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Animals Nature Science

Studying woodpeckers is helping prevent brain trauma

“When you’re hit on the football field, parts of your brain may fizz like a just-opened can of soda.”

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#nature #birds #study #science #football #menatlhealth

“When you’re hit on the football field, parts of your brain may fizz like a just-opened can of soda.”

The brain released humans from the prison of biology.
So why do we do anything that damages our ability to think? Because of sports like football that entertain.

However, a new technology designed to mimic a woodpecker’s shock-absorbing beak may prevent football players from brain injury.

“It likely clinched its jugular vein with its long omohyoid muscle, protecting against brain slosh by filling its brain with blood.”

Scientists first theorized that increasing blood to the brain would help safeguard the head against collisions. Existing data revealed that playing football at higher altitudes generated fewer concussions. However, scientist Joseph Fisher thought he could still protect players’ brains without suffocating their oxygen. He went back to study the physiology of the woodpecker’s distinctive “omohyoid solution” for battling head trauma.

“forget CO2, Fisher thought. All you needed was to press lightly on the neck. Fisher bought a pair of headphones at an electronics store, bent the metal band a little, and placed them around his neck with the pads against his jugular veins.”

Naturally, scientists tested the hypothesis on rats by putting a neckband on them and forcing collisions. The neck-protected rats saw an “83 percent reduction in brain damage compared to rats that didn’t.” Scientists got approval to test a neck collar on high school football players.

“The kids who had worn the collar, on the other hand, saw significantly fewer changes. Their brains hadn’t suffered the same way. The findings were also replicated in hockey players. What worked for woodpeckers seemed to work for humans. A little extra blood in the skull swaddled the brain enough to reduce damage.”

In other words, squeezing the jugular sends just enough blood to the head to prevent brain injury and in the long-run, dementia caused by CTE. Astonishing, right? It makes you think why the NFL does not have an R&D department. The worst-case scenario? Figure out how to play American football using bubbles.

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Nature Science

Visualizing the hours of daylight in one year

Visualizing the hours of daylight in one year #gif #earth #space #sunlight #winter #seasons #summer

Reddit user harpalss used animation software D3 to create a beautiful visualization of the changing patterns of daylight in one year. This is how the user describes it:

Equation to calculate the hours of daylight for a given day of year and latitude can be found here. The animation was built with D3.

Both the northern and southern hemispheres experience longer and shorter days, depending on the time of year. That means less daylight right now (late November) for those in the United States and Canada and longer days for those in South America.

As Visual Capitalist accurately describes the data visualization:

Daytime is shorter in winter than in summer, for each hemisphere. This is because the Earth’s imaginary axis isn’t straight up and down, it is tilted 23.5 degrees. The Earth’s movement around this axis causes the change between day and night.

During summer in the Northern Hemisphere, daylight hours increase the farther north you go. The Arctic gets very little darkness at night. The seasonal changes in daylight hours are small near the Equator and more extreme close to the poles.

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Nature Science

Researchers are developing a new vaccine to treat Lyme Disease

Scientists are developing a vaccine to help treat Lyme disease.

Humans can get Lyme disease through the transmission of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium from the bite of an infected tick.

Called VLA15, the vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to make antibodies that ward off 6 of the most common types of Lyme-causing bacteria in the tick’s gut.

Valneva, the biotech company in France developing the vaccine, is currently in phase II of testing. Writes the Scientific American:

The Food and Drug Administration gave VLA15 fast-track designation in July 2017. Valneva completed initial safety studies in a Phase 2 clinical trial and, according to a company press release , VLA15 “had no associated safety concerns.” The company is now working to determine the dose. Based on current estimates, Lingelbach said Valneva plans to test the vaccine in a clinical trial of at least 15,000 people, and it should be available in four or five years.

There is a second immunity being developed to prevent Lyme disease as well.

Called Lyme pre-exposure prophylaxis (Lyme PrEP), it works by sending a single antibody as a vaccine and is known to have fewer side effects than the VLA15.

The new vaccines build off the original Lyme disease vaccine called LYMErix developed twenty years ago. But production stopped due to fears of the side effects.

Unlike other viruses, Lyme disease is hard to treat since it pervades the body’s tissue in addition to the blood. Joint pain, heart palpitations, muscle weakness, and confusion are some of the symptoms of Lyme disease.

In a worst-case scenario, the bacteria can even dominate the entire central nervous system, producing disastrous effects on the human body.

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Nature Travel

Australia is building car-less neighborhoods

Melbourne, often ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities, is looking to construct neighborhoods where people will never have to use a car.

The city is creating “20-minute neighborhoods” that make going from home to the office, school, grocery, or doctor’s office no more than 20 minutes away.

Whether on foot, bike, or trolley, Melbourne residents will be able to get around the city to their most visited spots with even needing to dial up Uber.

From New York City’s Times Square to Barcelona and Hamburg, cities are reversing the automobile obsession for more traditional and healthier transportation needs.

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Nature

The 2019 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Yongqing Bao’s photo of a fox surprising a marmot in the Qilian Mountains in China won the top prize in the 2019 Wildlife Photography Awards.

The photograph entitled “The Moment” is a suitable title of a freeze-frame that foreshadows the fox’s imminent attack.

What makes the marmot’s palpable shock more extraordinary is that the animal had just ventured outside for a hunt of its own after spending 6 months in hibernation.

Writes the Natural History Museum in London which hosts the prestigious annual awards show:

This Himalayan marmot was not long out of hibernation when it was surprised by a mother Tibetan fox with three hungry cubs to feed. With lightning-fast reactions, Yongqing captured the attack – the power of the predator baring her teeth, the terror of her prey, the intensity of life and death written on their faces.

As one of the highest-altitude-dwelling mammals, the Himalayan marmot relies on its thick fur for survival through the extreme cold. In the heart of winter it spends more than six months in an exceptionally deep burrow with the rest of its colony. Marmots usually do not resurface until spring, an opportunity not to be missed by hungry predators.

Check out more of the best wildlife photos of 2019 here.

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Nature

The other side of the rainbow

Have you ever wondered what’s on the other side of the rainbow?

These two videos reveal a stunning full rainbow in their entirety, one from many stories up and the other from the beach.

Rainbows — they are a full circle of light but we typically see the arc because most people view them from ground level.

Take another 360 degrees look of this spectrum of beauty from the sky above.

360 degrees of rainbow full arc
Photo via Scott Hefti/tw

Yet, even cooler may be seeing a rainbow at night, what’s deemed a “moonbow.” This image was taken by photographer Fred Wilder, who writes:

In the spring around the nights of the full moon when the snow is melting in the mountains, it is possible to see rainbows at night in the mist of waterfalls in Yosemite National Park. These lunar rainbows, to the camera, look like the ones produced by sunlight during the days that are visible to our eyes.

This image was taken during the June full moon at lower Yosemite Falls. It is a combination of 25 x 30-second images to provide the equivalent of 12 1/2 minutes of exposure to show the stars circling the north pole. The camera lens needed to be wiped dry between shots due to the large amount of mist at the base of the waterfall, so the star trails wiggle a little as this moved the camera a bit … I find it really cool that the light of the full moon can produce this rich color at night.

Fred Wilder
Rainbow in Yosemite National Park at night
Photo by Fred Wilder

Rainbows can also display as clouds, almost always above a large body of water.

Rainbows, they brighten up the day. Now we just need to find out which side contains the pot of gold.

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Nature Science

Tokyo’s skyline turns pink and purple colors before typhoon Hagibis

As Typhoon Hagibis approached Tokyo on Saturday, residents captured images of an unusually pink skyline that gradually turned a spooky purple. 

While beautiful the vivid skies augured what would become a dangerous storm that unleashed heavy rain and strong wind. A magnitude 5.7 earthquake also shook Tokyo shortly after.

NPR reports 19 dead and 16 missing in Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures thus far. 

The colorful skies are a result of a process called “scattering,” where the sunlight shining down on Earth gets kicked around the moisture in the air giving rise to the pink and purple hues.

The typhoon left Tokyo late Saturday, leaving the city with a crystal clear blue sky on Sunday morning.

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Architecture & Design Nature Sports Travel

A timelapse of the Pas-de-Calais region

The Pas-de-Calais department hired a creative agency to promote travel to Northern France.

After taking 350,000 photos, the result is a beautiful look in both timelapse and hyperlapse formats at the diversity of the Pas-de-Calais region’s environment with an emphasis on architecture, landscape, and sport.

This video project was commissioned by the Pas-de-Calais department to promote its territory. While waiting for an original and creative idea, we opted for a dynamic video only realized in timelapse and in hyperlapse.

Through various themes (nature, memory, sport, …) we have, for two months, crisscrossed the Pas-de-Calais to capture the best of this beautiful department.
3 intense minutes to make you want to discover or rediscover this space so rich, conducive to change of scenery and the meeting of a marked culture.

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Nature Science

How 16-year-old Greta Thunberg inspired a climate strike movement

“No one is too small to make a difference,” says 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

Ever since the Swede took to the Swedish Parliament last year to call for stronger climate action against global warming, she’s inspired similar strikes across the globe.

On Friday, thousands of students skipped school and adults skipped work in cities around the world from New York to Paris, Nairobi, Seoul, Bangkok, Islamabad, and Johannesburg to protest inaction on climate change.

“We deserve a safe future,” said Greta Thunberg in her speech at the New York Climate Strike to an estimate 250,000 people.

A reluctant activist who proclaims Asperger Syndrome as her superpower, Thunberg serves as a reminder that all it takes the effort of one dedicated and persistent individual to change the world.

As Margaret Mead once wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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Animals Nature

Lollimeow Pet Carrier: A backpack that allows you to take your kitty anywhere

Ever wanted to take your kitty for a long walk through nature?

This pet carrier breathable backpack made by Lollimeow allows owners to take their fellow felines wherever the human wants to go.

The bag contains a bubble window for hiking with 9 large ventilation holes on both sides and the front.

A backpack that allows you to take your kitty anywhere

It’s time to let the cat out of the bag

There are obvious space and safety issues with the bag. Imagine using this on a hot day, not to mention potential bathroom mishaps.

Some folks might prefer to take their cats for a walk on a leash or in a stroller.

Of course, the ideal scenario for any curious cat is freedom from the tyranny of indoors.

All in all, the backpack may come most handy as a convenient go-to traveler for short trips to the vet. But it’s also airline approved!

Use wisely.