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25 Sep

A slew of data would seem to indicate that they are.

According to a report from Popular Science, scientists have not always been entirely sure whether climate change has worsened major weather events such as cyclones and hurricanes. Recently, though, scientists seem certain that global warming has indeed intensified the characteristics of storms.

23 Sep

The new system, developed by masters students at the University of Stuttgart, incorporates drones as an inventive type of architecture that can change its shape as the sun travels across the sky.

The project, known as the Cyber Physical Macro Materials endeavor, is made up of several panels that, together, form a kind of free-standing roof. The system uses magnets to attach one panel to others, and also makes use of built-in sensors, communication equipment, and shading elements.

The panels attach to drones by taking advantage of a communications network that lets them adapt to their surroundings. The system can be programmed to shift and change in response to the sun's movements to provide shade to a specific area at all times of the day. A different algorithm can be used to pick up on the number of people occupying the shaded space so that the drones and panels can again adjust to best keep everyone shaded and cool.

21 Sep

Venom may not be something you’d wish on your worst enemy. However, it could be coming to a drugstore near you, thanks to research studying its usefulness in painkillers. Scientists are studying venom from a variety of organisms for use in treating medical conditions. Since 15 percent of all organisms have venom, researchers have had no trouble finding insects to study as they create compounds for today’s pharmaceuticals.

There are already venom-inspired products on the market, including Ziconotide, which is used as treatment for chronic pain. Ziconotide mimics the venom found in cone snails. Another drug, inspired by venom in the Gila monster, is Exenatide, which is prescribed to diabetes patients. A deadly viper inspired the compound found in Captopril, which treats high blood pressure. Viper venoms are also behind two other blood pressure treatments, ptifibatide and tirofiban.

19 Sep

Scientists are mimicking the behavior of insects while designing a type of silicone that is more adhesive than previous versions. The team of researchers at Kiel University spent time studying the feet of male leaf beetles, which feature a design similar to a mushroom. This design allows them to easily move across surfaces like ceilings and walls without gravity taking its course.

To design their new type of silicone, researchers shaped silicone elastomers into mushroom shapes, then treated them with plasma. They found that the material’s adhesiveness was helped along by the chemical, but the curvature worked with the plasma to better stick to surfaces.

17 Sep

A new large-scale research analysis from the University of Exeter Medical School and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology indicates that people who bathe, swim, or participate in water sports in the ocean have a higher likelihood of experiencing ear aches, stomach troubles, and other kinds of maladies than people who refrain from dipping into the sea.

The researchers found that swimming in the ocean upped the odds of people complaining about general ear ailments by 100 per cent, with the odds of people coming down with earaches increased by 77 per cent. When it came to gastrointestinal illnesses, the odds rose by 29 per cent.

Dr. Anne Leonard of the University of Exeter Medical School said, “We think that this indicates that pollution is still an issue affecting swimmers in some of the world’s richest countries.”

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