing operators are complaining that the cruise liner should have switched from the French fishing vessel that had rescued the Allegra to their own vessels for faster service, albeit at a cost. See a full DNews report here. (5:50 a.m.) via WSJ

Feb. 29

Dive! Dive! Dive! Some time this year, the Virgin Oceanic will make an attempt to dive to the deepest point of the Mariana Trench. This will be only the second attempt to take a human to such a depth (the last time was in 1960). Millionaire Chris Welsh, the driving force behind the effort, wants to rename the super-advanced submarine "DeepFlight Challenger" to "Scarlett" after actress Scarlett Johansson because, well, he considers the sub to be sexy. Welsh also hopes Johansson will model for the sub's mermaid logo. Can't blame a guy for trying. (6:37 p.m.) via Slashdot and IEEE Spectrum

Olympic Rainbow: We're all familiar with the famous video of Paul Vasquez getting enthusiastic over the double rainbow he witnessed in 2010 (watch the DNews "Double Rainbow" video explainer), but I wonder whether he'd let his emotions overflow if he saw the "Global Rainbow" currently shining over North Tyneside, UK. U.S. artist Yvette Mattern has created the multicolor virtual rainbow to celebrate the 2012 Olympic Games in London in 150 days' time. (4:55 p.m.) via BBC News

Back-up Cameras Delayed: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has postponed creating a new rule requiring rearview back-up cameras in all new cars by 2014. That's too bad, because every year, about 229 deaths and 18,000 injuries occur when a driver accidentally backs up over another person. Most of the time, those people are small children or elderly folks. In the meantime, please look twice. (3:44 p.m.) via CNN

Siku Cam Is All You Need: You remember Siku, the baby polar bear who was tasked with saving his species? Well, you can now watch Siku for a few hours a day on this live Siku Cam. (2 p.m.) via the Daily What

Nukeless N. Korea?: North Korea claims it will suspend nuclear activities and impose a moratorium on long-range missiles, the Obama administration says. The North will allow International Atomic Energy inspectors to monitor their promises, the Los Angeles Times reports the State Department as saying. State also said the United States will work with the North to get them a proposed 240,000 metric tons of food aid. (12:22 p.m.) via L.A. Times

Drug Blaze Claims 3,500-Year-Old Tree: The Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement charged 26-year-old Sara Barnes with burning down the 3,500-year-old and 118-foot-tall bald cypress tree named "The Senator." It was a landmark in central Florida and one of the world's oldest cypress trees, local media reported. News reports say that methamphetamine was found on the scene and Barnes has admitted to setting the fire on Jan. 16 while trying to use illegal drugs. She also apparently took photos of the event. (11:30 a.m.) via MSNBC

Give Me Some Lip: When you smile, speak, eat and kiss, your lower lip leads the way. Neuroscientist Gabrielle Todd of the University of South Australia determined that the sensation on a person’s lower lip is much higher than on the upper lip. The extra sensors in the lower lip help guide our brain to control movement. Want to find out yourself? Try making out after the dentist has numbed your lower lip -– it could prove awkward. (7:53 a.m.) via ABC Science

Training Mission Turns Deadly: A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter MH-65C crashed in Mobile Bay, Ala, three miles from shore during a training mission Tuesday night. A rescue team found one Coast Guard member unresponsive and later pronounced him dead and three others are still missing. A massive air and sea search was under way last night, but hampered by fog, and is expected to continue this morning.   (5 a.m.) via Fox News

Feb. 28

Cat for Governor:

A new political contender is taking Virginia by storm: Hank the Cat. Yes, he's literally a feline, wearing a tie, with a campaign — on Facebook and YouTube, anyway. Hank promises to create jobs and put "milk in every bowl." Running as an Independent, Hank meows to bring "real world experience, a unique point of view, and limitless energy" to the governorship. See the entertaining campaign video at The Week. (5:48 p.m.) via The Week.

Xena's Lawless Gets Arrested: Lucy Lawless, who played Xena: Warrior Princess, was arrested with Greenpeace protesters aboard a vessel in New Zealand, her native country. She and the other activists tried to stop an oil drilling vessel from leaving port. (3:48 p.m.) via the Hollywood Reporter

Scooter Science ca.1962: Oh, to be back in Milan in 1962, when machinists and scientists got together to create this wonder of design. This YouTube video not only captures the mood but the science of design as well as the giddy feeling one gets when riding one of these vintage beauties. (3:42 p.m.) via YouTube

Girls Set Slang: Language changes pretty fast, and it seems the girls from "Clueless" might have been on the forefront. We recognize the "valley girl" vocal style — i.e., the "vocal fry" that Britney Spears and others employ, or a tendency to end a sentence by uptalking (as if it were a question? Like this?) — as popular vocal slang. However, new research suggests young girls initiate this slang and spread it like wildfire. Eventually, what we think of as something for younger, perhaps less intelligent girls, makes it to the general populace. It's, like, suuuuuper fetch.(12:10 p.m.) via The New York Times

Red Means 'Go': A woman wearing red may be unknowingly sending a signal that she’s ready for romance. A study conducted by Adam Pazda, a psychologist at the University of Rochester in New York, found that men rate women wearing red clothing as being more interested in sex than women wearing white. (11 a.m.) via Science

Vulcan Beating: In a video apparently from the set of the next J.J. Abrams "Star Trek" movie, Zachary Quinto, who plays Captain Kirk's Vulcan sidekick Spock in the alternate-Star Trek universe, can be seen getting beaten up by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch — who is the current Sherlock Holmes. There have been rumors that Cumberbatch will be the next Star Trek baddie, so unless Spock had been drinking too much Romulan ale and uncharacteristically decided to pick a fight with an innocent Cumberbatch, I suspect this video might support said rumors. (10:25 a.m.) via io9

R.I.P. Oldest Sheep: A blackface ewe, nicknamed Methuselina, was a contender. She lived a record 25 years, 11 months before falling off a cliff to her death in the Scottish Western Isles. Before Methuselina, there was Lucky, who had previously held the world record for oldest sheep, reaching age 23. But Lucky died in a heat wave in Australia. Apart from her sudden, violent demise, Methuselina likely led a fairly good life since, as her owner reported, she had good, strong teeth until the very end. (7:55 a.m.) via BBC

Feb. 27

Diet Soda Bad for the Heart?: Diet soda may not be great for your diet, after all. A 10-year study published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that the daily drinking of diet soda was linked with a higher risk of stroke, heart attack and death. Even after controlling other risks, including diabetes, the researchers found that drinking diet soda daily could still be linked to heart problems and death. (7:11 p.m.) via The New York Times

 

Exercise Your Fish: We've heard that nurse sharks are the Labradors of the sea, but now we have a cat of the aquarium. Check out this video of a puffer fish chasing a laser across its aquarium floor. Guess it won't have to worry about gaining weight! (6:55 p.m.) via Digital Journal

New Eggs for Women?: Dr. Jonathan Tilly is at it again, proposing that women have the biological capability to replenish their eggs, much the way men do sperm. He presented his earlier findings on the subject in 2004 without success, as other scientists could not verify his work. Now Tilly, director of the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, says he and his team have identified stem cells in adult human ovaries, possibly enabling the growth of new eggs. At DNews, we have our doubts and will wait for further tests before putting any of our eggs in his basket. (6 p.m.) via i09

Rough Seas: As we approach the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, the Argentine government is ratcheting up tensions in the South Atlantic region after denying the docking of two cruise ships at Tierra del Fuego, on the country's southern tip. The reason? The ships had paid a visit to the Falkland Islands, an archipelago that remains under the protectorate of the United Kingdom (around 3,000 Brits live on the islands), yet which the Argentines claim as their own. Tension has been rising in recent months as the U.K. dispatched its most advanced warship to the islands, and Argentina has prevented any Falkland-bound supply ships from docking in its ports. (5:45 p.m.) via BBC News

Anchor Kills Internet: The Internet is not as infallible as we have come to believe. A ship dropping anchor off the coast of Kenya pierced an underwater cable in the harbor, cutting off speedy Internet access for Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Ethiopia and a piece of South Sudan. Just how did that cable get down there? Check out the old newsreel below. (5:02 p.m.) via The Atlantic

$100 Tablet: Swiss designer Yves Behar, one of the influential folks behind the $100 Laptop venture, is proposing a $100 tablet. Like the laptop, the tablet will be rugged, solar-powered and designed for children in the world's poorest countries. The organization showed off their tablet, the X0-3, at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. Behar has also designed customizable eyeglasses that could be given free to students in Mexico. (3:08 p.m.) via CNN

Pretty Princess:

The Swedish Royal Court has released the first close-up pictures of the Nordic country's newborn princess, AP reports. Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel's daughter Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary is second in line to take the throne, which is primarily just for ceremonial events. Princess Estelle was born last Thursday. (12:40 p.m.) via Swedish Royal Court and AP

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