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Space Tech Gives Eye Surgery A Boost – On Science

February 25, 2014

Surgeons and astronauts working together?

Is there more to Apple’s iOS security problems that you should know about?

Why you might want to think twice before posing for a group selfie.

And what’s making your brain shrink? Coming up today…On Science!

Hello and welcome to On Science. I’m Emerald Robinson.

“Feel the vibration” might work for Marky Mark but there’s no such thing as “good vibrations” when it comes to a microscope and eye surgeries. Physicians in the Netherlands were having problems performing detailed eye surgeries due to vibrations of their microscope so they turned to astronomers for help. Sounds like an unlikely collaboration, but astronomers had developed a rig to still vibrations for one of their planet hunter telescopes. The rig, called a Hummingbird device, was originally devised for ESA’s Darwin telescope that never really took off. Hummingbird is helping to steady the microscope for doctors performing such precise surgeries as repairing retinal detachment. One surgeon said, “When you’re working within less than 1 mm, a shaky microscope is not an option.” Glad they worked that out!

And Apple’s working on a quick fix for its OS problems these days. Apple recently confirmed that its computer operating system contains the same security flaw as the mobile operating system once had. The security flaw allowed hackers to spy on customer activity, for example read an iPhone user’s email while sitting in the same coffee shop or recognize encrypted bank password information and such. Apple released a new version of its iOS 7 to combat the problem and says it plans to release a fix for the computer operating system soon. I downloaded this fix to my iPhone this morning.

Oh, that deserves a selfie! Group selfie! Hmm.. that’s weird. When you’re capturing a selfie, you might be capturing a little something extra. That’s according to one expert at a lice-treatment center in California who says that there has been a big increase in lice incidents in young people due in part to the rising popularity of the selfie. Lice is spread from head-to-head contact, they don’t just jump from one head to another. But put your heads together, and you’re bridging the divide for the little critters. Of the teens treated for lice, all admitted they were taking selfies every day. So when there’s more than one person in a selfie, is it still technically considered a selfie? Ok, I think I’m imagining things now.

Speaking of which, can you imagine just how our Earth became habitable all those billions of years ago? Well, one rock is helping to paint that picture. Zircon gathered from Australia’s Jack Hills region is confirming scientists’ view of how the Earth cooled and became habitable 4.4 billion years ago. Researchers found that the rock is the oldest known material of any kind to have formed on our planet. Using atom-probe tomography and ion mass spectrometry, the team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison concluded from the rock sample that the Earth had a hydrosphere before 4.3 billion years ago. They also found that the planet was indeed a “cool early Earth” with temperatures low enough for liquid water, oceans, and a hydrosphere not long after the planet’s crust congealed from a sea of magma. Can’t you just picture it?

Maybe you can’t if you’ve been eating so many carb that your brain is shrinking. Researchers say there is a link between carbohydrate-calorie rich diets and brain shrinkage, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, impaired cognition and other disorders. They say that a calorie isn’t just a calorie in the way it affects your brain health, or the rest of your body in general. Carbohydrate calories elevate blood glucose and are much worse for human physiology than calories derived from healthful sources of fat. So stay healthy and lay off the sweets my peeps!

And that’s today On Science! See you tomorrow!



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