Thursday 9 February 2012

News, Science & Animals: Science News Digest (6th-9th Feb)

It is science week!!!! I have quite a number of news articles on science which I want to share because there are many amazing things happening in this field this week.

First, not a very happy news, more dolphins are stranded, this time in Cape Cod Bay, USA.

So far the scientists can only say that the dolphins are very bonded and will help each other when any one of them are in distress, but why will any one dolphin be in distress? I have a theory to it, but I will wait to reveal that in another entry.

In the second article, scientists have recreated  the chirping sounds of an extinct Jurassic "cricket" with the help of the computers by analysing the fossils of this Tettigoniidae specie's wings, which is the part which makes such wonderful music. Imagine thousands of them singing at the same time!
Bush Cricket
Image from Wikipedia
Talking about extinctions, the Western Black Rhino was declared extinct by the IUCN on the 10th Nov, 2011 (yet those who got married the next day were happily cheering their 2011-11-11 marriage). I guess no one cares about these poor animals, but in case you do, please read this article published on the Business Insider.

The third article's title is clear and gross enough, Puerto Rico Plans To Slaughter Millions Of Iguanas And Sell Their Meat In The US,
Image from businessinsider
What kind of human wants to eat such creature? The article says "Latino and Asian immigrants in the U.S. have shown high demand for the meat, which allegedly tastes like stronger, tougher chicken."

Asians? Seriously? Unless you are in a survival situation like Cody and Dave who were trapped on an isolated island, otherwise, why would anyone want to eat that?

Talking about Puerto Rico, after watching Gordan Ramsay: Shark Bait on TVB Pearl last week, which I have recommended watching on my Facebook update, I've learnt that the island is famous for wiping out beautiful sharks from the ocean. No surprise here with the iguanas.

The fourth article talks about the discovery of 100,000 year old seagrass on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea.
Meadows of Posidonia oceanica
Image from VOA
Spectacular, aren't they? The seagrass, Posidonia oceanica, is named after Poseidon, the god of the sea in Greek mythology, whom should be non strangers to comic fans of Saint Seiya,

Poseidon holding a trident. Corinthian plaque,
550-525 BC. From Penteskouphia. From Penteskouphia.
Image from Wikipedi

Poseidon of Saint Seiya anime
Image from wikia

Details can be found in this journal, but even if you don't read it, I guess we will know what will happen to the future of these seagrass -- illegal harvest causing total destructions. Let's hope I am completely wrong about it and may the Posidonia oceanica continue to thrive without disturbance.

The fifth article reports the success of the Russian scientists in drilling deep into the Lake Vostok at South Pole,
Image from

At 12,366 feet of depth, scientists are able to gather vital information which dates back some 20 million years before the most recent Ice Age occurred (there are many Ice Ages, the current one is called the Pliocene-Quaternary glaciation).

Image from nydailynews
The scientists are hoping to find information which could give clues "that may hold life from the distant past and clues to the search for life on other planets", but I suppose they will definitely not miss out reporting any possible forms of fossil fuel or energy resources should any be found.

Drilling so deep into the unknown is of course very exciting but also very dangerous because you don't know what you will find. It could be Captain America or highly contagious unknown virus from Contagion with no cure.

Captain America buried in thick ice
Image from
Image from bangordailynews

I prefer Captain America then.

Last but not least, "A computer model developed by a Yale research team traces one scenario for the shifts in Earth's continents, starting with a rewind from the present, then going forward through the latest Pangaea supercontinent cycle. The animation reflects the "orthoversion" model for the rise and fall of supercontinents."

And here's the animation,

So we were really once a big family! And so were the whales, the dolphins, the sharks, the iguanas, and the dinosaurs.

I learn through reading and watching, what about you?

stranded -- (adj) unable to leave somewhere because of a problem such as not having any transport or money
(in) distress -- (n) [U] when you are suffering or are in great danger and therefore in urgent need of help
chirp -- (vb) [I] (also chirrup(especially of a bird) to make a short high sound or sounds 
extinct -- (adj) not now existing
iguana -- (n) [C] Iguana is a herbivorous genus of lizard native to tropical areas of Central America and the Caribbean
Puerto Rico -- (n)[U] is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands
isolated -- (adj) happening or existing only once, separate
Mediterranean Sea -- (n) [U] is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant.
Posidonia oceanica -- (n)[U]  is a seagrass species that is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea.
Poseidon -- (n)[U] was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker,"[1] of the earthquakes in Greek mythology.
mythology -- (n) [U] myths in general
thrive -- (vb)  [I] (thrived or US ALSO throvethrived or USALSO thrivento grow, develop or be successful
vital -- (adj) necessary for the success or continued existence of something; extremely important
fossil fuel -- (n) [C or U] fuels such as gas, coal and oil, which were formed underground from plant and animal remains millions of years ago
contagious -- (adj) describes a disease that can be caught by touching someone with the disease or a piece of infected clothing


Massachusetts stranded-dolphin death toll up to 92 @ CNN

Night Songs of the Jurassic @ YouTube

Scientists Reveal the Sound of a 165 Million Year Old Insect @ ecorazzi

Black Rhino @ Wikipedia

The Black Rhino Was Declared Extinct Yesterday — Here Are 10 Other Species That Have Been Wiped Out By Man @ Business Insider

The 45 Most Endangered Species In America @ Business Insider

Puerto Rico Plans To Slaughter Millions Of Iguanas And Sell Their Meat In The US @ Business Insider

Dual Survival Season1 Ep3 Out Of Air(5) @ YouTube

Gordon Ramsay : Shark Bait @ Channel 4

Self-Cloning Seagrass May Be World's Oldest Living Thing @ VOA News

Implications of Extreme Life Span in Clonal Organisms: Millenary Clones in Meadows of the Threatened Seagrass Posidonia oceanica @ PLoS ONE

Poseidon @ Wikipedia

Saint Seiya @ Wikipedia

Russian scientists, using drill for 20 years, finally reach deep Antarctic lake buried under ice for 20 million years @ NY Daily News

Major Ice Ages @ Wikipedia

Quaternary glaciation @ Wikipedia

Next supercontinent will amaze you @ MSNBC