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A million years ago… things were worse

January 24, 2010

It’s a lazy, and balmy, Sunday here in Toronto. Rain and heavy fog has coated the city while the temperature is several degrees above zero. There is no snow on the ground at all. Ironic, perhaps, that friggin’ Toronto is having a mild winter while the rest of the world freezes its ass off.

Fortunately, there is the internet to connect us to the world outside our foggy shroud:

Madagascar’s mammals arrived on rafts millions of years ago

Palaeontologists were stumped by the troublesome current until Huber’s co-author Jason Ali, a geologist at the University of Hong Kong in China, asked Huber to look at the problem. In less than a day, Huber had cracked the puzzle. Roughly 60 million years ago, both Madagascar and the African mainland were about 1,650 kilometres south of their current positions, and that, according to Huber’s model, put them in a different ocean gyre.

Sperm recognize siblings, co-operate to beat rivals to the egg

The sperm of some rodent species form ‘trains’. Up to several dozen cells attach to one another using hooks on their heads, and swim in concert. A sperm train can swim up to 50% faster than a lone cell.

Pair of swans get divorced, remarry with new partners

Ms Newth said the old pair had not acknowledged each other with any signs of recognition or greeting – even though they are occupying the same part of the small lake.

Men with nice tits have stronger sperm

Or perhaps I’m not quite reading the story right.

Scientists use VR to try to figure out how outfielders catch fly balls

The three existing theories all predict the same thing: successful catches with very similar behavior,” said Brown researcher William Warren, PhD. “We realized that we could pull them apart by using virtual reality to create physically impossible fly ball trajectories.”

Today: e-readers; Tomorrow: e-boardgames

The camera tracking and projection allow researchers at the HML to anticipate technologies 5-10 years down the road, when thin-film Organic LED screens will allow these kinds of board games to become practical. “We just started thinking about, ‘What if these new screens exist? What could we do with them?” says Professor Vertegaal.

Hidden asteroids are stalking the Earth

The asteroid is never expected to hit Earth and would burn up before hitting the ground in any case. But its unusual orbit (see diagram) seems ingeniously designed to evade our surveys. It is likely that a handful of objects large enough to cause harm are hiding under similar circumstances.

But in Soviet Russia, the Earth stalks hidden asteroids!

Humans almost went extinct one million years ago

Jorde thinks that the diminished genetic diversity one million years ago suggests human ancestors experienced a catastrophic event at that time as devastating as a purported supervolcano thought to have nearly annihilated humans 70,000 years ago. “We’ve gone through these cycles where we’ve had large population size but also where our population has been very, very small,” he says.

Slug-Sucking Snake

It is what it is.

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