science

Japanese researcher develops glasses to replace eye contact, turn you into emotional cyborg

Japanese researcher develops glasses to replace eye contact, turn you into emotional cyborg

In the physical and mental fields, technology is constantly evolving to assist humans, but what about in the emotional realm? Technology is often blamed for deteriorating social skills, but perhaps there is some way that it could be harnessed to improve our personal interactions. Dr. Hirotaka Osawa of the University of Tsukuba has developed a wearable device called AgencyGlass that may be the first step in assisting in “emotional labor.”

Just don’t think you are going to look cool using it.

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Space sakura have returned to Earth with cherry blossom superpowers

Space sakura have returned to Earth with cherry blossom superpowers

Rather than wading into the debate as to whether a tree covered in beautiful cherry blossoms or a piece of cutting edge technology is the more representative symbol of Japan, you could split the difference by awarding the title to one of the sakura cherry trees grown from seeds that were taken into space. Not only do they combine the country’s admiration of both nature and innovation, their seeds’ journey to the stars seems to have imparted some of them with the amazing ability to bloom in just half the time of regular cherry trees.

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Four women born without vaginas receive functional lab-grown transplants

Four women born without vaginas receive functional lab-grown transplants

It sounds like the plot of an improbable B-movie. But sometimes the truth is stranger than science fiction. Four women in the US have successfully received implanted vaginas that were grown in a lab from their own cells.

The women, who were all born with a rare condition which means the vagina does not develop properly, underwent the pioneering treatment at Wake Forest School of Medicine, North Carolina. The engineered vaginas, the first to be grown from the patients’ own living tissue and successfully implanted, have made it possible for the women to have sex for the first time.

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Six ways science-minded and art-minded Japanese people see the world differently

Six ways science-minded and art-minded Japanese people see the world differently

Just as you can broadly divide academic subjects into arts and sciences, in Japan people are often referred to as being “science-type” or “art-type,” with the first describing someone who holds everything up to the light of logic, and the latter for someone who applies more romantic standards.

Recently, Japanese Twitter users have been sharing their theories on the way this difference in fundamental mentality can affect a person’s attitude and feelings about such a wide range of topics such as not being too busy to see their dating partners, what happens when snow melts, or even their reactions to famous anime movie lines.

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We learn about the deep-sea armored isopod, then eat one 【Video】

We learn about the deep-sea armored isopod, then eat one 【Video】

Last month, we brought you word about a special event at an aquarium in Yokohama where guests were going to be able to eat deep sea armored isopods, which are known in Japanese with the somewhat more descriptive name of ogusokumushi, or “giant armored bugs.”

We all had a good laugh at the zany idea for a publicity stunt, and our chuckling continued right up until the moment our boss said, “OK, one of us has to go try them.”

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Miso soup could help protect against cancer, research suggests

Miso soup could help protect against cancer, research suggests

Miso soup is a staple of the traditional Japanese diet and has long been anecdotally connected with Japanese people’s famously long life expectancy. Now, research has linked consumption of miso soup with a reduced risk of stomach and breast cancer.

Japan’s cancer rates are low compared to western countries, but the country’s relatively high rates of stomach cancer have often been blamed on the high sodium content of the traditional Japanese diet. However, research suggests that miso, the fermented soybean paste which makes the base of miso soup and many other Japanese dishes, could actually counter-act the harmful effects of sodium consumption and even smoking.

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What do a zebrafish and Dragon Ball’s Krillin have in common?

What do a zebrafish and Dragon Ball’s Krillin have in common?

The zebrafish is an interesting member of the minnow family for a number of reasons. They cute, fairly cheap, and relatively easy to take care of as pets making them great for warming up the old homestead. On the other hand, they are widely used in labs due to their speedy reproduction and development along with their fully sequenced genome.

Krillin, meanwhile, is an interesting recurring character of the Dragon Ball series. The most popular fully human character, he has developed the power of flight and powerful energy disc. He’s also one of the more versatile dressers of the series sporting outfits and hairstyles beyond his fighting gear.

So what is it that connects this fictional fighter to the freshwater fish?

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Pouring beer into a very hot frying pan is surprisingly interesting

Pouring beer into a very hot frying pan is surprisingly interesting

Have you ever seen what happens when you pour beer onto a strongly heated frying pan? Probably not since few people are willing to waste it in such a way. But if you did you might have been surprised at the magical little show that takes place.

In the following video we can see that the beer takes the form of little spheres that seem to float over the surface of the pan. In fact, they are floating as a result of something called the Leidenfrost effect.

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The hottest thing in Korea now is freezing cold ice cream made by “scientists”

The hottest thing in Korea now is freezing cold ice cream made by “scientists”


There’s probably a scientific explanation for almost everything in the world, and that includes ice cream. Of course we knew there was some science going on in those delicious scoops of frozen creamy goodness, but this laboratory-themed ice cream parlor in Busan, Korea, works the science right in front of your eyes!

If you’ve never had ice cream made straight out of a laboratory flask, topped with syringes and droppers, read on!

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Nature photographer in Hokkaido captures beautiful sun pillar 【Video】

Nature photographer in Hokkaido captures beautiful sun pillar 【Video】

This winter brought record snowfalls to the Tokyo area, causing residents to alternatively let their creative sides run wild and panic-horde groceries.

Meanwhile, residents of Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, sat back and chuckled at the weather-based hijinks of their urban cousins in the capital. After all, this sort of thing is no big deal in Japan’s coldest prefecture. It takes something really special to make people in Hokkaido stop and take notice of the snow. Something like an angelically beautiful pillar of light.

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New species of mayfly discovered in Fukushima that can never get their prescription glasses

New species of mayfly discovered in Fukushima that can never get their prescription glasses

On 2 March this year, a research group from Fukushima University will present the results of their study in which they believe to have found a new species of mayfly. This particular insect was found in a remote swamp near Lake Hibara. This new species is unique in that rather than living from a day to a week like related mayflies, this particular one has a life span of only an hour.

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From protozoa to tapeworms: Visiting the Meguro Parasitological Museum

From protozoa to tapeworms: Visiting the Meguro Parasitological Museum

We’ve told you before that Japan is practically overflowing with museums. Everything from ukiyo-e to prisons to Edo period buildings have been preserved for the benefit of public knowledge, and we’d say that almost every museum has something unique or fun to offer. But here’s a museum that is literally one-of-a-kind: The Meguro Parasitological Museum!

They claim to be the only museum in the world dedicated solely to parasites–and we’ve got to say that we believe them! We recently headed down to Meguro to check out their collection and learn a little bit about the critters that might living inside of you right now.

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In wake of nuclear disaster, world’s largest floating wind farm being built in Fukushima

In wake of nuclear disaster, world’s largest floating wind farm being built in Fukushima

The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and subsequent Fukushima nuclear accident have made many in Japan rethink the country’s reliance on atomic energy. Investment in alternative, renewable energy sources is looking more and more attractive to some, and the sentiment is particularly strong among residents of Fukushima Prefecture itself.

Those seeking a less volatile source of power may be getting their wish with the proposed development of what would be the world’s largest-output floating wind farm off the Fukushima coast.

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Nine ways Tokyo is the number one city in the world

Nine ways Tokyo is the number one city in the world

Tokyoites went to the poll last week to do their civic duty of picking a new governor. In the end, the people chose Yoichi Masuzoe, who has gone on record with his desire to make Tokyo the “number one city in the world.”

Of course, your city doesn’t toss out the term “mayor” and replace it with “governor” for its elected leader without already having some legitimate claims to greatness. Masuzoe has yet to specify exactly what benchmarks he plans to use in making good on his pledge, but here are nine things for which Japan’s capital already occupies the top spot.

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Study shows broccoli sprouts may regrow hair, and not just on Chia Heads

Study shows broccoli sprouts may regrow hair, and not just on Chia Heads

Whoever coined the phrase “Vanity, thy name is woman,” clearly was not a balding man. From implants to Rogaine, men (and some women) with thinning hair are willing to pay a lot of money to keep their cranium covered. A recent study suggest they might be better off making a trip to the greengrocer to return their locks to lusciousness.

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Japanese company builds giant robot you could be piloting right now

Japanese company builds giant robot you could be piloting right now

Chiba Prefecture’s Wonder Festival is a bi-annual figure and model expo. The event’s bread and butter is figurine of anime and video game characters, in both frighteningly realistic and sexily unrealistic varieties.

But while the first thing most people associate with the event is toys, if your model is made of metal instead of plastic or urethane, and it’s self-propelled to boot, you’ve crossed the line of three-dimensional art and moved into straight-up engineering. Of course, Wonder Festival’s exhibitors aren’t going to stray too far from their fanciful roots, so what do you get when you combine technology with science fiction? You get this amazing giant robot, which is so easy to pilot that attendees could test drive it.

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Tottori University researchers discover a simple way to possibly cure all forms of cancer

Tottori University researchers discover a simple way to possibly cure all forms of cancer

Alright, it doesn’t look so simple from the above image, but on 25 January, Tottori University announced that researchers have found a method to successfully transform a cancerous tumor into non-threatening tissue. Although the research that went into it is incredibly complicated, the result is a single molecule that may be able to universally reverse cancerous cells in a relatively brief amount of time.

The announcement doesn’t hold back its enthusiasm either, proclaiming that from this discovery “the dream of the eradication of cancer is at hand.”

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Japan seems just a little more terrifying with discovery of local leech’s superpower

Japan seems just a little more terrifying with discovery of local leech’s superpower

Japan is rightfully billed as being an extremely safe country, and for the most part this extends to its natural environment. Lacking the wolves of Europe and North America, the lions and hippopotami of Africa, and the poisonous everything of Australia, there really isn’t a whole lot lurking in the Japanese animal kingdom that frightens us.

Or at least there wasn’t, until we heard the news that Japan is home to a species of super leeches that can even survive being frozen.

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Our anime dreams come true as we operate a robot suit from Appleseed

Our anime dreams come true as we operate a robot suit from Appleseed

For years, science fiction movies have been teasing us with visions of high-tech wonders that remain frustratingly just out of reach. Where are our flying cars? Shouldn’t we at least have those hovering skateboards by now? How is it we can put a man on the moon, but we haven’t perfected an automated kitchen that can read our thoughts and cook what we want for dinner?

But today, the waiting ends for one of our technology-based dreams, as we operate a powered robot suit from anime and manga hit Appleseed.

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Seamen in Hokkaido shocked to discover bright lavender crab

Seamen in Hokkaido shocked to discover bright lavender crab

On 18 January, a shipment of crabs from Russia arrived at a port in Japan, some of which were bought up by wholesaler Marusan Mikami Shoten. After opening up their haul of red king crabs (an expensive favorite of Japanese seafood lovers) workers were surprised to see one of the large arthropods was shaded a rich lavender color all over.

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