The Sideshow
  • A Russian Cossack, right, watches pedestrians as he patrols a Moscow railway station. (Pavel Golovkin/AP)They've technically been around for centuries, but a small group of Cossacks recently returned to officially patrol the streets of Moscow.

    "We're like Chuck Norris!" Cossack patrol leader Igor Gulichev said, comparing his colleagues to the role made famous by Norris in the 1990s TV show "Walker, Texas Ranger."

    According to the Russian 2010 census, about 650,000 citizens self-identified as Cossacks but only eight of the patrolmen, originally heralded for their sword-fighting ability, have been selected to walk the streets of Moscow looking for beggars, drunks and illegally parked cars, according to the Associated Press.

    While their modern role has shifted, the newly appointed Cossacks are fighting crime in their traditional uniform and fur hat. The AP says the Kremlin hopes the return of the Cossacks will also "promote conservative values and appeal to nationalists."

    The political angle leads straight to the top of Russia's government. In 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin was

    Read More »from Cossacks once again patrolling Moscow streets: ‘We’re like Chuck Norris!’
  • People may soon use their own bodies to power devices like smartphones. (Reuters)Imagine a world with no wall chargers. People power might just make that world a reality.

    That's because our own bodies just might be the sustainable energy sources of the near future, generating electricity from our own body heat, physical movement and vibrations.

    Roger Highfield of the Science Museum Group writes that scientists are already at work on a number of such devices, with the first wave of human-powered generators hitting the market in the next two years.

    The applications would range from personal health to entertainment. For example, pacemaker batteries must be replaced every few years. But a pacemaker running off a piezoelectric current could provide a permanent energy source, reducing the need for risky and expensive operations.

    The word piezoelectricity means to generate energy from pressure and can be derived from a number of sources, including ceramics, crystals and even biological material, such as DNA and bone.

    Researchers have spent years attempting to derive

    Read More »from Human body could power smartphones, pacemakers and other devices
  • The Genesis Rock recovered during the Apollo 15 mission (Wikicommons)Several rocks taken from humankind's first lunar landing have been unearthed once again, with the moon rocks this time turning up in a Minnesota storage area.

    The Star Tribune reports that the pebble-sized samples collected by the Apollo 11 voyage in 1969 somehow ended up in a government storage area in St. Paul.

    "The Apollo 11 moon rocks were found amongst military artifacts in a storage area at the Veterans Service Building in St. Paul," Army Maj. Blane Iffert, the former state historian for the Minnesota National Guard, told the paper. "When I searched the Internet to find additional information about the moon rocks, I knew we had to find a better means to display this artifact."

    Each state was given a sample of the moon rocks after Apollo 11's successful voyage.

    On Wednesday, the rocks will be transferred to the state's Science and Technology Academies Reinforcing Basic Aviation and Space Exploration (STARBASE) educational program.

    Even if Iffert had wanted to sell the rocks,

    Read More »from Missing moon rocks found in Minnesota storage site

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