17 May, 2012 – This Week in Science


Body Clock Origins, Giant Turtle, Gila Monster Spit, Crows Know, Whale Ears, Happy Parent-ville, Superflare Fun, Bionic Eyes, Dolphin Speaker, Zebrafish Gene Mix, Ring Of Fire, And Much More…

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This Week in Science… coming up next

A clock to rule them all…
Scientists at the University of Cambridge has attempted to find a universal clock. Peroxiredoxins, or PRX, are proteins that help all cells deal with free radicals resulting from oxygen synthesis, and it turns out that they may be a key component in the formation of a universal clock found in all living things.

Turtle Car
Scientists at the University of North Carolina recently discovered a turtle fossil the size of a small car. The fossil was found in northern Colombia and is estimated to be approximately 60 million years old. How did this turtle with a shell the size of a kiddie pool survive, and what brought it to extinction?

The new latest diet fad: Gila Monster Saliva

Blair’s Animal Corner
We know crows are smart, but it turns out they know quite a lot about us, too. Crows can recognize familiar human voices from unfamiliar ones, just by sound. In fact, they can even recognize familiar individuals of corvid species apart from their own! Smart, indeed.

Whales adjust
Wales can turn the volume down in their ears when the commotion in the ocean gets too loud. Researchers watched a trained false killer whale respond to various noise levels, and found that she can adjust either her hearing, or her brain’s reaction to sound, in relation to the decibel level.

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Kool-Aid for Parents
According to a recent study, parents are generally more happy than those individuals without children. The researchers are not trying to imply that having children will cause you to be happy if you are not, but they generally rate themselves as happier people. I’m confused…

Monster Flares!
In case you weren’t aware, our sun is in an active period, but we are no worse for wear. Other stars are experiencing a newly discovered phenomenon called a “superflare.” This event would not only increase light, but could heavily damage the atmosphere of orbiting planets. Luckily, it doesn’t look likely that one would occur on our precious sun. Whew…

Bionic Eyes
A new, more compact prosthesis could allow people to see who have lost their sight. It receives sight information from infrared light pulses that simulate eye movement, and then electric currents from photodiodes on the chip would signal the retina and then the brain, to create an image.

Talking to dolphins
Researchers have developed a dolphin speaker that can produce genuine dolphin sounds. This device can then be used to decipher what those sounds mean. The researchers are hoping to develop a legitimate dolphin translator. The question is, are they saying anything interesting?

Zebrafish Clues
Researchers at Duke University inserted part of a human genome into a Zebrafish in order to identify the genes responsible for head size at birth. It turns out that head size is often correlated with mental disabilities such as autism or schizophrenia.

Oh, and don’t miss the ring of fire!
On May 20th there will be a solar eclipse. It will take on a rare shape called the ring of fire, due to the moon being at it’s farthest point. Check the map for where to be and when!

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