Peanut Butter Diamonds, Air-Conditioned Shirts and On-Demand Amnesia

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Tiffany's? More like Jif-any's!: Researchers at Edinburgh University have created a way to make diamonds out of most carbon-based materials, including peanut butter. They create an oddly-named "stiletto heel effect" by squeezing material between the tips of two diamonds, creating pressure greater than at the center of the earth. Besides making diamonds out of sandwich dressings, the scientists also say they could turn oxygen into red crystals. Kind of makes me wish I had held out for more than a cupcake when trading away my peanut butter sandwiches in the lunch room.

Forgive and Forget: The next time you want to forget something, you won't need a bottle of tequila. Scientists at McGill University in Montreal and at Harvard have devised a method to erase or manipulate memories. By injecting a drug known to cause memory problems while a patient is recalling a specific memory, the scientists were able to disrupt the biochemical pathways that make the memory permanent. The scientists say it has already helped lessen the symptoms in victims of PTSD. As of yet, it doesn't appear to have been used Charlie Kaufman style, but there's still time.

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One Mammoth Discovery: In another case of life imitating awesome science-fiction movies, National Geographic reports that researchers are close to piecing together the genomes for extinct species like Neanderthals or mammoths. Once the genome is completed, many think that we could be close to reviving the ancient species. It's a matter of getting the DNA from these species, whether it's from fossils or frozen bodies. It makes me wonder if resurrected Neanderthals will be anything like those GEICO cavemen.
teeth.jpgBuilding a better mouth-trap: Dental materials can be hard to test, since long-term teeth models work quickly and hardly mimic the real human mouth. But researchers in England are working on a better dental robot. The device, known as Dento-Munch, can rotate on three axes, better showing the versatility of the mouth to test the effects on long-term wear on dental products. I'm sure its only a matter of time before Wrigley's gets their hands on it to develop a longer-lasting chewing gum.

Give 'em a Hand: More artificial body parts: A Japanese firm last week unveiled an artificial hand with a more sensitive touch. The prototype weighs only 14 ounces (about three ounces less than a human hand) and uses air pressure to control the movements of the fingers. The hand is so delicate that it can pick up a pen and a raw egg without breaking it, a big step up from the heavier models.

acshirt.jpgIt's like Sleeping on Air (Conditioning): In my dorm room, I had to struggle to coordinate three fans around the room to maximize the air cooling me while I slept. If only I had had Kuchofuku's new air conditioned bed. The bed uses two fans to circulate air under you while you sleep, creating an air conditioning system. As if that weren't enough, they're also selling a shirt that uses similar technology, so you can feel cool at the office. I'm sure its comfortable, but the giant fan on the side doesn't exactly scream high fashion.

Heard it through the Grapevine: We've all heard of the supposed "Mozart Effect," but who new it worked at vineyards? One researcher has applied that logic to plants, and found that classical music helps grapevines grow. The full results aren't in, but leaf area and growth were improved in plants exposed to music. The tests were all conducted in Tuscany on vines that produce Chianti, making this the swankiest research project I've ever heard of.

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July 6, 2007 - 12:55am
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