World’s Strangest

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Hearing Music for the First Time

Austin Chapman is profoundly deaf, but with new hi-tech hearing aids he recently received, he was able to hear music for the first time in his 23-year life. That night, a group of close friends jump-started my musical education by playing Mozart, Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Elvis, and several other popular legends of [...]

World’s First Organ Donor Dies -56 Years Later

Ronald Lee Herrick was 79 years old when he died Monday in a Maine hospital from complications of heart surgery. He did not die from kidney failure, even though he only had one, and his identical twin brother suffered from renal failure in 1954. That was the year Herrick donated a healthy kidney to his [...]

Blimps Big Enough to Haul Buildings

Skylifter is an Australian start-up company that hopes to use enormous blimps to move pieces of equipment to places not easily accessible by roads: Heavy-transport helicopters, such as the Mil Mi-26 or Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane, address some of these difficulties, but their payloads are limited to 20 and nine tonnes, respectively, and the huge rotors create [...]

Irritating Side Effect of Cocaine Vaccine: It Causes Users to Take 10 Times as Much Cocaine as Before

Last October, I posted about a drug that binds antibodies to cocaine to diminish its pleasurable effects in users. Well, it’s not working out terribly well because some users are responding by taking enough cocaine to overwhelm its protection: Nobody overdosed, but some of them had 10 times more cocaine coursing through their systems than researchers [...]

Scientists Map Entire Genetic Code for Two Cancers

Scientists at the International Cancer Genome Consortium assert that they have genetically decoded lung and skin cancer. This will allow the development of drugs that specifically attack cancer at the genetic level because it will be possible to determine precisely which mutations cause certain cancers: The scientists found the DNA code for a skin cancer called [...]

Scientists Grow Meat in Lab

Researchers at Eindhoven University in the Netherlands have recently grown synthetic pork meat in a laboratory setting. Lois Rogers writes for The Times: The advent of so-called “in-vitro” or cultured meat could reduce the billions of tons of greenhouse gases emitted each year by farm animals — if people are willing to eat it. So far the [...]

Medical Researchers Working on Regrowing Breast Tissue after Mastectomy

Scientists at the Bernard O’Brien Institute of Microsurgery in Melbourne, Australia, are developing an implantable device that they hope will regenerate lost breast tissue. In The Daily Telegraph, Bonnie Malkin writes: During the world-first trial surgeons will implant a chamber containing a sample of the woman’s fat tissue into the chest, which will act a “scaffolding” [...]

Scientists Create Pocket-Sized Black Hole

Researchers Qiang Chen and Tie Jun Cui of Southeast University in Nanjing, China created a device that partially simulates the effects (to a limited scale) of a black hole. It bends light differently from a the way that a black hole does, but it will readily absorb it: The hole is the latest clever device to [...]

Remote-Controlled Robot to Inspect Your Colon

You might or might not consider this to be good news. Enrico Grasso of the University Hospital Tor Vergata in Rome, Italy, has developed a pill-sized robot that can crawl around inside a patient, searching for signs of cancer. Alastair Jamieson writes in The Daily Telegraph: Pills containing cameras already exist, but this is believed to [...]

Progress on a HIV Vaccine

Donald G. McNeil, Jr. writes in The New York Times that a new vaccine tested on 16,000 Thai volunteers demonstrated improved resistance to the virus that causes AIDS. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, it’s a significant discovery. McNeil writes: Col. Jerome H. Kim, a physician who is manager of the army’s [...]