R & D

Spinning star Teacher ants Musical cloth Frost thawing

By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 23.01.06

Spinning star

Canadian astronomers have discovered the fastest-spinning neutron star ? 716 times per second. The star, called PSR J1748-2466ad, is located in a star cluster near the centre of the Milky Way, according to a report published in the journal Science. The previous record-holder, which spins at 642 times per second, was discovered in 1982.

Teacher ants

Ants have the ability to communicate their know-ledge of a food source to other ants, a study published in Nature suggests. Researchers in the UK have found that the leader ant that knows the way to the food slows down so that its follower familiarises itself with the route and will not proceed until its follower taps it on the back.

Musical cloth

Haute couture is making a great noise. Sound and visual artiste Alyce Santoro has created Sonic Fabric, a cloth made from recycled cassettes combined with other fibres. Using a minimally hacked Walkman, the fabric becomes an audible reminder of its musical past. “The important part is being able to walk around in your favourite music or sound,” says Santoro.

Frost thawing

The permafrost layer in the Artic is thawing, the Geophysical Research Letters reports. Permafrost ? the soil that remains icy cold for more than two years ? covers nearly a quarter of the land in the Northern Hemisphere. The thawing has led to the opening of sinkholes, buckling of highways and the tilting of houses and forests, which are wrecking havoc on landscapes, wildlife and cities from Russia to the US.