Archaeologists have found the oldest wooden structure ever found. It is a 7000 year old wooden well in eastern Europe. Scientists used dendrochronology to determine how old the wood is. The well shows sophisticated carpentry skills for neolithic people.
Scientists in the UK and Germany have viewed individual metal atoms making and breaking bonds. They used carbon nanotubes as a scaffold to hold the atoms in place. This is with individual rhenium atoms. You can see the distance between the atoms grow and shrink depending on the environment. It looks like this type of microscopy will become important in chemistry.
The Northern White Rhinos are almost extinct. There are two still alive, and both are females. This does not bode well for future cute baby rhinos. But scientists have saved the sperm of some currently dead male white rhinos, and they’ve managed to create viable embryos using eggs from one of the living rhinos and some of this sperm. They plan to implant it in a surrogate mother (a southern white rhino) soon.
Well, they’re not going to do it by hand — too many to plant. But having a machine do it, that could work. But it has to move over rough terrain. DRONES! That’s it, we’ll use drones!
While they’re mollusks, there’re not brainless. In fact, most of their brain is spread throughout their 8 arms. They like puzzles, make friends, and remember people. Sadly, they have short lives and can’t pass on their knowledge to their offspring because they die soon after reproducing.
Read this fascinating article: Deep Intellect.
Dead Zones are areas in the oceans that have very little oxygen. They don’t have enough oxygen to support most marine life. We’ve known about them for a long time, but now the number of them are increasing rapidly. This threatens populations of large fish, including tuna.
This is tied in with climate change, because warmer water can’t hold as much oxygen as colder water. Over time, this will have profound effects on many marine populations.
Vaccines save 2 million lives per year compared to 1990. 10 million saved in the US since 1960.
Sometimes it can seem that no matter what you say, you can’t get through. Many times this happens because of a framing problem. No, not carpentry framing, but conversational framing. Have you had a conversation with someone where you’ve had a bad day and you just want to complain about it, but the person you’re talking with keeps giving advice? You just need to get these things off your chest so you can move on, but it’s like the other person keeps putting up these speedbumps in the conversation that slow things down and makes the conversation kind of awkward. You’re having a framing problem. You want to complain and then be done, and your friend thinks you’re having some problems and just need some advice.
These two articles are about this. This one at lifehacker points out how it happens. It references this other blog post at lesswrong. You should really read the lifehacker one, as it is a good introduction. The lesswrong one is more in-depth.
I’ve noticed this happening at home, where my wife wants to unload and complain about something, and I want to be useful and give advice. It turns out that giving advice is something that males really like to do. But it gets in the way when the other person isn’t looking for advice. I’ve found that if I can recognize when I have that urge to give advice and then think “does the other person want the advice, or do they want to unload” helps to keep me from being the speedbump person and inadvertently making the conversation difficult for both of us.
This kind of self-reflection on something I’m about to do (give advice) and then backing off when it isn’t appropriate can really be useful in lowering the friction in a relationship.
Yes, rats have been trained to drive.
Not actual cars, but small vehicles in a lab. They can control left, right, and forward. The rats learned to drive to get food. And scientists found that learning to drive seemed to reduce stress.
The ability of rats to drive these cars demonstrates the “neuroplasticity” of their brains, says Lambert. This refers to their ability to respond flexibly to novel challenges. “I do believe that rats are smarter than most people perceive them to be, and that most animals are smarter in unique ways than we think,” she says.
And there are neat videos of rats driving their “cars”.
Here’s another article that includes information on the two groups of rats involved, including that they seemed to enjoy just driving their cars even if there were no treats involved, but only if they lived with many other rats in an enriching environment.
Some scientists painted stripes on cows, and found that it halved the number of biting insects. This could help ranchers save money, and is healthier than spraying pesticides on cattle.