Potty Training Pigs Helps Cut Water Use by 50%, Prevents Water Pollution
Taiwan's 6.5 million pigs are a source of river pollution. But one Taiwanese farmer has found that potty training is porkers goes a long way in both conserving water and keeping it clean. He's trained his hogs to use a litter box, and has had such great results that he's starting to advocate the practice to other farmers.
One of the most enduring mysteries of the Solar System may be a step closer to being solved.
Although the general consensus is that that Uranus orbits the sun on its side because it was involved in some kind of cosmic hit-and-run, two researchers from Paris think the gas giant may have gradually wobbled over millions of years, eventually tipping due to the presence of a big-ass moon.
The friendly bird-feeder could be an evolutionary force to be reckoned with. British people who feed birds are contributing to the evolution of a whole new species of blackcap, new research suggests.
"After world war two, the British started to put out far more food for the birds than they did before," Schaefer says. "As a result, those that accidentally migrated north thrived rather than being killed off, leading to the evolution of a whole new lineage."
The two migrating populations are less likely to breed together because those that overwinter in the UK return to Germany earlier than those that go to Spain.
Birds, whales, monkeys, and other animals constantly demonstrate simple communication through a variety of sounds. But one thing that has always separated them from humans, scientists thought, is that they haven’t achieved syntax—stringing together multiple different sounds to create another meaning, or what we might think of as a sentence. Now, in a study published in yesterday’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers argue that they have observed monkeys using these rudimentary rules of grammar.
Since man first touched the moon and brought pieces of it back to Earth, scientists have thought that the lunar surface was bone dry. But new observations from three different spacecraft have put this notion to rest with what has been called "unambiguous evidence" of water across the surface of the moon.
The moon remains drier than any desert on Earth, but the water is said to exist on the moon in very small quantities. One ton of the top layer of the lunar surface would hold about 32 ounces of water, researchers said.
Move the cursor with your mouse to influence the vid from the Spanish band Labuat
As the world faces the challenge of climate change, it is instructive to recall that this is by no means the first time humans have had to cope with similar problems. Many societies have found themselves in serious trouble because of an unwelcome change in their environment. It may have been something over which they had no control, like the onset of the Little Ice Age in the 15th century, or they may have brought it upon themselves, all too often by clearing forests, or perhaps a combination of the two. Some societies survived, others did not.
Long before the Spanish arrived, the Mayans of Central America had already abandoned their magnificent cities because of drought. Deforestation destroyed the Easter Island society that erected the famous statues, though a very much reduced population continued to live on the island. Others, like the Norwegian settlers in Greenland, and the original inhabitants of Pitcairn Island, died out completely.
On the other hand, the Inuit who arrived in Greenland while the Norse settlements were flourishing are still there. The 18th century Tokugawa Japanese reversed the deforestation that had threatened their way of life. The inhabitants of Tikopia, a tiny island in the Pacific, have adopted a whole series of measures that allow them to survive in a difficult environment; one of the most striking 400 years ago was to kill all their pigs - high status animals in Melanesia and at one time a major source of protein on Tikopia - because they were too inefficient for feeding humans.
Social scientists in the Netherlands empirically demonstrated a phenomenon observed by policymakers and law-enforcement officials for years. When an envelope visibly containing a five-euro note was left hanging out of a mailbox on a sidewalk, 13 percent of the passersby snatched it up. When the same mailbox was covered in graffiti, however, more than double the number of the pedestrians (about 27 percent) stole the envelope.
Graffiti was not the only misdemeanor that fostered a cavalier attitude toward theft. When the ground near the mailbox was covered in litter, 25 percent of the subjects stole the envelope. These results are significant for both social and statistical reasons. Is a disorderly environment responsible for disorderly conduct?
Lightning that shoots upward from clouds can be as powerful as the strongest bolts that strike the ground, according to researchers who caught the strange phenomenon on film. Known as gigantic jets, these rare "upside down" bolts had previously been seen reaching into the uppermost layers of the atmosphere, up to 56 miles (90 kilometers) above the storm itself. But researchers had witnessed gigantic jets just a handful of times, leaving much unknown about the strength and electrical activity of the unusual lightning strikes.
On July 21, 2008, a team led by Steven Cummer at Duke University had a stroke of luck.
It's not only trials of new drugs that are crossing the futility boundary. Some products that have been on the market for decades, like Prozac, are faltering in more recent follow-up tests. In many cases, these are the compounds that, in the late '90s, made Big Pharma more profitable than Big Oil. But if these same drugs were vetted now, the FDA might not approve some of them. Two comprehensive analyses of antidepressant trials have uncovered a dramatic increase in placebo response since the 1980s. One estimated that the so-called effect size (a measure of statistical significance) in placebo groups had nearly doubled over that time.
It's not that the old meds are getting weaker, drug developers say. It's as if the placebo effect is somehow getting stronger.
"Unfortunately, it's the case that almost any fish you test will have mercury now," said Andrew Rypel, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Mississippi who has studied mercury contamination in fish throughout the Southeast. He said other research has shown mercury in fish from isolated areas of Alaska and Canada, and species that live in the deep ocean.
Don't worry, only one in four is toxic.
In the future, giant, autonomous fish farms may whir through the open ocean, mimicking the movements of wild schools or even allowing fish to forage "free range" before capturing them once again. Already scientists have constructed working remote control cages.
Aquaculture, or fish farming, currently produces about half of the fish eaten worldwide and seems destined to play an even bigger future role. The UN organization estimates world seafood demand will spike 40 percent by 2030.
Deepwater cages offer cleaner, more freely circulating ocean water and natural food, which can yield tastier fish. But the deep-sea cages must be built to withstand the rigors of the deep ocean. And because they are harder for humans to access, "smarter," self-sufficient cages could be key.
The robotic fish farms could help lead to larger, healthier crops of farmed fish far from crowded coastal areas, where farmed fish both suffer from poor water quality and, by producing waste, add to water woes.
Scientists have peered further back in time than ever before using instruments designed to search for a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein almost a century ago but not yet proven to exist.
An American observatory hunting for ripples in space and time called gravitational waves has produced its most significant results yet, despite not having directly detected any.
The “non-discovery” offers insights into the state of the Universe just 60 seconds into its existence. Previous research has been unable to look back in time further than about 380,000 years after the big bang.
Image 1 is good, but don't miss image 2.
I was lucky enough to go to CERN last week. Unfortunately I was there for work, which meant I couldn't harass particle physicists as much as I wanted to, but I did get to see the Compact Muon Solenoid (compact as in only 15 metres tall), and I did learn some things I did not know, despite being a particle physics/CERN fangirl.
Since I was very little I have known of CERN — my dad's best friend worked there — and since I read my first book on particle physics (circa 8 years old) I have wanted to work in it. So I was very excited. We're talking squealing, jumping up and down, planning my pillaging of the guest shop, etc. With my camera batteries fully charged I set off...
In recent years NFL teams have begun to use a Wonderlic test
while scouting, which consists of 50 questions to be completed in 12 minutes. Many of the questions are multiple choice, but the time is certainly a factor when completing the tests. A score of 10 is considered “literate”, while 20 is said to coincide with average intelligence (an IQ of 100, though now we’re comparing one somewhat arbitrary numerically scored intelligence test with another).
Wonderlic himself says that basically, the scores decrease as you move further away from the ball, which is interesting but unsurprising. It’s sort of obvious that a quarterback needs to be on the smarter side, but I was curious to see what this actually looked like.
Look for the loud-mouth wide receivers.