Tech

Good vibrations

Ring my chimes IMPLANTED devices, such as heart pacemakers, are a valuable part of modern medicine’s armamentarium. Their use, however, is limited by the need to renew their batteries—and this is a particular problem for those, such as cochlear implants (which improve hearing), that are inside the wearer’s head. For obvious reasons, surgeons do not like opening heads up unless ...

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Wait not in vain

OVER the course of an average winter North American wood frogs, Rana sylvatica, may freeze solid several times. They are able to get away with this by replacing most of the water in their bodies with glucose mobilised from stores in their livers. That stops ice forming in their tissues as temperatures drop. When things warm up again, the frogsicles thaw ...

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No more horsing around

THE murky world of sports doping has been in the news recently, as accusations fly concerning the use, on a scale previously unacknowledged, of performance-enhancing drugs in athletics. But human beings are not the only animals doped to enhance their performance. Racehorses are similarly afflicted. Catching cheats in the world of horse-racing has, however, proved hard. Human and equestrian biology ...

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The great wet hope

WHILE the Atlantic coast of America was preparing for last month’s massive snowstorm, California was enjoying a welcome, albeit temporary, reprieve from its four-year drought. The prolonged downpour—a harbinger of the imminent El Niño storms—raised pool levels in Los Angeles by almost three inches, providing your correspondent with an extra 500 gallons of water free of the city’s Tier 1 tariff. ...

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