those Hate Mails
twice before you send a hate mail to anyone, as a survey has
found that almost two-thirds of people save rude or incriminating
mails to use as potential evidence against the sender. The
poll conducted by Lycos.co.uk found that twenty-four per cent
of 2,600 people questioned keep work-related emails with the
specific intention of using them in any future dispute. "We've
become a nation of email hoarders and people should be careful
what they say." Emails to friends, colleagues or a partner
could return to "haunt" the sender," Lycos
spokeswoman Toni Smith said. "Sending a quick email is
second nature now but, remember, you can be held accountable
for your words," she added.
and their Feet
super sticky feet of geckos allow the animals to cling easily
to nearly any surface. In fact, a single toe contains enough
foot hairs, known as setae, to support the animal's entire
body weight. Researchers are thus hoping to employ the gecko's
secrets to manufacture adhesives with similar properties.
Now scientists can add another impressive characteristic to
the list: setae are self-cleaning. Previous research had hinted
at a built-in cleaning process for gecko feet but just how
the creatures kept their toes tidy remained a mystery because
they neither groom their footpads nor secrete fluids. A recent
study by Kellar Autumn and Wendy R. Hansen of Lewis and Clark
College found that it takes only a few steps for setae to
shed tiny silica spheres. "Self-cleaning in gecko setae
may occur because it is energetically favourable for particles
to be deposited on the surface rather than remain adhered
to the spatulae," they said. The findings indicate that
gecko foot cleaning occurs even under extreme exposure to
clogging particles. To best imitate this property in synthetic
adhesives, the authors posit that an array of adhesive nanostructures
should be made out of a relatively hard material having a
small surface area and low surface energy for optimum performance.
Tool for the Visually Impaired
innovative tool that people with poor eyesight can use while
handling computers is getting a massive response since its
launch a week ago, says its 19-year-old creator Stephen Antony.
"I am getting a huge response from people who are thankful
because they have got over a major problem of using the net,"
says Antony, who has thrice won the Superior Coder of the
Planet Award from the US. The tool can change colours and
font sizes to suit those visually impaired and there is also
a virtual newsreader for the blind. "The visually challenged
can choose blue, red, green, yellow or white colour. The size
of the font can be increased or decreased at the strike of
a key," says Antony. For the blind, Antony has the virtual
newsreader 'Charlie' that can read out the news. The new tool
can be downloaded from the website www.webspidy.com that Antony
launched three months ago. The site logs more than 100,000
hits a day. The biggest advantage of the tool is that it comes
totally free and can be accessed by anyone from anywhere in
Scanner works on Curved Surfaces
bendy, credit card-sized sliver of plastic will let you scan
where no scanner has gone before. The idea is that you will
plug the scanner into a mobile phone which will both provide
power for it and act as its display and storage medium. And
because it is flexible, it will let you copy just about anything,
even if it's on a curved surface such as an open book or the
label on a wine bottle. The lightweight device, unveiled last
week at an electronics conference in San Francisco, is the
latest development in the field of flexible organic electronics,
which exploits the electronic properties of conducting plastics.
Light-emitting plastics are already being used in flexible
computer displays, and organic LED-based TV screens are in
development. But the new flexible scanner is using light-sensitive
organic components instead of light-generating ones
Signals from Light Years Away
astronomers involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence
(SETI) pointed a massive radio telescope in Puerto Rico at
the sky, it picked up an enigmatic signal that had been received
several times before from one particular corner of space.
It could have been generated by a previously unknown astronomical
phenomenon, there was a slim chance it was a signal from aliens.
"It's the most interesting signal from SETI@home yet,"
said Dan Werthimer, chief scientist for the project, which
uses programs running as screensavers on millions of personal
computers to sift through signals picked up by the telescope.
Webindia123.com / NewScientist.com / Scientific America.com
by: Imran H. Khan
(R) thedailystar.net 2004