natural science

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This Is What Happens When You Release Goldfish Into the Wild
Surprise! Goldfish can grow up to 4 pounds and travel more than a hundred miles a year.

As if you needed another reason not to dump your pet fish into an outdoor waterway, new research from Australia finds that the humble goldfish can actually be a destructive force when released in the wild.

Researchers have been struggling for more than a decade to control goldfish in the Vasse River, southeast of Perth. So Stephen Beatty and colleagues from the Centre of Fish and Fisheries at Murdoch University spent a year tracking the invasive fish.

The recently released study found that goldfish — yes, the little guys that kids win at fairs by tossing a ring around a milk bottle — can grow up to 4 pounds and travel more than a hundred miles a year…

eartharchives.org
Cuttlefish found to have number sense and state-dependent valuation
A pair of researchers with National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan has found that cuttlefish have both number sense and state-dependent valuation.

A pair of researchers with National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan has found that cuttlefish have both number sense and state-dependent valuation. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Tsang-I Yang and Chuan-Chin Chiao describe a series of experiments they carried out with cuttlefish and what they learned about the cephalopods.

Human beings very clearly have number sense—from a very early age, they are able to make judgments about objects in the world around them based on how many of them there are. But few other animals have this ability. In this new effort, the research pair wondered if cuttlefish might because prior studies have shown them to have one of the more complex invertebrate brains. To find out, they set up a series of experiments all based around a type of food: shrimp.

The experiments consisted of offering young cuttlefish choices for a meal—a dead shrimp or a live one, a large shrimp or a small one, or two different quantities of shrimp—and then noting how the cuttlefish responded…

Striking Death

Last Friday, more than 300 reindeer were struck by lightning during heavy thunderstorms in Hardangervidda between Mosvatn and Kalhovd in Telemark, Norway. Reportedly, 70 were calves and 5 of the animals had to be put down humanely due to their injuries. The Norwegian Nature Inspectorate went to the national park Sunday to analyze the situation and retrieve samples for testing.

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Koshisaurus katsuyama

By Jack Wood on @thewoodparable

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Name: Koshisaurus katsuyama 

Name Meaning: Koshi Reptile

First Described: 2015

Described By: Shibata and Azuma

Classification: Dinosauria, Ornithischia, Genasauria, Neornithischia, Cerapoda, Ornithopoda, Iguanodontia, Dryomorpha, Ankylopollexia, Styracosterna, Hadrosauriformes, Hadrosauroidea

Koshisaurus is a Hadrosauroid known from the Kitadani Formation of the Tetori Group in Fukui, Japan. It lived in the Barremian to Aptian ages of the Early Cretaceous, approximately 128 million years ago. It is known from isolated skeletal elements from a single individual, including portions of the jaw. It was probably older than 3 years when it died and was a subadult individual; as such, it is entirely possible that it is a young individual of Fukuisaurus, as the two lived in similar locations, especially since it has a mixture of more derived and less derived traits. It was found, phylogenetically, to be an indeterminant Hadrosauroid. Given that it lived alongside Fukuisaurus, it likely the two came into competition with one another. It also lived alongside Fukuiraptor, Fukuititan, and Fukuivenator, so at least it has a slightly more interesting name. 

Sources:

Azuma, Y., X. Xu, M. Shibata, S. Kawabe, K. Miyata, T. Imai. 2016. A bizarre theropod from the Early Cretaceous of Japan highlighting mosaic evolution among coelurosaurians. Scientific Reprots 6 (20478).

Shibata, M., Y. Azuma. 2015. New basal hadrosauroid (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda) from the Lower Cretaceous Kitadani Formation, Fukui, central Japan. Zootaxa 3914 (4): 421-440. 

Shout out goes to @currylemon!

Watch out for cheats in citation game

When scientists misbehave, the culture of ‘publish or perish’ is often blamed. Some researchers cut corners, massage data and images or invent results to secure academic papers and the rewards that come with them. This is rightly regarded as misconduct. But there is a new class of bad behaviour — one that is driven by a related but different pressure: ‘impact or perish’.

It is no longer enough for scientists to publish their work. The work must be seen to have an influential shelf life. This drive for impact places the academic paper at the centre of a web of metrics — typically, where it is published and how many times it is cited — and a good score on these metrics becomes a goal that scientists and publishers are willing to cheat for.

Collectively, these new practices don’t seek to produce articles that are based on fraudulent evidence or claims. Rather, they use fraudulent means to secure their publication, enhance their impact and inflate the importance of those who write them. They are on the march — and scientists no longer have to look far to find them. News about research now includes regular reports of authors who supply fake e-mail addresses of suggested peer reviewers. They then use those addresses to offer reports that are supportive enough to ensure that the paper is published. ‘Review and citation’ rings go a step further, trading favourable fake reviews for citations to the reviewer’s work. Others hack publisher databases to seek more invitations to review papers, and so possibly insert more citations to their own work.

“All metrics of scientific evaluation are bound to be abused.”


Newborn stars are forming in the Eagle Nebula. This image, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, shows evaporating gaseous globules (EGGs) emerging from pillars of molecular hydrogen gas and dust. The giant pillars are light years in length and are so dense that interior gas contracts gravitationally to form stars. At each pillars’ end, the intense radiation of bright young stars causes low density material to boil away, leaving stellar nurseries of dense EGGs exposed. The Eagle Nebula, associated with the open star cluster M16, lies about 7000 light years away. The pillars of creation were imaged again in 2007 by the orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope in infrared light, leading to the conjecture that the pillars may already have been destroyed by a local supernova, but light from that event has yet to reach the Earth.

Object Names: Pillars Of Star Creation

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: J.Hester, P. Scowen (ASU), HST, NASA

Time And Space

Vulture Culture Problems:

Thinking about what you want to happen to your own corpse after you die.

That the coining of the term ‘scientist’ [as opposed to the more traditional title, 'natural philosopher’]… was the culmination of the twenty years of work by four remarkable men [to transform science into a more productive enterprise]: Charles Babbage, John Herschel, Richard Jones and William Whewell… But this success carried with it an almost tragic irony: their own efforts would serve to make them [as natural philosophers] obsolete. By carving out a particular role for the 'scientist,’ the four men left no room for those like themselves. They were not like the narrowly specialized scientists now filling up the section meeting at the British Association and other scientific societies, who know geology or astronomy but not both; not like the laboratory technicians conducting one kind of experiment, day after day; not like the teachers training a new generation of scientists how to construct an optical apparatus. They were widely and classically trained, readers of Latin and Greek, French and German, whose interests ranged over all the natural and social sciences and most of the arts as well, who wrote and pursued optics simply because, as Herschel said,  'Light was my first love,’ who conducted the experiments that struck their fancy, based on the chemicals and equipment they happened to have on hand, who measured mountains and barometric pressure while on holiday at the Alps and the observed economic situation of the poor whenever their peripatetic wandering took them. Babbage, Herschel, Jones and Whewell are a strange breed: The last of the natural philosophers, who engendered, as it were with their dying breath, a new species, the scientist.
—  The Philosophical Breakfast Club, pg. 7