Animals

Polar bears are doomed without plans to save them, report says

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 6, 2013   View Article

Regularly flown-in loads of seal meat could feed hungry polar bears and prevent them from wandering into coastal villages in search of food when they are suddenly unable to find it elsewhere due to global warming, according to the world’s top polar bear scientists.

Currently, however, no such plan exists in any of the five nations with jurisdiction over the globally threatened species, the researchers warn in a new paper. And that’s a problem, given that just one exceptionally early breakup of sea ice could leave a large number of bears starving.

Climate warming? Snakes are cool with that

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 11, 2013   View Article

Several snake species appear to have enough flexibility in what time of day they hunt in order to survive — and perhaps thrive — on a warming planet, according to a recent study.

The result is “contrary to what I had anticipated,” Patrick Weatherhead, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Illinois, told NBC News.

The point is, porcupines inspired improved surgical tape

Publication: NBC News   Date: December 10, 2012   View Article

Porcupine quills penetrate the mouths of their would-be attackers with ease and prove extremely difficult to remove. Those qualities are inspiration for a futuristic tape that could help surgeons work faster and ease their patients’ post-operation pain.

“We like to turn to nature for inspiration because evolution is really the best problem solver,” Jeffrey Karp, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who led the adhesive’s development told NBC News.

Scientists control rat dreams with technique that could enhance memory

Publication: NBC News   Date: September 6, 2012   View Article

Scientists can sway the dreams of sleeping rats, a breakthrough that could lead to new behavioral and learning therapies in humans that enhance selected memories and block undesired ones, according to a new study.

Going into the study, scientists had already shown that rats dream about what they experience in the hours before drifting off to sleep.

Pardon me: Did a robot just hear fish farts?

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 29, 2012   View Article

A torpedo-shaped robot that bobbed up and down along the Florida coast to map sound production by red grouper and toadfish has detected what appears to be the unmistakable sound of herring passing gas.

That is, a robot heard what scientists believe to be fish farts.

Radar is game changer in saving endangered birds

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 20, 2012   View Article

A portable radar system combined with night vision goggles and thermal imaging cameras are helping scientists find and protect a rare bird in the Caribbean, a conservation group explained Monday.

While none of these technologies are new, they are now inexpensive enough to do more than track airplanes and find thugs hiding behind enemy lines.

Rat-like image recognition to replace satellites

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 23, 2012   View Article

The images of nearly every major stretch of road taken by Google’s Street View team and the snapshots we capture with our smartphones may soon be all we need to navigate the world, according to an Australian researcher.

That is, we can ditch the expensive satellite and computer technologies that power modern GPS systems and rely on low-resolution pictures instead, Michael Milford, an engineer at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, explained.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach