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Dec 15,2006
SURELY YOU'RE JOKING An elephant and a mouse were talking. The elephant asked the mouse: "Why am I so big and strong and heavy and you are so tiny, weak and gray?" To which the mouse replied: "I've been ill lately." BRAIN SWEAT There are seven players on a coed volleyball team. After an exhausting match, each girl drinks four cups of water, each boy seven cups and the coach quaffs nine. A total of ... [full story]
1584 times read - No comment posted

Dec 15,2006
Dust gathered from a comet and brought to Earth tells a tale of a so­lar sys­tem that par­tial­ly turned itself in­side out, re­search­ers say. Dust trail­ing a dis­tant com­et, and gath­ered by a NASA space­craft, has yielded a sur­pris­ing­ly var­ied mix­ture of ma­te­ri­als, as­tro­no­mers say.Since com­ets are thought to con­tain ma­te­ri­al left over from the ear­ly So­lar Sys­tem, this va­ri­e­ty sug­gests some­thing was mix­ing up the con­tents of the sys­tem in its youth, the re­search­ers ... [full story]
1759 times read - No comment posted

Dec 22,2006
WHAT IS IT? ANSWER A neutrophil - a kind of white blood cell - moving across a bone surface toward an infecting virus or bacterium, which it will engulf and destroy. 'TRUE FACTS' In just one year, the perennial sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean has shrunk by nearly 289,500 square miles - an area larger than the state of Texas. BRAIN SWEAT   OUR IGNOBLE HISTORY - Veterinarian Robert A. Lopez's report, “Of Mites ... [full story]
3308 times read - No comment posted

Dec 22,2006
Re­search­ers have re­ported what they say is some of the strong­est ev­i­dence to date that an­i­mals, like hu­mans, have dreams with im­ages.Mat­thew A. Wil­son and Dao­yun Ji of the Mas­sa­chu­setts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy in Cam­bridge, Mass., ex­am­ined what hap­pens in rats’ brains as they “dream” about mazes they ran while awake.   A "dreaming" rat. (Courtesy MIT)In a pre­vious stu­dy five years ago, Wil­son found that rat brain cells re­played some of the same ac­tiv­i­ty pat­terns in ... [full story]
1410 times read - No comment posted

Dec 29,2006
WHAT IS IT? ANSWER If you're an arachnophobe, this is your worst nightmare: social spiders. Most arthropod sociality is confined to insects like ants and bees, but there are at least 20 known species of spiders that prefer to live in large groups. Among them: Delena cancerides, or huntsmen spiders, that do not reside in webs, but form year-round colonies of as many as 300 individuals living beneath the bark of dead trees. Not to ... [full story]
1916 times read - No comment posted

Dec 29,2006
The first fly­ing mam­mals may have tak­en to the skies much ear­li­er than has been thought, a pa­per in this week’s is­sue of the re­search jour­nal Na­ture sug­gests. Jin Meng of the Amer­i­can Mu­se­um of Na­t­u­ral His­to­ry in New York and col­leagues an­a­lysed fos­sil re­mains of a small, squirrel-sized mam­mal that lived in In­ner Mon­go­lia around 125 mil­lion years ago, dur­ing the so-called Mes­o­zo­ic era.   Artist's con­cept of the fly­ing mam­mal (cour­te­sy Chuang Zhao and Lida Xing)The ... [full story]
1668 times read - No comment posted

Jan 05,2007
It can sometimes seem as if everything on Earth has already been discovered. In fact, scientists estimate that only one-tenth of the world's estimated 10 million species are known; all the time, more and more novel plants and animals are found.   NEW SPECIES - A new species of frog named Rana compotriz B was found in the jungle of Laos. CNS Photo courtesy of World Conservation SocietyScott Zona discovered a new genus of palm during ... [full story]
1816 times read - No comment posted

Jan 05,2007
ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE In 2004, British physiotherapist Chris McDonnell conducted extensive research on banana peels in various states of decay to determine whether they are as hazardous as conventional wisdom and slapstick movies suggest. McDonnell concluded the banana peel threat was grossly overstated.   TRUE FACTS - India ink does not come from India. It originates from China, and was first mistakenly referred to as 'India ink' by English diarist Samuel Pepys in 1665. CNS Photo.A few ... [full story]
1520 times read - No comment posted

Jan 05,2007
New tel­e­scope ob­ser­va­tions have bol­stered a claim that as­tro­no­mers have seen the uni­verse’s first lu­mi­nous ob­ject­s—pos­sib­ly gar­gan­tu­an stars, re­search­ers say.If the find­ings prove cor­rect, sci­en­tists add, they might fit with a the­o­ry that such stars seeded the growth of the big­gest, so-called su­per­mas­sive, black holes. Black holes are ob­jects so heavy and com­pact that their grav­i­ty sucks in eve­ry­thing near­by, in­clud­ing light.   The bot­tom pan­el is an im­age from NASA's Spitzer Space Tel­e­scope, of stars ... [full story]
2999 times read - No comment posted

Jan 12,2007
BRAIN SWEAT If you randomly glance at your watch, what are the odds that the time will contain consecutive digits, such as 1:23? VERBATIM "Ants can carry 20 times their own body weight, which is useful information if you're moving and you need help carrying a potato chip across town." - Ron Darian, screenwriter and actor VERBATIM - 'Ants can carry 20 times their own body weight, which is useful information if you're moving and ... [full story]
1954 times read - No comment posted

Jan 12,2007
Al­bert Ein­stein the­o­rized long ago that mov­ing things would warp the fab­ric of space and time, which ac­cord­ing to his find­ings are unit­ed as a four-di­men­sional space-time. As the ob­jects trav­eled, they would al­so em­a­nate rip­ples of grav­i­ty called grav­i­ta­tion­al waves. No one has de­tected that yet, but some re­search­ers be­lieve they could find such waves com­ing from strange, wispy cos­mic struc­tures called su­per­strings. Cos­mic su­per­strings are the­o­rized to wig­gle and os­cil­late, pro­duc­ing grav­i­ta­tion­al waves, and ... [full story]
2203 times read - No comment posted

Jan 12,2007
Scientists overwhelming agree: Global warming is already affecting animals ranging from polar bears to butterflies -- and if greenhouse gas emissions remain uncurbed, the consequences for our planet will be devastating. Oregon State University's Peter U. Clark discusses climate change Tuesday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m., starting off the Oregon Zoo's 2007 Wildlife Conservation Lecture Series. Polar bears in the Arctic are being impacted by climate change. The ice they depend on for hunting is ... [full story]
1750 times read - No comment posted

Jan 12,2007
A team of scientists has just returned from McMurdo Sound in Antarctica, where they have been analyzing the diving and oxygen-carrying capacity of aging Weddell seals in a study that may shed new light on aging and possible protective mechanisms.   Markus HorningThe study is unusual because its focus is on older animals and how they retain their ability to hunt for food and reproduce despite a lifetime of seemingly debilitating physical exertion. “Weddell seals have ... [full story]
1916 times read - No comment posted

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