SOME WHALES AND DOLPHINS HAVE FINER SONAR THAN ANYTHING EVER DEVISED BY HUMANS. Scientists at the University of Hawaii say that toothed whales and dolphins, collectively known as odontocetes, can distinguish between two objects that differ in width by less than the thickness of a human hair. Their echolocation is the product of both how they direct a sound beam and the ability to measure the size of the reflection coming off an object to decipher not just the size of an object but also its density. The latter is useful in measuring whether an object is a fish, and if so, how meaty or fatty it might be. Via BBC.
SKI FOR CHEAP…IN POLAND Hard by the Czech border, the town of Bialka Tatrazanksa has built a ski resort where winters once killed the economy. While the Tatra range has long seen summer tourists who come for geothermal spas and hiking, entrepreneurs recently built Kotelnica Mountain. It started in 2000, when 50 farmers put their money together and received a loan — they also installed an Italian ski lift from another community in Poland that had never had it installed. Ten years later, Bialka Tatrzanska, about an hour-and-a-half drive from Krakow, is a major Polish ski resort. And it’s drawing dough from the rest of Europe this winter especially, when the snow’s been great, and a mid-winter, 14-day lift pass costs justs $250. Via Philly.com.
THAT HIGH-ALTITUDE HEADACHE CAN (MAYBE) BE CURED BY HEADACHE MEDS. Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine report that taking ibuprofen can reduce the likelihood of symptoms related to altitude sickness. The study was small (86 hikers who ascended to 12,570 feet), and the dosages were relatively high: Four doses of ibuprofen of 600mg each in a 24-hour period. Half the hikers took nothing. In a questionnaire following the hike 43 percent of the hikers who took ibuprofen reported developing symptoms like headache, nausea, and dizziness, compared with 69 percent of those who didn’t take the drug. Via Time.
BE VERY UNAFRAID OF THIS JELLYFISH, IT’S HERE TO PROTECT AND SERVE. The “biomimetic jellyfish,” dubbed the Robojelly, is about the size of your hand. University of Texas at Dallas and Virginia Tech researchers invented it as a remote ocean monitor. But the really trick part: It runs on hydrogen and oxygen interacting with its surface wrapper of platinum. That causes a chemical reaction, very similar to the way a battery works — minus the need for any external recharging. Researchers say it could be deployed at beaches to monitor pollution or, a little creepily, be like an oceangoing drone (since military backing was involved in its development). Via CNET.