Plants aren't typically known for their speed, but the carnivorous Venus flytrap can close its jaw-like leaves in the blink of an eye. Charles Darwin once referred to the Venus flytrap as "one of the most wonderful plants in the world." But despite the plant's notoriety, its closing mechanism remains a mystery 250 years after its discovery.
Today in mind-bendingly cool stuff that nanoparticles can do: A team of researchers at Rice University in Texas has demonstrated a mechanism by which they can create steam in just seconds by focusing sunlight on a mixture of water and nanoparticles. This isn't just some artificial means of lowering boiling point either; this solar powered "boiler" can produce steam before the water even gets warm to the touch, without ever bringing the aggregate water to a boil.
A group of college students had the real-life Professor Snape.
His name was Henry Lloyd Snape, and while he didn't wield a wand—far as we know— fawn after Lily Potter, or make a mad magical potion; he did claim his expertise in the field of Chemistry. So, he was pretty much the Half Blood Prince. Check him out, pictured in the center, below.
In The Irish Times, the real-life Professor Snape is described as uncannily lenient towards a dark but charismatic disposition, much like the demeanor of Severus as played by Alan Rickman in the 'Harry Potter' flicks.
What gets the bit between the teeth on the connection between Henry Lloyd and JK's Severus Snape, is Rodger's discovery of a recent lecture that was titled 'The Philosopher of Stone.' This immediately brings to mind the title of the first 'Harry Potter' book, 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.'
As a final resounding note we'll add that Henry Lloyd taught at Aberystwyth University, an old college building that had Gothic spires and turrets eerily similar to Hogwarts.
Can humanoid robots save lives? Will they have the capacity to be our friends? Dennis Hong, founding director of Virginia Tech's Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa), is making this happen by teaching robots how to win at soccer and by entering the DARPA Robotics Challenge.