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University of Cambridge

  1. Tea Kettles: How do They Work? Science Finally Has an Answer

    Tip us over and explain yourselves, science!

    We know that tea kettles whistle, but we didn't know how they whistled until this morning when we read the newly discovered explanation in the journal Physics of Fluids. Heck, we didn't even know that we didn't know how it worked. Why not put the kettle on and read this while making yourself a nice cup of tea?

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  2. Early Land-Dwelling Animals Moved About Like Seals, Probably Didn’t Balance Balls on Their Noses

    One of the greatest nemeses of any paleontologist, aside from scarce government grants and scant paychecks, is the very rock they chip away at to reach the fossils within. Most of the time it shatters with the well-placed strike of a hammer and chisel, but there are frustrating occasions when rock decides to be an impenetrable jerk for the day and hold fossils hostage. That's an especially frustrating result when the fossils in question that could potentially reshape an entire field of study. New applications of technology are making it possible to get around -- or at least inside -- stubborn rocks that refuse to yield their fossilized secrets. One team of researchers did just that when they used powerful X-rays to scan and analyze the fossil remains of early tetrapods, revealing that their unique bone structure meant they walked about like modern day seals. Which is really kind of adorable the more you think about it.

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  3. Pygmy Mole Crickets Can Jump From Water’s Surface, Can’t Turn It Into Wine

    While they certainly aren't capable of curing lepers of their grievous affliction, restoring the sight of the blind, or other supernatural deeds -- insects just don't make ideal religious messiahs -- pygmy mole crickets might as well be some creature of the divine since the little buggers can actually jump from the surface of the water just as adeptly as if they were on dry land. While pond skaters are hoarding all the recognition due to their being more universally recognizable, pygmy mole crickets may soon change all that once they take aquatic insect locomotion to the extreme!

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  4. Researchers Study Owls For Clues to Reducing Aircraft Noise, Making Planes More Interesting to Hipsters

    Remember when Harry Potter fans all wanted pet owls, but then realized that they are vicious winged harbingers of death? Turns out they're also silent harbingers of death, and new research is examining how owls stay so quiet in flight. The goal of the study is to make modern aircraft more silent and owl-like. We suggest building an aircraft made from feathers and that runs on mice.

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  5. Cambridge Offering Free Online Course on DIY OS Building for Raspberry Pi

    Want to build your own computer using the super cheap guts provided by Raspberry Pi but don't know where to start? Ever wanted to work in a customized operating system you know like the back of your hand? You're in luck. Cambridge University in the UK is offering a series of free courses online that will teach you how to build your own OS for Raspberry Pi from scratch in just 12 (relatively speaking) easy steps. Finally, all of us computer illiterates who were convinced that even we could design a better OS than Vista will have a chance to prove it.

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  6. Study: Circadian Rhythm Exists at the Red Blood Cell Level

    It's no coincidence that you pop wide awake just moments before your daily alarm buzzes to life: Humans, and possibly all other living creatures, have an internal circadian clock that ticks along 24 hours a day. This clock controls everything from sleep cycles to migration patterns, and has even been found in life as basic as algae. Scientists previously assumed that these rhythms were connected to DNA and genes, but a new study from the Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge has pinpointed the origin of the circadian clock to red blood cells (which don't contain DNA). The study was conducted by isolating red blood cells and observing their peroxiredoxin protein levels, which were then discovered to be responsible for the 24 hour clock. Much like we need an internal clock to chaperone our bodies throughout the day, individual cells need a clock to plan out their own routine.

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