Today in Sunday Science: diving flies, clever babies, nuclear thunderstorms and celebrity genes.

I remember being fascinated as a child by those beetles that used to dive in ponds, carrying a silvery bubble of air with them (and frequently trying to catch them – I hasten to add I always put them back). Now scientists have worked out how a tough species of fly stays dry when diving deep into the highly alkaline, salty waters of Lake Mono (featured image).

The mid-Cornwall moors have been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, meaning the unique wildlife there will be protected.

Babies as young as 10 months are able to form judgements about how valuable a goal is because of how much effort people are willing to put into getting it. As far as I’m concerned, this is also further evidence for the ability of young children to outwit their parents. (Study published in Science; link is to Science Daily article).

Thunderstorms can produce nuclear reactions. I had no idea, and reading this gave me that delightful sensation in the brain that happens when my understanding or perspective changes. Link is to a news and views piece, with a podcast – link to original paper is here (behind paywall).

One for the molecular biologists/geneticists: a study of the most-studied genes of all time (yes really) reveals some interesting trends in research. If you’re in the field, you can probably guess what number 1 is (I did), but there are some surprises in there. (Oh, and MTHFR isn’t short for what it sounds like it should be short for!)

 

Image credit: Floris van Breugel/Caltech, via Nature News.

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2 thoughts on “Sunday Science 26/11/17

  1. You actually make it seem so easy together with your presentation but I to find this matter to be actually something that I believe I’d by no means understand. It seems too complex and extremely huge for me. I am looking ahead in your next publish, I’ll attempt to get the dangle of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting Alex. The Sunday Science posts I just include links to interesting science stories I’ve read, including original research papers, which can be very difficult for the non-specialist! I don’t understand all the technicalities of, for example, the paper on thunderstorms causing nuclear reactions. I do other posts in which I explain (or try to!) some of the more interesting stories that I do understand. You might find them an easier read.

      Like

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