Fossils of three new species of giant cloud rats have researchers in the Philippines scratching their heads: The find, on the island of Luzon, hints the archipelago—one of the most species-rich places on the planet—was somehow even more biodiverse in the past. But it also raises questions about how these fluffy, pot-bellied rodents ended up in a cave, outside their usual habitat, and why they went extinct.
Last year, the southern Japanese city of Susaki created a position — honorary tourism ambassador — for a real-life otter with a large social media following.
So far, so cute.
Then Chiitan, an unsanctioned mascot based on the otter, began staging dangerous and non-child-friendly stunts around town, like swinging a weed whacker and tipping over a car...
Hidden in a bend of the Mississippi River just south of New Orleans, 29 concrete bunkers lie on a grid of dirt and grass roads. Some hold remnants from the past — 40-year-old gas masks and biohazard signs still hang on a wall. Most of them have been abandoned for decades. But inside two of those bunkers, 15 million fish eyes stare at the walls through the glass of their jars. This is the Royal D. Suttkus Fish Collection, the largest collection of preserved fish in the world, and almost no one knows it exists.
Personality tests are hugely popular, though if you ask working psychologists, they’ll tell you the results are little better than astrological signs. But a new study, based on huge sets of personality data representing 1.5 million people, has persuaded one of the staunchest critics of personality tests to conclude that maybe distinct personality types exist, after all.
In a report published Monday in the journal Nature Human Behavior, researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois identify four personality types: reserved, role models, average and self-centered.
The new approach was nothing like the basis for widely used personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs, which spits out a personality type with acronyms like INTJ...or ESFP...
A pear seedling selection named Bradford was cloned by the gazillion to become the ubiquitous street tree of America’s postwar suburban expansion. Then it turned invasive.
Its invasive tendencies became widely noticed by the late 1990s, and by the mid-2000s, it had become a weed in the District and 19 states, from Texas to New York. “While callery pear was introduced with the best of intentions, it now seems that a plague is truly upon us,” botanist Michael Vincent wrote at the time. It has now spread to 29 states.
They are ugly, and they are poisonous. And now scientists have discovered that they carry switchblades.
Stonefish, a group that includes many species, have a previously unknown defensive weapon: a “lachrymal saber” in each cheek that can be drawn and retracted as needed.
...Miner, Hunter, Brewer, and Cook
Tales of Alaska’s gold rushes, which began in the 1890s, are full of larger-than-life men... But nestled among all the stories of men is the story of Fannie Quigley, a five-foot-tall frontierswoman who spent almost 40 years homesteading and prospecting in Kantishna, a remote Alaskan mining region that would later become part of Denali National Park...
Even chimpanzees and infants want to punish antisocial behaviour
Living together in communities requires mutual cooperation. To achieve this, we punish others when they are uncooperative. Until now, it has been unclear as to when we develop the impulse to penalise this behaviour—and whether this is an exclusively human feature. Scientists at Max Planck Institute...for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology...in Leipzig discovered that even six-year-old children feel the need to reprimand antisocial behaviour, and that they are willing to take risks and make an effort to be present when the "guilty" one is punished.
Loud orgies of Mexican fish could deafen dolphins, say scientists
A species of Mexican fish amasses in reproductive orgies so loud they can deafen other sea animals, awed scientists have said, calling for preservation of the "spectacle" threatened by overfishing.
An individual spawning Gulf corvina, say the researchers, utters a mating call resembling “a really loud machine gun” with multiple rapid sound pulses.
And when hundreds of thousands of fish get together to spawn once a year “the collective chorus sounds like a crowd cheering at a stadium or perhaps a really loud beehive”, said study co-author Timothy Rowell from the University of San Diego...
A pair of Apollo-era NASA computers and hundreds of mysterious tape reels have been discovered in a deceased engineer’s basement in Pittsburgh, according to a NASA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report...
The two computers are so heavy that a crane was likely used to move the machines...
At some point in the early 1970s, an IBM engineer working for NASA at the height of the Space Race took home the computers—and the mysterious tape reels...
"Please tell NASA these items were not stolen," the engineer's heir told the scrap dealer, according to the report. "They belonged to IBM Allegheny Center Pittsburgh, PA 15212. During the 1968-1972 timeframe, IBM was getting rid of the items so [redacted engineer] asked if he could have them and was told he could have them.
Six million years ago, giant otters weighing more than 100 pounds lived among birds and water lilies in the wooded wetlands of China's Yunnan province.
That's according to new research from a team of scientists who discovered a well-preserved cranium of the newly-discovered species in an open lignite mine in 2010. They recently published their findings in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.
In 1961, the Cuban Missile Crisis was at hand, and with the overhanging fear of an impending Soviet missile strike...families in Central Florida built homemade bomb shelters.
...100 members of 25 wealthy families...pooled their resources and secretly built what is said to be the largest privately-owned bomb shelter in the nation, a massive subterranean structure that is now referred to as the Mount Dora Catacombs.
A new study of violent behavior in more than 1,000 mammal species found the meerkat is the mammal most likely to be murdered by one of its own kind.
The study...in the journal Nature, analyzed more than 4 million deaths among 1,024 mammal species and compared them with findings in 600 studies of violence among humans from ancient times until today.
The findings tell us two things:
-- Some amount of violence between humans is attributable to our place on the evolutionary tree.
-- Meerkats are surprisingly murderous.
Investigative journalist Will Potter is the only reporter who has been inside a Communications Management Unit, or CMU, within a US prison. These units were opened secretly, and radically alter how prisoners are treated — even preventing them from hugging their children. Potter, a TED Fellow, shows us who is imprisoned here, and how the government is trying to keep them hidden. "The message was clear," he says. "Don’t talk about this place."
Filmed August 2015; includes transcript.
The drugmaker Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin two decades ago with a bold marketing claim: One dose relieves pain for 12 hours...
On the strength of that promise, OxyContin became America’s bestselling painkiller, and Purdue reaped $31 billion in revenue.
But OxyContin’s stunning success masked a fundamental problem: The drug wears off hours early in many people...OxyContin is a chemical cousin of heroin, and when it doesn’t last, patients can experience excruciating symptoms of withdrawal, including an intense craving for the drug.
The problem offers new insight into why so many people have become addicted to OxyContin, one of the most abused pharmaceuticals in U.S. history...
The [Los Angeles] Times investigation, based on thousands of pages of confidential Purdue documents and other records, found that:
-- Purdue has known about the problem for decades...
-- The company has held fast to the claim of 12-hour relief, in part to protect its revenue...
First part of an investigative series.
[vices, the biz]