Stories tagged University of Utah

Sep
24
2013

Big-nosed dinosaur: Nasutoceratops gets its name party from its extremely big nose.
Big-nosed dinosaur: Nasutoceratops gets its name party from its extremely big nose.Courtesy Lukas Panzann
(Psst everybody.....don't mention anything about his big nose. Got it? He's kind of sensitive about it.)

Okay, paleontologists from the University of Utah have recently discovered a new dinosaur very similar to triceratops, that has a very large...um, um, set of horns.

Roaming about present day Utah some 76 million years ago, measured about 15 feet long. Its colossal 4.5-foot skull bore a single horn over the nose, a horn above each eye and an elongated, bony frill toward the rear. Its large, flat teeth were perfect for eating plant matter.

But what really set this dinosaur apart is its extremely large...um, um, feet. Yeah that's it. This 2.5 ton dinosaur walked around great big feet.

Its horns are much more curved than Triceritops – almost looking like cattle horns – yet its frill is much more plain than its cousin's. Paleontologists have long speculated about the function of horns and frills on horned dinosaurs. Ideas have ranged from predator defense and controlling body temperature to recognizing members of the same species. But prevailing view today is that the horns primary purpose was for competing for mates.

And of course, Nasutoceratops had a huge honking schnoz on the front of its face, a nose bigger than any of its planting-eating, frilled and horned relative. (Ooops, I wasn't supposed to say that, was I.) But researchers don't think the big nose gave Nasutoceratops a more refined sense of smell. Olfactory receptors would have sat farther back in the skull, just like other dinosaurs. Like the horns, the big nose was probably a key to attracting mates.

Jan
08
2009

Recycling plastic: A patent on sorting, grinding, and reusing plastic for manufacturing or energy
Recycling plastic: A patent on sorting, grinding, and reusing plastic for manufacturing or energyCourtesy Meaduva

Don't throw it away. Recycle.

Each day millions of tons of plastic and organic products are "thrown away". Where is "away"? Probably a land fill. A better idea would be to somehow recycle these materials into a useful product, or use it as a source of energy.

Plastic and cellulose waste recycling idea "owned"

A new patent application claims that a blend of waste plastic and cellulose from plant material can make a good building material or the plastic/cellulose mix could be burned for fuel. (click to view patent application, 38pg PDF)

It would be beneficial to develop a process that can efficiently and cost effectively convert multiple types of waste byproducts into useful materials usable for: (i) heat and/or energy generation; and/or (ii) structural, sound attenuation, and/or insulation materials.

Do you think "Recycling" should be patented?

Would someone explain what this patent does? To me it claims to own the concept of turning garbage into stuff or burning it. If someone works out detailed methods of doing what is described in the blockquote above, would they have to pay money to the person who patented the concept?

Sources:
" Invention: Recycled trash construction materials" New Scientist
Abstract: "Blending Plastic and Cellulose Waste Products for Alternative Uses"