Scienceline Staff Picks

Dolls, thinking machines, and a very bizarre fish

Our favorites from the week

June 3, 2011

From Francie Diep:

How long do animals live? This rendering is so pretty, you can’t help but linger and find such gems like that pearl oysters live longer than elephants and that earthworms live longer than squirrels, foxes, hares and mice. Can you believe this was made from woodcuts?

It’s a fish that produces red and blue light, has no tissue on the floor of its mouth, and can dislocate its head to capture prey: Malacosteus niger, the stoplight loosejaw. I like the video’s accompanying music.

Writing about science, I talk with research organizations’ PR offices all the time. They mostly have a light touch. But check out this relentless graph from the Economist! There are now six people in PR for every journalist–and PR jobs are growing.

From Sarah Fecht:

The cadavers of Cape Canaveral haven not yet made it to their final resting places. Before the space shuttles Discovery and Endeavor can be permanently laid to rest, their bodies are undergoing some strange autopsies.

Discovery News reports that University of Pittsburgh researchers grew a micro-brain, which appears to have a 12-second memory. What?! It’s like a Chia Pet for your petri dish.

When I was a kid, I wanted to shrink myself down to the size of my toys and see what it was like to live in their world. Discover blogger Ed Yong has given me new hope that I might someday live out my Lilliputian fantasies… at least mentally. He describes how one study used illusions to convince people that they were doll-sized.

From Rose Eveleth:

The most recent Radiolab podcast went live on Wednesday! Join Jad and Robert as they discover what machines can tell us about being human. And, as a bonus, check out the Radiolab Reads list they updated to go with the show.

I finally fixed my trusty bike (to whoever stole my bike seat: not cool) and have begun making the sweaty trek into the city each morning. That also means I’m playing the fun jenga-like game of trying to safely lock my bike to anything remotely stationary. Manifesto Architecture has a better idea: vertical bike storage.

Not a sports fan? Well, Mother Nature Network is giving you a different reason to root on your state. Find out what your state is good at (and not good at) on their cute little map.

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