Scienceline Staff Picks

Disco frogs, stovetop reactors, and a freaky face

Our favorites from the week

August 5, 2011

From Stephanie Warren:

It must have been strange to live on planet earth when there were not one, but two species of human: us, and Neanderthals. We’ve long wondered how we got the edge over our big-browed relatives. A new study this week says that it might have the answer: we overwhelmed them with sheer numbers.

From Wired: “Despite eons of mingling inside our cells, gene networks we’ve inherited from primitive, singled-celled ancestors have stayed separate. Our cells remain chimeras, a hybrid fusion of unrelated creatures.”

Not news: Male frogs woo females with their music. News: It’s disco music.


From Mary Beth Griggs:

It has been quite a week for weird science news. Scientists discovered that Earth once had two moons–one of which went splat. Now the dark side of the moon is slightly less mysterious.

It’s the Little Shop of Horrors meets Bye-Bye Birdie. A pitcher plant in England ate a bird–only the second time that a carnivorous plant has been documented eating a bird.

A guy in Sweden got arrested after trying to build a nuclear reactor on his stovetop. One of the best parts about the story is that he accidentally turned himself in. After creating a meltdown on his stovetop he started to get worried about the legality of his hobby, and called the regulatory commission to find out…they promptly arrested him.


From Sarah Fecht:

In a delicious blog post, Tara Parker-Pope brings us to dinner tables around the world, with a gallery of photos and stories about what people eat in a day.

Researchers in Germany are trying to adapt facial-recognition software to work on chimps, the Engineer reports. The program may eventually be used to help conservation efforts.

See if you can spot what’s wrong here. This blog post at NewScientist turned my mind upside down.


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