What Dinosaurs Ate; Rabbits Get Computerized Contact Lenses

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Discovered: raptor dinosaurs ate birds, rabbits test out digital contact lenses, an energy drink-fueled rise in hospital visits and the crazy ideas people get after taking a multivitamin.

Evidence catches up to imagination: raptor diet included birds.  It's a finding that, to us, seems to suggest just how little humanity really knows about what went down millions of years ago when the T-Rex power-walked through Land Before Time terrain. New Scientist reports that paleontologists are touting the "the first direct evidence that dinos preyed on their feathered relatives" after a long-ago digested prehistoric bird was found in a preserved stomach of a raptor. We also learn one more thing about the raptor's dietary habits: "The bird skeleton was nearly intact, suggesting it was swallowed whole as live prey rather than scavenged." [New Scientist]

Those computerized contact lenses were successfully tested out on rabbits.  The inevitable invention, contact lenses that allow us to filter the real world through a digitized reality, have been, to some degree, successfully tested out ("a single pixel" has been projected on lenses). And, as Scientific American points out, a University of Washington professor, Babak Parviz, tinkering with the design first tested out the safety of the design by "placing the lenses on the eyes of lab rabbits." Those tests, as the BBC notes, went well "with no obvious adverse effects." But the ultimate goal of morphing all of humanity into robots is still a ways off: "Our next goal is to incorporate some predetermined text in the contact lens," said Parviz to the BBC. [Scientific American, BBC News via WSJ Tech Europe]

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The thing that's off about canned soup. If you suspected there was something off about eating canned soup, but couldn't remember what it was (and forgot the question entirely after your soup stopped microwaving), it seems to be this: bisphenol-A. That's the "substance that lines most food and drink cans," the New York Times informs us. And while there could be nothing wrong with it at all (trust the FDA, right?), it "has been linked in some studies to a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and health officials in the United States have come under increasing pressure to regulate it." The impetus for the hand-wringing about the substance was a new Harvard study that followed participants who ate canned soup: those who ate it daily had very elevated levels of BPA, which may or may not be a bad thing.  So, now remember: soup in moderation. [The New York Times]

Fueled: big rise in hospital visits due to mixing energy drinks with drugs.  And the energy drink lobby appears surprised at the numbers. Hospitalizations due to mixing energy drinks with illegal or over-the-counter drugs rose from 1,128 visits in 2005 to 13,114 in 2009, Reuters reported from a new study.  The American Beverage Association quickly pointed out that you couldn't blame energy drinks for the rise because, as the news outlet described, "half the hospitalizations involved people who had also consumed alcohol or taken illegal substances or pharmaceuticals." Fair enough. But it's worth noting that the drinks the ABA represents (Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar) have ushered in popularity of  mixing caffeine and alcohol. [Reuters]

Everyone has their own crazy ideas about vitamins.  According to who you talk to, multivitamins are a great nutritional supplement, a placebo, somewhere in between, or potential health risk. Also, according to a Taiwanese study, they gave participants the idea that if they popped a pill (which turned out to be a placebo), they'd get a free pass for doing a whole bunch of things that a multivitamin wouldn't be helpful with anyway. Sort of a skewed idea healthy-unhealthy balance, as NBC reported: "Those taking phony supplements reported a greater sense of invulnerability and less of a desire to exercise. They also were more likely to consider engaging in casual sex, sunbathing and binge-drinking." [NBC Vitals]

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