The Impossible Machine

Written by Jim Henderson

There are a lot of complicated machines inrepparttar world today. Some are marvels of design and engineering. Only a few years ago, they would have seemedrepparttar 127722 stuff of science-fiction. Nothing invented today will be likerepparttar 127723 machine that I’m going to build.

I’m going to build a machine. It will be extremely complex, more than a television, or a VCR, or even a computer. This machine will be so complex that it will contain volumes of complicated information locked in a special code. Oh, and it operates itself, that’s right! It doesn’t need someone to “run” it.

What if I told you that it that it will be so smart that it can even repair and replace itself so it will never wear out? Even complicated machines wear out and have to be fixed. Even these machines don’t operate themselves. But mine will! Wouldn’t you like to have a car like that? Did I mention that it will even reproduce and replace itself. I mean it will create exact functional replicas of itself.

Sounds extremely difficult, doesn’t it? Maybe impossible is a better word. I’m still not finished telling you about my machine. This machine can “fuel” itself so it won’t need gasoline or batteries. It doesn’t run on nuclear power either.

It will be in some ways like a small city complete with it’s own transportation, manufacturing, even it own power plant. And laboratory, since it operates by complex chemical reactions, much too complex to even begin to describe here. With all this activity it will have to a waste disposal system too -- it cleans itself.

A amchine that could do all this would have to huge...wouldn’t it? So with all this, how big will it be? What if I said my machine will be miniature? So small, in fact, that it will be invisible...almost. Unless of course, you use a microscope, a very powerful one.

Monkey Ears

Written by Andrea Campbell

Justrepparttar other day I was talking to Ziggy, my Helping Hands capuchin monkey, and she looked at me quizzically and said, "Huh? Speak up!"

I have been operating underrepparttar 127721 assumption that her eyesight and hearing was equal to or better than ours. What made me think that? Well, we live atrepparttar 127722 top of a hill and, as a result, cars coming uprepparttar 127723 steep incline can generally can be heard lowering into a heftier gear just before their approach. When K-9, our Dalmatian was alive, even though she was a bright dog, Ziggy used to barkrepparttar 127724 arrival of an approaching vehicle before K-9 did. Therefore, I’d just assumed thatrepparttar 127725 monkey’s ears were keener. Now a new study comes out from some researchers atrepparttar 127726 Michigan State University telling me I’m wrong. That monkeys’ hearing is "discernibly less acute than that of people forrepparttar 127727 frequency range in which human speech is expressed and heard." In fact,repparttar 127728 clinical truth of this has been known for a long time, but a fundamental explanation as to why has forever been lacking. Until now.

Physics is a field dealing withrepparttar 127729 properties and interactions of matter and energy. Currently, a new subfield of physics, biological physics is providing answers to questions such as why monkey ears, while so similar to our own, work differently. Michael Harrison, a Michigan State University physicist, has written a paper forrepparttar 127730 American Physical Society outlining, forrepparttar 127731 first time, his results explaining this phenomenon. And apparently size isrepparttar 127732 all important key.

To begin, Harrison tells us that we can think of our ears as holding pens for all matter of sound. Human ears register pure tones, which our brain eventually translates into meaningful sound such as speech or music, butrepparttar 127733 tones must fight their way through a lot of noise. The noise is created fromrepparttar 127734 amount of air that is found insiderepparttar 127735 ear canal, under certain ambient air temperature. In other words, Harrison explains it like this: "Air molecules are like people moving around in a crowded room at a cocktail party. The warmer it is,repparttar 127736 more molecules—or cocktail guests—run around, and it creates noise. With this random noise, it’s harder to hear an individual conversation."

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