04 September, 2014 – Episode 479 – This Week in Science


Your Vortex Needs Ice, Moving Rocks, Immense Heaven, Bird School, Salamander-boy, Fish Urine Aaphrodesiac!, Fearless Dreadnaughtus, Brain To Brain, Cancer Scanner, Martian Memory Wipe, Dead Russian Sex Geckos, Printed Robobirds, Eat Breakfast No Diabetes, Music Brain!, Pretty Low Sperm, And Much More…

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This Week in Science, coming up next…

Your Vortex Needs Ice
A study published in Nature Communications used observational data and modelling to propose a potential mechanism for the slippage of the polar vortex that causes extreme cold weather events outside of the norhtern pole region, suggesting that melting sea ice is to blame.

Moving Rocks
Death Valley’s famously sneaky rocks have been observed by scientists. Rare ice formation on the Racetrack playa coupled with light winds allows the normally still rocks to slide and create tracks that follow cracks in the ice and force from the wind.

Immense Heaven
Cosmic mapmakers have defined our local supercluster, called Laniakea, or Immense Heaven.

Bird School
Cockatoos learn to manufacture tools, and make improvements, after watching an older bird.

The new X-Man: Salamander-boy
Salamander skin may hold the key to super-human healing abilities!

Fish urine that calms males and excites females? Now that is an aphrodesiac!
Tilapia urine appears to have a pheromone in it that lowers testosterone in neighboring males and stimulates egg production in females. Now that is a shower of gold!

The handsomer the man, the lower his sperm count
Attractiveness was positively correlated with low sperm count in a recent study – indicating a trade off between characteristics for sexual selection and sperm count

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Fearless Dreadnaughtus
The largest dinosaur to date has been discovered, and it’s another plant-eater.

Brain Trade-offs
Two studies highlight the tradeoffs required by the brain. One focuses on development and energy allotment, concluding that toddlers grow less quickly due to the brain’s energy demands. The other concludes that the dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex operates in part to balance honesty and self-interest, and that damage to the area results in more self-interested behavior.

Brain To Brain
Researchers successfully transmitted the messages ‘Hola’ and ‘Ciao’ over 5000 miles from the brain of the sender to the brain of the receiver via brain-computer interface and the internet. Receiving individuals experienced the message as phosphenes, or flashes of light, that they then translated appropriately.

Eating breakfast could keep you from getting diabetes
26% of students surveyed in the UK regularly did not eat breakfast. These students all had higher levels of blood values associated with type 2 diabetes.

Losing weight won’t stop diabetes
The type of food you eat is more important than the calories, so losing weight may not stop diabetes. Instead, eat healthier!

Music shapes your brain!
Disadvantaged youth showed congnative development after free community music programming

Cancer Scanner
A team of researchers have developed a handheld laser scanner that can detect Raman scattering nanoprobes contained in malignant tumor cells during surgery.

Martian Memory Wipe
NASA’s Opportunity rover is experiencing memory problems, and will receive a wipe to reformat its flash memory system and decrease reliance on malfunctioning flash memory cells.

Dead Russian Sex Geckos
5 geckos were sent into orbit by the Russians to have sex. None returned to Earth alive, and it is questionable whether they lived long enough to do the deed.

Printed Robobirds
A company called Clear Flight Solutions is 3-D printing robotic birds of prey to keep unwanted birds at bay.

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