Eureka! Daily discoveries for the scientifically bent
Nov 09,2007 00:00 by Scott_LaFee

'TRUE FACTS'

 
WHAT IS IT - This is a fossil of a chitinozoan, a group of flask-shaped, organic walled marine microfossils produced by an as-yet-unknown, long-gone animal. CNS Photo. 
 
TRUE FACTS - A new Vanderbilt University study says the human brain perceives fear in the faces of others faster than any other emotion. CNS Photo. 
 
POETRY FOR SCIENTISTS - Tom Edison thought he was bright, he invented the electric light, then, to his chagrin, when turning in, his wife said, 'I'll be reading tonight.' CNS Photo. 
 
PATENTLY ABSURD - In 1969, inventor Ray Wilson affixed a small stress gauge to an ordinary comb that measures how much stuff is in your hair and when you should reach for shampoo. CNS Photo. 
 
HOW GREEN IS MY TALLY - Geneticists sequenced the genome of algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and discovered that the tiny, single-celled organism contains not only genes that date back to the earliest plants, but also genes associated with functions in animals, including humans. CNS Photo. 
A new Vanderbilt University study says the human brain perceives fear in the faces of others faster than any other emotion, probably because fear likely indicates a threat or danger. Happy faces were the slowest to be recognized.

VERBATIM

On a polar expedition, begin with a clear idea of which pole you are aiming at, and try to start facing the right way. Choose your companions carefully - you may have to eat them.

- Scottish Humorist W.C. Sellar (1898-1951)

BRAIN SWEAT

Here's a test in two parts. First, you must fill in the missing letters inside the parentheses to complete two four-letter words, read left to right. Second, the parenthetical letters must spell a six-letter word, read right to left.

Example:

T(As&8211;s&8211;s&8211;s&8211;A)T

Answer: T(ARO GNA)T. The 6-letter word being ANGORA.

1. S(Ls&8211;s&8211;s&8211;s&8211;P)E

2. S(N_s&8211;s&8211;s&8211; S)K

3. O(R_s&8211;s&8211;s&8211; D)E

SURELY YOU'RE JOKING

A female is a male with iron added for greater strength, ductility and magnetism. (If you don't get this, check your Periodic Table.)

BRAIN SWEAT ANSWER

1. S(LAT ROP)E = PORTAL

2. S(NAP MAS)K = SAMPAN

3. O(RAL LOD)E = DOLLAR

ANTHROPOLOGY 101

In Persia, a gentleman was expected to marry a woman of equal social stature. However, if he wanted to marry a woman of lower social standing, he could "hire" her on a 99-year lease, according to Stephen Arnott, author of "Eating Your Auntie is Wrong."

POETRY FOR SCIENTISTS

Tom Edison thought he was bright.

He invented the electric light.

Then, to his chagrin,

When turning in,

His wife said, "I'll be reading tonight."

JUST ASKING

Why is it considered necessary to nail down the lid of a coffin?

PATENTLY ABSURD

Comb-mounted Hair Analysis Gauge

U.S. Patent No. 3,459,197

Apparently, one of the stresses of having tresses is always wondering what's in your hair. In 1969, inventor Ray Wilson came up with an answer.

Wilson affixed a small stress gauge to an ordinary comb. As the user drags the comb through his or her hair, the gauge records how much the comb bends. The more the comb flexes, the more stuff is in your hair and the sooner you should reach for a nice, clarifying shampoo.

Or maybe just a different comb.

HOW GREEN IS MY TALLY

Researchers at the Carnegie Institution have looked at a species of algae called Chlamydomonas and seen themselves. Well, a distant relation, anyway.

Geneticist Arthur Grossman of the Carnegie Institution and colleagues sequenced the genome of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and discovered that the tiny, single-celled organism contains not only genes that date back to the earliest plants, but also genes associated with functions in animals, including humans.

That makes Chlamydomonas - affectionately known as Chlamy - a nexus of plant-animal ancestry, a sort of kin to both.

The alga is found in soil and freshwater environments. Like plants, it performs photosynthesis, but it diverged evolutionarily from flowering land plants about 1 billion years ago.

Chlamy's relationship to animals is even more distant. That split occurred 1.6 billion years ago. Nonetheless, the alga retains hairlike flagella that are the equivalent to cilia and centrioles in animal cells.

Further analysis indicated that 35 percent of the proteins found in Chlamy are also found in flowering plants and humans. An additional 10 percent are shared with humans but not flowering plants.

"Just 20 years ago, no one would have guessed that an alga would have retained many of the functions we associate with humans and would be useful for developing a basic understanding of certain human diseases," said Grossman.

WHAT IS IT? ANSWER

It's a chitinozoan, though scientists aren't sure exactly what that means.

Chitinozoans are a group of flask-shaped, organic walled marine microfossils produced by an as-yet-unknown, long-gone animal. The prevailing theory is that they are either eggs or the juvenile stage of the animal.