Published: Saturday 15 March 2003

quaked by snow: In Japan, powerful earthquakes occur more frequently during spring and summer. A study by National Astronomical Observatory of Japan shows that winds dump snow along the western side of the mountain range, that runs down the centre of the Japanese islands. When the spring melting lifts the weight off these snow-drifts, the compressed mountains rebound in the form of earthquakes.

clothes charged up: A power-generating material that looks like denim could cover buildings of the future, claims Canada-based Spheral Solar of Cambridge. The material is made of thousands of inexpensive silicon beads sandwiched between two thin layers of aluminium foil and sealed on both sides with plastic. Each bead functions as a tiny solar cell.

kissing the right way: Two thirds of us instinctively tilt our heads towards the right when we kiss. A new study reveals that this habit can be attributed to the fact that generally, the head is turned towards the right side in the womb, says study's author Onur Gntrkn of the Ruhr University, Germany.

stop taking it lightly: Deaths from food poisoning kills double the number of people than previously estimated, shows a study by researchers from Statens Serum Institute, Denmark. They studied medical records of 1,071 people who had died after being infected with bacteria that cause food poising. They found that 2.2 per cent of them died within a year of infection -- a figure much higher than the 0.7 per cent of the control group consisting of 3,636 people.

deafening fish: The intense sound made by seismic air guns used in underwater oil exploration damages the audio organs of fish, shows a study by Curtin University of Technology, Australia. During the study, pink snappers were exposed to different levels of sound generated by the air guns. Those examined after a mere exposure of 18 hours showed loss of sensory cells. Since the fish use these cells to communicate and find their prey, their loss can have profound affects.

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