Eureka! Daily discoveries for the scientifically bent
Apr 06,2007 00:00 by Scott_LaFee

PRIME NUMBERS

16 - Percentage of global diet met by fish consumption.

29 - Percentage of the world's fished species that have lost at least 90 percent of their peak populations.

2048 - Year by which the world's seafood will run out, at current rates of decline.

BRAIN SWEAT - Which are more valuable: 2000 pennies or 2001 pennies? CNS Photo.

WHERE IN THE WORLD? - This is a picture of the Caravelas River in Brazil, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. CNS Photo.

PRIME NUMBERS - Sixteen percent of the world's diet consists of fish. CNS Photo.

LETTER PERFECT - Materials scientists at UCLA recently announced they have designed and mass-produced billions of fluorescent microparticles in the shapes of all 26 letters. CNS Photo.

Sources: National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, UC Santa Barbara; Harper's; Boris Worm, Dalhousie University

VERBATIM

"It's going to be a bummer if Mars turns out to be like us."

- Newt Gingrich, former U.S. congressman

BRAIN SWEAT

Which are more valuable: 2000 pennies or 2001 pennies?

BRAIN SWEAT ANSWER

You don't have to be numismatist (a collector or authority on coins) to figure out the answer. Just add a comma: 2,001 pennies is one cent more valuable than 2,000 pennies.

JUST ASKING

Do bees get wax in their ears?

UCLA AND OTHER LETTERS, TOO

Materials scientists at UCLA recently announced they have succeeded in designing and mass-producing billions of fluorescent microparticles in the shapes of all 26 letters.

"We can even choose the font style," said Thomas G. Mason, an associate professor of chemistry. "If we wanted Times New Roman, we could produce that."

The news is big because the letters are so small. The letters, created from solid polymeric materials, are tinier than many kinds of cells. Mason said the letters could conceivably be attached to individual cells, serving as tiny tags for cellular identification and tracking studies.

Beyond that, the creation of precisely designed, uniformly sized objects is considered to be an important step in the eventual goal of building functional nanomachines.

WOOD VIBRATIONS

Termites determine what's good to eat based on vibrations. Australian researchers have discovered that the insects don't even have to touch a material to know whether it's a worthy meal.

In experiments, researchers presented hungry termites with a choice of entrees: an ordinary block of wood or a block composed of wood mixed with other materials. In every case, the termites opted for the blocks containing the most wood - even though they could not touch or see the other materials.

ELECTRON INK

Infrared Zoo

coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/image_galleries/ir_zoo/

Some snakes, insects and the vampire bat "see" the world with infrared vision, which differentiates objects based on their heat output. Look at this Web site to see what they see.

'TRUE FACTS'

- An English study of male university students found that those who were hungry were attracted to heavier women than those who were satiated.

- A Hewlett-Packard study found that excessive use of computers and other technological devices can cause a drop in IQ greater than the effects of marijuana: 10 points compared with 4.

- An Australian study found that vegetarians were more intelligent than people who ate meat.

WHERE IN THE WORLD? ANSWER

The Caravelas River in Brazil flows into the Atlantic Ocean, endlessly depositing ripples of sand to the north. The accumulated shoreline, called a strandplain, is plainly evident in this photo taken from the International Space Station. Each line represents an ancient shoreline, some created in just years, others over a millennium or more.