Hummingbirds See Motion in an Unexpected Way
Summary: Have you ever imagined what the world must look like to hummingbirds as they zoom about at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour? According to new evidence on the way the hummingbird brain processes visual signals you can’t. That’s because a key area of the hummingbird’s brain processes motion in a unique and unexpected way.
Have you ever imagined what the world must look like to hummingbirds as they zoom about at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour? According to new evidence on the way the hummingbird brain processes visual signals reported in Current Biology on January 5, you can’t. That’s because a key area of the hummingbird’s brain processes motion in a unique and unexpected way.
Review looks at studies on chicken intelligence, social development and emotions
Suummary: Chickens are not as clueless or ‘bird-brained’ as people believe them to be. They have distinct personalities and can outmaneuver one another. They know their place in the pecking order, and can reason by deduction, which is an ability that humans develop by the age of seven. Chicken intelligence is therefore unnecessarily underestimated and overshadowed by other avian groups.
Chickens are not as clueless or “bird-brained” as people believe them to be. They have distinct personalities and can outmaneuver one another. They know their place in the pecking order, and can reason by deduction, which is an ability that humans develop by the age of seven. Chicken intelligence is therefore unnecessarily underestimated and overshadowed by other avian groups. So says Lori Marino, senior scientist for The Someone Project, a joint venture of Farm Sanctuary and the Kimmela Center in the USA, who reviewed the latest research about the psychology, behavior and emotions of the world’s most abundant domestic animal. Her review is published in Springer’s journal Animal Cognition.
Earth and stars as seen from the International Space Station, 17 May 2016. Photograph: Nasa/Rex/Shutterstock
The universe is expanding faster than anyone had previously measured or calculated from theory. This is a discovery that could test part of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, a pillar of cosmology that has withstood challenges for a century.
Nasa and the European Space Agency jointly announced the universe is expanding 5% to 9% faster than predicted, a finding they reached after using the Hubble space telescope to measure the distance to stars in 19 galaxies beyond theMilky Way.
In a dingy apartment building, insulated by layers of hanging rugs, the last family on Earth huddles around a fire, melting a pot of oxygen. Ripped from the sun’s warmth by a rogue dark star, the planet has been exiled to the cold outer reaches of the solar system. The lone clan of survivors must venture out into the endless night to harvest frozen atmospheric gases that have piled up like snow.
As end-of-humanity scenarios go, that bleak vision from Fritz Leiber’s 1951 short story “A Pail of Air” is a fairly remote possibility. Scholars who ponder such things think a self-induced catastrophe such as nuclear war or a bioengineered pandemic is most likely to do us in. However, a number of other extreme natural hazards—including threats from space and geologic upheavals here on Earth—could still derail life as we know it, unraveling advanced civilization, wiping out billions of people, or potentially even exterminating our species.
Yet there’s been surprisingly little research on the subject, says Anders Sandberg, a catastrophe researcher at the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute in the United Kingdom. Last he checked, “there are more papers about dung beetle reproduction than human extinction,” he says. “We might have our priorities slightly wrong.”
Frequent, moderately severe disasters such as earthquakes attract far more funding than low-probability apocalyptic ones. Prejudice may also be at work; for instance, scientists who pioneered studies of asteroid and comet impacts complained about confronting a pervasive “giggle factor.” Consciously or unconsciously, Sandberg says, many researchers consider catastrophic risks the province of fiction or fantasy—not serious science.
How Einstein’s creative thinking led to a new rule book for the universe.
Who could have believed that the world was flat? Or that it sits fixed in space, while the cosmos revolves around it? Anyone with two eyes, that’s who. It takes a leap of imagination to contemplate the alternative — that we are standing atop a rapidly spinning sphere, hurtling through space.
Albert Einstein, like Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei before him, redefined our understanding of the universe, and he did so thanks to a knack for keeping his thoughts clear of unnecessary information. In fact, he conducted experiments on the basis of thought alone, playing them out in something like the construct from The Matrix — a completely empty space populated with only items essential to his experiments. A clock. A train. A beam of light. An observer or two. An elevator. “Imagine a large portion of empty space, so far removed from stars and other appreciable masses,” said Einstein, describing his mental construct.
Experiments at Vanderbilt University have proven a 200-year-old observation that electric eels can leap out of water and shock animals to death, a claim originally made by 19th century biologist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt.
During a field trip to the Amazon basin in 1800, Humboldt said he saw electric eels leaping out of the water and delivering enough voltage to kill a horse. But with no scientific studies on the matter, and no similar observations since, many had come to believe that the famous naturalist was exaggerating.
“The first time I read von Humboldt’s tale, I thought it was completely bizarre,” said Ken Catania, the Stevenson Professor of Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee, where the recent experiments were conducted. “Why would the eels attack the horses instead of swimming away?”
Memories are wonderful little windows into the past that are of immense importance to all of us. But sometimes, a memory isn’t good and can be a source of pain. In such cases, one wishes to forget such memories but the trouble is that doing so isn’t easy at all. Now, a team of researchers might have found a way to eradicate painful memories by changing how one thinks about the “context” surrounding a certain memory.
The study included a team of researchers from Princeton University and Dartmouth College. Those who volunteered for the research were asked to memorize or forget a list of words. To make sure that the volunteers had a context with the words they were told to memorize, they were shown pictures of landscapes in between the words. During this whole exercise, the researchers measured the brain activity of the subjects using fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and made a note of the neural patterns that occurred.
Later, the volunteers were asked to recall the words on the list while their brain activity was being monitored using fMRI. What researchers found was the same neural patterns that they observed during the initial phase of experiment showing that the brain had intertwined the context (pictures of landscapes) and the memory (the words on the list). Those who failed to recall the list didn’t have the same neural patterns which were observed in the first phase.
The team is hopeful that their research will not only pave way for new researches on similar lines but will also help develop new memory therapies that will help those who have experienced traumatic events in the past or suffer from PTSD.
Understanding how the brain works, how the memories are created and retained in the brain is the first step to diagnosing and treating brain diseases that can have a crippling effect.
Post Credited From Science World
An ambitious new project can change the fate of rhinos. An experiment, which will transform rhino tissues into egg cells and sperm, may soon be carried out to save the northern white rhinoceros in Kenya as per reports. Currently, there are only three living members of the species in the world.
Thousands of northern white rhinoceros once inhabited the central African savannahs, however at the moment there are only three rhinos of this subspecies left, all of which live in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy but are owned by the Dvůr Králové Zoo in Czech Republic. The three rhinos called Fatu, Sudan and Najin, which are guarded round the clock, cannot breed naturally owing to a variety of reasons.
According to a report published in Nature journal, scientists have suggested an ambitious plan that will collect cells from living rhinos and frozen storage and transform them into egg cells and sperms, to save the northern white rhino from the fate of extinction. Subsequently in vitro fertilization (IVF) will be used to create embryos and revive the nearly extinct species.
A fresh set of estimates by biologists now suggests that species with backbones are starting to vanish quicker compared to the time since dinosaurs became extinct. The situation has got so bad that human beings are now endangered as well. Paul Ehlirch is a researcher from Stanford University who stated that the study clearly shows that the world has now entered the 6th mass extinction event. It turns out that this event was triggered by humans.
Biologists are known to have believed that planet Earth is in the midst of a great extinction event. Critics have made the argument that the estimates somewhat overstate the actual facts on the matter. Scientists usually compare the extinction rate to the background extinction rate in order to figure out what a major extinction event is. Just so that it is clear, background extinction rate is the rate at which one expects species to vanish fro the face of the Earth.