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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

THE TRUE REASON WHY DINGOES FLEE FROM THE TUBE-MAN!

A bunch of Australian researchers put an "oversized inflatable human effigy that [they dub] ‘Fred-a-Scare’ [aaah, I love scientists!]" (P) near some food, outdoors. And the science jokers also gear the place with a speaker playing gunshots noises on command.

Then the brains wait and see which of these two tricks of theirs (if any) is able to scare off captive dingoes from getting to the food (they perform three trials, one a day, with a dozen animals).

Well, the bullets voices don't seem to bother the canids much ("11/12 accessing the food; the same as control" (P) on the first trial).

As per our dear waving-&-shaking Fred-a-Scare, ohoh, it surely does the job.

75% of the dingoes, indeed, run away at least once from the tube-man, and, on the last trial, a fat 58% of them keep being scared by it, leaving the food be.

Sooo, the science Aussies conclude that, even if they need field trials to be sure, "in conjunction with other devices and methods, and at intervals that reduce the risk of habituation, the inflatable effigy could provide a valuable tool for deterring dingoes, and perhaps other species, from particular areas, even where food (or potential prey) is present" (P).

Good news for campgrounds and breeders, then.

Buut, dear reader, this dumb blog, in the following cartoon, show you the true reason why dingoes, which are smart animals, stay the heck away from the inflatable tube-men.

 

Dingo and the tube-man (edited by @sciencemug)
Dingo & the tube-men (by @sciencemug)
[The tube-men pic by Joshua Coleman, and the field pic by Stephanie Cook are free images (source: Unslpash);  the dingo pic is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license (source: Wikimedia Commons); all pics are adapted by @sciencemug]





Bibliography

- Smith, B.P., Jaques, N.B., Appleby, R.G., Morris, S., and Jordan, N.R. (2020). Automated shepherds: responses of captive dingoes to sound and an inflatable, moving effigy. Pac. Conserv. Biol.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

LIFE ON VENUS? THE REAL HINT!

Astronomers seem to have found traces (about 20 parts per billion) of a toxic gas called phosphine (PH3) in Venus's atmosphere (P).

"What's the big deal?", you asks, dear hard-to-impress reader?

Weeell, see, the "presence of PH3 is unexplained after exhaustive study of steady-state chemistry and photochemical pathways, with no currently known abiotic production routes in Venus’s atmosphere, clouds, surface and subsurface, or from lightning, volcanic or meteoritic delivery. [Therefore] PH3 could originate from unknown photochemistry or geochemistry, or, by analogy with biological production of PH3 on Earth, [- and that's the treat, dear reader -] from the presence of life [and, in that case, of a bug's life (hehe, see what I did? Eh?), most probably...]" (P)

The astro brains, for their study, used data collected by the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in 2017 and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in 2019, which revealed the spectral signature of phosphine.

This dumb blog, right below, provides you, dear reader, a snapshot of Venus and a transcription of its comment on the matter.

Venus comments the possibility of hosting microbial life (by @sciencemug)
Life on Venus (by @sciencemug)
[Venus pic by NASA is a Public Domain image (source: Wikimedia Commons); adapted by @sciencemug]




The paper this post is about (P)
-  Greaves, J.S., Richards, A.M.S., Bains, W., Rimmer, P.B., Sagawa, H., Clements, D.L., Seager, S., Petkowski, J.J., Sousa-Silva, C., Ranjan, S., et al. (2020). Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venus. Nature Astronomy 1–10.

Monday, August 17, 2020

OF MASKS AND PANDEMIC: SHOOTERS

Imagine this.
 

There are people with a loaded machine gun.
 

These people know that, in most cases, their machine gun is loaded with blanks, but they're also fully aware that, sometimes, their weapon is loaded with actual bullets.
 

The only thing these people don't know for sure is whether their machine gun will shoot blanks or actual rounds.

Now imagine that these people, by choice, go around, among other folks, constantly pulling the trigger of such machine gun of theirs (*).

Well, to me, these people are exactly like the ones who, in these days, having the possibility of doing it, by choice don't wear a mask.



(*) Moreover, these people also refuses to wear bulletproof vests even though many projectiles are flying around – some possibly even shot by people quite like ‘em - and they risk from suffering a flesh-wound, to ending up in the hospital (on a bed that, for this, by the way, is no more available for a poor unlucky vest-wearing lad who’s been hit anyway) to being killed.




Related Papers (Updated on 01-Sept-2020)
- Esposito, S., Principi, N., Leung, C.C., and Migliori, G.B. (2020). Universal use of face masks for success against COVID-19: evidence and implications for prevention policies. European Respiratory Journal 55.
- Fears, A.C., Klimstra, W.B., Duprex, P., Hartman, A., Weaver, S.C., Plante, K.S., Mirchandani, D., Plante, J.A., Aguilar, P.V., Fernández, D., et al. Persistence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in Aerosol Suspensions - Volume 26, Number 9—September 2020 - Emerging Infectious Diseases journal - CDC.
- Furukawa, N.W., Brooks, J.T., and Sobel, J. Evidence Supporting Transmission of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 While Presymptomatic or Asymptomatic - Volume 26, Number 7—July 2020 - Emerging Infectious Diseases journal - CDC.
- Gao, Z., Xu, Y., Sun, C., Wang, X., Guo, Y., Qiu, S., and Ma, K. (2020). A systematic review of asymptomatic infections with COVID-19. J Microbiol Immunol Infect.
- Jones, N.R., Qureshi, Z.U., Temple, R.J., Larwood, J.P.J., Greenhalgh, T., and Bourouiba, L. (2020). Two metres or one: what is the evidence for physical distancing in covid-19? BMJ 370.
- Lee, S., Meyler, P., Mozel, M., Tauh, T., and Merchant, R. (2020). Asymptomatic carriage and transmission of SARS-CoV-2: What do we know? Can J Anesth/J Can Anesth.
- Leung, N.H.L., Chu, D.K.W., Shiu, E.Y.C., Chan, K.-H., McDevitt, J.J., Hau, B.J.P., Yen, H.-L., Li, Y., Ip, D.K.M., Peiris, J.S.M., et al. (2020). Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks. Nature Medicine 26, 676–680.
- McFee, R.B. (2020). SARS 2 human coronavirus (COVID -19, SARS CoV2). Disease-a-Month 101063.
- Morawska, L., and Cao, J. (2020). Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2: The world should face the reality. Environment International 139, 105730.
- Rothe, C., Schunk, M., Sothmann, P., Bretzel, G., Froeschl, G., Wallrauch, C., Zimmer, T., Thiel, V., Janke, C., Guggemos, W., et al. (2020). Transmission of 2019-nCoV Infection from an Asymptomatic Contact in Germany. N Engl J Med 382, 970–971.
-Zhang, R., Li, Y., Zhang, A.L., Wang, Y., and Molina, M.J. (2020). Identifying airborne transmission as the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19. PNAS 117, 14857–14863.

OF MASKS AND PANDEMIC: THE WTTIHITMOMFIFB SYNDROME

In these troublesome times (1) a new syndrome is spreading as fast as the pandemic, and its insurgence started just a short while after that of the new coronavirus. 
I am talking about the: "What?! The Thing I Have In The Middle Of My Face Is For Breathing?" (WTTIHITMOMFIFB) Syndrome. 
It affects many, many people, who, poor things, risk a severe shock whenever reminded that the mask, when worn, must cover BOTH their mouth & nose, 'cause, yup, they breathe also (well, mainly) through their nose - these folks almost always faint when they're told that, oh yeah, the nose is made basically for this, breathing, rather than to be a playground for picky fingers or worst - and therefore, since breathing means inhaling AND exhaling, well, what comes out of such nose of theirs can be as a

PiPs with mask (by @sciencemug)
PiPs with mask (by @sciencemug)

source of infection for who's around 'em as what's coming out of their mouths (2)(3)(4) (letting alone the fact that their unprotected nose is an anatomical device that, by default, takes in the 100% of anything the air carries, included, among other things, viruses shed by other people… (5))

So, basically, those affected by the WTTIHITMOMFIFB Syndrome, put for sure themselves in danger, along with the ones in range of their nose-made potentially virus-lulling aerosol (6).



Bibliography (Updated on 1-Sept-2020)

1- McFee, R.B. (2020). SARS 2 human coronavirus (COVID -19, SARS CoV2). Disease-a-Month 101063.
2- Leung, N.H.L., Chu, D.K.W., Shiu, E.Y.C., Chan, K.-H., McDevitt, J.J., Hau, B.J.P., Yen, H.-L., Li, Y., Ip, D.K.M., Peiris, J.S.M., et al. (2020). Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks. Nature Medicine 26, 676–680.
3- Morawska, L., and Cao, J. (2020). Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2: The world should face the reality. Environment International 139, 105730.
4-Zhang, R., Li, Y., Zhang, A.L., Wang, Y., and Molina, M.J. (2020). Identifying airborne transmission as the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19. PNAS 117, 14857–14863.
5- Esposito, S., Principi, N., Leung, C.C., and Migliori, G.B. (2020). Universal use of face masks for success against COVID-19: evidence and implications for prevention policies. European Respiratory Journal 55.
6-Fears, A.C., Klimstra, W.B., Duprex, P., Hartman, A., Weaver, S.C., Plante, K.S., Mirchandani, D., Plante, J.A., Aguilar, P.V., Fernández, D., et al. Persistence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in Aerosol Suspensions - Volume 26, Number 9—September 2020 - Emerging Infectious Diseases journal - CDC.



Tuesday, April 28, 2020

THE TRUE REASON WHY AMERICAN ROBINS MIGRATE EARLIER!

A bunch of researchers from a bunch of US universities finds out that the timing of American robins' (Turdus migratorius) "spring migration to [their] Arctic-boreal breeding grounds" (P) got 12 days earlier in the last 20 years (about 5 days per decade in the 1998-2018 time period).

Moreover, the brains analyze data collected between 2016-2018 from GPS tracking devices stuck on the backs of 55 American robins. And these data indicate that "the [American robins'] arrival timing and likelihood of stopovers, and timing of arrival to breeding grounds" (P) are highly impacted by the environmental conditions the birds find along their migratory paths. Among the factors, the "dynamics in snow conditions" (P) appear to be a key one

The researchers' study (P) is published on the journal Environmental Research Letters and can contribute in creating predicting models of birds' responses to climate change.

The findings are coherent with what scientists already know, which is that one of the strongest effects of "global climate change has been the advancement of spring at high northern latitudes [...] where temperatures are rising nearly two to three times faster than the global average" (P), and that migratory birds adjust their trips' schedule to their breeding territories in response to the changes in local climate. 

But, dear reader, this dumb blog has an alternative explanation for the earlier migration's timing of American robins. And a cartoon to explain it.


American robins discuss about smart early departures (by @sciencemug)
American robins discuss about smart early departures (by @sciencemug)

[American robin pic by Mark Nenadov is under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license (source: Wikimedia Commons); adapted by @sciencemug]

Now, the following ones hare just for fun...


Batman and Robin meme 1 about American robins' earlier migration's timing (by @sciencemug)
Batman and Robin meme 1 about American robins' earlier migration's timing (by @sciencemug)

[Batman and Robin meme pic by ap. is under Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) license (source: flickr); adapted by @sciencemug]


Batman and Robin meme 2 about American robins' earlier migration's timing (by @sciencemug)
Batman and Robin meme 2 about American robins' earlier migration's timing (by @sciencemug)

[Batman and Robin meme pic by ap. is under Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) license (source: flickr); adapted by @sciencemug]


Paper (P)

Oliver, R.Y., Mahoney, P.J., Gurarie, E., Krikun, N., Weeks, B.C., Hebblewhite, M., Liston, G., and Boelman, N. (2020). Behavioral responses to spring snow conditions contribute to long-term shift in migration phenology in American robins. Environ. Res. Lett. 15, 045003.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

É ARRIVATO IL NUOVO PODCAST IN ITALIANO: @sciencemug ITALIA!


Oooh bentrovato e bentrovata oh tu che ascolti/parli/pensi in italiano, qui su @sciencemug, il podcast/blog che racconta la scienza mentre contempla il dorso della tartaruga che regge l’elefante che regge il mondo che si gratta sguaiatamente l'Himalaya, eeee sente anche le voci del multiverso cantare il caos armonico del tutto e occasionalmente raccontare barzellette sconce con in sottofondo l’inconfondibile brusio del bar più malfamato della costellazione del Tucano.
 

Volevo informarti, caro auscultatore e cara auscultatrice, che ora potrai goderti ooogni contenuto di questo matto podcast anche in italiano.
 

“Perché?”, mi chiedi con un vago accenno di scettico sospetto? 

Beh, caro auscultatore e cara auscultatrice, perché adesso esiste anche @sciencemug ITALIA, dove potrai ascoltare tuuuti i nuovi episodi, e un po’ alla volta anche quelli vecchi, in italiano, appunto.
 

@sciencemug ITALIA è su iTunes, Spotify, Anchor, Castbox e presto sarà disponibile anche su altre piattaforme.
 

Benone, oh voi del quelli che il podcast sì ma solo in italiano, la notizia ve l’ho data, adesso vi saluto, che devo tornare a inseguire il bianconiglio.
Ciaz!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

THE TRUTH ABOUT FLAMINGOS' SOCIAL LIFE!

Soo, dear reader, from 2013 to 2016 a bunch of scientists studies (P) flocks of captive flamingos at the WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, a center for science and conservation in the UK.

And the brains find out that the pink birds have pretty intense social lives, that the larger their flocks the more frequent their social behaviors, that "arrangements of dyads, trios and quartets with higher ties strengths were visible [with both] male-male and female-female [stable over time] bonds", and, ultimately, that "flamingo societies are complex (i.e. formed of long-standing preferential partnerships and not loose, random connections)" (P).

So, dear reader, for you and you only, this dumb blog, in the two following cartoons, respectively reports a truth that the good researchers failed to uncover (A), and a common example of what the intense social life those cool flamingos have looks like (B).



A flamingo complaining about the smartphones' design by @sciencemug)
A flamingo complaining about the smartphones' design by @sciencemug)

 [Free flamingo pic by Lieselot. Dalle (source: Unsplash); smartphone free pic by Neil Soni (source: Unsplash); all pics adapted by @sciencemug]
B
Two flamingos runnnig on water (by @sciencemug)
Two flamingos runnnig on water (by @sciencemug)

Free flamingos pic by Dattatreya Patra (source: Unsplash); adapted by @sciencemug] 


Paper (P)

Thursday, April 2, 2020

THE TRUE NATURE OF CATS-SPECIFIC MUSIC (THE ONE THAT LOWERS THE FELINES STRESS LEVEL)!

So, dear listener, a bunch of researchers do a study (P) on the effects of cat-specific music on the felines' stress level when the furry pets go to the veterinary.

And the scientists find that: "cat-specific music can significantly lower stress-related behaviors in cats visiting the veterinary clinic for wellness examinations. Adding cat-specific music to veterinary offices as environmental enrichment could provide great value to the cat’s welfare in the clinic" (P).

The cat-specific music the scientists refers to is "purring and suckling sounds [...] layered into tempos and frequencies used in feline vocalization music" (P)

But, dear reader, this dumb blog in the following cartoon is showing you the real nature of the "cat-specific music" the cats find so relaxing.

A cat listening to relaxing cat-specific music (by @sciencmeug)
A cat listening to relaxing cat-specific music (by @sciencemug)

[Cat free pic by Michael Sum (source: Unsplash); iPod free pic by Zhang Kenny (source: Unsplash); headphones free pic by Brett Jordan (source: Unsplash); all pics adapted by @sciencemug]

'Cause, let's admit it pal, cats are fundamentally beautiful jerks...


Paper (P)
Amanda Hampton, Alexandra Ford, Roy E Cox, Chin-chi Liu, Ronald Koh (2020) Effects of music on behavior and physiological stress response of domestic cats in a veterinary clinic - Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 22, 122–128.
 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

THE TRUE REASON WHY THE ICE AGE MAMMOTH-BONES CIRCLES HAVE COME TO EXISTENCE!

Science knows since a while that, in Eastern Europe, there're man (hunters-gatherers) made circlular structures "built" with mammoth' bones associated with "artefact assemblages" (P). These features date back to across the Upper Palaeolithic (i.e. 22 - and more - thousands years ago) (P).

They consist of a ring of mammoth bones with a diameter of various meters usually surrounded by "a series of large pits" thought to have been used for "the storage of food or bone fuel, rubbish disposal or simply as quarries for loess used to construct the [very same] features" (P).

The structures are commonly reckoned as "to be the remains of dwellings that offered shelter during long, full glacial winter seasons or possibly year round" (P).

A recent research on a freshly dug out structure, though, challenges that view in a way supporting alternative hypothesis, like that that sees the mammoth-bones circles being "monumental architecture or possible ceremonial features" (P). 
The studied mammoth-bones circle with a diameter of 12.5 meters (41 feet), indeed, has no obvious entrance and shows a "relative scarcity of minute debitage [that] seems incongruous for a putative dwelling" (P)

The feature is located at the already famous (for this kind of structures) Kostenki 11 site (aka Anosovka 2) which is close to the Don River, near the city of Voronezh, in the European south-western Russia (51°23′08′′ north, 39°03′05′′ east) (P).

Said that, dear reader, this dumb blog has its own hypotesis about how and why the mammoth-bones circles have been made by humans. See the following cartoon.

Two gatherers-hunters and a mammoth-bones circle (by @sciencemug)
Two hunters-gatherers and a circle of mommoth-bones (by @sciencemug)

[Meat pic by Clker-Free-Vector-Images is under Pixabay Licence (source Pixabay); adapted by @sciencemug]


Paper (P) 
Pryor,A.J.E., Beresford-Jones, D.G., Dudin, A.E., Ikonnikova, E.M., J.F., Hoffecker, and Gamble ,C. (2020). The chronology and function of a new circular mammoth-bone structure at Kostenki 11 | Antiquity | Cambridge Core 94,323-341

Thursday, March 12, 2020

OF PARROTS AND PROBABILITIES!

Soo, dear reader, parrots can understand probabilities, and that's news 'cause so far only great apes (including you, humans) were thought to have such an ability.

A study (P) indeed shows that kea (Nestor notabilis) are capable of "true statistical inference" (P) and this "has important implications not only [to understand] how intelligence evolves, but also for research focused on creating [...] artificial general intelligence" (P).

But, dear reader, this dumb blog has evidence - see the following cartoon - that parrots' porpbabilities reading skills are not at all that good...

Parrots discuss about investments, stock market and probabilities (by @sciencemug)
Parrots and probabilities (by @sciencemug)

[Kea parrot (Nestor notabilis) pic by Murray Dawson is under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (source: Wikimedia Commons); adapted by @sciencemug]

Wanna see another cartoon 'bout parrots and the fact that they are altruistic? Check this out!


Paper (P)
Bastos, A.P.M., and Taylor, A.H. (2020). Kea show three signatures of domain-general statistical inference. Nat Commun 11, 1–8.