Feb 02,2007 00:00
WHAT IS IT? ANSWER
This is one of the first images of the sun's surface caught by NASA's STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatories) telescopes. The images were taken Dec. 4, 2006.
This release, called a coronal mass ejection, has a force comparable to a billion megaton nuclear bombs. When the charged particles and X-rays bombard the Earth, they can disrupt communications and power systems and pose a threat to satellites and astronauts in space.
A Japanese company has developed a robot capable of chemically analyzing and identifying foods and drinks. However, when presented with human flesh, the robot thought it was prosciutto.
Can you identify the phrases below?
"It is a bit like if your kidneys fail and you go on dialysis. Who would refuse dialysis if death is the alternative?"
- James Lovelock, (pictured) father of the Gaia hypothesis, on efforts to halt global warming. The Gaia hypothesis posits that all life on Earth is connected, forming a single, complex system that, if healthy, keeps the planet habitable.
Why do days break but never fall, while nights fall but never break?
BRAIN SWEAT ANSWER
1. Wise guy
2. Up in smoke
3. In complete control
75 - Years that elapsed between the awarding of U.S. patents No. 1 and No. 1 million
6 - Years that elapsed between patents No. 6 million and No. 7 million, awarded in 2005
2.5 - Factor by which male life-scientists are more likely to patent their findings than female counterparts
Sources: Harper's Index; U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Check out some really cool, really strange vehicles, from jet-powered water skis to chairs that walk.
MAYBE IT WAS THE RICH FOOD
Napoleon Bonaparte's ultimate Waterloo wasn't an 1815 battle in Belgium. It was stomach cancer.
American, Canadian and Swiss researchers believe they may have finally put to rest the persistent conspiracy theories about how the famous French emperor died. Applying modern pathological and tumor-staging methods to historical accounts, they conclude that Napoleon died of gastric cancer caused by an ulcerous bacterial infection in his stomach.
The analysis, the researchers say, refutes persistent rumors that Napoleon died in 1821 from arsenic poisoning. His immediate cause of death, they say, was probably internal bleeding.
Writing in the journal Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology & Hepatology, lead author Robert Genta of the University of Texas said Napoleon's cancer was so advanced that even if he had successfully escaped from exile (again), he wouldn't have lived long enough to further affect European history.
"Even today, with the availability of sophisticated surgical techniques and chemotherapies, patients with gastric cancer as advanced as Napoleon's have a poor prognosis," said Genta.