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December 13, 2006, 4:24 AM CT

Some Snowflakes Can Look The Same

Some Snowflakes Can Look The Same
Snowflakes are one of the most recognizable and endearing symbols of winter. Their intricate shapes have been the inspiration for Christmas ornaments, jewelry and U.S. postage stamps. They are the subject of song, school projects and even scientific investigation, including a possible impact on global warming.

Jon Nelson, a researcher with Ritsumeikan University in Japan, has studied snowflakes for 15 years, and has some interesting insights into their delicate structures.

Is it true that no two snowflakes are alike?

The old adage that 'no two snowflakes are alike' may ring true for larger snowflakes, but it might not hold true for smaller, simpler crystals that fall before they've had a chance to fully develop. Regardless, snow crystals have tremendous diversity, partly due to their very high sensitivity to tiny temperature changes as they fall through the clouds.

How do snowflakes form?

A snowflake starts as a dust grain floating in a cloud. Water vapor in the air sticks to the dust grain and the resulting droplet turns directly into ice. And that's where the science kicks in.

First, the tiny ice crystal becomes hexagonal (six-sided). This shape originates from the chemistry of the water molecule, which consists of two hydrogen atoms bonded to an oxygen atom. Because of the angle of the water molecule and its hydrogen-bonding, the water molecules in a snowflake chemically bond to each other to form the six-sided flake. The flake eventually sprouts six tiny branches. Each of these branches grows to form side branches in a direction and shape that are influenced by the clustering of water molecules on the ice crystal surfaces.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


December 12, 2006, 5:01 AM CT

Daily Weighing and Quick Action Keeps Pounds Off

Daily Weighing and Quick Action Keeps Pounds Off
Stepping on the scale every day, then cutting calories and boosting exercise if the numbers run too high, can significantly help dieters maintain weight loss, according to results of the first program designed specifically for weight loss maintenance. Study results are published in the New England Journal (NEJM).

Unlike other obesity studies, which focus on how to lose weight, the "STOP Regain" trial tested a method that taught participants how to keep those pounds from coming back - regardless of the method they used to lose the weight in the first place.

Led by Rena Wing, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown Medical School and director of the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at The Miriam Hospital, the study taught successful dieters a technique called "self-regulation." With the goal of maintaining their weight within five pounds, participants were taught to weigh themselves daily and use the information from the scale to determine if they needed to adjust their diet or exercise routine.

The intervention worked: Significantly fewer participants regained five or more pounds during the 18-month-long program. The program was most successful when delivered in face-to-face meetings, although the Internet also proved a viable way to help participants maintain their weight loss.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


December 8, 2006, 4:51 AM CT

Mood Makes Food Taste Different

Mood Makes Food Taste Different
Feeling anxious? Your mood may actually change how your dinner tastes, making the bitter and salty flavours recede, according to new research.

This link between the chemical balance in your brain and your sense of taste could one day help doctors to treat depression. There are currently no on-the-spot tests for deciding which medicine will work best in individual patients with this condition. Researchers hope that a test based on flavour detection could help doctors to get more prescriptions right first time.

It has long been known that people who are depressed have lower-than-usual levels of the brain chemicals serotonin or noradrenaline, or in some cases both. Many also have a blunted sense of taste, which is presumably caused by changes in brain chemistry.

To unpick the relationship between the two, Lucy Donaldson and her colleagues at the University of Bristol, UK, gave 20 healthy volunteers two antidepressant drugs, and checked their sensitivity to different tastes. The drug that raised serotonin levels made people more sensitive to sweet and bitter tastes, the team reports in the Journal of Neuroscience1. The other, which increased noradrenaline, enhanced recognition of bitter and sour tastes.

In healthy people, volunteers whose anxiety levels were naturally higher were less sensitive to bitter and salty tastes.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


December 7, 2006, 5:07 AM CT

Hitler's Car To Get the Highest Price Ever

Hitler's Car To Get the Highest Price Ever
Reportedly, when in 1933 Hitler became the Chancellor of Gera number of, he offered as much as 500,000 reichmark to a company to design a race car so that he could put on show Gera number of's technological advancement.

It was Mercedes-Benz that had landed the job of putting the best in German design to put on display, but Ferdinand Porsche, who worked with Auto Union (now Audi), could get the finances to put the car together. And the car came into being.

For the next few years, the car was modified into the 1939 Auto Union D-Type. And here it is today about to get fetch a high price for its owners.

Via CNN........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


December 6, 2006, 9:09 PM CT

Beatles mashups

Beatles mashups
George Martin, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have produced an album of Beatles mashups. Yes, really. It's called Love, and if the sample remix of Strawberry Fields Forever is any indicator, it's amazing (even if the disc only mashes up one Beatles song with several others -- which makes it not as interesting as Revolved, The Beastles, or The Beachles -- most of which EMI has censored with legal threats).

George Martin, along with Paul and Ringo, produced this reinvention of the Beatles' music by going back to the original session tapes and creating new, and in many cases brilliant, versions of the already familiar catalog. It's NOT a rehash of what you've already got in your collection. In a lot of cases, it's like hearing this music for the first time all over again. 26 tracks, almost 80 minutes of music, reinvented and reimagined.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


December 6, 2006, 9:05 PM CT

Disappearing Civil Liberties Mug

Disappearing Civil Liberties Mug
When you pour hot liquid into the mug that has the Bill of Rights printed on it, the amendments that have been invalidated by Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Reagan disappear.

Drink your decaf in this dazzling mug - and watch your civil liberties disappear and reappear! Simply pour in your coffee or any hot beverage and watch the painstaking work of the founding fathers vanish before your eyes and then reappear after drinking up or cooling down. A great way to amaze and entertain a guest with satire. Imported.

By Jason........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


December 6, 2006, 9:00 PM CT

Grow Your Own Furniture

Grow Your Own Furniture
grown furniture how why history home You can grow a stool or a table frame like these.

Fruit growers have been training trees to shape since we don't know when, and furniture has been made of wood for thousands of years, so why not train trees to make furniture? I've proved that it can be done. All you need are three saplings, a plywood jig, instructions and a little patience.

It takes about five years.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


December 6, 2006, 8:34 PM CT

How We Put Stress Into Words

How We Put Stress Into Words
How does a child learn that the stress is on the second syllable of giraffe, and on the first of zebra?

Is it memory, the structure of the word itself or clues provided by the sounds in the word?

New research by psychologist Dr Padraic Monaghan, of the University of York, will try to answer the question. He is leading a new project to study the mechanism of language processing that governs how stress is assigned in words.

The research findings may help in the treatment of reading difficulties and assist in learning a second language, as well as potentially helping recovery after brain injury.

In a joint study with social scientists at Charles Sturt University, in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia, he will examine what role the mechanism plays in learning to read. The research, which is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Australian Research Council, will also focus on the variation between languages in the patterns of stress.

Dr Monaghan, of the University of York's Department of Psychology, said: "This research has implications for the developmental processes of reading and language development. It is critically important to be able to understand the process of reading in order to more thoroughly help children with difficulties in reading.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


December 5, 2006, 9:19 PM CT

How about not-buying remorse?

How about not-buying remorse?
Imagine driving several hours to a destination retailer such as Ikea. You plan to buy a rug, but decide to browse lamps. Since you are unlikely to drive all the way back to return them, these items constitute a limited purchasing opportunity either you get it now, or you pass on it forever. A groundbreaking new study in the recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Research finds that these now-or-never situations create a notable exception to buyers remorse. Instead, consumers are more likely to experience immediate regret for not making the purchase.

"Some of our most important decisions in life, such as whether or not to accept a job or marry someone, have a limited window of opportunity and are often not easily reversible," write Lisa J. Abendroth (Boston University) and Kristen Diehl (University of California - Los Angeles). "We show a different temporal pattern of regrets for limited purchasing opportunities".

Previous research on regret has observed that people regret the things they've done more in the short-term and the things theyve failed to do more in the long-term. However, Abendroth and Diehl found in both a field study and a controlled experiment that consumers in limited purchasing situations initially regretted non-purchases more than purchases. Over time, purchased items were regretted more, but only if the item was seldom used or of poor quality. "Physical presence serves as a reminder of a poor purchasing decision," explain the authors.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


December 5, 2006, 9:12 PM CT

Feeling sad about Iraq?

Feeling sad about Iraq?
The United States' involvement in Iraq has generated a lot of debate about the potential impact on American businesses abroad. Yet, very little systematic research has addressed the effect of geo-political conflicts on consumer decision-making. Now, a new study appearing in the recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, explores how our range of reactions to political events may affect purchasing. Notably, the scientists observed that not all negative feelings towards a country will lead to product evaluations based on country of origin.

While research has been done on how general mood affects purchases, Durairaj Maheswaran (New York University) and Cathy Yi Chen (Singapore School of Management) are the first to analyze specific emotions in this case, frustration, anger, and sadness. They observed that angry people try to punish a country by not buying its products, while people saddened by a countrys actions believe the event is beyond human control and this emotion does not affect their purchasing.

"For example, American Express, by virtue of its brand name association to the United States, may be unfavorably reviewed if a segment of the current users in the Middle East attribute the conflict to the United States. Alternately, if the attribution were to be made to the situation, then American Express is not likely to be affected," explain Maheswaran and Chen.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


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