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Sci stuff

Bony tale
In school there are always bullies and the bullied. The bullied often are spineless creatures who cower at the sheer torture. Now biomedical engineers have shown for the first time they can grow new bone in one part of the body and use it to repair damaged bone elsewhere in the body. Hmmm, this won't help the spineless kids grow spines but it will surely help them mend their bully related broken bones.

"We have shown we can grow predictable volumes of bone on demand," said V. Prasad Shastri, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University, who led the study. Co-author Robert Langer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said the research has important implications, not only for engineering bone, but for engineering tissues of any kind. "It has the potential for changing the way that tissue engineering is done in the future," said Langer. Current approaches involve orthopedic surgeons removing small pieces of bone from a patient's rib or hip and fusing them to the broken bone. Although it works, the procedure is extremely painful and can produce serious complications. Scientists say if the new method is confirmed in clinical studies, it will become possible to grow new bone for all types of repairs instead of removing it from existing bones. For anyone interested the research is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Pirates ahoy
Alright, it's a dfferent kind of pirates. These are the ones we love because without them we in Bangladesh would not be able to watch movies, play games or pay homage to Bill Gates. That's probably about to end though.

The Wall Street Journal reports that new digital standards will not only reduce piracy but also save the studios money in distributing their films. However, the deal -- which it took the industry three years to work out -- fails to address who will pay for the digital equipment all theaters would have to substitute for their projection systems. Industry analysts estimate digital projectors will cost about $75,000 each, plus theaters will need equipment capable of receiving the films delivered by Internet or satellite. Hmm, did they say internet? Isn't that something which can be intercepted and downloaded and eventually pirated? There's hope for us after all.

Theaters want the studios to pay for the transition to digital, while the studios say the theaters should pay, the Journal said.

McGyver, duct tape and NASA
Remember McGyver who always had a Swiss knife and a roll of duct tape in his pocket? Guess who else does the same? No! Not me, not anymore that is.

NASA has been given a big thumbs-up for using duct tape several times in space by two authors known as "The Duct Tape Guys." Tim Nyberg and Jim Berg, authors of six books extolling duct tape's virtues. You might say the writers are on a roll by sticking to their idea. Bad puns aside, the space agency's use of duct tape was made famous when the crew of Apollo 13 had to rig up an air-purification system on their troubled 1970 mission.

"Duct tape is used in life-saving missions every day," Nyberg said. "It's called 'HMO on a roll.' The pair's latest book, "Stump the Duct Tape Guys," is out.

Hmmm, now where is that roll of duct tape? My shoelaces broke.

E-waste becoming a health hazard
McDonalds was great food stuff back in the 70's and 80's. Now it's regarded as health hazard for the amount of artery choking material in it. But people still have it. Similarly who would have thought computers would one day become health hazards. No, I am not talking about throwing your PC at your colleague.

"E-trash" (yep, anther new e-term [that too]) is fast becoming a health hazard though not yet in Bangladesh. The US National Safety Council estimates 50 million computers a year become obsolete, many left in landfills where, scientists fear, the metallic parts may poison the environment.

Older, bulky televisions and computer monitors contain as many as 5 pounds of lead, a potentially hazardous metal. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said consumer electronics account for less than 4 percent of the nation's municipal solid waste, but account for approximately 40 percent of the lead in landfills. Heck, we say send it to us. Better yet sell it to our government. They have a penchant for buying obsolete, outdated, worthless stuff.

By Gokhra


Penumbra

My eyelids were sagging and so was the story book in my hand. I let the book fall and closed my eyes making way for that intoxicating sensation of sleep to come over me. Even through my eyelids, I could feel the penetrating rays of the bedside lamp. The switch seemed miles away. I threw the blanket over my head. The last thing I saw was soft red glow of the fabric that shielded my eyes form the brutal light, before I plunged into pleasant unconsciousness.

I had a nightmare; a painful one, one that seared my heart. The burning pain was there long after the visions had gone. I pulled myself out of the nightmare, forced myself awake. I opened my eyes to find the blanket over my head. But I didn't feel the rush of relief that came from escaping a nightmare. Something was wrong something was very wrong. The red glow had disappeared. Who had turned off my lamp? I wasn't feeling hot so the electricity was still there. Tentatively I pulled down the familiar fabric. What I saw shocked me. I wasn't in my room. I was lying on the floor right in front of the door that led to the only verandah in the house. It was pitch dark but I could see everything clearly; like my eyes had adjusted to the darkness. There was a tone of midnight blue amidst all the blackness that added eeriness to it. The cold night wind entered through the door. More than anything… I was confused. Did I sleep-walk my way to this place, did Mom bring me here? I got up, leaving behind my blanket and pillow. The absolute absence of any sort of light at all struck me as odd. Not even a dim light in any flat, on any floor of the opposite building. The building under construction seemed as threatening and ominous as ever. Just then I saw him, he had been standing in the corner all along; the small boy who lived in the facing building. I was surprised to see him in our house this late. I gestured him to come to me. As he approached I saw the tears streaking down his face. I kept on asking him what the matter was, but he just looked helplessly at me just kept crying and the quiet tears kept coming. The incessant glistening transparent stream trickled on and on and on….until they weren't transparent anymore. The thick red liquid rolled down more slowly, the viscosity obstructing its flow……

That's when I woke up. I opened my eyes to find myself under the blanket, except…my lamp still wasn't there. It was the midnight blue and not the red glow. I pulled down my blanket and I saw what I expected to see: the open verandah door and the eerie blackness of the night. I was back to that same place. I felt panic rush through my veins. I felt trapped and suffocated. I didn't understand this. I was perfectly conscious, my senses, my logic, my reasoning were all immaculate. I saw the shapes and shadows perfectly, every outline defined to perfection. I felt the soft breeze that blew through that door, the familiar fabric against my skin. The dread was stifling me and I was frozen with fear. Mustering whatever courage I had I moved my hand and threw the blanket over my head, tried to go back to sleep. The way I got to this state of semi consciousness was the way out of it as well. When I opened my eyes, it was still black. I tried again: black….again: black. Dread choked me up more, with every failed attempt. The effort of blinking seemed to exhaust me. Finally, feeling drained of all energy I opened my eyes for the fourth time. A heavenly calmness settled over me as I felt the warmth of my room the softness of my bed and yes of course the red glow of my lamp. I pulled down the blanket for the first time that night in reality and I saw the surroundings the way I had left them before I fell asleep. It seemed like an eternity that I was trapped in that 'dream' but the clock said it had been an hour since I fell asleep. One hour, that was strange. Dreams lasted no more than a few seconds…

Now, two years after that strange night when I recollect my memories, what I find most interesting is that in my mind's eye the pictures of my 'real' bedroom and my 'dream' verandah are the exact same in clarity, exact same in their authenticity. Well, it's best not to ponder over such things, things which involve the unknown and the unexplored nooks and crannies of the human mind because some things are simply beyond reach of human understanding and will always continue to be so.

By Aniqa Moinuddin


Things not to say to the teacher when caught sleeping in class

Miss, these beauty naps do wonders for the skin, you might want to try them out for your dark circles.

Oh I was just doing this head exercise which my doctor says helps to concentrate.

I wasn't sleeping, just trying to see the molecular structure of the desk and you know how tiny those atoms are…you really need to look closely.

(High five-ing your friend), Thanks miss you just helped me win the bet! The suckers said I couldn't fool you!

I am trying out this latest hypothesis, that suggests that we learn most efficiently when sleeping

Let me sleep longer, mum!

Don't blame me you're the one who is boring

Didn't know today's the international sleep day its already bad enough that u people don't give a holiday.

Hey I thought the bell rang… or was it you passing gas?

By Midnight Maiden


 
 

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