Monthly Archives: May 2012

How to turn a waiting room into a fun zone

Nobody likes waiting. But for children at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, waiting just became fun. It’s all thanks to ScreenPlay, an interactive waiting room developed by U of T professor Elaine Biddiss of the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) and Scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute. With a pressure-sensitive floor comprising […] … learn more→

Detecting the perfect solar storm

On September 1, 1859, British astronomer Richard Carrington was sketching sunspots through a telescope when he saw a bright, oval-shaped light expanding outward from the sun. About 18 hours later, brilliant auroras colored the night sky as far south as the Caribbean, and Earth’s fledgling telegraph systems went berserk: wires melted, sparks from the wires […] … learn more→

The Medical Minute: No such thing as a \’safe\’ tan

In the United States, one person dies of melanoma every hour. More than 60,000 new cases of this potentially fatal form of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year, and this number is growing at an alarming rate. According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma is the most common form of cancer in young adults […] … learn more→

Not a one-way street: Evolution shapes environment

Environmental change is the selective force that preserves adaptive traits in organisms and is a primary driver of evolution. However, it is less well known that evolutionary change in organisms also trigger fundamental changes in the environment. Yale University researchers found a prime example of this evolutionary feedback loop in a few lakes in Connecticut, […] … learn more→

More engineers needed: Argentina confronts the challenge

At the end of March 2012, the Argentine Minister of Education announced the upcoming release of a Strategic Plan to improve the training of engineers. Its main goal is to graduate an average of 10,000 engineers per year, instead of the current 6,000. Argentina produces an undergraduate engineer every 6,700 inhabitants. This figure is low […] … learn more→

No more needles

Getting a shot at the doctor’s office may become less painful in the not-too-distant future. MIT researchers have engineered a device that delivers a tiny, high-pressure jet of medicine through the skin without the use of a hypodermic needle. The device can be programmed to deliver a range of doses to various depths — an […] … learn more→

A revealing hand

What did you have for lunch yesterday? How many times a month do you eat nuts? How about your kids — how many servings of vegetables did they consume today? It’s no secret that it is hard to recall the details of our meals, and that frustrating fact lies at the heart of nutrition research, […] … learn more→

Socioeconomics may affect toddlers’ exposure to flame retardants

A Duke University-led study of North Carolina toddlers suggests that exposure to potentially toxic flame-retardant chemicals may be higher in nonwhite toddlers than in white toddlers. The study also suggests that exposure to the chemicals is higher among toddlers whose fathers do not have a college degree, a proxy measure of lower socioeconomic background. Hand-to-mouth […] … learn more→

Would you rather be safe or social? Marketers need to know

Advertisers spend enormous amounts of time and money attempting to tailor their advertising campaigns to the needs of different demographic groups. After all, the concerns of first-year college students are going to be different from those of retired professionals. Even within a given demographic category, however, there are many individual differences such as personality that […] … learn more→

Newfound exoplanet may turn to dust

Researchers at MIT, NASA and elsewhere have detected a possible planet, some 1,500 light years away, that appears to be evaporating under the blistering heat of its parent star. The scientists infer that a long tail of debris — much like the tail of a comet — is following the planet, and that this tail […] … learn more→