A Blog Around The Clock

My picks from ScienceDaily

Do You Hear What I See? Research Finds Visually Stimulated Activity In Brain’s Hearing Processing Centers:

New research pinpoints specific areas in sound processing centers in the brains of macaque monkeys that shows enhanced activity when the animals watch a video. This study confirms a number of recent findings but contradicts classical thinking, in which hearing, taste, touch, sight, and smell are each processed in distinct areas of the brain and only later integrated.


Harmful Environmental Effects Of Livestock Production On The Planet ‘Increasingly Serious,’ Says Panel:

The harmful environmental effects of livestock production are becoming increasingly serious at all levels–local, regional, national and global–and urgently need to be addressed, according to researchers from Stanford University, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other organizations. The researchers, representing five countries, presented their findings on Feb. 19 at the annual meeting of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Francisco during a symposium entitled, “Livestock in a Changing Landscape: Drivers, Consequences and Responses.”

Long-lived Deep-sea Fishes Imperiled By Technology, Overfishing:

Many commercially prized fish from the depths of the world’s oceans are severely threatened by over-fishing and the species’ ability to recover is constrained by the fishes’ long lifespans and low reproductive success, a panel of experts said at the annual meeting of the American Association of the Advancement of Science. Some of the fish species living at depths greater than 500 meters take decades to reach breeding maturity, so there are no quick-fix remedies available to replenish the population, said Selina Heppell, a fisheries biologist from Oregon State University.

Swimming ‘To The Left’ Gets Bacteria Upstream, And May Promote Infection:

Yale engineers who study both flow hydrodynamics and how bacteria propel themselves report that one reason for the high incidence of infections associated with catheters in hospital patients may be that some pathogenic bacteria swim “to the left,” in a study published in Physical Review Letters.

‘Ten Commandments’ Could Improve Fisheries Management:

Poorly managed marine fisheries are in trouble around the world, researchers say, while ecosystem-based management is a powerful idea that in theory could help ensure sustainable catches – but too often there’s a gap in translating broad concepts into specific action in the oceans that successfully meets these larger goals.

‘Good Vibrations’ From Deep-sea Smokers May Keep Fish Out Of Hot Water:

So you’re a fish. Right now some tubeworm tartare and clams on the half shell would really hit the spot, so you’re headed for the all-night cafe. “All-night” being the operative word because the volcanic ridge you’re tooling along is nearly 1.5 miles below the surface. The term “where the sun don’t shine” perfectly describes the place. It’s pitch black. Darn, but what’s that loud rumbling up ahead? Must be one of those pesky black smokers. Some of those babies can fry your face off. A detour is highly indicated.

What Is Wrong With Intelligent Design?:

In a thought-provoking paper from the March issue of The Quarterly Review of Biology , Elliott Sober (University of Wisconsin) clearly discusses the problems with two standard criticisms of intelligent design: that it is unfalsifiable and that the many imperfect adaptations found in nature refute the hypothesis of intelligent design. Biologists from Charles Darwin to Stephen Jay Gould have advanced this second type of argument. Stephen Jay Gould’s well-known example of a trait of this type is the panda’s thumb. If a truly intelligent designer were responsible for the panda, Gould argues, it would have provided a more useful tool than the stubby proto-thumb that pandas use to laboriously strip bamboo in order to eat it.

Warming Climate, Cod Collapse, Have Combined To Cause Rapid North Atlantic Ecosystem Changes:

Ecosystems along the continental shelf waters of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, from the Labrador Sea south of Greenland all the way to North Carolina, are experiencing large, rapid changes, reports a Cornell oceanographer in the Feb. 23 issue of Science.