24 Feb

That line you see at the Starbucks drive-thru every morning is no surprise, considering the average person in the U.S. drinks 3.1 cups of coffee each day. A new study may have those lines stretching well into the afternoon hours, though, since researchers have found that three to four cups of coffee can reduce your risk of health issues.

Researchers at the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh combined information from hundreds of studies on coffee use and health and noted that when compared to no coffee at all, those who drink three to four cups a day were less likely to develop cardiovascular problems.

22 Feb

Refueling a vehicle while on a road trip often involves pulling over to a nearby rest area, strategically located next to the highway to save people the time and trouble of exiting onto local roads in search of an all-purpose pit stop.

While some roadside stops feature landscaped areas (often for walking pets), most are concrete and steel jungles that travelers understandably seek to exit as quickly and expeditiously as they entered. How much atmosphere can one expect in a place where cars and trucks belch exhaust and drop puddles of oil?

Danish-based COBE architects has created a nature-based solution to the "Why would I actually want to rest here?" dilemma of the modern roadside stop -- at least, for those that are recharging electric vehicles (EVs).

20 Feb

As wearable electronics continue to grow in popularity, demand has grown for batteries that can bend, twist, and flex to meet the demands of the particular item -- whether a smart fabric or a transdermal patch. After all, no one wants to don a smart t-shirt that promises to adjust to the wearer's every move, only to have the item conk out because its battery pack split in half during a set of arm curls.

A team of researchers at Columbia University recently came up with a prototype that provides both the needed battery density and flexibility of movement for smart devices. The Li-ion battery, which resembles the human spine, permits high energy density, considerable flexibility, and steady, reliable voltage despite the ways in which it is flexed or twisted.

18 Feb

If an athlete is caught taking performance-enhancing drugs, punishment often means being suspended for a set number of games, in part in order to ensure the medication is completely out of the athlete’s system. But a new study reveals that short-term suspensions may not be adequate, since the body’s muscles may have the ability to “remember” changes that have been made to them over time.

The discovery was made by a team of British researchers experimenting with the latest genome techniques. The team looked at more than 850,000 sites on human DNA, noting that genes were marked and unmarked with chemical tags whenever changes were made to a muscle, such as through periods of exercise and inactivity. These markings remain throughout a person’s life.

16 Feb

Astronauts spend months on the International Space Station, where they’re forced to collect their waste and launch it into space. But a new discovery could have them putting their poo to good use in creating food.

The feces wouldn’t be directly used as food. Instead, microbes would digest it, releasing methane that could then feed another microbe, providing food for the astronauts who need it. The study’s authors compared it to foods like Marmite, which is a yeast extract that presents as a jelly-like substance.

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