Put a powerful magnet against the side of your head and it can interfere with the neurons working underneath. The technique is being used to treat severe depression, but it can also produce some nifty party tricks. In this video, a magnet held to left side of New Scientist editor Roger Highfield's skull interrupts his ability to speak a nursery rhyme. But when Highfield sings the same rhyme, there's no effect. That's because the neurons that control speech and the neurons that control singing are in separate parts of the brain. The magnet disabled Highfield's speech centers, but left his ability to sing untouched.
Is the human gaze a physical force? It sure feels like it sometimes. Princeton University researchers scanned subjects' brains to gain insight into why we subconsciously interpret "other people's visual attention as an invisible, force-carrying beam projecting from the eyes." This isn't about the paranormal investigations into whether you can "feel" when someone is staring… READ THE REST
Christian Stangl (previously here) turned a common process into a gorgeous abstract short film using macro footage of things as they dry out. Life needs water. But this fluid tends to evaporate over time into a gaseous state. Drying out is a chemical process that takes hours, days or even weeks. Without enough water the… READ THE REST
Researchers closely studied the wings of two moth species from China and Africa, and found that their tiny scales form a "metamaterial" that absorbs bat sonar — thus becoming an acoustic cloaking device. Pretty darn cool. The paper is paywalled here, but Nature has a good lay-persons' writeup … The researchers measured the acoustic reflections… READ THE REST
Anybody can just plunk down a cookie-cutter lamp on their desk, plug it in, and be good to go. I mean, it's just a lamp, right? That's true if your only mission is to bring light to an area. But, if you require a little more function and aesthetic joy from your desk accessories, there… READ THE REST
"Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." That century-old quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson (sort of) is just as true today. If you build a better product, offer a better service or create a better infrastructure for customers, then with a bit of time and attention, the world… READ THE REST
Sometimes, you'd really rather just boost the temperature in your bedroom or home office by a few degrees without firing up your central heating and paying to pump that heat throughout the entire house. In that case, you just need a portable heater that can wrap a cocoon of warmth around a relatively small, contained… READ THE REST