Self-healing rubber promises products that mend themselves

A smart rubber that magically binds back together when snapped, cut or punctured has been developed by scientists in Paris in collaboration with the French chemical concern Arkema. The researchers say that the material could lead to self-healing consumer products such as shoes, protective coatings, vehicle fan belts, washing-up gloves, children’s toys and more. Conventional […]

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Polymer surfaces mimic liquids at the nanoscale

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, have found that even when the bulk of a polymer material is solid, its surface behaves like a liquid. This finding has profound implications for applications such as nanolithography in which thin polymer films are used. “The properties of polymer surfaces are very important in any […]

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Blackheath Morris – Easter Monday in Greenwich, 2008

On a beautiful Easter Monday in Greenwich, with a balmy temperature of 2 degrees or thereabouts, and only a little sleet and skin-chafing wind, the Blackheath Morris Men emerged from their winter hibernation to welcome in the Spring. In between a number of pint glass lifting sessions in the Admiral Hardy, the sprightly dancers pranced about […]

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Religion “linked to a happy life”

According to researchers at the Paris School of Economics and the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Vienna, religious believers have “higher levels of life satisfaction”. Study leader Andrew Clark says that believers are better able to cope with life’s tribulations. He also suggests that religion acts as a protective “buffer”, and […]

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Knee-deep in shit, and lovin’ it

They may seem like graceful, majestic birds, but flamingos are in reality disgusting creatures who like to wade around in sewage. In fact they thrive on it, says Leicester University biologist David Harper. Harper has been studying flamingos for the past nine years. Much of his research has been done in and around the lakes […]

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Starlings – strength in entanglement

One sight guaranteed guaranteed to lift my soul from the doldrums where it so often resides is that of a flock of starlings doing their stuff in the sky at dusk. I’ve always been fascinated at the ability of these gregarious avians to fly in such tight and rapidly changing formations. And I gape in […]

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Taming terahertz waves signals next generation of security sensors

A new generation of sensors for detecting explosives and poisons could result from research into terahertz radiation published recently by Bath University chemist Christopher Williams, together with a team of British and Spanish researchers. Terahertz waves lie in the far-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and their frequencies correspond to important energy level transitions in […]

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Optical alchemy turns base metals gold

Using a tabletop laser rather than the fabled philosopher’s stone, physicists at the University of Rochester in New York have turned aluminium and other metals gold, along with blue, grey and many other colours. The breakthrough achieved by Chunlei Guo and Anatoliy Vorobyev follows their previous discovery that randomly organised nanoscale pits burned into a […]

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Multi-modal sensing of molecules

A team of physicists and engineers in the US has demonstrated a way of simultaneously making optical and electronic measurements on the same molecule. The researchers claim that the advance could lay the foundation for mass-produced single-molecule sensors. The study led by Douglas Natelson at Rice University in Houston, Texas, was performed on a device […]

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Hayagriva: a lesson for the Chinese in Tibet

At least 80 people are reported to have been killed so far in Tibet during protests against Chinese imperialist rule. And the Tibetan leader in exile has now accused China of “a rule of terror” and “cultural genocide” against his people. China has been engaging in cultural genocide in Tibet ever since its forces invaded […]

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