SpaceX Test Drove Their Latest Rocket Engine

SpaceX is supposed to be the rocket company that’s going to take us to the next space frontier, at least that’s the plan. Just recently they tested their new rocket engine, the SuperDraco, which is supposed to allow space capsules land back on earth without the use of parachutes.

The new engine is going to be used in SpaceX’s emergency Launch Abort System, which is going to launch off and away from the main rocket and help it land safely on the ground. The capsule is going to use eight SuperDraco engines to stabilise the capsule as it lands back on earth. Normally speaking, a parachute would work better. Since the capsule uses eight engines, if one of the engines fails this could cause the capsule lose control.

The reason the Draco engine is so special, is because of a new type of technology that allows it to turn on and off in less than 1/10th of a second. This ability gives it the best control when it comes to making adjustments on the fly. The Engine on the video above puts out over 15,000 pounds of thrust, enough to keep the privately funded company growing with investors after they see how well it performed. Via Wired Autopia

Lake Vostok is a 20 Million Year Old Lake Buried Beneath Antarctica

For the past 20 years Russian scientists have been drilling over two and a half miles under the Earth to reach Lake Vostok, a lake that has been hidden for over 20 million years in the middle of Antarctica – the coldest place in the world. The video above is a small clip from a documentary regarding Lake Vostok.

Vostok is believed to have more fresh water than any other lake in the world, by volume, Vostok is the largest lake known to man. To give you an idea of how deep Vostok is, the lake is kept warm by heat coming from the Earth’s core, even though two and a half miles of ice are resting above it. The Russians are stationed in the Vostok Station, which is considered to be one of the coldest places on earth.

For nearly two decades the Scientist have been conducting experiments as they drill down to the lake, they are collecting ice core samples, and microorganism samples that they find trapped in the cores. Now that they are about to break through the layer, they are jumping in excitement to see what they are going to find.

The Lake has been completely undisturbed for over 20 million years, since back when Antarctica was attached to Australia, IF there is life, this is going to be one of the greatest finds of our modern history.

So what will they find when they break through the ice cap? I can tell you what they won’t find, the Spark Cube from Transformers! But on a more serious note, if they don’t find life, their last 20 years of drilling would become the largest disappointment of the scientists’ life. These people spent nearly two decades freezing to death to see what this lake has hidden on its waters.

There are other problems to take into consideration, if there is life; the drill bit could potentially contaminate the water killing all the organisms that are trapped in the lake. Other more serious problems are pressure buildups from the past 20 million years that could destroy the entire drill assembly, picture opening a coke can under pressure. Lastly, whatever is living down there has never been in contact with Humans, but most importantly, WE have never been in contact with whatever lives there. This could release ancient bacteria that we’re not prepared to deal with.

If it all goes well, we would, not only learn about the history of our early Earth, but we could learn about the possibility of having life on ice planets and moons like Europa.[ Via: BBC ]

Sperm Can Be Stored In Female Bodies For Years

People say that regardless of how much planning you do you will never be ready for a baby, and maybe that’s true, sometimes babies can come at inopportune times. But imagine getting a call 15 years after having sex with an Ex-Partner and her saying – hey you have have a 4 year old son that wants to meet you.

The Human body can only store sperm for 3-5 days, its not necessarily a “storage” period, its more of a delay on fertilization, but what if females had their own personal storage pocket? What if this pocket was like a sperm bank so she could get pregnant when she felt she was ready?

This isn’t something out of a book, researchers found that many females in the natural world possess the ability to store sperm in periods that range from a few weeks, to over 30 years. So far scientists have found birds, insects, whale sharks, and even some reptiles that can store the sperm for years. The Queen ants can store the sperm for up to 30 years before it begins to fertilize their eggs and start a colony.

Dr. Klaus Reinhardt from the University of Sheffield has a new study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, which found that female crickets are able to store sperm within by slowing the sperm’s aging process to prolong its viability. The scientists found that both the metabolic rate and the level of free radicals of stored sperm were much lower than that of un-stored sperm. By dampening the aging process, females can keep sperm alive almost indefinitely.

I’ve heard some stories in the past about women who get pregnant after their husband dies, or the ones that get pregnant in the middle of her husband’s deployment to a conflict, these women claim that their bodies stored the sperm… maybe there is some truth behind it all… maybe they did not cheat on their husbands and looked for an excuse to not look bad…  Yea who am I kidding, until someone can prove this to me, I’m not going to a Maury Show 30 years after having sex with anyone. Via: PhsyOrg

This Boy Can See In The Dark: He Literally Has Cat Eyes

The video above is of Nong Youghui, a boy that has stunned medics with his ability to see in pitch the dark with eyes that glow in the dark. When light hits his eyes, the lights show the reflection of the light, similar to what happens when you flash a light to a cat in the dark.

Doctors have studied Nong Youhui’s amazing eyesight since his dad took him to hospital in Dahua, southern China, he was deeply concerned over his bright blue eyes.

Dad Ling said: “They told me he would grow out of it and that his eyes would stop glowing and turn black like most Chinese people but they never did.”  Medical tests conducted in complete darkness show Youhui can read perfectly without any light and sees as clearly as most people do during the day.

Experts believe he was born with a rare condition called leukodermia which has left his eyes with less protective pigment and more sensitive to light. The precise cause of leukodermia is very complex and not fully understood. It is known that as a result of this auto-immune disorder, eyes are more sensitive to light and without as much protective pigment as would be found in normal eyes.

The actual video became popular in 2009, but just recently people started to find the video in different sites and, nothing ever came out of this child’s special ability but it’s still cool none of the less.

What Happens to the Empty Space Left Behind After You Donate an Organ?

The Question reads: Kinetik_Inferno – When an organ is donated, there has to be a space left behind, so do the doctors fill that space with some sort of material that the body doesn’t perceive as foreign? Or does the body itself fill the gap?

Answers: Repentia-The body is organised into several compartments, usually by function. Some of these are completely closed off and others are open to each other. If the space is emptied the spaces surrounding it will expand to fill it. The kidney, for example, sits in the retroperitoneum. With the kidney removed that space will effectively flatten and the closest organs will passively fill the space. In this case that would be the liver from above (right side) and the stomach and bowel (left side). Gasses are absorbed through tissues after several hours, as is inappropriate liquids.

Epsilonius – Will this give you a bigger stomach so you can noticably eat more before getting full? Is this a problem for people after surgery, putting on weight etc?

Thrilldigger – Putting on weight can be a problem immediately after any major surgery (excluding bariatric surgery for obvious reasons) for a variety of reasons, including decreased activity and your body’s need for nutrients to heal the damage done by the surgery.

As for your stomach, it can naturally expand over time if you overeat regularly, but removal of adjacent organs won’t itself significantly expand your stomach’s size.

Interesting side-note: with bariatric surgeries like gastric bypass and duodenal switch – both of which reduce the patient’s stomach to a small pouch – the patient’s stomach can over time expand back to close to its original size despite having been reduced by 70% or more in the surgery. Via Reddit

For More Reddit Science question and Answers click this link! 


This Fungus Turns Ants Into Zombies

You may think that zombies may only be real in Hollywood movies, but zombies do exist. You may not see them walking around the city streets, but if you live near the Thailand tropical forest, you may see them walking in the forest floor. If you’re a human, you have nothing to worry about, but if you’re a tropical carpenter ant, that ant walking next to you may not be the same friend you were eating a leaf next to the day before.

For the most part, tropical carpenter ants spend most of their time high in the forest canopy away from the ground. Every once in a while they do venture down to the jungle floor in search of seeds, or food. When they travel to the floor, they follow a well-defined trail. It’s during this time that ants could get infected by Ophicordyceps Unilateralis – fancy name for a zombie making fungus.

The fungal spores that land on their outer body infiltrate the body of the carpenter ant, and then it begins to feed on the ant. Eventually the ant loses its ability control its body and the fungus begins the full body invasion. The fungus forces the ant to the forest floor by causing the ant to shake uncontrollably and thus losing its grip on the leaves.

Once the ant lands on the forest ground, the fungus looks for an environment where the fungus can grow – usually leaves of saplings that are about 10 inches above the soil surface. Once the fungus finds this leaf it waits for the sun to shine at its highest intensity of the day, it is then that the fungus forces the ant into “the death grip.” The ant sinks it’s mandibles into the leaf’s main vein on the underside of the leaf. The ant eventually dies and the fungus begins to grow out of the ant’s head releasing an odor unique to an ant colony.

When the fungus matures, it waits until other ants are near the area and then releases the spores infecting other ants and starting the process all over again. As long as this fungus never mutates to infect humans, we should be in the clear because this is some scary s**t. Via:Earth Sky

DHM: The Hangover Cure Pill – It’s like the Morning After Pill, for Alcohol

I hate the horrible feeling associated with drinking. A night out with our friends usually ends up with a horrible morning after – but researchers are working on the morning after pill for alcohol.

The pill is spiked up with a natural chemical called dihydromyricetin, or DHM, it comes from a Chinese raisin tree. The Chinese have been using this tree for about 500 years to cure hang overs symptoms from excessive drinking. Naturally, researchers began to look into the composition of the tree to figure out exactly what part of the tree helped in the healing process – and then turn it into a pill for a profit.

They extracted the DHM Chemical and tested it on drunk rats with surprising results – they went from drunk, to not, in 5 minutes. Jing Liang, the lead researcher in the study, said that DHM will reduce the degree of drunkenness for the amount of alcohol drunk. So while this pill doesn’t completely get rid of the hangover symptoms, it greatly decreases them. You could have 10 beers, and feel as if you only drank 1. Eventually, Liang wants this pill to reduce an alcoholic’s desire for alcohol since you’ll practically only be drinking water.

In my opinion, is just going to make them drink more. If people know that there is a pill that can instantly reduce the amount of alcohol in your system in 5 minutes or less, they will get drunk, and then take the pill when it comes time to go home. You may have less accidents on the road, but since the pill only controls the symptoms of alcohol, the medical implications are still something to worry about – kidney failure being one of them

In Liang’s tests, the rats were injected with the equivalent of a human drinking 15 to 20 beers in two hours. If left untreated, the rats would take up to 70 minutes to get back on their feet. After a milligram of DHM, per kilogram of rat bodyweight was added to the equation, the rats would get back up on their feet in just 5 minutes.

The good thing about DHM is that it actually neutralizes some of the “crappy” hangover symptoms. Usually, when a person suffers from a hangover, his desire to do anything is shut down. The rats go through the same symptoms. When they are drunk, and they place them in a maze, the rats coward away in a corner and go to sleep. But when they are treated with DHM, the rats behave like any other rat would – DHM revives their inquisitiveness to reach the end of the maze. It’s as if they only drank water the night before.

Lastly, the rats that were addicted to alcohol were given DHM, afterwards, the researchers gave them an option to drink sweet tasting alcohol, or sweet tasting water. They found that the rats treated with DHM would drink more sweetened water over sweetened alcohol.

If this cure actually works in humans as well as it has been working in rats, the researchers may finally have found a way to cure alcoholism – or in my cases, horrible morning after experiences. Via: New Scientist

Woman Pays $50,000 To Clone Her Dog

How much do you love your pet? Do you love him enough to pay $50,000 to clone it? Well, Danielle from the TLC Special, “I cloned my Pet,” paid $50,000 dollars to clone her dog, Trouble – so now she now has Trouble the Second a.k.a. “Double Trouble.”

She apparently loved her dog so much that she couldn’t let him go after his death. I’ve always been curious as to why people would like to clone their dogs or pets. It’s not like they are going to have the same personality, and really it’s not even the same pet. She may look identical but it’s not going to be the same – that’s just my opinion.

I wonder if the people actually cloned it? I could see a fraudulent company that claims to clone your pet for $50,000, spends $2,000 finding a pet that looks identical to your pet, and sells it to you for a profit.

If you saw the video above, she has a whole bunch of “Trouble” things, a Trouble wall mural, a Trouble bedspread. It’s ridiculous.

The science is amazing though, I’ll give you that. I can’t wait to have instant pet cloning facilities at Wal-Mart. But, if you don’t want to wait 100+ years before we have the machines at Wal-Mart, you can go to South Korea to get it done – since that’s the only place that currently has commercial dog cloning -Via: Andersoon Cooper