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Gold of many colours

"Scientists in Southampton, U.K., are now able to change the colour of gold, which could have applications in jewellery-making and security features," reports "The technique used by the scientists involves embossing tiny raised or indented patterns on the metal's surface, altering the way that it absorbs or reflects light, thus changing its colour to the naked eye. Nikolay Zheludev, who leads the nanophotonics and metamaterials research teams at Southhampton University, states that gold can now be made red or green or a multitude of other hues."

Rubber egg yolks

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"A woman in Luoyang, Henan province, bought 2.5 kilos of eggs at a low price but these eggs all had rubber-like yolk," reports The Shanghai Daily. "The woman, surnamed Tian, bought the eggs two yuan (32 cents) cheaper than the market price, from a van parked on a roadside. … She boiled a few but found the eggs tasted like 'rubber bands,' the Dahe Daily said. … Food experts said the eggshell was made from calcium carbonate, egg white was made from resin, and the rubberlike yolk was made from some industrial chemical. These fake eggs pose health risks."

Power outages and sleep

"[W]hile extended power outages bring obvious, extreme inconveniences to the waking hours, they could also be wreaking havoc at night," says The Huffington Post. "'You can get your sleep screwed up very quickly,' says W. Christopher Winter, MD, medical director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital sleep medicine centre in Charlottesville, Va. When the power goes out, we see a disruption in zeitgebers, a German word for 'time givers' or those little items your body uses to understand where it is in the day, he explains – things like light exposure, exercise, bathing, social interaction and eating. 'Those are the things that really help your body kind of figure out where it is in a 24-hour period.' "

Driving a 'glass' car

"The terror of parallel parking may be nearing an end thanks to Japanese researchers who have developed a car that appears transparent from the inside, allowing drivers to 'see through' the rear bodywork," says The Sunday Times of London. "When the driver presses a button, a panoramic view of the area behind the car is projected onto the rear seats, including any children, animals or objects such as bollards that may be below the rear window. … Two cameras on the boot lid capture a full view of the scene behind the car. These images are combined by computer and reflected onto the seats to create the illusion that the car is transparent when looked at from the driver's seat."

Having a good sneeze

Why does a sneeze feel nice and a cough doesn't? "Sneezing is a contraction of lots of muscles at once," says BBC Focus magazine. "As they all clench you feel a buildup that would be uncomfortable if it persisted, but it's over in a fraction of a second and the contrast of the sudden release feels great. A coughing fit can be similar, but there isn't the same buildup; it's more protracted. A sneeze also nearly always cures the tickle that triggered it, whereas coughing can worsen things."

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Glow-in-the-dark roads

"A smart road with glow-in-the-dark pavement and illuminated weather indicators will be installed in mid-2013, its designer says," reports United Press International. "Daan Roosegaarde says his design studio has developed a photo-luminescing powder that will replace road markings, charging up in sunlight to provide up to 10 hours of glow-in-the-dark time once darkness falls. … Roosegaarde said special paint would also be used to paint markers like snowflakes across the road's surface, images that will become visible when temperatures drop to a certain point, warning drivers the surface will likely be slippery."

Thought du jour

"What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do."

Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384-322 BC)

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