November 25, 2013

Wine Cellar Unearthed In Ancient Canaanite City – On Science

Archaeologists are popping bottles!

Who’s wine-ing about marriage?

A toxic relationship with grapes.

And a hot new theory on Mars! That’s today…On Science!

Hello and welcome to On Science. I’m Emerald Robinson.

Archeologists have uncorked a huge find in the Near East. Well, there might be more than a little dust on these bottles. A wine cellar dating back to 1,700 BC was found in northern Israel. The wine was found in a Canaanite city not far from many modern-day wineries. The ancient cellar contained forty jars of what would have been fifty liters of strong, sweet wine. Archaeologists say the cellar is unmatched not only in age but also size at 15-by-25 feet. Chemical analysis showed the presence of honey, mint, cinnamon bark, juniper berries, and resins, which were typical found in ancient wines. Sounds like a Christmas drink. And there are two more doors found in the cellar that they didn’t have time to explore but will do so in 2015. What’s behind door #1? Probably more wine.

But more wine isn’t necessarily a good idea for the old ball and chain. A new study by the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions warns that if one spouse is a heavier drinker than the other, then the marriage may be doomed. If both are sots, the divorce rate was the same as if neither drank heavily. Over the nine-year study, almost half of the couples where one partner was a heavy drinker ended up in divorce. For all other couples, the divorce rate was 30%. The rate was also slightly higher if it was the wife in the marriage who was the heavier drinker. So if you’re spouse hunting at the neighborhood bar, know what you’re getting yourself into.

That relationship could be poisonous—like finding a spider in your fruit from the market. There have been several reports this month of spiders being found in grapes purchased in supermarkets. Incidences have been reported in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri. And one Pennsylvania woman found a black widow in her bunch of grapes. The black widow’s bite is 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake and can go virtually unnoticed. One grocery store chain in Milwaukee responded by pulling green, red, and black grapes from their shelves, and promised to step-up produce inspections. Better watch out!

Scientists are constantly trying to determine how water could have once flowed on the Red Planet. A new theory suggests that a greenhouse gas effect could have created favorable conditions for water on Mars nearly 4 billion years ago. Scientists are suggesting that the combination of molecular hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and water could have created a greenhouse effect that would have produced temperatures warm enough to allow for the existence of liquid water. They say that this water would have formed the Nanedi Valles, which is basically the Martian Grand Canyon. There are several cold model theories that attempt to explain the formation of Martian valleys but the researchers in this study say they hope that their new warm model will get others to reconsider their positions.

Freckles are so cute! And scientists have made a new discovery in relation to them. A team from the National Human Genome Research Institute found a genetic variant associated with sensitivity to the sun, brown hair, blue eyes—and yep—freckles! Scientists say that people with ancestors from geographic locations farther from the equator have less pigmentation in their skin, hair and eyes, making them more sensitive to the sun; more pigment is found in people living closer to the equator. In a study of over 2,200 Icelanders, scientists identified the new variant around the IRF4 gene which is associated with the trait of sunlight sensitivity. They say the variant acts like a dimmer switch and when it’s in the “on” position, more pigment is produced allowing more protection from UV radiation. Scientists say more research is now needed to determine how the variant responds to UV damage which is linked to melanoma.

And that’s it for On Science!

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