Amusing Science

We are the Borg.
Fid
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Fid »

My best friend's wedding...mom of the bride..."about time, he should have dragged her back to his cave long ago."
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

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Some spiders may spin poisonous webs laced with neurotoxins

Droplets on the silk strands contain proteins that subdue prey, a study suggests

https://i.imgur.com/nnLjnKT.jpg
The impressive webs of banana spiders (Trichonephila clavipes) may help chemically subdue prey, new research suggests.
Orb weaver spiders are known for their big, beautiful webs. Now, researchers suggest that these webs do more than just glue a spider’s meal in place — they may also swiftly paralyze their catch.

Biochemical ecologist Mario Palma has long suspected that the webs of orb weavers — common garden spiders that build wheel-shaped webs — contain neurotoxins. “My colleagues told me, ‘You are nuts,’” says Palma, of São Paulo State University’s Institute of Biosciences in Rio Claro, Brazil. No one had found such toxins, and webs’ stickiness seemed more than sufficient for the purpose of ensnaring prey.
...
Now, thanks in large part to the work of his Ph.D. student Franciele Esteves, Palma thinks he has found those prey-paralyzing toxins. The pair and their colleagues analyzed the active genes and proteins in the silk glands of banana spiders (Trichonephila clavipes) — a kind of orb weaver — and found proteins resembling known neurotoxins. The neurotoxins may make the webs paralytic traps, the team reports online June 15 in the Journal of Proteome Research. The prey-catching webs of other species probably have similar neurotoxins, Palma says.

These neurotoxin proteins also showed up on the silk of webs collected in Rio Claro, packed into fatty bubbles in microscopic droplets on the strands. And when the researchers rinsed substances from webs and injected them into bees, the animals became paralyzed in less than a minute.
...
Paralytic toxins may be just part of the underappreciated complexity of web design. Palma plans to have his students dive deeper into smaller, as of yet unidentified proteins his team found. He thinks they may help keep the prey alive until the spider’s ready for a fresh meal.
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/spi ... xins-genes

The never-ending beauties of Nature… :mrgreen:
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

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Women on Arctic research mission told not to wear tight-fitting clothing

Alfred-Wegener-Institut leads MOSAiC mission, says clothing policy relates to hygiene and occupational safety

A prominent Arctic research mission is coming under fire for a dress code policy that has highlighted concerns about systemic sexism in the polar sciences.

The MOSAiC expedition, an international research mission led by Germany's Alfred-Wegener-Institut, had polar researchers navigating Arctic sea ice for a full year collecting data about the Arctic climate and climate change.

But shortly after the journey began, women on board a support vessel for the mission, the Akademik Fedorov, were told they could not dress in tight-fitting clothing due to safety concerns.

Journalist Chelsea Harvey was on board the ship for six weeks in October 2019 when the policy was first disclosed. She recently wrote about the rules for energy and environmental research trade publication E&E News.

Halfway through her voyage, she said, passengers were told that "thermal underwear" was prohibited as outerwear in common areas. The next day, Harvey said the mission's leaders elaborated to say that "no leggings, no very tight-fitting clothing — nothing too revealing — no crop tops, no hot pants [and] no very short shorts" would be allowed.

"We were told there are a lot of men on board this ship … and some of them are going to be on board this ship for months at a time," Harvey told CBC News. "In my meeting … what we were told was this was a 'safety issue.'
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/mo ... -1.5739547

If the Wegener Institut wasn't so prudish they'd just hire a professional lady – problem solved and she would make a killing. :roll:
robinson
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by robinson »

Uh, that shit was tried long ago, it doesn’t work
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

It's long and perhaps won't interest anybody everybody, but I enjoyed the dude's talk:

Witness
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Rob Lister
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Rob Lister »

omg
robinson
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by robinson »

I want that telescope now
Witness
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Anaxagoras
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Anaxagoras »

This is pretty interesting:

Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

How many jobs can be done at home?

Highlights
  • We classify the feasibility of working at home for all occupations.
  • 37% of jobs in the United States can be performed entirely at home.
  • Jobs that can be done at home typically pay more.
  • Lower-income economies have a lower share of jobs that can be done at home.
From the Journal of Public Economics.
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

Unparalleled inventory of the human gut ecosystem
  • Scientists gathered and published over 200 000 genomes from the human gut microbiome
  • The catalogue reveals that more than 70% of bacterial species in the human gut have never been grown in the lab
  • This new data resource could be extremely useful to investigate how the bacterial community in the human gut influences human health and disease
...

Biodiversity in the human gut

“Last year, three independent teams, including ours, reconstructed thousands of gut microbiome genomes. The big questions were whether these teams had comparable results, and whether we could pool them into a comprehensive inventory,” says Rob Finn, Team Leader at EMBL-EBI.

The scientists have now compiled 200 000 genomes and 170 million protein sequences from more than 4 600 bacterial species in the human gut. Their new databases, the Unified Human Gastrointestinal Genome collection and the Unified Gastrointestinal Protein catalogue, reveal the tremendous diversity in our guts and pave the way for further microbiome research.

“This immense catalogue is a landmark in microbiome research, and will be an invaluable resource for scientists to start studying and hopefully understanding the role of each bacterial species in the human gut ecosystem,” explains Nicola Segata, Principal Investigator at the University of Trento.

The project revealed that more than 70% of the detected bacterial species had never been cultured in the lab – their activity in the body remains unknown. The largest group of bacteria that falls into that category is the Comantemales, an order of gut bacteria first described in 2019 in a studyled by the Bork Group at EMBL Heidelberg.

“It was a real surprise to see how widespread the Comantemales are. This highlights how little we know about the bacteria in our gut,” explains Alexandre Almeida, EMBL-EBI/Sanger Postdoctoral Fellow in the Finn Team. “We hope our catalogue will help bioinformaticians and microbiologists bridge that knowledge gap in the coming years.”
https://www.ebi.ac.uk/about/news/press- ... -ecosystem
Fid
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Fid »

Regarding the ISS awkward fact of meatbags pissing and pooping in space.
I really tried to find a clip of Heywood Floyd biting his nails using the zero-gee toilet.
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

Study Confirms 'Slow Blinks' Really Do Work to Communicate With Your Cat

https://i.imgur.com/utUxrrN.jpg

Cats have a reputation for standoffishness, especially compared with dogs, but if you find your feline friend a little hard to bond with, maybe you're just not speaking their language. Never fear - new research has shown that it's not so difficult. You just need to smile at them more.

Not the human way, by baring your teeth, but the cat way, by narrowing your eyes, and blinking slowly. By observing cat-human interactions, scientists were able to confirm that this expression makes cats - both familiar and strange - approach and be receptive to humans.

"As someone who has both studied animal behaviour and is a cat owner, it's great to be able to show that cats and humans can communicate in this way," said psychologist Karen McComb of the University of Sussex in the UK.

...

In the first experiment, owners slow-blinked at 21 cats from 14 different households. Once the cat was settled and comfy in one spot in their home environment, the owners were instructed to sit about a metre away and slow-blink when the cat was looking at them. Cameras recorded both the owner's face and the cat's face, and the results were compared to how cats blink with no human interaction.

The results showed that cats are more likely to slow-blink at their humans after their humans have slow-blinked at them, compared to the no-interaction condition.

The second experiment included 24 cats from eight different households. This time, it wasn't the owners doing the blinking but the researchers, who'd had no prior contact with the cat. For a control, the cats were recorded responding to a no-blink condition, in which humans stared at the cats without blinking their eyes.

The researchers performed the same slow-blink process as the first experiment, adding an extended hand towards the cat. And they found that not only were the cats more likely to blink back, but that they were more likely to approach the human's hand after the human had blinked.
https://www.sciencealert.com/you-can-bu ... -real-slow
robinson
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by robinson »

The slow blink also works with humans
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

Human 'microevolution' sees more people born without wisdom teeth and an extra artery

Australian researchers found our faces have got shorter over time and our jaws smaller.

Babies now have shorter faces, smaller jaws and extra bones in their legs and feet, a study in the Journal of Anatomy found.

Australian researchers who worked on the paper claim the human race is evolving faster than it has done at any point in the past 250 years.

Over time, human faces have got shorter, which has seen our mouths get smaller, with less room for as many teeth.

As part of natural selection and our increased ability to chew food, this has resulted in fewer people being born with wisdom teeth, Dr Teghan Lucas from Flinders University, Adelaide, said.

"A lot of people thought humans have stopped evolving. But our study shows we are still evolving - faster than at any point in the past 250 years," she added.

An artery in the forearm that supplies blood to the hand has become more prevalent in newborns since the 19th century, the study also found.

The median artery used to form in the womb but disappear after the baby was born and the radial and ulna arteries had grown.

Now, one in three people keep their median arteries for their whole lives, which poses no health risk and increases blood supply to the hand.

Author Professor Maciej Henneberg said: "This is 'micro evolution' in modern humans.
...
The research was carried out by tracking the rate of retainment of different parts of the body through the generations and dissecting preserved corpses of people born throughout the 20th century.
https://news.sky.com/story/human-microe ... y-12099689
Bruce
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Bruce »

Already here....
https://cdn.britannica.com/56/199056-05 ... s-2017.jpg
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

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Witness
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Tracking in Caves

Tracking in Caves is an international archaeology project focusing on reading and understanding human tracks in archaeological contexts. The project combines Western scientific approaches with the indigenous knowledge of present-day trackers from hunter-gatherer societies.

Foundation

Tracking in Caves was organized as a joint project by the African Archaeology (at the Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Cologne),[1] the Neanderthal Museum, the Heinrich-Barth-Institute, the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, the Kalahari Peoples Fund and the Association Louis Bégouën. Financial support came from the German Research Foundation Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

The numerous human footprints still preserved in some rock art caves in southern France were the starting point of the project. These tracks date back to the last Ice Age and originated around 17,000 years ago. In contrast to the rock art, they have so far only been sparsely studied and with purely morphometric, "surveying" approaches. In order to get a deeper understanding of these very individual human traces, two researchers, Tilman Lenssen-Erz (University of Cologne, African Archaeology),[2] and Andreas Pastoors (Neanderthal Museum, Mettmann),[3] invited African trackers to support them. Together with /Ui /Kxunta, /Ui G/aqo De!u and Tsamkxao Ciqae, three highly specialized trackers of the Ju/'hoansi San in Namibia, they investigated various caves in the French Pyrenees in the summer of 2013, including Niaux, Pech-Merle, Fontanet and Tuc d'Audoubert.[4] In all the track fields that were investigated the three San experts were able to determine the age, sex, gait and occasional peculiarities (load, slipping, etc.) of most people who had moved there.[5] Concluding statements on the prehistoric footprints were made after intensive discussion in the consensus of all three trackers. These conversations were recorded for further evaluation. The project was also accompanied by a film team and the resulting 90 minute TV documentary was broadcast on Arte TV on September 6, 2014.[6] In addition to this documentary the project reached a far ranging public also in the following years in particular through media reports in newspapers and journals.[7]

https://i.imgur.com/h4rx4yH.jpg
Ui Kxunta and Thui Thao inspect the tracks in Niaux Cave
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracking_in_Caves for the rest.

There is a video, but in German: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYT9-UrLcvA
Anaxagoras
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Re: Amusing Science

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robinson
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by robinson »

Reminded me that reality is fractal
Anaxagoras
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Re: Amusing Science

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https://www.reddit.com/r/science/commen ... ecedented/
The direct visualization of atom positions is essential for understanding the mechanisms of protein-catalysed chemical reactions, and for studying how drugs bind to and interfere with the function of proteins2. Here we report a 1.25 Å-resolution structure of apoferritin obtained by cryo-EM with a newly developed electron microscope that provides, to our knowledge, unprecedented structural detail. Our apoferritin structure has almost twice the 3D information content of the current world record reconstruction (at 1.54 Å resolution3). We can visualize individual atoms in a protein, see density for hydrogen atoms and image single-atom chemical modifications. Beyond the nominal improvement in resolution, we also achieve a substantial improvement in the quality of the cryo-EM density map, which is highly relevant for using cryo-EM in structure-based drug design.
1.25 Å resolution is apparently quite good. It allows them to actually see individual atoms.

Here is a result:

https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/entry/emdb/EMD-11668
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

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Witness
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The Cave-Dwelling Crocodiles of Gabon

Ten years ago, a team of scientists went exploring into the rainforest of Gabon, and ventured into a cave. In the pitch-black, bat-infested interior, the scientists came face to face with a terrifying creature with big glowing eyes and bright orange scales. It was a crocodile.

Crocodiles rarely inhabit caves, and this malevolent appearance threw the scientists off feet. Luckily, the creature was as surprised as the men, and it scurried off into the darkness. After exploring more than 600 meters of cavities, the researchers spotted a total of nine crocodiles living in inhospitable environment. There was no light inside the caves, everywhere there was bat droppings, and there was little to eat. They also found that some of the crocodiles were trapped inside by narrow openings and deep pits and with no way to get out.

https://i.imgur.com/E3CcXSg.jpg

The Abanda cave crocodiles are a species of the African dwarf crocodiles, which are found throughout West and Central Africa. They are the world’s smallest crocodile species averaging 1.5 meters in length. The cave-dwelling crocodiles, however, have many physical dissimilarities with their forest- and swamp-dwelling cousins. They have broader heads, have poor eyesight, and their skin has a strange orange hue. Researchers believe that years of soaking in bat-poop had discolored their skin, the same way crocodile leather manufacturers treat crocodile skin with chemicals to bleache the skin off its dark color.

...

It’s hard to say why they chose to live inside caves. Maybe they like bats, because that’s the only stuff the crocodiles get to eat, and crickets and algae. Occasionally, the juvenile crocodiles may leave their homes to explore the outside through various openings, but once the crocs hit a certain size they get trapped inside and have to spend the rest of their days in pitch-dark, feeding off bats and swimming in bat guano.

https://i.imgur.com/aYyAFnZ.jpg
https://www.amusingplanet.com/2018/09/t ... gabon.html

Nature is a bitch.
robinson
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by robinson »

Crocodile tears
Anaxagoras
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Anaxagoras »

There Are Whales Alive Today Who Were Born Before Moby Dick Was Written

Bowhead whales can live for more than 200 years, apparently.
Doctor X
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Doctor X »

Good thing they cannot read.

Would die of boredom.

– J.D.
Anaxagoras
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Witness
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Rob Lister
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Rob Lister »

"By the time they reach the Fallopian tubes, there may be only 20 left."

Are those 20 lucky or skilled?
robinson
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by robinson »

Both
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

https://imgur.com/g5DrhGS
Rob Lister
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Rob Lister »

Witness wrote: Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:59 pm https://imgur.com/g5DrhGS
mercury?
Hotarubi
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Hotarubi »

Rob Lister wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:16 am
Witness wrote: Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:59 pm https://imgur.com/g5DrhGS
mercury?
Yup.
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

https://i.imgur.com/HMxCKnL.jpg
Anaxagoras
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Re: Amusing Science

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Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

Very interesting! One point re. intelligence has been left out: like, for example, most arthropods, octopuses never see their parents; and they are short lived (one to two years for the common octopus we like to eat, three to five for the big ones).

So there can be no learning from the adults as in a lot of mammals and birds, and no long term buildup of experience.

Which makes their smarts even more astonishing and interesting. :)
Anaxagoras
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Anaxagoras »

Witness wrote: Mon Nov 23, 2020 1:55 am Very interesting! One point re. intelligence has been left out: like, for example, most arthropods, octopuses never see their parents; and they are short lived (one to two years for the common octopus we like to eat, three to five for the big ones).

So there can be no learning from the adults as in a lot of mammals and birds, and no long term buildup of experience.

Which makes their smarts even more astonishing and interesting. :)
Yeah, that's true. The mother octopuses after they lay their eggs don't even eat anymore. They just spend their last days protecting the eggs for as long as they can and then die.

There is a cool documentary on Netflix called My Octopus Teacher about this guy who goes diving every day and he finds and befriends an octopus and documents her life until the end.
robinson
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by robinson »

Only the good die young
Witness
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Re: Amusing Science

Post by Witness »

Something about behavior in unicellular organisms (somewhat smart without brains):