31 May, 2012 – This Week in Science


The Great Dying, Falling Civilizations, Superfast Supervolcanoes, Tuatara Teeth, Old Smells Good, Alphabet For Life, Soviet Moon Water, Canadian Jupiter Moon, Neutrino Whirlpools, Curing Paralysis, And Much More…

Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
The following hour of programming delves into the brightest prospects of our already promising future…
Through forensic analysis of the past and present world,
will guide us as it always has…
from question to answer
from problem to solution
from ignorance to understanding
and from wondering to wonderful discovery
And while not every path we wander down in life will lead to our desired destination,
the journey we take for an hour here each week will never leave you where you started on
This Week in Science… coming up next

The Great Dying and the slow recovery
Around 250 million years ago, approximately 90% of all life on earth died. New estimates indicate that it may have taken up to 10 million year for life to recover, but why did it take so long? It turns out that climate change may have been involved… Isn’t it always?

The fall of civilization
Approximately 4,000 years ago a civilization called the Harappans lived in what we now call India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Climate change, once again, may have been responsible for their demise. A culture dependent on flooding and rampant monsoons for their agriculture, most likely fell when the 2,000 year wet period dried up.

Super fast Supervolcanoes
“Supervolcanoes” were previously thought to take up to 200,000 years to form, but new research suggests they can form within just a few hundred years. That’s bad news, since one is currently forming under Yellowstone National Park that could cover over half of North America in molten magma.

Blair’s Animal Corner
Holy Tuatara Teeth, Batman!
The Tuatara may look like a lizard, but it’s not. It is a reptile, however, and so scientists were very surprised to discover that they exhibit mastication previously exclusively seen in mammals. It was previously understood that complex chewing abilities were limited to those animals with higher metabolisms, which makes sense, since chewing food would require less time for digestion. It turns out though that the New Zealand natives have debunked this long supported correlation.

The scent of age
In a study where scientists collected body odor from subjects placed into young, middle-aged, and old test groups, evaluators were able to distinguish the three groups. In fact, the “old” age group scent was found to be less intense and less unpleasant, but there is a distinct smell to old age.

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Alphabet for Life
New research from Yale indicates than changes in just three genetic letters among millions led to the development of the mammalian motor sensory circuits. These neural circuits connects to the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for fine motor skills including those that led to tool use and speech.

Soviets found water on moon
The last solviet mission to the moon found water, but the thing is, it was in 1976. Luna-24 took sample from the moon’s surface, and found that 0.1 % of the sample was water. Unfortunately, western scientists have glossed over this discovery for decades.

Canada, just like Europa
A frozen sulfurous fjord in Canada resembles the surface of Jupiter’s moon, Europa, and has microbial inhabitants. This indicates that Europa could support life. Scientists now know where and how to look for life on the icy moon, and that life is possible in such a harsh environment.

Serendipitous discovery by neutrino observatory
Nemo, a neutrino initiative in the Mediterranean under construction off the coast of Italy, made an accidental discovery this week. Scientists found marine vortices, or small whirlpools nearly 6 miles across, which are not supposed to occur in closed basins like the Mediterranean, and scientists are still trying to figure out how they occurred. They could have migrated from another body of water, or currents may be doing things we had not expected.

Curing Paralysis
Rats with spinal chord injuries have learned to walk! By bathing their spinal chords in chemicals and using electrical currents, rats were able to move their limbs again, eventually climbing stairs and even running. Imagine giving a paralyzed human the ability to walk again… SCIENCE!

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