Think Smaller

In a recent study, researchers at Kern County have found that a larger brain isn’t necessarily a ‘better’ brain.

“Based looking at the quantity of brain mass, both in weight and volume, of individuals and comparing it with their various responses to tests, we have determined that a smaller, denser brain processes information at a faster rate,” says Eric Walhelm, head researcher at Brain and Lung Studies, “The capacity, learning ability and other factors are not affected as much, with no distinct determining factor found among our testing criteria.”

A 5.0% reduction in synapse distance, for example, corresponds to a 2.5% increase in speed from node to node, which manifests as a 7.4% overall increase in speed of thought.

When quizzed as to why this might be the case, he was reluctant to say, “There are too many variables to call this conclusive. All we know is that our preliminary analysis shows a negative correlation between brain volume and speed of thought. Like having shorter roads, you can travel at the same speed and get to your destination faster.”

Pressed further, he suggested that a reduced physical distance between operational synapses allows for less ‘travel time’ of electrical impulses, and therefore faster overall responses. This has led to some speculation that new ‘mind-shrinking’ drugs may be on the cards for investigation, those that boost density by shrinking the volume.ChesterLogoSmall

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New Zealand to Annex Australia

An intensive, three year long investigation has yielded a surprising result: The country of Australia should be considered a state of New Zealand.

The counter-intuitive conclusion of Maxwell Foreman’s thesis pertaining to Geological and Tectonic Boundaries and Established Political Regions shows that, while most of the countries follow an implied pattern, Australia and New Zealand are large exceptions.

“The problem appears that, since Australia and New Zealand have been colonised only very recently, in the grand scheme of history, there hasn’t been enough time for the usual flexing of borders to align with the Earth’s natural boundaries,” says Maxwell.

He goes on to say that while there are many such examples where the political climate has had more influence than the natural, the Australia-New Zealand situation is unique.

“New Zealand is essentially an archipalego with Wellington sitting almost perfectly on the arithmetic mean and, surprisingly, the mass of Australia is, geologically speaking, merely an island of that cluster,” he states, “Given time, we might find that Australia will be absorbed into the nation of New Zealand.”ChesterLogoSmall

Countdown to Less Traffic

Traffic lights are integral to the proper functioning of any urban transportation system. A necessary evil, they reduce the number of accidents and aim to increase throughput, yet they are a source of frustration for drivers.

One of these frustrations is being caught at a set of lights without any idea of how long they will take to change in favour of the driver.

A push by the National Road Users Association for visible countdown timers on traffic lights hopes to see better throughput and safer driving conditions for all.

“Our simulations show that by giving the driver an indication of when lights will change, rather than springing a cycle upon them, the driver’s reaction time is improved by upwards of 30%, which results in more cars through an intersection per cycle, improving the overall efficiency,” says Michelle Terry, NRUA founder, “We also expect fewer gridlocks, since drivers won’t thrust themselves into a blocked intersection if they can see that the lights are about to change.”

Schemes tested include placing illuminated signs above the signals.

“Displaying numbers works well in simulations, however we are also trialing colour, positional and rate-of-flash (ROF) sequences, in case numbers are too hard to see under particular driving conditions.”

There is no official date for a rollout of any proposed changes.ChesterLogoSmall

Wormhole blamed for Disappearance

A rift in the space-time continuum has been cited as the ‘most likely’ reason Professor James DuClair of Michigan is no longer contactable.

“It’s completely out of character for him to just go wandering off. There’s nothing to suggest foul play, nothing to suppose he might be in hiding,” says a colleague, who refused to be named, “If you know Jay, you know that the only thing that could stop him from coming into work is if he got swallowed up.”

The only evidence to his whereabouts lies in his laboratory, where his notes, equipment and even his desk have vanished. Strangely, CCTV footage shows Professor DuClair entering the premises, but not leaving.

“He couldn’t have moved all of this by himself, and there’s always someone here, so they would have seen something,” says the colleague, “The killer thing is that his research is gone. In a way, it kind of explains what happened.”

When asked about his line of research, we were denied any details, informed only that Professor DuClair was working on ‘Trans-Dimensionsal Propagation of Photons’.ChesterLogoSmall

Giant Radiators to Cool the Earth

To address concerns of global warming, scientists in Seattle have proposed the construction of ‘Giant Radiators’ that would act like mammoth size heat-sinks, radiating out unwanted heat into space.

A conventional radiator uses convection, conduction and radiation to sink its thermal energy to the surrounding environment, whereas the new structures would rely solely upon radiation.

“The design is as efficient as we can make it. Still there are intrinsic inefficiencies that are physically impossible to overcome. Nevertheless, these can operate day and night, constantly absorbing ambient thermal energy and radiating it into space, reducing the overall temperature of the globe. Over time, we’re confident this would combat global warming,” says Doctor Pike, a member of the team that put together the proposal, “It’s not dissimilar to what astronauts use to maintain the temperature of their suits, only on a much, much larger scale.”

Since the net motion of energy is out into space, away from Earth, the overall temperature of the Earth will reduce. “The current simulations point to a 0.7 degree drop in average global temperature over a five year period,” says Dr Pike, “Physical trials may prove otherwise, of course, still it’s an exciting prospect.”ChesterLogoSmall

Robo Traffic

Distracted drivers are not at fault, according to new research. The Robotic Automotive Administration yesterday announced that car manufacturers are responsible for the traffic and injuries caused by distracted drivers, not the drivers themselves.

“It’s simple, really. Humans are designed to talk, to look, to interact for short periods of time. They aren’t designed to drive long distances in complicated environments in sub-par conditions. They get tired. They get emotional. So why are we blaming the human when they feel the need to check their social media?” says the RAA release, “If we give a knife to a toddler, can we blame him if he cuts himself?”

Vehicle technology, the report says, has improved in areas of efficiency and comfort, but it has failed to keep up with the trend of mobile phones and social media. The report goes on to cite the lack of a push from car manufacturers to develop automated cars. While it makes no absolute claims, it does imply that they have their own agenda for keeping people behind the wheel.

“We cannot blame social media. We cannot blame communication technology. Above all, we cannot blame the user. We have the capability (to created automated vehicles). We have cameras and sensors, actuators and high speed processors, navigation and traffic warnings. There is absolutely no reason why we cannot see automated cars on the road, which would alleviate congestion, reduce the number of serious incidents and improve the quality of life of all commuters.”