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Thursday, January 23, 2020

THE MOON'S COMMENT ON ESA MAKING OXYGEN OUT OF MOONDUST!

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]

Thursday, January 16, 2020

THE TRUE REASON WHY PARROTS "HELP" ONE ANOTHER!

Soo, dear reader, there's this transparent plastic box, divided by a partition with an opening that lets the two halves communicate.
And there're two African gray parrots, one in each half of the box.
And there're two researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany, that do an experiment. 

The researchers give to one of the parrots (parrot A) a bunch of metallic rings as a token. After the token the parrot is given food.
To the other parrot (parrot B), the researchers don't give the token and, therefore, neither food.

At this point parrot A, seen this, passes parrot B one of the metallic rings so that its buddy can have food too.

Researchers then publish a paper on the journal Current Biology where they say that their "findings show that instrumental helping based on a prosocial attitude [...] is present in parrots, suggesting that this capacity evolved convergently in this avian group and mammals" [quote] but that whether "the parrots’ helping behavior was caused by an intrinsic motivation to provide help to familiar conspecifics (= spontaneous prosociality) or by their anticipation of reciprocated help in the future (= reciprocity) remains to be addressed" [quote].

So, dear reader, to sum up, a couple of researchers have found scientific evidence of the first non mammals (parrots) that can be altruistic and help one other (see the video here).

But this dumb blog have a different theory about the "help" thing. See the cartoon to find out.

One parrot is a shark and loan one metal ring to the other one (by @sciencemug)
The true reason why parrots show "kindness" and altruism to one another (by @sciencemug)

[African Gray Parrot's pic by OPi.Toumoto, and cigar pic are under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license (source: Wikimedia Commons); all pics adapted by @sciencemug]

Thursday, January 9, 2020

THE TRUE REASON WHY SEABIRDS EVOLVED THE ABILITY TO USE TOOLS!

Soo, dear reader, a bunch of scientists goes and studies seabirds (more specifically Atlantic Puffins) on Skomer Island, Wales, and sees two of 'em using wooden sticks to scratch themselves.
The researchers publish their finding in a paper on PNAS, stating that this is a "previously unknown tool-use behavior for wild birds, so far only documented in the wild in primates and elephants" (quote). 

But this dumb blog thinks that the researchers got it wrong, and that the true reason why those seabirds evolved the tool use skill, more specifically the ability to use wooden sticks, isn't to scratch their bodies, but it is indeed the one showed in the following cartoon...

Two Atlantic Puffins discussing about the true reason why seabirds evolved the ability to use tools (by @sciencemug)
The true reason why seabirds evolved the ability to use tools (by @sciencemug)

[Atlantic Puffins pic, by Thomas O'Neil, is under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license (source: Wikimedia Commons); adapted by @sciencemug]

Thursday, January 2, 2020

THE TRUE REASON WHY PLANTS TOO EVOLVED KIN RECOGNITION!

Soo, dear reader, it seems that evidence be accumulating about the fact that plants, like animals, evolved kin recognition (for instance, apparently there's the possibility they regulate their root spread according to the presence of relatives nearby).

Here's the true reason why, in this dumb blog's opinion, plants might have evolved the ability to recognize kin.

The true reason why plants too evolved kin recognition (according to @sciencemug)
The true reason why plants too evolved kin recognition (according to @sciencemug)

Happy new year!