"We've known for over 100 years that testing is good for memory," says Kent State University psychology graduate student Kalif Vaughn.
A new study suggests that consuming olive oil may help prevent a stroke in older people. The research is published in the June 15, 2011, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Leading Canadian health and environmental experts today issued a list of the top five ways parents can protect their children from toxic substances in and around the home.
The Vegas Valley Leopard Frog is the only North American frog officially considered to have gone extinct in recent history (c. 1942).
Aldebaran Robotics founder and CEO Bruno Maisonnier demos the latest version of the Nao humanoid robot.
Ed Boyden shows how, by inserting genes for light-sensitive proteins into brain cells, he can selectively activate or de-activate specific neurons with fiber-optic implants. With this unprecedented level of control, he's managed to cure mice of analogs of PTSD and certain forms of blindness.
We’re keeping a close eye on the 100 Year Starship Study, and with the call for papers for its upcoming conference just issued, I want to run this verbatim. DARPA Encourages Individuals and Organizations to Look to the Stars; Issues Call for Papers[...]
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“The purpose of the present study was to examine sex differences in preferences for coffee sweetness. The participants were 59 Japanese undergraduate students. Men preferred sweeter coffee than women, while both men and women showed almost the same preference for acidic beverage sweetness. The sex difference in preferences for coffee sweetness may be related to coffee-drinking habits.”
Photo: flickr/ Marshall Astor – Food Pornographer
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: A rose by any other name: would it smell as sweet?
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: When life gives babies lemons, they make cute faces.
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Optimizing the sensory characteristics and acceptance of canned cat food: use of a human taste panel.
WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ!
If you live in a place where it?s cool and dry, you might not worry about your guitar being damaged or affected by the elements. If, however, you live in a place where the weather varies from hot to cold and dry to humid, or if you travel a lot, the weather may be more of a factor for your stringed instrument. For one former physicist, creating a guitar that could withstand the elements became a passion.
[The carbon fiber is clearly visible on this RainSong graphite guitar's soundboard.]
John Decker, who has doctorate in physics from Cambridge University, spent 10 years developing the graphite guitar - an acoustic guitar made of carbon fiber and epoxy resin which looks (and sounds) as good as the name implies. He started a company called RainSong Graphite Guitars that produces about 700 all-composite guitars a year.
Creating a guitar sans wood that would be durable and sound good was a challenge for Decker and his colleagues. The "sound" of a guitar depends on what the soundboard - the top butternut squash-shaped panel - is made of. Traditionally, soundboards are made from a wood like spruce or cedar. Even the different varieties of wood affect the tonal quality of the instrument.
Choosing graphite for the soundboard was not an overnight decision. Decker and his colleagues experimented first with other materials like fiberglass, which was too heavy, and plastic, which was too flexible. They settled eventually on graphite because its fiber structure was similar to that of wood's and would hopefully mimic the tonal qualities of wood. They experimented with adding other fibers and the proper amount of resin until they got a soundboard that worked.
On the RainSong website, Decker uses physics to explain what gives the RainSong guitar its unique "carbon sound". The soundboards on guitars transfer the vibrations of the strings into sound which then resonates in the body. For wood, about half of those vibrations are absorbed and turned into heat instead of sound. This effect, called damping, is heightened at higher vibration frequencies.
The damping effect from wood is non-linear, meaning it increases at a higher rate as the frequencies increase. This is why the higher notes on a wooden guitar fade away faster than the lower notes.
Graphite, however, doesn't have the same damping properties as wood and the higher notes don't fade away as quickly on a graphite guitar as they do on a wooden one. The graphite is nearly linear and each of the frequencies is damped at almost the same rate. This results in louder treble on the graphite guitar. The linear damping also gives the guitar purer tones by reducing the mixing of harmonics that happens when playing a wooden guitar.
[Big Kenny, of the Big and Rich country music duo, with a graphite guitar. Photo credit: U.S. Navy.]
Decker was inspired to create a wood-free guitar after seeing a guitarist caught in a rainstorm at an outdoor wedding. The guitarist, he said, had to choose between pleasing the wedding party by playing in the rain and sacrificing his instrument or leaving the event to save his guitar.
What if there was a way to make a weather-proof guitar Decker thought, one that wouldn't be affected by changes in temperature and humidity. Those thoughts started him on his decade-long journey which resulted in the all-composite guitar.
For more on John Decker, including how he switched from a career in physics to a life making guitars, check out this Physics Central People in Physics article.
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Be afraid. She could make it to the election for the presidency. The Daily Beast has an excellent article on Michele Bachmann's background, with little hints about how she manages to get elected — she's specifically tapping into evangelical Christian lunacy.
On Monday, Bachmann didn't talk a lot about her religion. She didn't have to—she knows how to signal it in ways that go right over secular heads. In criticizing Obama's Libya policy, for example, she said, "We are the head and not the tail." The phrase comes from Deuteronomy 28:13: "The Lord will make you the head and not the tail." As Rachel Tabachnick has reported, it's often used in theocratic circles to explain why Christians have an obligation to rule.
Indeed, no other candidate in the race is so completely a product of the evangelical right as Bachmann; she could easily become the Christian conservative alternative to the comparatively moderate Mormon Mitt Romney. "Michele Bachmann's a complete package," says Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition wunderkind who now runs the Faith and Freedom Coalition. "She's got charisma, she's got an authentic faith testimony, she's a proven fighter for conservative values, and she's well known." She's also great at raising money--in the 2010 cycle, she amassed a record $13.2 million in donations. (Bachmann's office didn't respond to requests for comment.)
When Ronald Reagan was president, I thought we'd hit bottom and could not possibly get worse. When George W. Bush was president, I was astonished that we'd sunk even lower, but hoped that this was the worst we could get. President Michele Bachmann is the nightmare that exceeds even that.Read the comments on this post...