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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 1 declined, 3 accepted (4 total, 75.00% accepted)

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Submission + - Prosthetic Arm Control Improved Using Spinal Nerve Signals

CanadianRealist writes: Current prosthetic arms are usually controlled by detecting signals from the user twitching muscles in the shoulder or arm. This allows only a limited number of possible movements, such as grasp and release. Researchers have developed a new technique that interprets signals from motor neurons in the spinal cord, allowing for a greater range of control of an arm. Signals from nerves associated with hand and arm movements were mapped to the corresponding movements. Test subjects were able to move a virtual prosthetic arm with greater freedom than has been achieved with muscle-controlled prosthetics. (A virtual prosthetic arm was used rather than a real one as this work is still in the early stages.)

Submission + - Cesarean births *possibly* affecting human evolution 1

CanadianRealist writes: Larger babies delivered by cesarean section may be affecting human evolution. Researchers estimate cases where the baby cannot fit down the birth canal have increased from 30 in 1,000 in the 1960s to 36 in 1,000 births today. (Science Alert and ( BBC "this is happening headline" version.)

More detailed studies would be required to actually confirm the link between C-sections and evolution, as all we have now is a hypothesis based on the birth data.

Agreed, more studies required part. Cesareans may simply be becoming more common with “too large” defined as cesarean seems like a better idea. It's reasonable to pose the question based simply on an understanding of evolution. Like it's reasonable to conjecture that length of human pregnancy is a compromise between further development in utero, and chance of mother and baby surviving the delivery.

Technology

Submission + - New catalyst allows cheaper hydrogen production

CanadianRealist writes: Electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen is very inefficient without the use of a catalyst. Unfortunately catalysts are currently made of crystals containing rare, expensive toxic metals such as ruthenium and iridium. Two chemists from the University of Calgary have invented a process to make a catalyst using relatively non-toxic metal compounds such as iron oxide, for 1/1000 the cost of currently used catalysts.

It is suggested this would make it more feasible to use electrolysis of water to create hydrogen as a method of storing energy from variable green power sources such as wind and solar.
Power

Submission + - Cow manure generates electricity and big savings (cnn.com)

CanadianRealist writes: Manure from 600 cows is digested in a 16 foot deep, 70 foot diameter tank to produce methane gas which is then burned to generate electricity. The system generates enough electricity to power the farm and a dozen neighboring homes and still some back to the grid. Generation also creates heat which is used to heat the digester, farm buildings and water. The $200 000 per year savings are expected to pay for the system in 5 years or less. As a side benefit, the digester also reduces 98% of the odor.

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