There's a town in Central Florida that's populated entirely by retired postal workers and their spouses. Nalcrest was founded in 1963 by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), and it's still run by the union, without government subsidy.
What does it cost to live in Nalcrest? The 500 apartments on the property rent for between $315 and $335 a month. A bargain. So, not surprisingly, there's a long waiting list. Worth 25 to 30 years of sometimes back-breaking service? Maybe.
It may surprise you to learn that ice skaters are technically skating on water, not ice. At it's freezing point (32 degrees Fahrenheit), ice has a liquid surface 40 billionths of a meter thick. If that layer was much thinner, a skater's blades would stick instead of glide gracefully.
You're flipping through a magazine when you see an ad for a new fruit juice. No need to rush out to the grocery store to see how it tastes. With a new type of ad featuring a lickable panel, you can find out immediately.
The removable, flavor-laden stickers can be licked just once and can't be reattached to the ad. So far, this technology, which has been approved by the FDA, has been used to promote grape juice and toothpaste in popular magazines such as People and Rolling Stone.
Although advertisers are still studying the "ick factor" (how receptive consumers are to licking ads), new flavors are being developed. Keep an eye out for pizza, soy milk, and children's cold medicines.
You head out to your car, turn the key in the ignition. Instead of the roar of the engine, you hear an insistent beeping. You turn the key again. The car still won't start!
This situation is becoming increasingly common because of a new effort by some lenders to cut down on loan defaults. They've been turning to several companies that offer technology to "train" customers to pay on time.
It works like this: A small box is mounted under the dash of the car. Its lights flash when a payment is coming up. It starts beeping on the due date. If the payment isn't made, the car won't start. Lenders claim that default rates have decreased 30 to 50 percent among those who have the device installed.
Frustrating? Maybe. But probably better than a late night visit from a collection agency to repossess the vehicle.
You've no doubt heard of vegetarians and vegans (who don't eat any animal products). Maybe you've even run across a few raw foodists (no cooking allowed) and fruititarians (who eat only fruit). But you probably don't know any breatharians, who believe they don't have to eat at all. They claim to live off prana, a "life force" that exists in the air and light.
Unlike many religious groups that practice occasional fasting, breatharians maintain that they can fast forever without ill effect. (Unfortunately, several converts have died over the years.) Still, many of the movement's leaders continue to eat, claiming they don't need the nourishment but merely enjoy the taste of food.
Only you can prevent forest fires. But in the near future, there could be a better way to fight them. German researchers have designed a dog-sized, insect-shaped robot that can operate independently to fight forest fires. It's equipped with water tanks, fireproof armor, fire-dousing chemicals, GPS, heat sensors, and other high-tech gizmos. The robot's six legs - it has no wheels - give it stability.
There are no current plans to roll out the design for widespread use. But firefighters and fire experts around the world are investigating ways they can apply this new technology.
When you need high-quality photos for business presentations, websites, blogs, or brochures and other documents, check out Flickr, one of the most popular photo-sharing sites on the Web. Lots of photographers have made their work available on Flickr through the Creative Commons Commercial license. And you can use those photos free of charge as long as you attribute them to the people who took them.
Go to flickr.com/search/advanced/. Check the Creative Commons box near the bottom of the page. Then enter a search term in the box at the top of the page to find the type of image you are looking for.
Hoping to boost a sagging birthrate - and concerned that its declining population could hurt economic growth - the government of Singapore has put together a very different type of college course. In it, students learn the arts of flirting, relationships, dating, love song analysis, and online chatting. The new course, which filled up so quickly that additional classes had to be added, is one component of the city-state's efforts to convince young people to get married and have children.
Smooth-flowing airplane wings based on the shapes of raptor feathers and the fins of humpback whales... energy-efficient buildings modeled after termite mounds... less-painful hypodermic needles adapted from a mosquito's stinger. These are just a few products now being developed with biomimetics.
In this rapidly growing scientific discipline, researchers are drawing inspiration from nature to design breakthrough products, usually in the fields of engineering, materials science, and medicine. Other objects of their interest include toucan bills, which are lightweight yet very strong, and spider silk, which is five times stronger by weight than steel.