Published: Wednesday 15 November 2006

new periodic table: A recent report raises the possibility of a new periodic table of elements. Some nanoscience researchers have likened the minuscule particles they are making -- and mixing and matching like atoms -- to the elements of a new periodic table. Such a table would help scientists recognise purposes of nanoparticles, which are yet to be discovered and identify and exploit the rules by which nanoparticles assemble into a large and ever-growing family of nanostructures.

eyes in the sky: MIT researchers, in collaboration with Boeing's advanced research and development arm, Phantom Works, are working to develop a multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) test platform that could lay the groundwork for an intelligent airborne fleet that requires little human supervision, covers a wide area, and automatically maintains its vehicles. The vehicles anticipate when they need refuelling, and launch new vehicles to replace lost, damaged, or grounded ones. While some of these UAVs can be easily carried in a backpack and launched by hand, they typically require a team of trained operators on the ground, and they perform only short-term tasks individually rather than sustained missions in coordinated groups.

mobile blues: Excessive use of mobile phones may affect men's ability to father a child, say scientists. A study conducted by the Reproductive Research Centre at Cleveland Clinic said that about 25 per cent decrease in sperm count and significant fall in sperm quality among men who used their mobiles for more than four hours a day. The results were drawn from studies carried out on 361 men in Cleveland and New Orleans in US and Mumbai in India. Doctors say that this effect of mobile phones could be due to the electromagnetic radiations from the handsets or even due to the heat they generate. However, it is too early to draw any conclusive results.

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