Stories tagged electromagnatism


Cow pointing north: Maybe THIS is why you always see animals on weather vanes
Cow pointing north: Maybe THIS is why you always see animals on weather vanesCourtesy Leo Reynolds
Researchers in Germany used Google Earth to examine hundreds of aerial images of cattle herds at rest and found that 2 out of 3 cows tended to align their bodies north-south. It seems that no one has really ever noticed this before, which is a little shocking. On the other hand it's nice to know that science still has some basic observations left to be made.

At first I was a bit skeptical. As a kid I'd heard that you could tell if it was going to rain depending on whether cows were laying down or not, which is a silly tale for maybe this was a similar situation? How would cows sense the Earth's magnetic field anyways? Actually, lots of animals can sense the earth's magnetic field:

Most of this research is still under-way and new discoveries may give us different explanations about how animals sense the Earth's magnetic field. Yet, it is certain that all varieties of creatures, cows included, seem to be able to sense the Earth's weak yet significant magnetic field.

What about you? Can you feel North?

The Earth’s magnetic field seems to be weakening in some places. This can allow high-energy particles from space to enter the atmosphere, where they can wreak havoc on electronic communications. It may also be a prelude to a flip in the Earth’s polarity, with the north and south magnetic poles switching places. Santa Claus may have to move as a result.


Hold your horses: Chariot races were a big part of the original Olympic games. Archaeologists in Greece believe they have found the orginial hippodrome race track where those races were contested.
Hold your horses: Chariot races were a big part of the original Olympic games. Archaeologists in Greece believe they have found the orginial hippodrome race track where those races were contested.Courtesy A. Brady
Do you have Olympic fever yet? The Beijing Games get underway in just two weeks. And of course, there are bound to be a bunch of new events.

But what I’d like to see is a throwback to one of the old events: chariot races. The idea popped into my head today when reading this article that archaeologists in Greece may have found the ancient hippodrome – fancy term for track – used for chariot races in the original Olympics.

A team of German researchers, using geomagnetic technology to take pictures of structures under the ground, believes it has found the chariot track of Olympia. It was last visible some 1,600 years ago before it was buried in a river of mud. Get the full details here.

The geomagnetic technology has undiscovered an ancient circuit that stretches of nearly 656 feet underneath an area that’s now fields and olive groves. The next step in the process will be to do spot digs at the site to go down and find out what is actually there.

Part of the oblong track's distinctive outline was documented some seven feet (two meters) beneath fields and olive groves and extended almost 656 feet (200 meters) in length. Documents from Greek texts of the past peg the size of the chariot track at 3,444 feet long and featuring very elaborate starting gates, sharp turns and fancy distance posts.

Also, chariot racers where the only old Greeks to be clothed while competing. While other athletes competed nude, chariot drivers wore tunics.

So come on International Olympic Committee and NBC, let’s bring back the good old days of chariot races at the games. My hot tip – but don’t tell anyone you heard it from me – is to bet on the guy who looks most like Charleton Heston driving a team of white horses.


Does your pacemaker love an iPod?: Research by a high school student shows significant troubles with iPod music devices and pacemakers working together in close proximity. Electromagnetic fields put out by the iPod can interfere with the performance of a pacemaker. (Photo by DRA studios)
Here’s news that you don’t need to be a highly-degreed scientist to make a scientific research breakthrough.

A high school student in Michigan has discovered that there are dangers of using an iPod if you’ve got a pacemaker inside your chest. Doing a test with 100 elderly patients who had pacemakers monitoring the beating of their hearts, the student found out that iPods caused electrical interference with the pacemakers 50 percent of the time when they’re within two inches of the site of the pacemaker. Other interference issues were discovered when an iPod was held 18 inches away from a pacemaker. In one instance, the electrical influence of an iPod stopped a pacemaker completely.

The average age of the participants of the study was 77. They listened to Frank Sinatra music with the iPod’s earbuds resting on their shoulders as not to blow out their hearing. And while iPods are not commonly used among people of that age group, student Jay Thayer pointed out that the information is still vital for pacemaker wearers to know as they may have grandchildren or neighbors using iPods nearby them.

It’s believed that the electromagnetic field put out when the iPod is playing causes interference with the performance of the pacemaker in the heart. No other types of MP3 music playing devices were tested in the study.

That’s all good information. But what I really want to know is what would happen if you listened to music on your iPod by that old 60s band, Gary and the Pacemakers? But seriously, can you think of any other medical issues that might present themselves with using in iPod? Share them here with other Science Buzz readers.