Snake ointment, stool pigeon crows, and virtual pop stars

Tim’s blog

This week on radio, Tim Thwaites is talking about snake ointment; stool pigeon crows; buzzing belts; virtual pop stars; and more…

Snake ointment—Researchers in Newcastle have identified an ointment that slows the spread of some kinds of snake venom through the body, giving snakebite victims longer to reach medical assistance.—Nature Medicine

A Science report can be found at http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/06/when-the-snake-bites-try-ointmen.html?ref=hp

Guided by the buzzing beltThe US army is testing wearable navigation devices that allow soldiers to be directed through coded vibrations. The best seems to be a belt incorporating eight small electric vibrating motors which signify directions. By means of the belt soldiers can be prompted which way to move, and given orders such as halt and move.—New Scientist

A New Scientist report can be found at http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21028185.800-haptic-soldiers-guided-by-buzzing-belt.html

Glider autopilot gives a free ride—Robot gliders may soon be able to soar aloft indefinitely if a project at a Sydney research institute comes to fruition. Engineers are designing an autopilot system that maps and plans a glider’s route to make best use of what wind is available. Such gliding drones could provide cheap remote sensing.—New Scientist

A New Scientist report can be found at http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21028185.700-autopiloted-glider-knows-where-to-fly-for-a-free-ride.html

Crows are really stool pigeons—Crows learn to recognise and scold dubious individuals. And they pass on the information to each other, an American bird researcher has found.—Proceedings of the Royal Society B

A New Scientist report can be found at http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20624-crows-tell-the-world-whos-bad.html

The right whales are coming homeMore than 100 years after they were hunted to extinction, right whales have returned to their traditional calving grounds in New Zealand. In recent years, a few dozen females have found their way back to the same bays their ancestors used for bearing young.—Marine Ecology Progress Series

A Science report can be found at http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/06/scienceshot-right-whales-finally.html?ref=hp

Virtual pop star fools fans—She’s pretty, stylish and oozes star quality. But Japan’s latest pop sensation doesn’t actually exist. Aimi Eguchi, the newest member of the Japanese band AKB48, is actually a virtual composite of the six other band members. But she managed to fool fans for several weeks.—New Scientist

A New Scientist blog can be found at http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/onepercent/2011/06/japanese-band-reveals-virtual.html