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May 19, 2010

Babies learn even as they sleep

Sleeping newborns are data sponges - life - 19 May 2010 - New Scientist
Don't let a dozing baby's serenity fool you. As they sleep, newborns soak up information, speeding their adjustment to life ex utero. "They're better at sponging up data than we thought," says Dana Byrd at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Together with William Fifer at the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University in New York, and colleagues, Byrd played beeps to 26 sleeping babies aged between 10 and 73 hours old. Each beep was followed by an unpleasant puff of air to the eyelid, which prompted babies to scrunch up their eyes. After 20 minutes, the sleeping infants were four times as likely to flinch after a beep delivered without an air puff as when they began, indicating that they had learned to associate the two in their sleep. Scalp electrodes recorded activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in memory.

May 17, 2010

Study finds strong correlation between pesticides and ADHD

ADHD in kids tied to organophosphate pesticides - Yahoo! News
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Children exposed to pesticides known as organophosphates could have a higher risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new study. Researchers tracked the pesticides' breakdown products in kids' urine and found those with high levels were almost twice as likely to develop ADHD as those with undetectable levels. The findings are based on data from the general U.S. population, meaning that exposure to the pesticides could be harmful even at levels commonly found in children's environment. "There is growing concern that these pesticides may be related to ADHD," said Marc Weisskopf of the Harvard School of Public Health, who worked on the study. "What this paper specifically highlights is that this may be true even at low concentrations." Organophosphates were originally developed for chemical warfare, and they are known to be toxic to the nervous system. There are about 40 organophosphate pesticides such as malathion registered in the U.S., the researchers wrote in the journal Pediatrics.

Study Reveals Dolphins Lack Capacity To Mock Celebrity C

Study Reveals Dolphins Lack Capacity To Mock Celebrity Culture | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
GALVESTON, TX—A study conducted by marine biologists at Texas A&M University has found that bottlenose dolphins, long thought to be among the most intelligent members of the animal kingdom, are "utterly incapable" of pointing out the flaws of celebrities and knocking them down a peg or two. According to a paper published last week in the journal Science, when presented with photos of music, TV, and film personalities, dolphins failed on every occasion to mock the well-known public figures, missing countless opportunities to take mean-spirited potshots at their hair, past romantic partners, or breast implants. "Frankly, this is shocking," said Professor Michael Hodges, lead author of the study. "Given their impressive brain-to-body ratio, we believed dolphins would be capable of trashing Lady Gaga, or at the very least, succeed in rolling their eyes at Kendra Wilkinson's post-baby weight gain. Instead, all we observed were blank, snarkless stares." "Apparently these creatures aren't as highly evolved as we had thought," he added.

May 16, 2010

Oh, Jell-o, why you gotta be so damn pretty?

YouTube - Slow motion gum and gelatin...

May 14, 2010

German scientist claims Voyager 2 was hijacked and reprogrammed by aliens

NASA's Voyager 2 spaceship 'hijacked by aliens'
Pasadena - NASA's Voyager 2, which is touring the outer reaches of our galaxy, suddenly began to send back messages to Earth that scientists cannot interpret. A German researcher believes those sounds may come from aliens. Launched in 1977, the Voyager 2 was propelled into "... the solar system's final frontier, a vast, turbulent expanse where the Sun's influence ends and the solar wind crashes into the thin gas between stars," said NASA. . . . In an effort to fix what NASA calls a "glitch," Voyager 2 has been given instructions to transmit only information about the status of the spacecraft while scientists continue to analyze the problem. All NASA has said of the glitch is that Voyager 2 suddenly began transmitting data in a completely different format, according to Spaceflight Now, who interviewed Dr. Stone. The spacecraft is said to be completely fine, and the on-board computer also is thought to be functioning properly, aside from the glitch in the transmission of data. However, the glitch has prompted speculation. German researcher Hartwig Hausdorf has chalked up the problem to aliens. To be specific, he posits that the Voyager 2 was hijacked by aliens.

May 11, 2010

Photo Gallery: Astronomy blows my mind

These were found via the APOD app (Astronomy Picture of the Day) for the iPad. It's a free, gorgeous app. Highly recommended if you like getting a daily dose of mind-blowing astronomy. APOD: 2010 May 3 - Spiral Galaxy NGC 3190 Almost Sideways