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Morphing Metals 121

aarondubrow writes "Imagine a metal that 'remembers' its original, cold-forged shape, and can return to that shape when exposed to heat or a magnetic pulse. Like magic out of a Harry Potter novel, such a metal could contract on command, or swing back and forth like a pendulum. Believe it or not, such metals already exist. First discovered in 1931, they belong to a class of materials called 'shape memory alloys (SMA),' whose unique atomic make-up allows them to return to their initial form, or alternate between forms through a phase change."

Chinese News Reports the Taliban Are Training Monkey Soldiers 232

According to a Chinese news publication, soldiers in Afghanistan may soon come up against a deadly new weapon in the war: monkey soldiers. The report claims that the Taliban are training the monkeys to shoot and kill American soldiers. They also claim to have pictures of monkeys holding AK-47s and Bren light machine guns. From the article: "The New York Magazine has reported about this in jest and stated on Friday, 'No invader has ever conquered Afghanistan, and now we know why. The monkeys will not allow it. It was a good effort, but it's time to pack it in. This is no longer a fight we can win.'”

First Self-Replicating Creature Spawned In Conway's Game of Life 241

Calopteryx writes "New Scientist has a story on a self-replicating entity which inhabits the mathematical universe known as the Game of Life. 'Dubbed Gemini, [Andrew Wade's] creature is made of two sets of identical structures, which sit at either end of the instruction tape. Each is a fraction of the size of the tape's length but, made up of two constructor arms and one "destructor," play a key role. Gemini's initial state contains three of these structures, plus a fourth that is incomplete. As the simulation progresses the incomplete structure begins to grow, while the structure at the start of the tape is demolished. The original Gemini continues to disassemble as the new one emerges, until after nearly 34 million generations, new life is born.'"

365 Days of drinking Lo-Cal beer. = 1 Lite-year