05 April, 2012 – This Week in Science


Feathered Dinos, Red Wine Diet, Female Objects, Seas A-risin, Sweet Whale Barf, Blair’s Animal Corner, Interview With Chris Mooney Re: The Republican Brain, And Much More…

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This week in Science
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A big feathered dinosaur
Paleontologists have recently found a tyrannosaurus-like dinosaur covered in feathers, called Yutyrannus huali. These dinos are the largest feathered animal in history, to our knowledge, and is about 40 times as large as the previous record-holder.

Sweet Whale Barf
Don’t want real whale vomit in your perfume? That’s ok, the University of British Columbia has identified a gene in balsam fir trees that could be used to make synthetic ambergris.

Red Wine Diet???
Resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, mimics the metabolic effects of dieting in a study of obese men.

Blair’s Animal Corner
RoundUp: Tough on weeds, tougher on amphibians. It turns out that this popular herbicide causes morphological changes in growing vertebrates. What does that mean for us humans?

Quantifying Deglaciation
The last deglaciation, “Meltwater Pulse 1A,” caused a sea-level rise of 12-20 meters. What does that mean for our current sea-level, as our planet’s polar ice melts?

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Interview with Chris Mooney
The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality is the latest release (April, 2012) from author Chris Mooney who penned the 2005 New York Times bestseller The Republican War on Science. He also hosts of the Point of Inquiry podcast and writes the “Intersection” blog for Science Progress. In the past he has written for Mother Jones, American Prospect, Harper’s, Washington Post, USA Today, and Slate among other publications.

Why do Republicans view science as a liberal endeavor? Science has become tied to politics, whether it makes sense to be or not. Money, votes, and lobbyists all have an opinion on scientific issues, even though none of those entities carry science degrees. In brain scan studies, conservatives had more gray matter in the amygdala (fear center of the brain). In Psychological studies, conservatives also fixated on unpleasant images, and liberals were more likely to focus on pleasant ones. It’s looking more and more like the gap between ideals on key science issues is growing – a consensus needs to be reached before difference of opinion grows so large it is irreconcilable. Perhaps this is why understanding republicans and their brains is so important.

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