Scientists Who Think Too Much

Hello Dear Readers!  Today, let us peer into the levers and pulleys that comprise the thinking apparatuses of our beloved scientists and researchers!  Come join me, won’t you?

A picture of where Seti might point its telescope
Let’s see . . . eenie meenie miney etc etc. 

Seti Focuses Efforts on Listening to Known Exo-Planets

Seti, a group of researchers who live more by the story Horton Hears a Who than any other branch of the scientific community, have recently decided to point their telescopes at 86 stars that are known to have planets.

Up until now, the researchers at Seti, all with PhD’s in Listening Closely,  were taking turns playing “spin the telescope” to decide which direction they should listen in.  Unfortunately, aside from one shotgun wedding, this method yielded no results.

“The big challenge with these kinds of observations is to rule out the false positives generated on Earth,” Jill Tarter, Seti VIP was quoted as saying after getting her hopes up last winter over what she thought was an intelligent signal from out there, but was later turned out to be a Portuguese broadcast of I Dream of Jeannie.

 

Casino or bust!
Casino or bust!

Keeping Dead Languages Alive Is Easy, It’s Finding People to Talk to That’s the Rub.

Researchers, whose jobs it is to sit around and pin dates on things that will  happen in the future, have recently decided that by the year 2100, the mankind will have lost half the languages that are now spoken.

Luckily, in California, Eureka High School has launched a program to keep alive the Native-American language, Yurok, which was down to only six native speakers in 1990, and today, thanks to the schools efforts, there are now over 300 high school kids who speak Yurok.

“Now it’s just a matter of locating the only six people on earth who can understand them,” the Eureka High School principal was quoted as saying after loading up the rooter bus with 300 fluent Yurok speakers and heading off to the casino.

 

One . . . two . . . wait wait wait . . . one . . . two . . .wait wait wait . . . one . . .two . . .
One . . . two . . . wait wait wait . . . one . . . two . . . wait wait wait . . .one two . . . wait wait wait

Felix Baumgartner Fell Faster Than Originally Thought

With a name like Felix Baumgartner, Felix Baumgartner felt compelled to do something spectacular on behalf of all the other Felix Baumgartners of the world which is why last October, he ascended to a height of more than 120,000 feet in a special helium balloon before stepping off and plummeting back down to earth.

Since then, Mathematicians have been burning up their Texas Instrument calculators in an effort to figure out exactly how fast Felix Baumgartner was actually falling.

As a result, the original figure of 843.6 miles an hour has been upgraded to ten miles an hour faster  — causing the clouds through which Felix Baumgartner was falling to be remembered even blurrier in his mind’s eye than he was previously remembering them to be.

Researchers say the lessons learned from the jump will inform the development of new ideas for emergency evacuation from things like spacecraft, experimental aircraft and hot air balloons traveling somewhere over the rainbow.

And there you have it, Dear Readers, today’s foray into the minds of our scientific community!

Until next time . . . I love you

Do Larvae Sleep? Bank on It!

Hard Working Scientists Have Done It Again!

Well, well!  Thumbing through a copy of the January issue of Scientific American in an article entitled:  Why Sleep is Good for You, it seems our industrious Scientist Community has been staying up late worrying about going to bed early.

In an unprecendented effort to dig up more work, Scientist’s have been studying the brain’s performance while sleeping and not sleeping by studying see-through fish.

Divided into Two Camps

The article goes on to say that the question of sleep has divided the Scientific Community into two camps:

Those who think sleep is good for you, and those who think sleep is even better for you than those who think sleep is good for you.

Scientists Who Stare at Fish

According to the article, a “group” (probably less than 50 but more than 25) of Researchers have been staying up late staring at some Zebrafish in the aquarium at the lab.  This is the kind of activity that just about any group can do without the need to pre-coordinate; thus making it quite popular among uncoordinated groups of Researchers.

Not as "co-ordinated" as one might imagine.

Let Sleeping Brains Lie

Basically all the researchers have to do is meet at the same time, pour themselves some coffee and shuffle over to the aquarium tank to “look” at the fish.  In this case they were looking at Zebrafish because “their larvae are transparent, which allowed researchers to watch their brains as they slept.”

Putting the “zzzzzz” in Zebrafish

For you see, it had been determined at an earlier date that Zebrafish are less active at night than they are during the day which could only mean one thing.  They SLEEP at night!
After coming to this scientific conclusion, the Researchers could have simply gone right home and written about it in their Scientific Journals. But the Researchers wanted to keep going because they just knew they were about to make a Scientific Discovery; plus they needed the hours.

Talk About Dedicated!

So one Camp of Researchers wrestled a Zebrafish to the bottom of the tank while the other Camp of Researchers held him down and dyed his neuron connections green and black.

They Could Be Dead, Sure, But Scientists Say They’re Sleeping

Well, wouldn’t you know, the Researchers soon found out that zebrafish’s synapse activity was lower during sleep.  But how could the Researchers tell that the Zebrafish was, in fact, asleep?  Because, first it started yawning and then it closed its eyes for about eight hours give or take.

These eyes have been scientifcally proven to be closed.

The upshot is that the hard work of the Reseachers paid off when the results were published in the Journal, Neuron, and the Researchers become the very first to show the effects of sleep/wake cycles and time of day on the synapses of a living vertebrate!

And if that little bit of scientific good news doesn’t put a spring in your step, nothing will.

Until next time. . . I love you