Tag Archives | out of the fog 2014

Credit: Flickr: mlradio

Water pumping elevates Central Valley, increasing earthquake odds

In a dire drought like this one, most people aren’t worried about the connection between groundwater pumping and seismicity. Yet in addition to the slew of other ensuing problems, over pumping the Central Valley’s groundwater basic might lead to more earthquakes, according to Roland Burgmann, a University of California, Berkeley seismologist and co-author of a…

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Zoo-Raised Gorillas Prefer Forest Sounds Over Chopin

The sounds of a gently babbling stream or leaves rustling in the wind can calm city-dwellers far from woodsy retreats. These natural sounds may also influence the behavior of gorillas raised in zoos that have never seen a rainforest. Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) exhibited fewer stress-related behaviors when a recording of rainforest sounds…

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A sea otter in Prince William Sound, Alaska
(Photo by Laura R

A bacterial blight on Alaskan otters’ hearts

Whiffen the sea otter passed away on May 10 during an MRI scan at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Three months earlier he was found stranded on a beach, his hind flippers injured. According to the aquarium’s veterinarian, Whiffen was likely infected with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite from cat feces that finds its…

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hookworm in intestine

Parasitic Worms Wiggle into Modern Medicine

In 2006, a man named Jasper Lawrence travelled to Africa to infect himself with hookworm by walking barefoot in a steaming mound of human excrement. He and other proponents of so-called helminthic therapy say that industrialized societies have become too clean, and in the process of sterilizing our homes and bodies, we’ve eradicated an essential piece of…

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harmonic guitar

Really, really good vibrations

Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose” and kittens with mittens, bright-colored Skittles and feeling all smitten, vibrations screaming from taut guitar strings, these are some things that I find pleasing. I have an emotional connection with each item on that list, but only one routinely spills over into my physiology. Well, two if you count the…

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Bristletail sensilla (left) lack the grooves that often house olfactory neurons, which contrasts with those in firebrats (middle) and leaf insects (right).  Missbach et al. eLife (2014).

When Did Insects Learn to Smell?

Summer beckons in the northern latitudes. As temperatures warm, beachgoers will flood sandy coasts, carrying bags of potato chips and sandwiches. Picnics will sprout in parks supplied with pink watermelon wedges and soda pop. Feasts ripe for people, and undoubtedly bugs too. In mere seconds flies and bees can swarm, but how do they sniff…

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Migraine Diagnosis Through Drawing

When a child visits a pediatric neurologist with bad headaches, some doctors will have the child draw a picture the headache. These drawings can be surprisingly telling about the cause of the headaches, especially when the child suffers from migraine. The following video shows pictures that children have drawn of their own migraine headaches. diagnosis…

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hey there

How Dogs Went from Pests to Pets

For tens of thousands of years, dogs have been part of the human community. Recent research suggests they were first domesticated by European hunter-gatherers between 18,800 and 32,100 years ago, but it’s also possible dogs were domesticated earlier elsewhere around the globe. Domestication might even have arisen simultaneously in different human populations. After all, people always…

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NASA Clemantine photo of lunar glow in 1994

Lunar glow remains a mystery

Just before sunrise, Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan spotted a strange glow circling the horizon of the moon. He was expected to see some light from the sun, rays from the outer corona just as in sunrises on earth, but the shape and behavior of the glow—a crescent-shaped illumination with distinct beams—puzzled scientists. Even since…

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