Archive for 2010

Bowl of Fingers, Baby Victims, More Found in Maya Tomb

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 21, 2010   View Article

Reeking of decay and packed with bowls of human fingers, a partly burned baby, and gem-studded teeth—among other artifacts—a newfound Maya king’s tomb sounds like an overripe episode of Tales From the Crypt.

But the tightly sealed, 1,600-year-old burial chamber, found under a jungle-covered Guatemalan pyramid, is as rich with archaeological gold as it is with oddities, say researchers who announced the discovery Friday.

The real science of dream research

Publication:   Date: July 16, 2010   View Article

Movie director Chris Nolan is famous for his unorthodox spin on thrillers ranging from “Memento” and “The Prestige” to “The Dark Knight.” Nolan’s latest movie, “Inception,” takes viewers on a sci-fi trip to a novel frontier: the visions of the sleeping mind.

The cerebral adventure introduces the concept of “extraction,” where corporate thieves enter people’s dreams and steal their ideas. Master extractor Dom Cobb – played by Leonardo DiCaprio, – is given the task of planting a dream instead.

Are our dreams really vulnerable to manipulation? Click ahead for a reality check on these ideas and more in the world of dream research

Top ten species of 2009 named

Publication:   Date: July 15, 2010   View Article

This bomb-dropping worm, Swima bombiviridis, is among the top 10 species discovered in 2009, according to the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University. The annual roundup winnows down a list of about 20,000 species described each year to just a few mind-benders.

“It is a great way of getting the public involved in biodiversity,” says Mary Liz Jameson, a biodiversity scientist at Wichita State University and chair of this year’s selection committee. While the criteria for selection include scientific significance, Jameson admits that “the cool factor” also plays a part.

For example, the bomb-dropping worm found off the coast of California “has these green gills it can kind of throw off, and the predator will follow the gill instead of following the [worm], so it is tripping up the predator,” Jameson said. “It’s really cool.”

Check out the other cool species on the top-10 list.

Pictures: Giant Undersea Volcano Revealed

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 15, 2010   View Article

Captured by high-resolution cameras aboard a robotic submersible, mineral-rich water spews from hydrothermal vents in this June 30 picture of Kawio Barat, a massive undersea volcano off Indonesia.

During the past few weeks, the submerged volcano—one of the world’s largest—was mapped and explored in detail for the first time by a joint Indonesian-U.S. expedition north of the island of Sulawesi.

Human Brains “Evolve,” Become Less Monkey-Like With Age

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 12, 2010   View Article

Brain regions that grow the most outside the womb are the same areas that expanded the most during evolution from monkeys to humans, a new study says.

As the human brain matures, it expands in a “strikingly nonuniform” fashion, according to researchers who compared MRI scans of 12 infant brains with scans of 12 young adult brains.

Eight great American discoveries in science

Publication:   Date: July 4, 2010   View Article

When the colonies declared independence from Great Britain in 1776, scientists in the Americas, with a few notable exceptions, were largely dependent on Europeans — shipping botanical specimens, for example, across the Atlantic for study and classification, according to Marc Rothenberg, the agency historian with the National Science Foundation. But in the 19th century, the infrastructure was put in place for homegrown American science and engineering.

“In the 20th century we really become an international leader,” Rothenberg said. Follow along as takes a look back at some of the achievements and discoveries that gave the U.S. a leadership role in the sciences.

Mouse Tears Are Aphrodisiacs

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 1, 2010   View Article

A guy who can shed a tear really can drive females wild—among mice, at least.

According to a new study, male mouse tears contain a sex pheromone called ESP1, which makes female mice more receptive to mounting.

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