Morsels For The Mind – 25/10/2013
Every day we provide you with #SixIncredibleThingsBeforeBreakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy!
If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views of the week”.
Feather, fur & fin – birds, beasts, fishes, and the things they do
Makes good scents. Animal pheromone communication.
Patchwork puppies. Microchimaerism in dogs. Amazing.
Doing what they otter. Kelp & sea otters work together to capture carbon.
Dogged by disease? Tigers appear to be falling prey to a canine-derived virus. This post by Jonathan Ball is a fantastic example of how to convey a potentially tough topic.
Not cool. Moose deaths may be climate causalities.
Off the clock. Hummingbirds struggle with matters of time.
Full of good cheer. Cheer pheasants.
Preying on their minds. Birds tricked by cuckoos’ predator mimicry.
Double trouble. Cuckoos mimic host’s predators, then lay eggs in nest.
Cleansing their palate? Surprising inclusion of fruit in the crocodile diet. Interesting discovery, reported by Jon Tennant.
Matter of scales. Fish has piranha-proof armour.
Sound solution. Toadfish grunt to jam mating calls.
A big deal. Colossal squid - not as colossal as hyped. Giant squid, however…
Shellfish behaviour. A crustacean with venom.
What’s eating you? If you’re oceanic plastic pollution, a gooseneck barnacle, that’s what. Great to see Miriam Goldstein blogging on her research. Have been missing her great research blogging. Read of the week.
Weight for it… Jellyfish born in the microgravity of space have trouble on Earth. Cool story by Megan Garber.
Wild at heart. Amazing wildlife pics.
Bugs’ life – insects and other things that creep, crawl and otherwise delight
Homespun story. Why some pupae weave cocoons.
Captivating critters. Cockroaches. Yes, cockroaches.
Scents sense. Where flies discern odour.
Well grounded. Ants’ wasp-like origins.
Hairy experience. Tarantulas’ defensive hair-like daggers.
The silk road? Spiders often ride cars.
Fossil finds – organisms of times past – palaeontology, archaeology, history and the like
Head of the class. High schooler finds awesome trumpet-headed dinosaur fossil. Wonderful story by Ed Yong.
Enigma rex. There are fascinating things we still don’t know about Tyrannosaurus rex. Brian Switek digs right into this great topic.
Bends out of shape. Triassic turtles suffered decompression.
European union? Ancient DNA links indigenous Americans with Europe. Astounding story by Michael Balter. Read of the week.
What’s in a name? When it’s species names, a misleading understanding of human evolution. Great piece on new fossil find, by John Hawks.
Date night. How the age of fossils is found by geologic dating. Great explainer by Dan Peppe.
Beautiful botanicals – wonders of the photosynthesising world – that is, mainly plants
Mined your business. Trees soak up gold from soil, storing it in leaves.
Rooting out treasure. Gold stored in plant leaves points to a motherlode below.
Making scents of sex. Single sex flowers differ by odour.
Pretty parasite. A plant that feeds on others.
Kings of the jungle. Amazon 'ruled' by 227 tree species.
A pain in the ash. Emerald ash borer continues its devastating course.
Microscopic marvels – smaller than the eye can see, but big in action – bacteria, fungi and viruses
Mother tongue? Ethnicity determines species of bacteria that live in the mouth. Another fascinating find, conveyed by Joseph Stromberg.
Pass it on. Herpes mutations show the tracks of human migrations. Fascinating.
Glows with the grow. Fluorescence tracks infection.
Inside track. Mathematical model tests Trojan Horse approach to combat disease. A great first blog post by Martin Angler.
Molecular machinery – the toils of the macromolecules of life – nucleic acids and proteins (and others) – from molecules to cells to organs to organisms (including genetics & genomics)
Matter of time. Our internal, chemical clock.
Leaping limited. Jumping DNA more locked down in humans vs chimps.
Count on it. The number of cells in your body.
Heat of the moment. Awesome thermal imaging.
Hair, there & everywhere? 3D cultures of follicles offer promise for treating baldness, as described by Sarah Williams.
Earth, wind and fire – planet shaping – geology, meteorology, oceanography, the environment & climate
A great comeback. The reforestation of a volcano’s slopes.
Star attractions – the final frontier, space
It’s full of stars! Ian Sample describes how the oldest, most distant galaxy ever discovered was prolific star factory.
Far out! Galaxy z8_GND_5296 is about 30bn light years from Earth. Amazing story by Rebecca Morelle.
It’s not easy being green. For the biggest star in the universe, it tears them apart.
Seven up! Citizen science finds a 7-planet system. Cool.
Making waves. Stars in our galaxy are riding a ripple that’s like a fluttering flag. Fascinating, by Michael Slezak.
Crowd control. Using crowdsourcing to find solutions against asteroid impact. Some interesting thinking out there, shared by Corey Powell.
Endless forms most beautiful. Biology? No, Saturn. Awesome.
Mercury rising. Planet holds clues to lunar surface.
Pole position. Amazing perspective on Titan’s polar lakes.
Will they be nasty little green men? Our here again, gone gain fascination with Martians.
Forces of nature – big-ticket items – cosmology, mathematics, computation, chemistry, physics, ecology & evolution
What is the "hypothesis of last resort"? Life. The focus of an amazing paper by Carl Sagan.
Lighting the dark. Matter heads into a black hole.
Matters of mind – how we, and other animals, perceive our world and our place in it
“The capacity for creating meaning around kinship unites us with other animals rather than separating us from them.” Barbara King, from brilliant piece on bonds of kinship between animals. Must read. Read of the week.
Emotional rescue. Why we should care that other animals have emotions? Excellent, thoughtful piece by Amar Toor.
Must be dreaming. Our brain is wired to daydream.
It all adds up. Babies’ number sense equals later maths ability.
The eyes have it. Kids’ maths skills may be seen in their gaze when they’re babies, as Rachel Nuwer describes.
No catch up? Workweek sleep loss can’t be fixed by weekend snoozing. Elizabeth Preston presents data that warrants future testing.
Puppy love? Do children prefer dogs & cats that have baby-faces?
Behind the scenes – the workings of the museum – discovery and communication
All the right words. Chris Buddle writes eloquently about the disheartening revelations of abuse & sexual harassment. Read of the week.
Pet project. Inspired by pet monkey, a single mom, with no research experience, goes to the Amazon, and transforms primatology. Amazing interview of Patricia Wright by Barbara King.
All together now! Getting science done by crowdsourcing. Great list of projects.
Mind the gap? Blogs fill key niche not covered by traditional science journalism. Superb by Paige Brown.
No news but good news. Strong science that didn’t get reported in lay press. Interesting by Eva Amsen.