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— Health & Wellbeing

The wistful sigh is really a survival mechanism

A sigh may do more for your health than provide emotional relief. Researchers in California claim to have identified the source of the sigh in the brain, which they say is a life-sustaining reflex for healthy lung functioning. Humans sigh around 12 times per hour to reinflate the half-billion or so tiny, balloon-like sacs in the lungs called alveoli, which are vital in regulating the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide. A sigh is mostly an involuntary deep breath, or a regular breath with another added on top before an exhale.

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— Games

Fabulous Beasts: Jenga with a storyline, a soundtrack and inter-species breeding

Britain's Sensible Objects is launching an interesting online/offline take on the social tabletop game. The idea is to stack oddly-shaped animals and objects up in a teetering tower, while a tablet app visualises them in the virtual world, letting them interact and cross-breed with one another to produce ever more "fabulous beasts" until it all comes crashing down.

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— Automotive

Amphibious Sherp ATV's big wheels keep on turning, no matter the terrain

When we initially saw the Sherp ATV rolling its way around the Internet, our first thought was that it must be the work of a designer, not a real vehicle. The compact body tucked between ginormous off-road tires just looked too odd to be real. But the Russian vehicle is indeed real and it's one hell of a way to drive over anything short of a sheer cliff face.

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— Materials

Stretchable polymer reverts back to original shape when triggered by body heat

Shape memory materials that can revert back into a desired form after being bent, twisted and stretched are finding their way into a number of applications, ranging from sports bras to more efficient refrigerators. One team of scientists is now examining potential biomedical applications, with a polymer that can revert to its original form when it comes into contact with heat from the human body.

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— Medical

Spinning up artificial capillaries with a cotton candy machine

From growing a full thymus gland inside a mouse, to creating a slice of artificial liver tissue, to using ink jet printing technology to create a human ear, researchers are steadily moving us toward the day when ordering up a new organ could be as commonplace as ordering an MRI is today. One of the hurdles in creating lab-grown organs, though, is that the cells in such a structure need a way to receive nutrients. Researchers at Vanderbilt University (VU) may have just leaped that hurdle using a most unexpected tool – a cotton candy machine.

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