science

How many licks does it take to get to the center of the Earth? We’re about to find out

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Sendai Astronomical Observatory, which was opened in 1955 thanks to generous donations from the citizens of the city of Sendai and other contributors. Traditionally, the 60th anniversary gift is diamonds, and as everyone knows, diamonds are forever.

But don’t we also kind of hope that Earth is forever, too? One of the many items the observatory sells is a lollipop with the image of the earth printed on it. The effect will leave you…earthstruck.

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Scottish university researches discover new way to keep ice cream tasty and fresh

Early ice cream production methods date all the way back to B.C. times, and even today people are still coming up with new and improved ways to enjoy this tasty treat. In Japan, this sometimes means inventing weird ice cream flavors or combining it with other popular foods like ramen. In fact, some Japanese people even believe you can learn a thing or two about another person’s personality by watching how they eat their ice cream.

But Japan isn’t the only country with a fondness for ice cream. The United Kingdom, for example, recently ranked in as one of the top 10 ice cream-consuming countries in the world. Not only do people in the  U.K. enjoy satisfying their sweet tooth, they’re also coming up with ways to savor their ice cream longer, as a result of new research by two Scottish universities.

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We eat Electrical Udon and Blue Curry while watching guys shoot each other with electricity

A little while back, we brought you news of Electrical Udon developed by Kurare of Arienai Rika (“Unbelievable Science”) for an event to be held in Osaka. Well, that event has come and gone, and we were fortunate enough to be there to get a taste of his technicolor noodles along with some other off-color foods like blue rice topped with even bluer curry and fried chicken with a secret green sauce.

We also got to see some of the DIY science that made Arienai Rika a cult hit with science and tech enthusiasts in Japan.

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Japanese scientist creates neon udon: “This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen on the internet!”

We’ve seen some pretty crazy and colorful food here before on RocketNews24. We’ve witnessed flaming-red burger buns and ocean-blue curry, but never before have we seen something that’s basically the equivalent of eating a neon sign.

Until now. One Japanese Twitter user/mad cooking scientist created “electrical udon” and uploaded pictures for the world to recoil at the sight of. Why did he create this beautiful monstrosity? And most importantly, what does it taste like?

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Cat loves stinky foot, can’t help going back to get his paws on more

Some cats just love to sniff, lick and generally investigate their owners’ feet, and this little kitty is no exception! The only problem is, his reaction to a foot that smells a bit funky is…well, a little extreme to say the least.

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Artificial meteor showers a possibility for Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony

In recent months there have been a few snags with the preparations for the 2020 Olympic games to be held in Tokyo. Poorly planned stadiums and allegations of copyright infringement have really been taking the wind out of everyone’s sails for what is usually an auspicious event.

At this point it might take a magical feat of celestial beauty to lift people’s spirits, like a thousand multi-colored shooting stars descending at once over the site of the games during their opening ceremony. But while they’re predictable, those hard-headed events known as meteor showers tend not to occur at our mere beck and call.

However, now a small team in Japan has nearly completed creating an artificial meteor shower that can be seen anytime and anywhere you want, and which may even be brighter and more colorful that the real thing.

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Great job: China’s “mosquito factory” churning out a stellar one million bugs per week!

It is often said that China is the factory of the world, and with good reason as wherever you are you’re likely able to point to at least a dozen items that were either made or assembled in PRC. While product quality and labor issues persist in some of their booming industries, there is one sector where output couldn’t be better: mosquito production!

That’s right. Somewhere in an area of Guangzhou known as Science City, a team is hard at work producing a whopping 1,000,000 mosquitoes per week. While this may sound like the premise to a cheesy sci-fi movie this level of production may end up saving hundreds if not thousands of lives.

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Will whiskey aged in space taste smoother? Suntory is set to experiment this month

Japanese brewing and distilling company Suntory Holdings Limited recently announced their plans to send samples of whiskey to the International Space Station in order to investigate the effects of zero gravity on the aging process.

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It’s a Beach Day miracle as even landlocked Japan swears it can smell the sea

Japan may have an image as an all-work and no-play sort of place, but you’ve got to give the country credit for coming up with Umi no Hi. Observed on the third Monday of July, Umi no Hi literally means “Ocean Day,” but “Marine Day” and “Beach Day” would also be acceptable translations. It’s a national holiday expressly created to give everyone a day off to go have fun at the beach, and it just might be the greatest socially accepted reason ever for blowing off work.

This year, Japan got so into the spirit of the holiday that even people in prefectures with no coastline swore they could smell the sea. But was this just a summery olfactory hallucination, or a legitimate Umi no Hi miracle?

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More lifehacks! The easiest way to keep champagne from going flat, tested

There are all kinds of urban legends and so-called old wives’ tales that proclaim the health benefits, or time-saving benefits, borderline magical properties, or terrifying dangers of doing X or Y. We’ve heard them all: Don’t eat within thirty minutes of swimming or you’ll get a cramp and literally die, bundle up when it’s cold outside or you’ll get a cold (by the way, oh my god, people, stop it with this; a cold is a virus, you don’t get it from the weather), an apple a day will keep the doctor away, a watched pot never boils, etc.

It’s almost like these old sayings and legends are the pre-Internet era equivalent of lifehacks! And since we’ve sort of been on a lifehacking streak recently, we decided to give one of these a test for ourselves: Specifically, the rumor that sticking a spoon into the neck of a champagne bottle will keep it from going flat.

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Forget tech or medicine, invention most Japanese are proud of is instant ramen

Japan’s best minds have contributed quite a few important inventions to the world over the years. Did you know that the portable ECG machine was invented in Japan, for example? So were electric rice cookers, DSLR cameras, CD players, Blu-ray discs, and gaming systems. Really, the list of Japanese tech that has become integral to our daily lives goes on and on.

However, if you ask Japanese people which invention their country should be proud of, it turns out a far humbler product jumps to mind for most: instant noodles.

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World’s smallest dinosaur egg just discovered in Hyogo Prefecture

Everyone has got dinosaurs on their mind at the moment since most of the world is going crazy for Jurassic World. The exception to this is of course, Japan who can’t watch the movie until August 5. (Why Japanese movie people? Why?!?!) Not to be left out of the giant lizard game, officials in Hyogo Prefecture have confirmed the discovery of a brand new dinosaur egg. By analyzing the fossil, it is estimated that this new egg is the world’s smallest dinosaur egg ever. That’s a gigantic discovery of the tiniest kind.

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Japanese scientists treat depressed male mice by making them remember happy times with lady-mice

You’ve probably never heard of Susumu Tonegawa before, but now’s your chance to fix that! Tonegawa won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1987 for the discovery of the genetics behind antibody diversity, and he’s been going strong ever since doing his best to keep all of us ungrateful ingrates healthy.

And now Susumu and his team have recently made another breakthrough discovery: treating depression. They were able to virtually reverse the effects of stressful situations on male mice by having them remember the good times they’d spent with lady-mice. How did they do it? Read on to find out!

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The joy of pancakes, and why they might kill you

Although hardly new, Japan has been undergoing something of a boom in pancake consumption in recent years. With several trendy new restaurants opening up around the country, there has also been a significant rise in the popularity of homemade pancakes as well. Yes, with its warm and fluffy texture and mildly sweet flavor it’s certainly hard to turn down a hotcake, isn’t it?

While everyone is having a good time with their pancakes, some researchers and medical professionals would like to remind us all that pancakes and similar flour based foods have the potential to not only make us very ill, but in some cases may lead to death.

But before you go cursing out these wet blankets of science for ruining yet another beloved food with their health warnings, there’s actually an incredibly easy way to not die from eating flapjacks as well.

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Boredom might be behind brilliant Dyson fan loop spotted in Japanese electronics store

James Dyson is kind of the mad scientist/rockstar celebrity of the admittedly probably not very exciting world of vacuum cleaner and fan design. The Dyson company’s innovations have more or less revolutionized the world of electronic devices that primarily, uh… suck and blow.

But it looks like Dyson’s genius designs are so innovative that with the right amount of boredom and free time, just being in the mere presence of Dyson products can apparently inspire creative epiphany, as this infinitely looping Dyson fan layout – spotted at a Japanese electronics store – seems to prove.

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Engineers teach robot to swing katana at 1,000 foes, hopefully don’t awaken its bloodlust 【Video】

We recently took a look at the latest iteration of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, which showed us how far scientists have come in building sophisticated robots, and yet how far those machines have left to go before they can get from point A to point B without falling down hilariously. But little did we know that while we were snickering at those clumsy creations, another group of engineers were building their own robot that can perfectly perform a severing strike with a samurai sword.

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Three potentially fatal flaws with the facial recognition ATMs soon to be introduced in China

We’ve all seen how facial recognition software can go badly wrong. But it seems that China hasn’t gotten the message, since they’re going forward with a new plan for ATMs which rely on face-scanning technology.

The new machines will reportedly snap a quick picture of the person trying to access each account, and cross-reference their facial features with a database to find a match.

We can see at least three fatal flaws with this plan. Can you guess what they are?

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Strange lights appear in the skies of Japan, but thanks to fish, not aliens

Way at the western tip of Honshu, the main island of Japan, you’ll find the town of Shimonoseki. Shimonoseki is especially famous for its always delicious, naturally poisonous, and occasionally canned blowfish, but fishermen catch all manner of tasty seafood there in the waters off the edge of Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Wherever you have boats and coastlines, you’ll also want to put a lighthouse too. But on a recent night the beacon of Shimonoseki’s Tsunoshima lighthouse wasn’t the only thing shining in the darkness, as observers also roughly a dozen mysterious-looking lights in the night sky.

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Recently discovered Japanese pufferfish included in list of top ten new species

The ocean is full of a massive array of undiscovered species, so scientists are always finding new types of creatures lurking offshore. The circle-making pufferfish discovered in 2013 are one great example of a species mankind only recently encountered for the first time.

But you don’t have to take our word for it — the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) even included it in their 2015 Top Ten New Species list!

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You probably shouldn’t look at this optical illusion, it could have long-term effects

Every once in a while we like to post an optical illusion that’s trending in Japan at the moment, and this time around we bring you the McCollough effect. However, this is one optical illusion you probably shouldn’t go through with.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re going to post the illusion for the sake of reporting on it, but you might want to consider some of our other wonderful articles instead. I read a lovely piece about sacred horses the other day.

The reason we are dissuading you from checking out this optical illusion is that its effect might not go away for quite some time. Studies have reported some after-effects last over three months. So last chance to turn back and check out our list of beautiful Japanese train stations instead.

No? Okay suit yourself and don’t say we didn’t warn you…because we’re still going to continue to warn you.

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