Posts

October 17, 2014

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12:55 PM | People Are More Swayed by Things That Look Sciencey
Anyone who’s paged through a women’s magazine will recognize this strategy: to make a product seem better, surround it with a scientific glow. “Clinical trials show lashes grow up to 400% fuller!” “27% reduction of dark spots in 10 weeks!” “Ceramides!” Does this actually help convince people to hand over their cash? A study using […]The post People Are More Swayed by Things That Look Sciencey appeared first on Inkfish.

Tal, A. & Wansink, B. (2014). Blinded with science: Trivial graphs and formulas increase ad persuasiveness and belief in product efficacy., Public Understanding of Science, DOI: 10.1177/0963662514549688

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October 14, 2014

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5:34 PM | These Tiny Animals Live Only on Driftwood
Maybe you gave your last realtor a long series of must-haves: a washing machine in unit, proximity to the train, a gas stovetop. But there’s no way you’re as picky as the driftwood hopper. This minute crustacean will only live in rotting chunks of driftwood. David Wildish, a marine zoologist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, […]The post These Tiny Animals Live Only on Driftwood appeared first on Inkfish.

Wildish, D. (2014). New genus and two new species of driftwood hoppers (Crustacea, Amphipoda, Talitridae) from northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal regions, Zoosystematics and Evolution, 90 (2) 133-146. DOI: 10.3897/zse.90.8410

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October 10, 2014

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12:00 PM | For Disguise, Female Squid Turn On Fake Testes
Did you know this week is International Cephalopod Awareness Days? I’ll assume your gifts are in the mail. Today is dedicated to squid, and you can’t have total cephalopod awareness without discussing fake squid testes. This post was first published in September 2013. The best way to stay out of trouble, if you’re a shimmery, […]The post For Disguise, Female Squid Turn On Fake Testes appeared first on Inkfish.

DeMartini DG, Ghoshal A, Pandolfi E, Weaver AT, Baum M & Morse DE (2013). Dynamic biophotonics: female squid exhibit sexually dimorphic tunable leucophores and iridocytes., The Journal of experimental biology, 216 (Pt 19) 3733-41. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24006348

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October 07, 2014

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2:15 PM | Scientists Recommend Vole Shaving
Sometimes scientists need to make their research subjects’ lives harder. No matter how much affection they may feel for those flatworms or fish or pigeons, there are certain things they can only learn by forcing the animals to use more energy. But for animals living in the wild, this can be tricky. Now scientists studying […]The post Scientists Recommend Vole Shaving appeared first on Inkfish.

Szafrańska PA, Zub K, Wieczorek M, Książek A, Speakman JR & Konarzewski M (2014). Shaving increases daily energy expenditures in free living root voles., The Journal of experimental biology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25278468

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October 03, 2014

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2:02 PM | How to Say “SOS” in Catfish
It’s good to have a plan in case of emergency. If there’s a fire, take the stairs to the ground floor. If a bird tries to eat you, say “ERK ERK ERK” by grinding your spine bone against your shoulder bone until it drops you. That latter one will work best if you’re a certain […]The post How to Say “SOS” in Catfish appeared first on Inkfish.

Knight L & Ladich F (2014). Distress sounds of thorny catfishes emitted underwater and in air: characteristics and potential significance., The Journal of experimental biology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25267850

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September 29, 2014

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7:04 PM | Wind Turbines Kill Bats by Impersonating Trees
Survival tip: don’t hang around machines that have giant spinning blades. It’s a lesson bats have been slow to learn, judging by the large numbers of their corpses found beneath wind turbines. New video footage suggests some bats are attracted to wind farms because they can’t tell turbines apart from trees. If it’s true, this […]The post Wind Turbines Kill Bats by Impersonating Trees appeared first on Inkfish.

Paul. M. Cryan, P. Marcos Gorresen, Cris D. Hein, Michael R. Schirmacher, Robert H. Diehl, Manuela M. Huso, David T. S. Hayman, Paul D. Fricker, Frank J. Bonaccorso, Douglas H. Johnson & Kevin Heist (2014). Behavior of bats at wind turbines, PNAS, Other:

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September 26, 2014

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2:30 PM | Walking Really Is Just Falling and Catching Yourself
The flailing of a gymnast who’s missed a step on the balance beam might not be far off from what the rest of us experience every day. Each step we take is really a tiny fall, a mathematical model suggests. The random-looking variation in our footfalls is actually a series of corrections. Our strides are […]The post Walking Really Is Just Falling and Catching Yourself appeared first on Inkfish.

Wang, Y. & Srinivasan, M. (2014). Stepping in the direction of the fall: the next foot placement can be predicted from current upper body state in steady-state walking, Biology Letters, 10 (9) 20140405-20140405. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0405

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September 22, 2014

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2:00 PM | This Robot Can Plug In a USB But I Still Can’t
Why is it that every time I try to insert a USB plug it’s backward? Shouldn’t it be right at least half the time by dumb luck? Whatever my problem is, a dextrous new robot doesn’t have it. The robot’s advantage is that its fingertips don’t just feel—they see, too. Researchers at Northeastern University and […]The post This Robot Can Plug In a USB But I Still Can’t appeared first on Inkfish.
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