SciTech Briefs

Chinese create new food in space

China’s space program has embarked on a new mission: growing mutated potatos in outer space. Chinese space potatoes, or Purple Orchid Threes, are different from normal crops because they have traveled on a space shuttle and have been mutated by capsule pressure, space radiation, and weightlessness.

Purple Orchid Threes are sweet and colored purple. They are furthermore considered to be healthier and more likely to prosper than normal crops. However, some experts say that such vegetables can be grown in laboratories.

Nonetheless, these potatoes are considered a delicacy by some restaurants in Shanghai.

Source: CNN

Hugging skeletons found at burial site

Archaeologists found a pair of prehistoric skeletons in Italy two weeks ago. Buried near the city of Verona, the main setting for Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, the two skeletons were found hugging one another.

The bones are more than 5000 years old and are from the late Neolithic period. According to archaeologist Elena Menotti, who led the archaeological dig, these skeletons are a remarkable discovery because a Neolithic burial of two skeletons hugging one another has never been found.

Arrowheads and a knife were also found near the burial site, and archealogists are investigating 30 other burial sites in the area. They hope to find other artifacts that could provide a better understanding of the burial.


Iraqis use Google Earth to strategize

Iraqis are using the Internet to avoid enemy encounters and escape violent attacks. Via satellite, Google Earth provides pictures of Baghdad that allow people to obtain maps of their home region.

As tension escalates between Sunni villages and the Shia police, Sunnis can use these images to plan escape routes. Also, with this website accessible from cell phones, people can work out the most probable path of their enemies.

Sunnis are reading other websites for advice about how to remain safe. Such websites encourage Sunnis to change their identity and keep pictures of famous Shia individuals on their walls.

Source: BBC News

Video games try to improve happiness

Several video game companies are creating games that attempt to improve self-esteem and mental abilities.

Dimple Entertainment has developed a game called DS Therapy, to be released in May. DS Therapy helps gamers gauge their mental and emotional happiness by asking them a series of questions about their personal lives.

Also, MindHabits Booster, developed by a psychology professor at McGill University, helps people become more secure by encouraging gamers to choose a smiling person out of a collection of frowning individuals.

Sources: and