Proprioception: The 6th Sense

Sorry about missing a few days. Life got a little crazy.

On to what I plan to talk about today: Proprioception. This is the sense of one’s body in space, and it amounts to humans having a 6th sense. It’s out ability to do things like bring our finger to our nose, or be aware of where our foot is without looking to see where our foot is.

There’s actually some research that seems to indicate that out sense of force (mechanosensation, the ability to feel things like your fingers pressing against keys, or someone pressing on your skin) plays a roll in proprioception. There are interesting indications that a gene is involved in the whole matter, and I strongly suggest you learn more by reading the article I read from Livescience. Human sense are fascinating and this budding research is certainly mind blowing.

Source

Dogs Love More Than a Full Food Bowl!

Many people believe that dogs don’t love people back, that they’re just concerned about us and humoring us because we feed them. Science seems to indicate that many dogs will pick praise from their people over food! Science supports the idea that our dogs love us, or at least enjoy us.

It should be noted that the sample size in this study was somewhat small, but it’s a good pilot study that indicates that there might be more going on in our canine friend’s mind to create the human-dog bond than we understand at this time.

 

Source

Eagle V Drone Photo Series

Back in September Livescience posted this great series of images showing a dutch police officer deploying their secret anti-drone weapon: Eagles.

View the full photo series HERE, or a previous live science article that includes a video HERE.

Let’s Talk Nobel…

The Nobel Prize Ceremony has come and gone. Here’s the notables who took home the awards!

  • Medicine or Physiology: Yoshinori Ohsumi for discovery of “self-eating” cells.
  • Physics: David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane, J. Michael Kosterlitz for discovery of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter. (1)
  • ChemistryJean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, Bernard L. Feringa for designing and synthesizing molecular machines. (2)

 

Notes:
1: No. I don’t know what this means, either. According to the source I used it’s some weirdness having to do with how matter behaves.
2: This apparently involves chaining molecules together into units and then hitting them with some energy. Devices created included a motor and an artificial muscle.

 

Source: Livescience Article “Nobel Prize 2016: Here Are the Winners (and What They Achieved)

Rec: Facts About Okapi

I know these are sort of a cop-out and a lazy style of blogging, but it does give me the freedom to keep up on the blog on days when I don’t have a lot of time to devote to writing original content or collecting a group of great comic stripes or something like that.

Original Article

Though sometimes called forest giraffes, this creature doesn’t look like a giraffe. It does have a long tongue, but it has the body of a horse and its legs have stripes, like a zebra. Males also have two small horns on the tops of their heads that are covered with skin. Okapi are part of the Giraffidae family, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), which does make them relatives of giraffes.

Roller Coaster Helps Pass Kidney Stones

Yesterday I didn’t blog because I was with my husband at the hospital getting a monster of a Kidney Stone dealt with. That makes this for today’s post extra fitting.

Live Science has reported that Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad coaster was found by scientists to be perfect for aiding in the passing of Kidney Stones.

Studying this phenomenon required a bit of ingenuity from the researchers. To test the effects of riding a roller coaster with kidney stones, they created a 3D model of a kidney that could be taken along for the ride (concealed in a backpack, of course).

In the experiment, the researchers placed three real kidney stones and some urine in the model kidney. The kidney stones were different sizes: small (4.5 cubic millimeters), medium (13.5 cubic mm) and large (64.6 cubic mm).

The researchers took the model kidney on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster 20 times. They experimented with the position of the different sizes of kidney stones in different parts of their kidney model. On one ride, for example, the largest stone was placed in the upper part of the kidney; on another, the large stone was placed in the middle of the kidney. Ultimately, each stone was placed in each location of the kidney for at least one ride.

I think this might be another case of “Science is Weird”.

Rec: Facts about Opossums

Article Link

There are more than 60 species of opossum. The species that many people think of when hearing about this animal is the common opossum, also known as Virginia opossum. However, these are two different species. The common opossum’s scientific name is Didelphis marsupialis, and the Virginia opossum’s scientific name is Didelphis virginiana.

These types of opossums have a cone-shaped nose with a pink tip, a long hairless tail, and white, gray and black fur. Opossums are the only marsupial found naturally in North America.

Groundbreaking Civilian Science

On Sept. 6, Dawn Kelly was astounded to come across an unexpected and intense battle between a cottonmouth and a copperhead near her cabin in Snowball, Arkansas, close to the Buffalo National River Park in the northern part of the state.

Viper vs. Viper! on Livescience

This incredible video shows how the smartphone has effected “civilian science” and how much easier it is to get in touch with the biologists who need to see these pieces of footage to enhance their understanding of various species. This is why, if you carry a smartphone, you should be ready to preform some civilian science of your own!

Giant Panda Conservation Success!

Giant Panda
Originally Reported by LiveScience by Kacey Deamer.

The giant panda, commonly a symbol for conservation, is no longer considered an endangered species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

In an update to their Red List of Threatened Species on Sunday (Sept. 4), which assesses a species’ conservation status, the IUCN reported the giant panda population has improved enough for the endangered species label to be downgraded to “vulnerable.”

A nationwide census in 2014 found 1,864 giant pandas in the wild in China, excluding cubs — an increase from 1,596 in 2004, according to the IUCN. Including cubs, the current population count is approaching 2,060, the organization said. The report credits forest protection and reforestation measures in China for increasing the available habitat for the species.

On September 4th 2016 the IUCN made a historic update to the conservation status of the Giant Panda. This is huge in the conservation world due to how few major success stories there really are. This is also important because of the way the Giant Panda features as a poster child for conservation efforts. What better than to have it become a true success!

Hopefully this is just a reminder that we can make progress on these cases, and that we need to continue to add to the list of conservation success stories.