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Melissa Gansler • Author at Mirror Daily

This colorful shrimp could hold the key to the development of a new generation of super-resistant materials.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Researchers say that they could use a newly-discovered hard tissue on the mantis shrimp to develop super-resistant materials. The shrimp reportedly uses a dactyl club to smash its hard-shelled prey’s crust.

In a recent paper, researchers described the fist-like appendage and a structure within its outer layer that withstands tremendous impact forces. Study authors believe that the organic material is stronger than anything they have ever seen in nature.

Scientists said that the protective layer which has a herringbone structure not only shields the dactyl club from damage but it also helps the tiny creature to inflict enormous damage.

But not all mantis shrimp have the fist-like structure. Only the animals nicknamed “smashers” do. The so-called “spearers” lack the structure as they hunt down their prey and spear it down, not club it.

Study authors wrote in a recent paper that the animal’s fist-like structure can reach an acceleration of 10,000 g hitting a target with the speed of a .22 caliber bullet.

Since 2008, the team of researchers led by Prof. David Kisailus from the Bourns College of Engineering in Riverside, CA, has been studying the smasher version of the mantis shrimp in an effort to develop some of the world’s strongest materials.

These materials could be later used to create fully bulletproof body armor, aircrafts, and impact-absorbent football helmets. Their research has already paid off as a startup is already implementing their ideas into real-world applications.

In a 2012 research paper, the research team detailed the dactyl club. Back then, study authors found a structure within the appendage with an energy-absorbent feature. That structure absorbs the shear waves resulting in the wake of a highly energetic impact.

The structure consists in two layers. One layer is made of chitin, a strong material which hardens the shells of various marine creatures, while the second layer is made of calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate. The chitin-based layer is a structure very similar to a spiral staircase, researchers noted.

The two layers make up the so-called “periodic region” of the dactyl club. But the most interesting part is the crack-proof “impact region” which has a protective role. This region is a layer of calcium phosphate which coats the chitin layer.

And the calcium-laden fibers are placed in a herringbone structure which gives the entire structure increased stiffness in the periodic area. The structure helps the animal inflict more damage to the prey while it also shields it from cracks and damages, scientists explained.

Image Source: Flickr

Chipotle removes GMO foods from the menu.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Fast-food chain Chipotle declared last year that they would start their “G-M-Over It” campaign (GMO), proving their commitment to healthy food by erasing from the menu genetically engineered ingredients.

However, scientists were not that worried regarding any possible danger due to GMO foods. One of the reasons why Chipotle started their campaign was because, as they acknowledged, they were still serving GMO dairy products, meats, and soft drinks.

Researchers from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, presented Tuesday their study which revealed two major points regarding the GMO. First, the fact that genetically engineered crops are not more dangerous than conventionally bred crops.

Second, the weed and insect resistance that has developed through their use represent a ‘major agricultural problem.’ Plus, substantial differences were detected in nutrient composition between nonengineered and engineered crops. However, relating to what happens naturally among nonengineered crops, there is no different variance.

Plus, there was no evidence that engineered food leads to a higher risk of health issues such as obesity, autism or cancer. Nevertheless, scientists discovered that genetic engineering used mainly in commercial farming posed a significant problem concerning the agriculture industry.

The reason is that this engineering is used to provide insect and herbicide resistance. Around 12 percent of the world’s cropland is used for growing genetically engineered crops, mainly cotton, corn, and soybeans.

Farmers hoped that herbicide- and –insect resistant crops would be more efficient, increasing the profits for large commercial companies but also reducing the use of toxic insecticides and promoting food security around the world.

According to the study, less insecticide is used nowadays, maintaining the well-being of the environment. However, researchers established that there was not much improvement thanks to the genetically engineered crops from U.S. more than the previous one.

The study is not finished yet, meaning that scientists will find more clarifying answers regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the genetically engineered crops. Still, the information which has been offered to the public until now provides a clearer picture regarding this situation.

Nevertheless, we will find out in the future whether GMOs are dangerous or not and how should people react to this type of food.

Image Source:Restaurant Business Online

Celebrities like Kyle Jenner and Kim Kardashian are making big butts and lips fashionable.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – The American Plastic Surgeons Society published a statistic that shows that butt and lip implants significantly increased last year. More and more women are retouching their faces and behinds, and so are men.

It seems like men are not strangers to cosmetic enhancements, either. Last year, 1200 males opted for lip augmentation procedures, that means that the percentage of men getting their lips “fixed” skyrocketed with 400 percent since 2000.

In the age in which women like Kyle Jenner and Kim Kardashian are ruling social media and are considered epitomes of beauty, more and more females are getting plastic surgery to look more like their models.

Last year, a viral Internet trend took over the lives of many United States teenagers. Girls wanted the Kyle Jenner’s puffy lips, so they started sucking on glasses to make them bigger, more sensual. After a girl died, and the challenge needed to be stopped, the celebrity admitted that her over-the-night bigger lips were the result of plastic surgery, not the void formed in a glass after you suck all the air out of it.

In consequence, more and more women decided to visit a plastic surgeon in order to get their lips remodeled. And there are a few procedures that they can choose from.

First, there are the injections, which are not permanent, but they do create that fuller effect in just a few hours after the procedure. Usually, the doctors inject Botox into a woman’s lips, making them puffier. But there were cases when the facial features looked exaggerated, so the plastic surgeons were forced to seek alternative operations.

And they did. If they want something more permanent, women can get tiny silicone implants in their lips. The silicone gives out a more natural look, making the patients look a little less plastic.

But lips are not the only trending body parts when it comes to surgical enhancement procedures. Kim Kardashian and Iggy Azalea made women worldwide want a firmer, rounder behind.

More and more women are getting silicone implants in their butts. Butt and lip implants significantly increased since 2000, 48 percent more women wanting to change something about their appearance.

But there were also more patients dissatisfied with the results as the number of reduction surgeries also increased by 12 percent.

In the era of the selfie, men and women alike want to look sexier, opting for cosmetic surgery. And the butt and lip implants significantly increased because the celebrities of today have fuller, rounder lips and derrières.

Image source: YouTube

Severed will be available only for PlayStation Vita.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – The latest development of DrinkBox Studios, Severed will be available soon on PlayStation Vita. The slash game features colorful characters and a breathtaking story, all for $15, starting this 26th of April.

According to the producers, Severed is a first-person dungeon crawler that stars Sasha, a little girl that must face gruesome monsters in order to escape from a world that is out to get her.

Sasha follows her family to another world, where they get separated. She then encounters a strange looking tall figure, with branches instead of hair and a wide, toothy mouth that basically forms its entire head.

This creature tells Sasha that she must find her lost family and bring them back to the eerie place that looks like her home. If she survives the quest, the monster promises her that she will be able to return home with her loved ones. After that, it gives the female warrior a sword that she can use to slash the wide variety of monsters that will come her way.

The style of the touch-based first-person dungeon crawler is fairly similar to that of Guacamellee, the previous game that DrinkBox Studios released. But there are significant differences between Guacamellee and Severed. The latter features a colorful, dream-like style, which also gives the player a kind of eerie sensation.

The main idea of the game is to explore different types of dungeons. With every such location come different styles of monsters. Some are just a big purple head with massive teeth, other are long, four-legged creatures that can grab you and kill you from a distance, others are one-eyed, six-armed threats that you must slash before they slash you.

During the game, Sasha learns the nature of the dream-like world that she is exploring. She is also shown her different sets of skills. While the game progresses, the monsters begin to be tougher to defeat, but the character can also increase her expertise levels.

For example, while slashing the hideous, nightmarish creatures that pop in her way while searching for her family, Sasha can collect different items from the defeated creatures. She can even use severed body limbs as a currency.

With the limbs of the monsters they defeat, the player will be able to buy armor parts and different additional items that will enhance the strength, agility, and endurance of the main character.

Severed will be available soon on PlayStation Vita exclusively.

Image source: Wikimedia

There was a total of nineteen sexual assault complains at Berkeley University involving staff.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – There has been a concerning number of sexual assault complaints at Berkeley University over the last couple of years. The individuals involved were respected faculty members.

In the light of the recent events, the chancellor of Berkeley University announced that he is forming a sexual harassment, assault, and violence committee. The chancellor took this decision after nineteen complaints of sexual harassment were filed against faculty members.

It seems that individuals from the faculty, staff and students were guilty of sexual harassment. Among the cited incidents, there is also the case of Yann Hufnagel, the Cal coach. The basketball coach was accused of harassment by a student. The coach pleaded not guilty, and his attorney declared that the man only engaged in mutual flirtation. Also, from Hufnagel’s testimony, the accuser was the one who initiated the flirtation.

Recently, the attorney of the basketball teacher declared that Hufnagel is ready to come back to work as an assistant coach. The man is missing his job and considers that his wrongful accusation terminated his career much earlier than expected.

Furthermore, the Dean of Law School at Berkeley University, Sujit Choudhry was forced to resign after he was accused of the same offense by his executive assistant. According to the woman’s testimony, Choudhry repeatedly touched and kissed her.

It seems that assistants were an easy target at Berkeley because the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Graham Fleming was also forced to resign his commission after his assistant filed a sexual harassment complaint against him.

On the same list, there is also Geoff Marcy, an astronomy professor. The man faces four charges of harassment filed by different students.

The committee that the chancellor is forming will address and examine culture issues. Moreover, it will be in charge of recommending various ways of improving campus services, practices, and policies. The members of the committee will try to encourage all students who consider that they have been wrongly treated or abused to speak up, even if they are doing so against a prominent faculty member.

Sexual harassment is defined as being coercion or bullying of a sexual nature. People who are engaging in the activity usually promise rewards, professional or material, in exchange for sexual favors.

Generally, sexual harassment laws do not include things like teasing, flirting, or offhand comments. But the social and legal interpretation of sexual harassment depends on the culture and the country where the act takes place.

The sexual assault complaints at Berkeley prompted the formation of a select committee that will try and solve and prevent future incidents.

Image source: Wikimedia

Tyrion knows the rules of the Game of Thrones better than anyone, but he refuses to play.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – People have long wondered who is the central character of George RR Martin’s series “A Song of Ice and Fire” Some say Daenerys, some John Snow. But a team of mathematicians constructed a program which proved that mathematically Tyrion Lannister is the most important character in GOT.

As it can be seen in the graphic pictured below, Tyrion and Jon are both central characters in Martin’s saga, but mathematically Tyrion Lannister is the most important character in GOT.

Seeing how “A Storm of Swords” ends, people would think that Robb is the central character.

A team of mathematicians from Macalester College, Jie Shan and Andrew Beveridge conducted a study to see how the complicated web of relations in “A Storm of Swords,” the third novel from the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series can be translated into mathematical language.

The paper that was published in Quartz journal concluded that mathematically Tyrion Lannister is the most important character in GOT. In order to reach that conclusion, the two researchers first created a computer program meant to analyze the social interactions between the characters.

The program then searched a number of times each character was mentioned in the book, or how often references to one or two characters are used in close proximity.

The vertexes shown above are color coded for each community. Note the fact that a community is not always the same as a House, mostly because by the events of the third book the characters were scattered around Westeros and beyond.

So with blue we can see the majority of the individuals belonging to House Lannister plus Sansa, Renly, Lysa, Peter, the Hound and everybody else who was living in King’s Landing at the time. By the size of the vertex, which indicates the amounts of time the character was mentioned, and by the size with which the name is spelled, Tyrion is the most important individual in King’s Landing.

The larger the name font, the more important the character is in its community and the overall plot. So it’s easy to deduce (even without the mathematical analysis) that Tyrion rules King’s Landing, Robb is the King in the North, Stannis, well, Stannis is playing with fire and Daenerys is tricking slave dealers. And Jon is playing hide and seek with the wildlings.

Every character seems equally important in its community, but mathematically Tyrion Lannister is the most important character in GOT.

Some say the dwarf is Martin’s literary projection, and that’s why he’s so witty and somehow essential everywhere he goes, but most of the “Game of Thrones” fans would rather disagree with the mathematical analysis.

The most popular theory is that “A Song of Ice and Fire” is an elusive way of saying “This is the complicated story of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen.” Others think that Jon is both the ice and fire from the title, judging by his snowy and fiery origins.

All fans know for sure is that Tyrion’s wits won’t do as much good when the White Walkers invade as Daenerys’s dragons or Jon’s valyrian steel sword.

Images source: Tyrion, Chart

Fentanyl is 30 times more potent than heroin, but people are mixing them for a stronger result.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – According to the Health Officer at the County Public of Sacramento, there is a new overdose wave in Sacramento that has already killed five people and hospitalized an additional fifteen in only a week.

Olivia Kasiyre, the Health Officer at the County Public of Sacramento, declared in a news release that a new drug, fentanyl, is wreaking havoc among the inhabitants of the county.

According to Kasiyre, there were five deaths last week related to the new painkiller and fifteen more people are being currently hospitalized for an overdose.

She continues her official statement saying that the investigators believe that the affected patients either bought the narcotic substance off the street, or they got it from neighbors, friends or family members.

The cases are from both South and North Sacramento so the area on which the drug spread is pretty large.

Furthermore, Kasiyre stated that in at least a number of cases the fentanyl pill was contaminated. The officials that are running the investigation are not sure about the form in which the drug is being spread among the people that are consuming it.

The last official information that Kasiyre gave was the fact that doctors believe that the affected individuals took one or two tablets. The quantity was enough to cause an overdose that hospitalized fifteen people and killed five more.

At the end of her public statement, the health officer warns all Sacramento citizens to stay away from the tablets due to their volatility and danger risk.

But fentanyl is not a new drug. The opioid based analgesic was fist created in 1959 as a pain management solution. But the analgesic is believed to be thirty times more potent than heroin.

Lately recreational users started taking the potent analgesic, and the results are devastating. Sacramento is not the only town that has been hit by a wave of overdosed patients.

In Ohio, at least, twenty-two people died after taking a tablet of fentanyl this month. And according to the emergency department director at Cleveland’s St. Vincent Medical Center, Carla O’Day, the overdoses are not only boosting in numbers but also in severity.

The surprise came after the CDC managed to put together all of the information it collected about the new overdose wave in Sacramento, Ohio and Cleveland and it discovered that the average users are far from the usual stereotype.

It seems that educated, white, suburban men are falling prey to the dangers of fentanyl.

Image source: Wikimedia

The initiative started in Australia so it was only logical for Sydney to join the movement.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – In the main cities around the world, the lights went off for Earth Hour. Famous monuments were engulfed by darkness, and the cities seemed to freeze in the night. And while no electronic devices were used for 60 minutes, people were able to see witness the real beauty of the night’s sky.

Earth Hour is an Australian initiative that dates from 2007. The concept was created because the Australian people wanted to raise awareness of the importance of energy conservation and the damage caused by light pollution. Slowly but surely, Earth Hour became a global initiative, hundreds of countries adopting it.

Millions of lights went off for Earth Hour this year. Every year the number of people willing to participate in the initiative grows. And it’s not a meaningless trend. The movement was created primarily to raise awareness of the amounts of electricity wasted by humans every day.

And Earth Hour has begun to symbolize more than just wasted electronic resources. Ever since the movement went global, organizers have started approaching other subjects like the increasing amounts of water that people consume when letting the faucet drip. Electricity and clean water are vital for human prosperity so people should be more careful when using both of these valuable resources.

This year millions of people participated in the initiative. And as the lights went off for Earth Hour, the WWF saw that people are willing to engage in a solidary fight against climate change. The WWF is an Earth Hour sponsor and primary educator on the importance of water and electricity saving.

According to their report, Moscow, Seoul, Beijing, Cairo, Beirut, Rome, Athens, Paris and New York turned off their lights and took part in the world movement. Darkness engulfed the Eifel tower, all witnesses stating that the moment was truly emotional and that seeing that giant metal monument sitting there in the dark made them think about the importance of making the world a safe place for our children.

Also, the Empire State Building’s lights were dimmed, and a considerable portion of the Times Square billboards went dark.

The lights went out even in Beijing’s Confucius Temple and Seoul’s City Hall. Even the 101 skyscrapers in Taiwan went dark as the people in Taiwan showed their solidarity with the Earth Hour movement.

Millions of lights went off for Earth Hour, and most of the participants promised to pay more attention to electricity and water waste in the future by turning off the appliances they don’t use and shutting off the lights went exiting a room.

Image source: Wikimedia

Either the Star Trek producers were tech visionaries, or modern day scientists were Star Trek fans.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Microsoft may have failed with the AI bot that turned really bad, really quick, but the company is already making amends for that mistake. A new video released by the tech giant suggests that the Star Trek holodeck could be real, soon.

If you remember the Star Trek episode where Data and Captain Picard played Sherlock Holmes in eighteenth-century London, then you remember thinking how great it would be if the technology actually existed.

Well, we all know that flip phones, Bluetooth headsets, video calls and GPS were inspired the science-fiction TV show. Some German scientists even attempted to take a crack at the fundamentals of teleportation.

But the holodeck was always a subject of fascination. The projections looked real; the environment mimicked reality to the detail and, let’s face it, a holographic projection of a good memory will beat a picture or a home-made video anytime.

This is what Shahram Izadi, a partner research manager at Microsoft, is talking about in a video that the company recently uploaded on social media. From what Izadi explains, advanced holoportation can be achieved with a display that is capable of rendering augmented reality and a set of 3D cameras.

The “exciting new technology that will fundamentally change the way in which people will communicate in the future” is described as a new 3D capture type of technology that allows users to experience high-quality 3D models of the people they are trying to communicate with.

The 3D models of individuals are compressed, reconstructed and transmitted in real-time anywhere in the world. When the technology is combined with HoloLens display, both participants can interact in 3D, exactly as they would if they were standing face-to-face.

Such a technological breakthrough will allow people to communicate with friends and family that are living all the way across the world. The best part of the holoportation is that it records every conversation the users had on the interface, and it can replay it as you would a video.

So if you miss a loved one, you can always replay your conservations. Furthermore, users will have the opportunity of replaying the file in real life size, interacting with the projections, or shrinking it.

The present holoportation technology is still in developmental stage. When the scientists and engineers are done, they are expecting the models to be indistinguishable from real individuals.

For more details and information, you can consult the video embedded below.

Image source: Flickr

Aerobics or dancing is a good way to exercise while not putting too much strain on your body.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – According to a Mayo Clinic study, cognitive decline can be slowed with regular exercise. So if you want to keep your mind sharp you should also keep your body fit. And the only side effect is that people will think you are much younger than you really are.

According to the paper that was published in the Neurology journal, moderate or increased physical activity can prevent or control serious health disorders such as heart illnesses, osteoporosis and diabetes. Furthermore, the authors suggest that cognitive decline can be slowed with regular exercise.

A healthy session of exercising that makes you sweat a little and increases your heart rate does wonders to both the body and the brain. Moderately or intensely working out on a regular basis can also treat or prevent depression and boost cognitive function. In other words, physical exercise keeps your wits about you.

In order to test whether or not exercising helps the elderly keep their minds sharp, Mayo clinic conducted a study. The average of the participants was of 71. According to the lead author of the study, Clinton B. Wright of Miami University, 60 percent of volunteers were Latinos and 20 percent were African American.

The researchers tested the brain functions and capabilities of each participant at the beginning of the study. Then, the team constantly monitored health patient health readings for about five years. At the end, the volunteers were given the same tests as in the beginning.

After analyzing all of the data, the team discovered that cognitive decline can be slowed with regular exercise. From what Wright declared, the individuals who engaged in moderate or intense physical activity appeared to be ten years younger than their non-exercising or lightly exercising peers.

This means that the elderly participants who preferred spending their last decades sipping lemonade on the porch or taking long strolls were more likely to experience cognitive and health decline than those who took exercising seriously. With no sweat comes no benefits.

Dr. Wright advises all American citizens to exercise more. For the younger segment, regular exercise is beneficial because it helps the brain to develop harmoniously. Adults will improve their cognitive abilities when hitting the gym or going out for a jog, and the elderly will prevent any cognitive decline.

The Mayo Clinic attending also says that exercising is free and it is the only thing that doesn’t interact with any medication, but that increases the odds of living a long, healthy life.

Image source: Wikimedia

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