Watch Your Next Film on Gas

While many of us mere mortals may barely understand this, researchers at the University of Maryland have just figured out a way to store film as a gas. Their findings, explained in a paper titled, “Temporally Multiplexed Storage of Images in a Gradient Echo Memory,” explain how they’ve managed to store two frames of light signals with room-temperature gas.

While there aren’t too many practical uses for the findings as of yet, it is possible that it could eventually be part of the building blocks for computers.

At the moment, the technique stores information in very small vials of rubidium and does so by beaming light into a 20cm long tube. Then, when they want to play the film back, they flip it backwards and the control beam is burned on. When the atoms move in the opposite direction, the film plays.

As one of the researchers explained, “The big thing here is that this allows us to do images and do pulses (instead of individual photons) and it can be matched (hopefully) to our squeezed light source, so that we can soon try to store ‘quantum images’ and make essentially a random access memory for continuous variable quantum information. The thing that really attracted us to this method—aside from its being pretty well-matched to our source of squeezed light—is that the ANU group was able to get 87% recovery efficiency from it – which is, I think, the best anyone has seen in any optical system, so it holds great promise for a quantum memory.”

While many of us may not have understood a word of this, we can certainly enjoy the YouTube song that was inspired by it.

‘Living Wax Museum’ Teaches Third-Graders History

A few days ago, third graders from the Coronado Village Elementary School participated in an annual ‘living wax museum’ in their school cafeteria.

The event aims to introduce children to important historical figures in a fun, creative, and personal way. The children learn about Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci and many others by dressing up and presenting their characters to an audience.

“The wax museum project has been going on for longer than I’ve been teaching here,” explained third-grade teacher Heather Schumacher. “The kids pick a historical figure that they want to learn more about and they spend several weeks researching the, creating a speech, and they pretend to be that person.”

In other words, the children are the ‘wax’ exhibit, dressed up and standing next to a detailed timeline and table display. Students and visiting parents walk through the stands, where they press fake buttons to prompt the ‘wax figures’ to begin their speeches.

Some of the participating students include Jazlynn Puga, 9, Steven Stein, Deja Rascoe and Stephonn Blue. Puga chose to portray Mother Teresa.

“I want to be like my mom. She helps kids that don’t have a home or they don’t have their family,” Puga explained. Her mother added that she works to instill appreciation and support amongst Jazlynn and her two sisters, Jazmine and Jackelyn.

Steven Stein chose Leonardo da Vinci.

“I chose him because I’ve seen him in many video games, and I thought it would be interesting to see what he was like in real life,” he said. He worked hard on his costume, and even delivered his speech in a heavy Italian accent.

‘Nuisance’ Seaweed May Hold Key to Future Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis is a painful joint condition that can dramatically impact the lives of those it afflicts. Medicines and treatments are limited, and a cure has yet to be found.

However, scientists recently discovered that a seaweed known as a ‘nuisance’ in coral reefs in Hawaii may be able to lessen arthritic pain, as well as that of other ailments, including cancer and heart conditions.

The seaweed, a cause of coral bleaching, is home to billions of tiny photosynthetic organisms called cynobacterium. These release a compound with powerful anti-inflammatory abilities, and anti-bacterial proWilperties as well.

The discovery began back in 2008, when researchers from UC San Diego uncovered the cynobacterium off the coast of Kona, Hawaii. In 2009, they removed a sample from the seaweed blooms, which revealed the ‘honaucin’ compounds, which contain the unique anti-inflammatory properties.

“In different arenas these compounds could be helpful, such as treating chronic inflammatory conditions for which we currently don’t have really good medicines,” said Research Professor William Gerwick.

Jennifer Smith, assistant professor, added: “These organisms have been on the planet for millions of years and so it is not surprising that that have evolved numerous strategies for competing with neighboring species, including chemical warfare.

“Several species of cyanobacteria and algae are known to produce novel compounds, many that have promising use in drug development for human and other uses,” she continued.

“I think this finding is a nice illustration of how we need to look more deeply in our environment because even nuisance pests, as it turns out, are not just pests,” Professor Gerwick said. “It’s a long road to go from this early stage discovery to application in the clinic but it’s the only road if we want new and more efficacious medicines.”

Caesareans Might Just Make Your Baby Fat

Certainly, there are many reasons to avoid having a caesarean section when you can. Researchers have just added another one to the mix – obesity.  According to a US study from Boston Children’s Hospital published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal, babies delivered from caesarean are more likely to become obese children than are those delivered naturally.

Researchers looked at 1225 mother and child pairs over a three year period. 25% of the deliveries were from caesarean. Taking into account the factor of obesity and other factors, they found that close to 16% of the babies born by caesarean were obese by the age of three, as opposed to only 7.5% of the babies born naturally.

The researchers in this study believe that obese people born by caesarean were not exposed to beneficial bacteria and that their bodies don’t metabolize food as quickly as a result. Other researchers have found that obese people have less of this good bacteria in their digestive system and higher levels of bad bacteria than do thinner people.

Other researchers, however, have concluded that the tie between caesarean and obesity is due to the fact that more obese women require caesarean sections than do thin women. Time, and more research, will tell which is true (or if perhaps both are). But it certainly gives doctors and patients considering caesarean another reason to pause.

America’s Top Ten Vacation Destinations

Last week’s list of top five travel destinations for college graduates across the globe revealed the ages’ common desire for laid back, beach-themed vacation spots.

The Seattle Times released a list of the top summer vacation cities within America, and the winning attractions were not much of a surprise:

  1. Disney World, Orlando
  2. Honolulu, Hawaii
  3. Disneyland, Anaheim
  4. Las Vegas
  5. Kahului (airport for Maui)
  6. New York City
  7. Lihue (airport for Kauai)
  8. San Francisco
  9. Phoenix
  10. Seattle

Tips for a Wedding Registry

iVillage recently published a list aimed at helping newly-weds decide which kitchen items are worth putting on their registry, and which are less necessary.

Items that made their Yes List include:

  • KitchenAid Stand Mixer
  • Enameled Cast-Iron Dutch Oven
  • Good Knives (an 8-inch chef’s knife, a serrated knife and a small paring knife)
  • Cast-Iron Skillet
  • Roasting Pan
  • Toaster Oven
  • Multi-pots
  • Box Grater
  • Food Processor
  • Casserole Dish
  • Serving Platters
  • Baking Pans
  • Pepper Grinder

These fun items can definitely contribute to your kitchen, but think before you pounce on them:

  • Waffle Iron
  • Ice Cream Maker
  • Fondue Set
  • Slow Cooker
  • Panini Maker
  • Mandoline
  • SodaStream