Fingernails and whole limbs
"Biologists at New York University have discovered the nail stem cells that allow us to regrow our fingertips, and they could help us regrow whole limbs in the future," reports United Press International. "Humans and other mammals have retained the amphibian ability to regenerate a lost fingertip – a poorly understood phenomenon until now. When a child cuts off a fingertip, it can sprout back in as little as a couple of months – skin, bone, nail and even nerves – but only if it is amputated before the edge of the nail. For decades, doctors have reported such cases, and not just in children, but in mice. Even elderly rodents are capable of regenerating a paw as long as some of the nail bed remains."
See red, pay more
"The colour red has a strange power over our unconscious minds. … It can trick men into overpaying for 'sale priced' items," says Pacific Standard magazine. A study in the June issue of the Journal of Retailing reports that, in a series of experiments, "Male consumers perceived greater savings when prices were presented in red than when presented in black." The researchers write that: "In contrast, women appear immune to the effects of prices in red, due to their tendency to process ads in greater depth."
Poor in the suburbs
"Moving to the suburbs used to mean having made it – having earned the house, the car, the lawn – and being set for the long haul," says The Boston Globe. "But over the past decades, the suburbs have changed. Dream houses have fallen into disrepair; dream jobs have disappeared. As urban housing costs soared, immigrants with few resources bypassed cities to be closer to suburban jobs, and low-income families moved further out in search of opportunity. Meanwhile, as the economy shuddered, established middle-class suburbanites saw their incomes shrink. By the mid-2000s, more Americans were living below the poverty line in suburbs than in cities."
Librarians on bikes
"A small group of Seattle Public Library staff will be pedalling – and peddling – books on the pavement this summer, thanks to the new Books on Bikes pilot program," says the Library Journal. "Librarians on bicycles are travelling to several outdoor events across the city with a custom-built book trailer that can carry 500 pounds of materials and display 75 books at a time. The bicycling librarians will hold book talks, pop-up story times and information sessions at venues large and small. … The roaming library has a mobile WiFi hotspot which the librarians will use with tablet computers to show visitors how to access e-books."
"Three Czech companies have teamed up to make a prototype of an electric bicycle that successfully took off Wednesday inside an exhibition hall in Prague and landed safely after a remote-controlled, five-minute flight," reports Associated Press. "Looking like a heavy mountain bike, it weighs 95 kilograms. It has two battery-powered propellers in the front, two in the back and one on each side. A dummy rode in the saddle. Milan Duchek, technical director of Duratec, a bicycle frame manufacturer, says more powerful batteries will be needed before a human takes a two-wheeled flight."
Telltale licence plates
"Now that Big Brother is all up in your cellphone and your e-mail, why not your car, too?" writes Hunter Stuart for The Huffington Post. "Under a proposal reportedly being considered in South Carolina, metal licence plates could be swapped out for electronic ones that would give the Department of Motor Vehicles or law-enforcement agencies the power to broadcast messages directly onto the back of cars. Such messages could read 'Uninsured' or 'Suspended' for people who are driving without insurance, or 'Stolen' in cases of auto theft."
Thought du jour
"A man always has two reasons for the things he does – a good one and the real one."
J.P. Morgan, American financier (1837-1913)