A Blog Around The Clock

My picks from ScienceDaily


Why Animals Migrate: New Understandings:

For the first time, MIT engineers and colleagues have observed the initiation of a mass gathering and subsequent migration of hundreds of millions of animals — in this case, fish.

A Venomous Tale: How Lizards Can Shed Their Tail When Predators Attack:

University of Michigan ecologists and their colleagues have answered a question that has puzzled biologists for more than a century: What is the main factor that determines a lizard’s ability to shed its tail when predators attack?

Hair Structures Of Blind Cavefish Inspire New Generation Of Sensors:

A blind fish that has evolved a unique technique for sensing motion may inspire a new generation of sensors that perform better than current active sonar.

Why Certain Fishes Went Extinct 65 Million Years Ago:

Large size and a fast bite spelled doom for bony fishes during the last mass extinction 65 million years ago, according to a new study. Today, those same features characterize large predatory bony fishes, such as tuna and billfishes, that are currently in decline and at risk of extinction themselves, said Matt Friedman, author of the study and a graduate student in evolutionary biology at the University of Chicago.

Proteins By Design: Biochemists Create New Protein From Scratch:

No doubt proteins are complex. Most are “large” and full of interdependent branches, pockets and bends in their final folded structure. This complexity frustrates biochemists and protein engineers seeking to understand protein structure and function in order to reproduce or create new uses for these natural molecules to fight diseases or for use in industry.

Face Recognition: The Eyes Have It:

Our brain extracts important information for face recognition principally from the eyes, and secondly from the mouth and nose, according to a new study from a researcher at the University of Barcelona. This result was obtained by analyzing several hundred face images in a way similar to that of the brain.

Carbonated Oceans:

Like a sinkful of hard water deposits suddenly doused with vinegar, the shells of tiny marine snails in Victoria Fabry’s test tanks don’t stand a chance. Fabry, a biological oceanographer and visiting researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, studies the effects of ocean acidification on the molluscs known as pteropods. In one experiment, only 48 hours of exposure to slightly corrosive seawater caused normally smooth shells to become frayed at the edges on their way to eventual dissolution, severely diminishing their owners’ chances of survival.

Retired National Football League Linemen Have High Incidence Of Sleep Apnea:

Sleep disordered breathing, also known as sleep apnea, is highly prevalent among retired National Football League (NFL) players, and particularly in linemen, according to Mayo Clinic research. This study, involving 167 players, adds to the growing body of research examining the relationship between sleep apnea and heart disease, the investigators say.

Neuronal Cause Of ‘Money Illusion': Inflation Felt To Be Not So Bad As A Wage Cut:

What would you prefer: a three per cent wage rise at five per cent inflation? Or a two per cent wage-cut with stable prices? Many people, faced with this choice, would take the first option, although the true purchasing power of their income sinks in both cases by exactly the same amount, namely two per cent.

Financial Advice Causes ‘Off-loading’ In The Brain:

A study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows that expert advice may shut down areas of the brain responsible for decision-making processes, particularly when individuals are trying to evaluate a situation where risk is involved.

Hormone-mimics In Plastic Water Bottles Act As Functional Estrogens:

Plastic packaging is not without its downsides, and if you thought mineral water was ‘clean’, it may be time to think again. According to Martin Wagner and Jörg Oehlmann from the Department of Aquatic Ecotoxicology at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, plastic mineral water bottles contaminate drinking water with estrogenic chemicals.

Public Transit Users Three Times More Likely To Meet Fitness Guidelines:

A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia suggests taking public transit may help you keep fit.

Sexual Reproduction: Birds Do It, Bees Do It; Termites Don’t, Necessarily:

Scientists at North Carolina State University and three universities in Japan have shown for the first time that it is possible for certain female termite “primary queens” to reproduce both sexually and asexually during their lifetimes.

Crabs Not Only Suffer Pain, But Retain Memory Of It:

New research published by a Queen’s University Belfast academic has shown that crabs not only suffer pain but that they retain a memory of it. The study, which looked at the reactions of hermit crabs to small electric shocks, was carried out by Professor Bob Elwood and Mirjam Appel from the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s and has been published in the journal Animal Behaviour.

Good Dog/Bad Dog: Geriatrician Notes Dangers Of Pet-Related Falls:

“Falling all over” a pet usually refers to indulging or pampering a four-legged companion, but a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that many Americans, particularly the elderly, are falling over their dogs and cats literally…and hurting themselves.

Team Approach Appears To Work Best For Insect Colonies:

Ants and bees have long been recognized as tireless workers, but now new research suggests they behave like model citizens too.

Fireflies And Jellyfish Help Illuminate Quest For Cause Of Infertility:

Genes taken from fireflies and jellyfish are literally shedding light on possible causes of infertility and autoimmune diseases in humans.

Quails Get Super Fit By Simply Eating Omega-3 Diet:

When tiny semipalmated sandpipers embark on their annual odyssey from the Canadian Arctic to their winter residences in South America, they set out on one of the world’s longest migrations. On the way, the tiny birds stop off at the Bay of Fundy on the Canadian east coast, where they spend two weeks gorging on a superfood, Corophium volutator (mud shrimps), which have some of the highest levels of n-3 fatty acids (better known as omega-3 fatty acids) of any marine animal.