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University of Toronto

  1. Guppy Genitals Have Claws, So… Yeah… Genital Claws

    Do you like fish sticks?

    The world of guppy genitals has been called an "arms race" which sounds horrifying enough without the knowledge that male guppies have claws at the end of their genitals, but as it turns out they do. A new study looked at exactly what purpose the genital claws serve, and as you might imagine, it's a rather unpleasant one.

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  2. Fossilized Dinosaur Nest Offers Clues to Baby Dino Development

    While the sonogram that our own Glen Tickle keeps on his desk proves that he is an adorable and loving father, it's not awesome because it's a sonogram of his daughter, not a dinosaur. We've heard this kid is pretty great, and have no reason to believe otherwise, but she's no dinosaur. Paleontologists with the University of Toronto have discovered a way more awesome embryo to look at on a dig site in China -- dozens of dinosaur fossils in various stages of embryonic development. At 125 million years old, the fossils are the oldest dinosaur embryos ever found and have the potential to teach researchers a great deal about how baby dinosaurs developed. This is, of course, a very important key to us making real-life Jurassic Park at some point in the future, and thus something we need to know all about as soon as possible.

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  3. New Study Says Quit Smoking by Age 40 to Live Almost as Long as Non-Smokers

    A new study done by a University of Toronto professor says that smokers who quit by the age of 40 can get back most of the decade of life they could otherwise expect to lose due to smoking. Professor Prabhat Jha and his team analyzed health and death records of Americans to study the benefits of quitting smoking at different ages. The findings are in no way a call to "smoke 'em if you got 'em" and then quit at 40 since smoking poses serious health risks -- even in the short term -- but the study does show that quitting early can greatly extent the life of a smoker.

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  4. Scotch Tape Turns Semiconductors Into Superconductors

    Move over, duct tape; you're not the only brand of store bought tape with near-magical powers anymore. Scotch tape, that humblest denizen of the office supply store, has surprised researchers at the University of Toronto with the ability to transform semiconductors into high-energy superconductors. The discovery could have repercussions for the computing industry -- especially the young field of quantum computing -- and could even improve energy efficiency in electronics in general.

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  5. Researchers Uncertain of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

    The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is one of the most well-known and dearly held tenets of modern quantum physics. It's one of those things about science you totally know, even if you don't know you know it. The principle states that on a quantum level, you can't directly measure anything without changing something about it. Thus, it is impossible to measure a particle's position without affecting its velocity, and vice versa. Still confused? Us to, but luckily this Futurama clip explains the matter brilliantly in the first 30 seconds or so. Go ahead, we'll wait. Back? Great. Now that you understand the uncertainty principle, it's time for the news about it. Thanks to new measurement techniques, physicists are no longer certain that the theory holds up.

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  6. Quantum Dots Make Self-Assembling Nanoantenna

    Researchers from the University of Toronto have used quantum dots to develop artificial molecules that they then used to create of a new type of nanoantena that can control and direct the energy absorbed from light. Quantum dots are semiconductive particles that can absorb and emit light efficiently at chosen wavelengths. What the researchers did was develop a successful way to build higher-order structures, or complexes, out of the different types of quantum dots. Led by professors Shana Kelley and Ted Sargent, the research team brought together expertise about DNA and about semiconductors to formulate a generalized strategy about how to bind the different types of nanoparticles to each other. Published in Nature Nanotechnology the research shows that you can create a more effective nanoantenna by increasing the amount of light absorbed, and then funneling the light energy into a single site within artificial molecules made of quantum dots. But the thing that makes this research possible isn't just an understanding of semiconductors and nanomaterials. According to the researchers the high degree of specificity of DNA was key to making this research successful.

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  7. World’s First Successful Human-Powered Ornithopter Takes Flight

    A doctoral engineering student at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, Todd Reichert, has built and successfully flown the world's first working human-powered ornithopter, which is a machine that flies by flapping its wings. Building it to work via a human pedaling it like a bicycle, however, is what makes Reichert's achievement so neat. Check out the video after the jump.

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