24 May, 2012 – This Week in Science


Carbon On Mars, Video Game Skillz, Autism Gets Hot, Rangy Orangutans, Dropping Pills On Cancer, Bacteria In Living Color, Bees Needs, Stop Snoring Now, And, Much More…

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This Week in Science… coming up next

Carbon on Mars
Molecules containing large chains of hydrogen and carbon have been discovered on meteorites hailing from Mars, indicating the possibility of life. New research indicates that these carbon chains did come from Mars, but that they are not biological. Bummer…

Shooting To Win
A new study shows that playing violent video games with gun-like controllers and humanoid targets can improve shooting accuracy by up to 33%. Shockingly though, the video game-exposed subjects targeted the head 99% more often. Sounds like video game nerds will be our new secret weapon in warfare!

Autism and Fever
Women who reported having a fever during pregnancy were more likely to give birth to autistic children. Inflammatory factors or just simply body temperature could be to blame. Either way, knowing this correlation could warm mothers to treat their fever early and perhaps save their children’s brains!

Blair’s Animal Corner
Sumatran Orangutans delay puberty by up to ten years to increase their chances with females. Male orangutans can monopolize a group of females for weeks at a time, so there can be intense fighting in order to assert dominance and gain control. It makes sense then for males to want to get as large and strong as possible before duking it out with other males for the prize, however these orangutans are so far the only primate known to exhibit this phenomenon.

Resilience = Happiness?
Some people never recover from intense loss, but those who do will tend to enjoy life more. In short, people who are more resilient tend to be more satisfied with their life. That means those bumps in the road could be good news to the you a few miles down!

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Psychiatric Drug kills Cancer Stem Cells?!
A team of Canadian scientists recently tested a wide range of drugs combinations to target cancer. Surprisingly, they found a drug currently on the market for schizophrenia targeting cancer stem cells. Surprise! A potential cancer cure form an anti-psychotic drug!

Seeing in Color
We may see more colors than dogs, but far fewer than birds, reptiles and insects – but why? Our bacterial ancestors could sense the different between shorter (blue) wavelengths and longer (red) wavelengths. All color vision is an outgrowth of that system, and simple copy errors of those genes developed “cones” that respond to specific wavelengths. It makes you think a lot about human perception, and what it really means for something to be “blue” or “green”… My brain hurts now…

Picky Bees
A small dose of pesticide make honey bees “picky eaters.” Unfortunately this effects their ability to recruit mates and also causes them to pass up what would otherwise be perfectly good sources of food. These picky bees prefer sweeter nectar, and refrain from alerting the colony to the presence of any nectar at all. The colony therefore gets less sustenance in the long run. No wonder our bee colonies are collapsing!

Snoring could increase cancer risk five-fold!
Low blood oxygen levels can increase the growth of vessels that feed cancerous tumors. Patients with mild Sleep Disordered Breathing were 10% more likely to develop cancer, those with moderate SDB were twice as likely, and severe cases were around 4.8 times as likely to develop cancer. So, one could extrapolate that if a person is a light snorer, it probably isn’t a problem, but if they have severe sleep apnea, it might behoove them to wear a breathing apparatus… Oxygen is good for you, who’d have thought?

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