21 October, 2010 – This Week in Science


It Happened Once, A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy…, Planetary Shuffle, Sexy Rats, Babies <3 Robots, The Power of Light, Solar System Weigh-in, Bacterial Thermometers, Mosquitoes Diverge?, And Much Much More…

Show Notes:

The Energy Evolution of Life
Although the universe may be teeming with bacterial life, complex organisms may be a rare occurrence in the universe. Alien life forms could only evolve if an event that happened just once in earth’s history was repeated on another planet. The evolution of complex life might be dependent solely on mitochondria, the power house of cells.

The Oldest Galaxy Found?
Astronomers think they have found the oldest galaxy in the universe. Galaxy UDFy-38135539 was imaged by the Hubble Telescope and it’s light was calculated to have taken 13 billion years to reach earth. Although the light from this Galaxy is incredibly faint, Astronomers theorize that there could be other galaxies nearby, which could have cleared a path through the ultraviolet light absorbing hydrogen fog, by ionizing these gases, allowing the light emitted to reach earth.

Shuffling the Solar System
Our Solar System looks like an orderly place in the cosmos, but something is amiss… In the grand scheme of things, Mars should be bigger, due to it’s position in the middle of the protoplanetary disk. Why are Neptune and Uranus so big on the outer edges of the solar system since they have slim pickings so far away from the sun? And why is Jupiter not shackled to the sun as other giant planets are to their stars? This conundrum may have been solved.

Sisters Decrease Sexiness???
Experiments with rats have revealed, that growing up with a lot of sisters may make you less sexy. According to scientists, growing up with female dominated siblings could have an impact on the sexuality of the male.

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Babies See Robots as Sentient Beings
Research has revealed that babies may see robots as humans. In an experiment, the researcher and the robot interacted together with the baby, asking questions to the baby and pointing to various objects. The baby’s gaze followed both the researchers and robots movements. Once the researcher left the room, the robot and the baby continued to interact.

Limbs Moved By Light
Scientists have created a bionic arm that can plug into the the nervous system, being controlled directly by the brain. This arm can also feel pressure and heat. They use sensors that pick up nerve signals using light, by employing optical fibers and polymers that will be less likely than metal to trigger a immune response and won’t corrode.

So How Heavy is Our Solar System?

How Bacteria Tell if it is Cold

Mosquito Divergence

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