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- A Giant Drill Came This Close to Tearing Through a Packed NYC Subway Car
- This Algae Farm Eats Pollution From the Highway Below It
- Scratching an itch does indeed just make it itch more
- Why Everyone Wants to Kill the Mouse and Keyboard
- The Age Kids Have to Be Before You Can Legally Leave Them Home Alone
Well that’s settled. You know how your mom always told you not to scratch that mosquito bite because that just makes it itch more? Your mom was right, and now we have the science to prove it.A team of heroic scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis just published a study in Neuron confirming the old wives’ tale. Turns out the biology behind the phenomenon is rather simple. And sort of surprisingly involves serotonin, the happy hormone.Zhou-Feng Chen, the director of the school’s Center for the Study of Itch, describes it well, “First you scratch, and that causes a sensation of pain,” says Chen. “Then you make more serotonin to control the pain. But serotonin does more than only inhibit pain. Our new finding shows that it also makes itch worse by activating GRPR neurons through 5HT1A receptors.”Those complicated looking acronyms basically refer to the way that the nerves throughout your body communicate with your brain. Scientists figured out that these neurons and receptors were involved by doing itch tests on two sets of mice: one normal group and one group that couldn’t produce serotonin. When they injected an itchy chemical into their skin, the ones without serotonin simply didn’t scratch as much. Crazy, right?Well, this information is also useful. If you get a mosquito bite or poison ivy or whatever, don’t scratch it. Smear anti-itch chemicals all over it instead.
In the past few decades, everything about our computers have changed. The screens. The guts. The size, weight, and materials. The software itself, of course. But one thing has stayed exactly the same, frozen in time from the early days: The tools we use to tell them what to do. So it’s odd that we’re so desperate to throw them out the window.Early on, there were two competing ways for us to talk to our computers. The command line and the graphical user interface, or the system that gave us a screen that looked like a desktop and files that looked like little file folders, which we could navigate through using the keyboard and mouse. The latter won out, and since then, they’ve reigned as the primary way to communicate with a PC.But over the past five years, usurpers have arrived, first in the form of touch screens, then in the form of gestural interaction systems like Leap Motion. Yesterday, HP introduced us to Sprout, a computer that consists of a touchscreen monitor, a RealSense 3D camera, a projector, and a flat touchscreen mat to create the ultimate Frankenstein of interaction methods. It also, like so many of its peers, kills the keyboard and mouse for good. Kind of. continue reading >
When is a child old enough to stay at home alone? While a kid’s maturity level should definitely come into play, some states have age restrictions—or at least guidelines—for how old is old enough to be unsupervised.
Database Systems Corp, which provides a call reassurance service that calls latchkey kids and seniors to make sure they’re safe, compiled this data for each state.
Surprisingly, most states don’t have any minimum age requirements. The ones that do range from age 6 a recommendation in Kansas to 14 required in Illinois. The most common ages, among the states that have a recommendation or legal requirement, are age 8, 10, and 12
Brazil was not bluffing last year, when it said that it would disconnect from the United States-controlled internet due to the NSA obscenely invasive surveillance tactics. The country is about to stretch a cable from the northern city of Fortaleza all the way to Portugal. This is a big deal.
At first glance, Brazil’s plan to disconnect from the U.S. internet just seemed silly. The country was not happy when news emerged that the NSA’s tentacles stretched all the way down to Brazil. And the country was especially not happy when news emerged that the NSA had been spying on the Brazilian government’s email for years. But really, what are you gonna do?
Brazil made a bunch of bold promises, ranging in severity from forcing companies like Facebook and Google to move their servers inside Brazilian borders, to building a new all-Brazilian email system. Then, of course, there was the plan to lay a cable from Brazil to Europe. And with news that the cable plan is in place and set to begin in 2015, it looks like Brazil is serious; it’s investing $185 million on the cable project alone.
The implications of Brazil disconnecting from the US internet are huge. It’s not necessarily a big deal politically, but the economic consequences could be tremendously destructive. Brazil has the seventh largest economy in the world, and it continues to grow. So when Brazil finally does divorce Uncle Sam—assuming everything goes as planned—a huge number of contracts between American companies and Brazil will simply disappear. On the whole, researchers estimate that the United States could lose about $35 billion due to security fears. That’s a lot of money.
We knew there would be backlash to the Snowden leaks, but it’s not just political; Edward Snowden cost the United States a lot of money, even if that wasn’t his plan. Yet here we are, waving goodbye to any and all information technology revenue from Brazil. Godspeed, Brazil. We’re going to miss you. [Bloomberg]
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