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The Holographic DVD

A new type of digital storage - based on holographic technology - will make it possible to store up to 110 DVDs, or a total of 1 terabyte of any sort of digital file, on a single disk. Instead of storing data just on the top reflective layer of the disk, as ordinary disks do, a holographic disk stores information in several layers as a 3-D image.

(Source: Discover Magazine)
Will the World End in 2012?

The imminent end of the world has been predicted... well, probably since the first humans set foot on the planet. The date now in vogue with some New Age types is December 12, 2012. This coincides with the end of the current cycle of the ancient Mayan calendar, and also marks the day when the sun will be aligned with the exact center of the Milky Way galaxy for the first time in 26,000 years.

As with any doomsday prediction, there are naysayers. Other New Agers say instead of chaos and catastrophe we can expect a worldwide elevation of consciousness on December 12, 2012. And experts who specialize in ancient American civilization say all the predictions for that date are a major misinterpretation of Mayan writings and history.

(Source: USA Today)
The Frog Without Lungs

Researchers from the National University of Singapore working in Indonesia have found a frog species without lungs that breathes through its skin. Only a few species of salamander are known to share this trait.

The scientists believe this adaptation came about because of the frog's environment. It lives in fast-moving streams, and air-filled lungs would make it float and get swept away by the current.

(Source: Associated Press)
High-Tech Tombstones

Conventional tombstones are boring, something that one Japanese company is aiming to change. They will add multimedia effects for about $2,000. The high-tech grave markers don't look any different, except for the addition of a small barcode. But when the barcode is scanned by an Internet-ready mobile phone, a website pops up with pictures, text, and videos about the deceased. Mourners can also sign an online guestbook.

(Source: Boing Boing)
Coca-Cola was originally green.

It is possible to lead a cow upstairs but not downstairs.

Hawaiian alphabet has 12 letters.

Amount American Airlines saved in 1987 by eliminating one olive
from each salad served first class: $40,000.

City with the most Rolls Royce's per capita: Hong Kong.

State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska

Percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28%
Percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%

Average number of days a West German goes without washing his
underwear: 7 (I wonder how they discovered THIS?
I guarantee it wasn't original research on my part.)

Percentage of American men who say they would marry the same woman
if they had it to do all over again: 80%

Percentage of American women who say they'd marry the same man if
they had it to do all over again: 50%

Cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $6,400

Average number of people airborne over the US at any given hour: 61,000

Percentage of Americans who have visited Disneyland/Disney World: 70%

Average life span of a major league baseball: 7 pitches

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

The world's youngest parents were 8 and 9 and lived in China in 1910.

The youngest pope was 11 years old.

Iceland consumes more Coca-Cola per capita than any other nation.

First novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.

A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.

In the 1940s, the FCC assigned television's Channel 1 to mobile
services (two-way radios in taxicabs, for instance) but did not
re-number the other channel assignments. That is why your TV set
has channels 2 and up, but no channel 1.

The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.

The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.

Did you know that there are coffee flavored PEZ?

The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days of
old when the engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled
on the ground floor and figured out how to walk up straight staircases.

The airplane Buddy Holly died in was the "American Pie." (Thus the
name of the Don McLean song.)

When opossums are playing 'possum, they are not "playing." They
actually pass out from sheer terror.

The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year
because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the
weight of all the books that would occupy the building.

Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history.
Spades - King David, Clubs - Alexander the Great,
Hearts - Charlemagne, and Diamonds - Julius Caesar.

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs
in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front
leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people
without killing them would burn their houses down - hence the expression "to get fired."

Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th,
John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August
2nd, but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.

"I am." is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

The term "the whole 9 yards" came from W.W.II fighter pilots in the
South Pacific. When arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50
caliber machine gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet, before
being loaded into the fuselage. If the pilots fired all their ammo
at a target,it got "the whole 9 yards."

Hershey's Kisses are called that because the machine that makes
them looks like it's kissing the conveyor belt.

The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from
Those are good. But, the youngest Pope was 11 years old?!?!?!?!?
The Ultra-Portable Water Purifier

A Danish company has produced a water filter that removes 99 percent of water-borne pathogens. The LifeStraw Personal - which is basically an oversized straw - is small enough to be worn around the neck on a string, requires no power or maintenance, and has no moving parts. As the user dips the straw into water and starts sipping, multiple filters take out disease-causing agents. It is intended for use in Third World countries, as well as places that have been struck by hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, etc.

(Source: Mental Floss)
The Largest Eyes in the World

New Zealand scientists have discovered what are believed to be the largest eyes found on any animal in the world. The peepers in question measure nearly 11 inches in diameter and belong to a colossal squid, a species first discovered in 2003.

Fishermen hooked the squid in the Antarctic in 2007, froze it, and brought it to a lab for study. Based on larger, though incomplete, carcasses of the same species, the researchers believe they'll find even bigger colossal squid eyes in the future.

(Source: CNN)
Eco Bombs

Researchers are studying alternatives to TNT and other conventional explosives that would be more powerful and safer to use. Explosives currently being used - by the military, as well as by mining and other industries - release toxic gases when detonated. "Unexploded ordnance" (explosive weapons that didn't detonate) is also a major polluter.

Using new materials that derive explosive energy from nitrogen instead of carbon, German scientists have developed experimental bombs that create fewer toxic byproducts. They are also less likely to explode accidentally if mishandled.

(Source: LiveScience)
Self-Repairing Aircraft

Tiny holes and cracks (the result of wear and tear or flying debris) appear on airplanes all the time, often during flight. A new material being developed by scientists at Bristol University in England will immediately fix that damage by itself. Mimicking the way a scab forms on your skin when it's scratched or cut, "veins" filled with epoxy resin automatically "bleed" to fill any holes or cracks (though not major damage).

So far, the technology works only with aircraft made with fiber-reinforced polymer composites - a material that is becoming popular in planes, as well as in cars and spacecraft.

(Source: Science Daily)
Space Station Breakthroughs, Part 3

We've told you about two rather peculiar experiments being overseen by Japanese astronauts at the International Space Station: the planned launch of a paper airplane into Earth's atmosphere and the successful flight of a boomerang inside the station. Well, the Japanese have now topped themselves.

Japanese brewery Sapporo Holdings plans to brew beer using barley grains that were stored on the space station in 2006. The process will yield about 100 bottles. Scientists - whose focus, to be fair, has been on the effects of space travel on the grain, not on the beer - say the experiment will yield important data about growing food in space. This might become necessary as humans spend longer and longer periods traveling the solar system.

(Source: Agence France-Presse)
In-Flight Terrorist-Detecting Cameras

European airlines are testing a combination of cameras and software to detect possible terrorist activity on commercial airplanes. Researchers plan to install a camera at every seat, as well as larger cameras to survey spaces like the aisles. Footage captured by the cameras will be analyzed in real time by software designed to detect suspicious behavior, including strange movements, facial expressions, sweating, standing near the cockpit, etc. If a passenger meets several of those criteria, the crew will be alerted. Exactly how this system works is classified.

(Source: New Scientist)

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