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Dining on dinosaurs

"Microbes living in the seabed below the deep ocean are taking the slow-food movement to extremes," writes Stephanie Pappas of Live Science. "According to new research, these microorganisms are subsisting on nutrients first laid down when dinosaurs still walked the Earth. Nutrient-carrying sediment rarely makes it to the deep seafloor at the North Pacific Gyre far north of Hawaii. If a grain of sand falls to the seabed, it will be another 1,000 years before another grain lands on top of it, said Hans Roy, aquatic ecologist at Aarhus University in Denmark and leader of the new study, published [last]Thursday in the journal Science. And yet, an expedition to the North Pacific turned up populations of incredibly slow-living microbes in these depths. 'It's pretty amazing, because if you look at the deepest parts, these are layers that were laid down back when the dinosaurs were walking on this planet, and there has been no input of new organic material since that,' Dr. Roy told Live Science. 'They've been chewing on the same bone for 86 million years.'"

The truth lies in texting?

"Text messaging can reveal more truthful responses to sensitive questions as people are more candid in them than in voice interviews, U.S. researchers say," reports United Press International. "That is the conclusion of a study [that was to be presented last week]at the annual meeting of the American Association for Public Opinion Research. 'The preliminary results of our study suggest that people are more likely to disclose sensitive information via text messages than in voice interviews,' said Fred Conrad, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research."

iPod becomes a wristwatch

"A New Jersey body piercer has implanted metal studs into his wrist to magnetically attach his iPod," The Daily Telegraph reports. "[Dave]Hurban, 21, implanted four small titanium studs into his left wrist and attached four magnets onto the back of his iPod Nano, which allows the device to be secured to his wrist without using a strap. … Mr. Hurban says he was inspired to get the specialized piercings because he has always wanted a strapless watch, and he learned the iPod had a clock interface."

Imperfect computer chip

"Researchers have unveiled an 'inexact' computer chip that challenges the industry's 50-year pursuit of accuracy," reports "The design improves power and resource efficiency by allowing for occasional errors. Prototypes unveiled [last]week at the ACM International Conference on Computing Frontiers in Cagliari, Italy, are at least 15 times more efficient than today's technology. … The concept is deceptively simple: Slash power use by allowing processing components – like hardware for adding and multiplying numbers – to make a few mistakes. By cleverly managing the probability of errors and limiting which calculations produce errors, the designers have found they can simultaneously cut energy demands and dramatically boost performance."

Horse gets spooked

"Maybe he should be named Bob," says The Associated Press. "An Arabian horse named William got spooked during a California beachside photo shoot [last]Tuesday and swam a mile out to sea before rescuers got to him and helped him back to shore. Carpinteria-Summerland fire captain Jay Irwin tells Santa Barbara News-Press that the horse's white head looked like a seagull bobbing in the water. Owner Mindy Peters says the six-year-old Arabian, whose official name is Heir of Temptation, was part of a photo clinic on the beach when it was spooked by waves and ran off. Rescue swimmers assisted by the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol and state parks employees found the horse a mile offshore as darkness fell. By 8:30 p.m. the horse was back on shore in good shape."

Dark matter is hitting us

"The average human body gets hit by a particle of dark matter about once a minute, according to new calculations based on several dark matter detection efforts," says National Geographic News. "Dark matter is an invisible form of material that's thought to exist because scientists have observed its apparent gravitational effects on galaxies and galaxy clusters. Scientists estimate that the mysterious substance makes up almost 80 per cent of the matter in the universe. So far, no one's been able to pinpoint the particles that make up dark matter. But a leading candidate is a theoretical group known as Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, or WIMPs … they typically zip straight through most of the stuff in the universe, including people. But WIMPs of certain masses can collide with atomic nuclei on occasion – and it now appears such collisions might happen more often than previously thought."


"You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings." – Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), American writer

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