- BBC Nature – In pictures: How elephants cool off overnight
BBC Nature – In pictures: How elephants cool off overnight:
Scientists from the University of Guelph, Canada have used thermal imaging cameras to record how Asian elephants at the Busch Gardens zoological park in Florida, US handle the heat
Answer: at night they use their trunks to help disperse the heat.
- Which direction now? Just ask the north-facing map in your head
Which direction now? Just ask the north-facing map in your head:
26 residents of Tübingen (who had lived in Tübingen for at least two years) were put into a virtual-reality headset and seated in a chair that didn’t allow them to swivel. Participants found themselves in the virtual three-dimensional photorealistic model of their hometown, at locations familiar to them, surrounded by fog masking all but the near distance. Then they had to point to an invisible location — say, the main gate of the university or the fire station. The scenes changed, and so did the participant’s spatial orientation. After 60 three-location trials, participants were asked to draw a map of the town including all the locations they’d pointed to. The results: Although participants drew differently oriented maps, everyone performed most accurately when facing north and got worse the further they deviated from north. The only explanation the researchers could figure was that they’d all seen, and internalized, a map of Tübingen at some point, and Western maps are all oriented the same way — north on top.
- PLoS ONE: Behavioral Priming: It’s All in the Mind, but Whose Mind?
PLoS ONE: Behavioral Priming: It’s All in the Mind, but Whose Mind?:
The perspective that behavior is often driven by unconscious determinants has become widespread in social psychology. Bargh, Chen, and Burrows’ (1996) famous study, in which participants unwittingly exposed to the stereotype of age walked slower when exiting the laboratory, was instrumental in defining this perspective. Here, we present two experiments aimed at replicating the original study. Despite the use of automated timing methods and a larger sample, our first experiment failed to show priming. Our second experiment was aimed at manipulating the beliefs of the experimenters: Half were led to think that participants would walk slower when primed congruently, and the other half was led to expect the opposite. Strikingly, we obtained a walking speed effect, but only when experimenters believed participants would indeed walk slower. This suggests that both priming and experimenters’ expectations are instrumental in explaining the walking speed effect. Further, debriefing was suggestive of awareness of the primes. We conclude that unconscious behavioral priming is real, while real, involves mechanisms different from those typically assumed to cause the effect.
- Unknown Sixth Toe Discovered in Elephants | Wired Science | Wired.com
Unknown Sixth Toe Discovered in Elephants | Wired Science | Wired.com:
Three hundred years ago, a surgeon claimed elephants had six toes instead of the usual five, setting off a debate about whether an extra digit was really possible. Modern anatomists scoffed at the idea, insisting instead that the extra toe was really just a big lump of cartilage. Now a study of scores of elephant feet shows that the lump really does turn into bone. The digit is not a true toe — it’s more like a panda’s faux thumb. But it nonetheless helps support the pachyderm’s mighty girth.
- NCBI ROFL: Farts: an underappreciated threat to astronauts. Discover Magazine
NCBI ROFL: Farts: an underappreciated threat to astronauts. Discover Magazine:
One group of 6 men ate Gemini-type diet (S) and another received a bland formula (F), for 42 days. Breath and rectal gases were analyzed during the first and final weeks. Flatus gases varied widely within dietary groups but much more gas was generated with diet S than with F.
- Genetically engineered silkworms with spider genes spin super-strong silk | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine
- The Physics of Great White Sharks Leaping Out of the Water to Catch Seals – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic
The Physics of Great White Sharks Leaping Out of the Water to Catch Seals – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic:
The diagram in this is wonderful.
- Santa’s Christmas Eve Workload, Calculated – Philip Bump – Technology – The Atlantic
Santa’s Christmas Eve Workload, Calculated – Philip Bump – Technology – The Atlantic:
Granted, it seems… impractical. Over the course of one night, St. Nick has to stop by the home of every Christian child in the world. Of which there are a lot – an indeterminately large number of kids waiting for their gifts.
I decided to figure out how many, how big a task Mr. Claus faces as he races west across the face of the globe, staying ahead of the sun. And I did. Or, anyway, I came up with a pretty solid estimate.
- The Right (and Wrong) Way to Die When You Fall Into Lava | Wired Science | Wired.com
The Right (and Wrong) Way to Die When You Fall Into Lava | Wired Science | Wired.com:
You can try the experiment at home (without grievous bodily harm). Take your favorite motor oil (I prefer 5W30) at room temperature and fill a small pail. Motor oil at room temperature should have a density of ~920 kg/m3 and viscosity of ~1 Pa-s – this will be your lava. Cut a little fellow out of styrofoam. It has a density of ~300 kg/m3, so it is roughly 1/3 the density of the oil. Now, position your Styroguy on the edge and push him in. Does he sink instantly into the oil? No! So, neither should you in you fall into lava. Now, Stryoguy didn’t get the full effect by then proceeding into bursting into flames, which would be your bonus for falling into lava — remember, most of the red-hot lava pictures in movies like likely basaltic lava at ~1,100 to 1,200°C (for comparison, your oven on broil is ~275°C). However, if you’re already in a position to fall into lava, you had it coming.
- Leonardo’s Formula Explains Why Trees Don’t Splinter | Wired Science | Wired.com
Leonardo’s Formula Explains Why Trees Don’t Splinter | Wired Science | Wired.com:
The rule says that when a tree’s trunk splits into two branches, the total cross section of those secondary branches will equal the cross section of the trunk. If those two branches in turn each split into two branches, the area of the cross sections of the four additional branches together will equal the area of the cross section of the trunk. And so on.
The answer has to do with wind, apparently. Interesting!
- Beluga body scrub session filmed
Beluga body scrub session filmed:
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