America’s Most Prolific Wall Punchers

Data for the above chart came from 1,2000 patients treated in 2014. The most prolific wall punchers seems to be 15 year olds.

The underlying dataset includes brief, anonymous descriptions of each hospital visit. Here are a the actual notes for some of the 15-year-old patients:

Although many of these examples involve males, about a quarter of the punchers we found are female:

Source: Quartz

Wolf species have ‘howling dialects’

February 9th, 2016 - Computer algorithms organized the howls by pitch and fluctuation, grouping the 2,000 vocalizations into 21 types

Genetically or taxonomically speaking, wolves aren’t all that closely related to humans, but they organize and behave like people, and researchers believe the evolutionary origins of language may be hiding in their howls.

“Ecologically their behavior in a social structure is remarkably close to that of humans,” Arik Kershenbaum, a scientist from the University of Cambridge, explained in a news release. “That’s why we domesticated dogs – they are very similar to us.”

Kershenbaum served as the lead researcher on a project to analyze the howls of wolves. Using machine learning, a team of Cambridge scientists analyzed 2,000 individual howls. Computer algorithms organized the howls by pitch and fluctuation, grouping the 2,000 vocalizations into 21 types.

The analysis linked the varying frequencies of the 21 howl types – from flat to highly modulated – to different species, subspecies and populations, suggesting the howls of wolves resemble human dialects.

Researchers published their findings in the journal Behavioural Processes.

Most of the identified dialects are distinct, but several share similarities. Researchers believe the likeness of red wolf and coyote howls may explain their propensity for interbreeding.

“The survival of red wolves in the wild is threatened by interbreeding with coyotes, and we found that the howling behavior of the two species is very similar,” Kershenbaum said. “This may be one reason why they are so likely to mate with each other, and perhaps we can take advantage of the subtle differences in howling behavior we have now discovered to keep the populations apart.”

The new research is limited by its strictly mathematical approach. Researchers acknowledge that they don’t know exactly what the dialects mean or how they’re employed in the wild. Wolves are very difficult to monitor in their natural habitat.

“We are currently working on research in Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. using multiple recording devices and triangulation technology to try and pick up howl sounds and location,” Kershenbaum explained. “In this way we might be able to tell whether certain calls relate to distance communication or pack warnings, for example.”

Kershenbaum is confident the secrets to the development of human language lies in the calls of social species like wolves in dolphins. He points out that when a dolphin whistle is slowed by a factor of 30, it sounds almost identical to the howl of a wolf.

Source, source, source

Slime can see                

After more than 300 years of looking, scientists have figured out how bacteria “see” their world. And they do it in a remarkably similar way to us.

A team of British and German researchers reveal in the journal eLife how bacterial cells act as the equivalent of a microscopic eyeball or the world’s oldest and smallest camera eye.

“The idea that bacteria can see their world in basically the same way that we do is pretty exciting,” says lead researcher Conrad Mullineaux, Professor of Microbiology from QMUL’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Caption:  Bacteria are optical objects, each cell acting like a microscopic eyeball or the world’s oldest and smallest camera eye. Credit: eLife


In low income countries vaccines don’t just save lives, they save money too

Here’s even more incentive to ensure kids around the world have access to vaccines. Immunization against diseases like measles, rubella and hepatitis B doesn’t just save lives — it has big economic benefits too. So says research published in the journal Health Affairs, which found that in low- and middle-income countries, vaccines yield a return on investment of up to $44 on every $1 dollar spent. How they came up with that number.

Follow @the-future-now

There’s great news for people who prefer real books over e-readers

Naomi Baron, American University linguistics professor and author conducted a series of cross-cultural studies with her colleagues asking college students around the world if they preferred electronic or hardcopy books. A whopping 92% said they preferred the latter. Reading physical books affects the brain differently than reading digitally.

Scientists from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) will make a major research announcement on Thursday, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time, at a press conference hosted by the National Science Foundation. Unfortunately, the press conference is for media only, so there will be no live streaming events. Nevertheless, we’re skeptically excited about tomorrow. If the rumors are true, and gravitational waves have been discovered, it would mean that the most elusive prediction of Einstein’s theory of relativity is right, gravitational radiation exists, and that these waves can be detected. Finding gravitational waves would be a monumental scientific discovery, it would kick-start a new era for gravitational-wave astronomy!

Image Credit: S. Larson

The Leidenfrost effect occurs when a liquid is exposed to a surface so hot that it instantly vaporizes part of the liquid. It’s typically seen with a drop of water on a very hot pan; the drop will slide around, nearly frictionless, upon a cushion of its own vapor. You can see the effect when plunging a hot object into a bath of liquid, too. This is what happens when you quickly dunk a hand in liquid nitrogen (not recommended, incidentally) or when you drop a red hot steel ball into water like above. In this case, the object is so hot that it gets encased in a layer of water vapor. If you could maintain the temperature difference necessary to keep the vapor layer intact, you could move underwater at high speeds with low drag, similar to the effects of supercavitation. (Image credit: Paul Pyro, source)

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Chapter 10.1 Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry - Part 3: Uses of organic molecules  //Science Scribbles A-Level / IB Chemistry collection

(Part 1 | Part 2Other syllabus topics)

Hey everyone! I decided to draw a little infographic that visualizes the structure of the different classes of organic molecules, along with an example of their application! 

This is also available to be printed on different products on my Redbubble account :D

Why wildfires are necessary

Did you know that several forest species need fire to survive?

In the conifer-rich forests of western North America, lodgepole pines constantly seek the sun. Their seeds prefer to grow on open, sunny ground, which pits saplings against each other as each tries to get more light by growing straighter and faster than its neighbors. Over time, generations of slender, lofty lodgepoles form an umbrella-like canopy that shades the forest floor below. But as the trees’ pine cones mature to release their twirling seeds, this signals a problem for the lodgepole’s future: very few of these seeds will germinate in the cool, sunless shade created by their towering parents.

These trees have adapted to this problem by growing two types of cones. There are the regular annual cones that release seeds spontaneously:

And another type called serotinous cones, which need an environmental trigger to free their seeds:

Serotinous cones are produced in thousands and are like waterproof time capsules sealed with resinous pitch. Many are able to stay undamaged on the tree for decades. Cones that fall to the ground can be viable for several years as well. But when temperatures get high enough, the cones pop open.

Once it’s gotten started, a coniferous forest fire typically spreads something like this: flames ravage the thick understory provided by species like Douglas Fir, a shade-tolerant tree that’s able to thrive under the canopy of lodgepole pines. The fire uses these smaller trees as a stepladder to reach the higher canopy of old lodgepole pines. That ignites a tremendous crown fire, reaching temperatures of up to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit. At those temperatures, the serotinous cones burst open, releasing millions of seeds which are carried by the hot air to form new forests. After the fire, carbon rich soils and an open, sunlit landscape help lodgepole seeds germinate quickly and sprout in abundance. From the death of the old forest comes the birth of the new.

So however counterintuitive it may seem, wildfires are important for the wider ecosystem as a whole. Without wildfires to rejuvenate trees, key forest species would disappear—and so would the many creatures that depend on them. And if a fire-dependent forest goes too long without burning, that raises the risk of a catastrophic blaze which could destroy a forest completely, not to mention people’s homes and lives. That’s why forest rangers sometimes intentionally start controlled burns—to reduce fuels in order to keep the more dangerous wildfires at bay.  

From the TED-Ed Lesson Why wildfires are necessary - Jim Schulz

Animation by @provinciastudio

European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake seen during his first spacewalk. Peake and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra successfully replaced a failed voltage regulator on Jan. 15, 2016. Peake is the first astronaut to wear a Union Jack patch during a spacewalk.

by NASA Johnson