We round up this week’s most intriguing items from around the Web.
Reuters reports a breakthrough in animal sex selection. Using a new technique, Australian researchers sorted sheep sperm into X (girl) and Y (boy) batches, a trick that could save the breeding industry $6 billion a year by 2005-just in time for “Something About Mary 2.”
Rat Brain TV
Scientists have developed a tiny on-board microscope for rats, BBC News tells us. The device attaches to the rodent’s head and views its pea-sized brain as it goes about its day, projecting results onto a desktop workstation. Sadly, no plans are afoot to air the results as reality TV, à la “Who Wants to Eat a Piece of Cheese?”
Hang It Up
What little black box will delight theatergoers, diners and the affianced alike? A cell phone detector, reports the Los Angeles Times. U.S. theaters, restaurants and chapels are starting to install the devices, which respond to nearby wireless signals with a recorded reminder for the forgetful (or just plain rude) offender. On top of the social benefit, the detector will also pay off in airplanes and operating rooms, where phones can disrupt more than peace of mind.
A Good Man Is Hard to Design
Stepford Wives, meet your match. Scientists are building better males-friendlier, more loyal and better behaved. The catch? These sensitive new-age guys are genetically engineered voles. But according to Nature, the research has implications for two-legged cads; the modified section of the rodent’s brain correlates in humans to compulsive behaviors like gambling and drinking.
Sex, Food and Rock ‘n Roll
Why does a little Sinatra set the mood for love? According to the AP, a new study shows that music stimulates the same brain structures as fine foods-and a roll in the hay. No single genre of music was more effective than another, researchers say: some people got “chills” from Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier,” others from the Godfather of Soul’s “shake your money maker!”