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Thursday, February 20, 2020


So, dear reader, a bunch of researchers in Minnesota, USA, for the first time ever observe an adult wolf giving blueberries to pups as food (the wolf regurgitated the berries to feed 'em to the pups).
According to the scientists, their finding "suggests wild berries might be a more valuable food source for wolves in southern boreal ecosystems than previously appreciated" (see).

In this dumb blog's opinion, the following cartoon shows what was actually going on, between the adult wolf and the pups, when they were spotted by the researchers.

Wolves and blueberries (by @sciencemug)
Wolves and blueberries (by @sciencemug)
[Wolves free pic is by M L (source: Unsplash); adapted by @sciencemug]

Wanna see a video of an adult wolf eating blueberries? Check this out.

Thursday, February 13, 2020


Bumblebees face extinction, and one of the main causes is human driven climate change that makes the number of extremely hot days to skyrocket (see).

Three researchers from the University of Ottawa and the University College London, indeed, checked long-term data about 66 species of bumble bees buzzing in North America and Europe. The scientists wanted to find out whether "increasing frequency of hotter temperatures predicts species’ local extinction risk, chances of colonizing a new area, and changing species richness" (see).
Well, dear reader, as just stated, it does.

This dumb blog, on the following cartoon, reports the bumblebees' thoughts on the matter.

Bumblebees talk of climate change pushing them on the verge of extinction (by @sciencemug)
Bumblebees talk of extinction and climate change (by @sciencemug)

[Bumblebee pic by Windslash is under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license (source: flickr); adapted by @sciencemug]

Thursday, February 6, 2020


600 light-years faraway Betelgeuse red supergiant (destined to go supernova in probably some tens of thousands years) keeps "to gradually decrease in brightness" (less 25% since just last September 2019) (see), and astronomers don't exactly know why, but they think it could be due to "changes in the envelop-outer convection atmosphere" (see) of the star, also known as Alpha Orionis.

Well, pal, this dumb blog has a different explanation for that. See the following cartoon.

Betelgeuse red supergiant wears sunglasses (by @sciencemug)
Betelgeuse red supergiant wears sunglasses (by @sciencemug)

[Betelgeuse pic by Dave Jarvis is under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license; the sunglasses pic by Donald Trung Quoc Don is under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license; (source of both pics: Wikimedia Commons); all pics adapted by @sciencemug]

Thursday, January 30, 2020


Keywords: Christmas, Xmas, Black Friday, charity, economics, experimental economics

Ooooh, hello dear English speaking-reading-hearing listener, welcome back to me, @sciencemug, the blog/podcast/twitter&instagram accounts/entity behind the unsuccessful e-shop stuffngo on which can hold its breath for 55 straight hours since it has neither lungs nor cardiovascular system (let alone a brain in need of oxygen), aaand which talks to you thanks to the voice, kidnapped via a voodoo-wireless trick, from a veeery very very dumb human.
Aaand which does all of this in Eng?ish, a language that is to proper English what to publish the second part of a Xmas episode closer to Valentine’s day than to Christmas itself is to something belonging to the realm of the things that make even a pale imitation of sense...

Soo dear listener, in the previous episode I told you the first of two studies (study 1 and study 2) about seasonal effects on people’s propensity to donate to charity and ‘bout its surprising findings: on Christmas time donations are less than on summer time, and this is a trend unexpectedly driven by prosocial individuals (i.e. people with a predisposition to generosity), who donate less frequently and less money during winter Holidays.
The studies are performed by two researchers of the German University of Gottingen, Dr. Stephan Muller and Professor of Experimental Economics Holger A. Rau (aka the Rau's Duo, or the RDs) and are published on a paper (P) on the open access scientific journal PLOSONE.

In this episode, dear listener, I’ll tell you what the RDs do to understand why is that people, especially prosocials, are less generous on Xmas time than on summer, in other words, what are the “[d]rivers of the lower donations (P).

Listen to the podcast episode
on iTunes

So, the Rau’s Duo performs its second study (study 2) the week after the Black Friday, that is in November. The researchers recruit again subjects from the Gottingen University, but none of those already involved in the previous study (study 1) or in other similar studies.

The RDs pick 72 persons (42 females and 30 males) between 18 and 50 years old with an average age of 22 and a half.

The first part of study 2 is identical to study 1 (do you remember dear reader? Semi fake money called Talers that can be donated to the German Red Cross, Social Value Orientation (SVO) evaluation of prosocials, individualistics, competitives, and so on and on (if you don’t remember, dear listener, well, don’t worry, just check the previous post/episode and maybe consider implementing your diet with some phosphorus, but hurry up mate, since world’s irreplaceable reserves of this essential stuff are depleting at an alarming rate (see)).

Anyway, dear listener, of the 72 individuals initially selected for study 2, only 66 are eventually tested (of which fifty are prosocials, and sixteen individualistics). The competitives and the “none of the above” are indeed, as happened in study 1, discharged.

So, dear listener, surprise surprise, the results of this first part of study 2 are basically the same of study 1: meaning those sneaky prosocials are the ones responsible for sinking the donations rate on Xmas season, while individualistics are steady cheap lads both in summer and winter holiday time.

At this point the second phase of study 2 starts. Unlike in study 1,

Thursday, January 23, 2020


The European Space Agency (ESA) has now a prototype plant that produces oxygen out of simulated moondust, i.e. out of stuff similar to the actual regolith, "a layer of loose, heterogeneous material, composed of mostly dust and rock fragments" [quote] that covers almost all Moon's surface and is made up of "40–45% oxygen by weight" [quote].

ESA's final goal is to have a working plant "that could operate sustainably on the Moon, with the first technology demonstration targeted for the mid-2020s" [quote].   

ESA's new prototype facility is in the Materials and Electrical Components Laboratory of the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, in the Netherlands.

The following cartoon reports the Moon's comment on this news.

Moon's comment on ESA making oxygen out of moondust! (by @sciencemug)
Moon's comment on ESA producing oxygen out of moondust (by @sciencemug)

[Moon's free pic by Neven Krcmarek (source: Unsplash); adapted by @sciencemug]