Jul 02, 2015

Watch a stunt driver break the record for fastest mile on two wheels

posted by Larra Morris

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Take this run made over the weekend by Terry Grant, seen above, for example. The stunt driver made the entire hill climb run — more than a mile long — on two wheels. More impressively, he completed it in a Guinness World Record-setting 2 minutes and 10 seconds, which — considering he had to balance the one-and-a-half-ton car the whole way uphill — doesn't seem that much slower than the hill climb record of 41.6 seconds set by Formula One driver Nick Heidfeld in 1999.
via The Verge

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Jul 02, 2015

What differentiates human drummers from machines? Fractals.

posted by Larra Morris

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A 2011 study led by Holger Hennig, a physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, Germany, looked at the differences between man-made music and computer-generated tunes. First, they found that people prefer man-made music, with all its inherent imperfections, to computer-generated, technically-perfect beats. However, they also determined that when songs were digitally altered to include imperfections, listeners still preferred the organically "flawed" songs.

The so-called "humanizing" aspect available in some professional audio software applications adds random miscues in an attempt to make the sound more organic. But when humans make music, their natural divergence from perfection doesn't occur randomly, the research showed. Rather, these deviations create a fractal—a never-ending, self-similar pattern seen throughout nature, such as in the spirals of a seashell or the veins of a leaf.
via Mental Floss

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Jul 02, 2015

What is the resonant frequency of googly eyes?

posted by Larra Morris

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433 Hz. Now you know.
via Boing Boing


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Jul 01, 2015

Student-designed pill dispenser uses fingerprint scanner to avoid overdosing

posted by Larra Morris

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And you thought that regular pill bottles were hard to open ... a new overdose-proof medication dispenser developed by a team of mechanical engineering students at Johns Hopkins University can't be opened even with the help of a hammer or drill. It does, however, deliver the proper dosage at the proper time, as long as the patient uses its built-in fingerprint scanner.

The prototype device was designed mainly with painkillers in mind. Many people exceed the recommended dosage of such pharmaceuticals, risking both their immediate health and the chance of developing a long-term addiction.
via Gizmag

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Image: Johns Hopkins University

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Jul 01, 2015

A great appetizer can make your dinner taste worse, study says

posted by Larra Morris

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The better the appetizer, the worse a main course will seem, according to a recent study by a culinary scientist and a psychologist. Participants who ate better quality bruschetta didn’t like the subsequent pasta dish as much as those who ate a worse appetizer.

The study, published in the journal Food and Quality Preference, analyzed the reactions of 64 subjects who ate the same main course of pasta with olive oil and garlic but ate different appetizers. Half of them received an appetizer of bruschetta made with high-quality ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, lemon zest, and balsamic vinegar. The other half ate a lower-quality, blander bruschetta made with blended olive oil, dried basil, and no lemon or vinegar. The bruschetta with fresher ingredients was deemed more delicious than the other appetizer—but the downside is that it actually made participants rate their main course as less tasty.
via Mental Floss

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Jul 01, 2015

Blosom, the world's tallest cow, stood over six feet tall

posted by Larra Morris

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This is Blosom, the world's tallest cow. Blosom stands 190-centemeters (a little over 6-feet two inches) from hoof to withers (the tallest part of the back, between the front shoulder blades). Blosom's caretaker Patty Meads-Hanson has had Blosom since the cow was 8-weeks old and said she was even taller and more massive when she was 8-years old. Sadly, Blosom had to be put down last month at the age of 13 after suffering an irreparable leg injury, presumably while leading her team to another basketball championship.
via Geekologie

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Jun 30, 2015

Solar-powered plane takes off on potential record breaking trans-Pacific flight

posted by Larra Morris

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Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered plane co-founded by Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg, took off today on a potentially record-breaking flight across the Pacific Ocean. The BBC reports that the single-seater left Japan's Nagoya Airfield at 18:03 GMT (a little after noon CT) and hopes to reach Hawaii in roughly five days. In total, the flight would traverse 8,200km or approximately 5,095 miles. If successful, the BBC notes the Solar Impulse team will break records for both the longest-duration solo flight and the furthest distance flown by an entirely solar-powered aircraft.

Borschberg and partner Bertrand Piccard hope that the third time is the charm for this endeavor. The plane's first attempt at takeoff in May was cut short by the forecast causing an unscheduled landing, and the second attempt (occurring last Tuesday, June 23) was postponed for similar reasons. According to the BBC report, the team hasn't aggressively publicized its take off today just incase weather conditions again cause an unexpected landing.
via Ars Technica

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Image: Solar Impulse

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