April 3, 2013
What Do You Do When Your Panda Isn’t Feeling The Love? – The Daily Orbit
What do zoologists do when pandas aren’t feeling the love?
The Arctic is going green – and in this case that ain’t good!
What scientists have to say about standing tall.
And it’s a dance party on today’s Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
Handlers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. gave Mother Nature a little help over the weekend. Apparently romance was not in the air for the two giant pandas who zoologists had attempted to breed on Friday. When handlers determined there was no loving going on, they decided to inseminate the female panda, Mei Xiang with sperm from the male panda Tian Tian, after detecting a rise in the female’s urinary estrogen levels. Hey whatever works! Mei Xiang has given birth twice by artificial insemination. They had waited to see if Mei Xiang would breed naturally, but when that didn’t happen, handlers knew they only had a small window of opportunity to perform the procedure. Sorry Tian Tian, I guess Mei Xiang just ain’t feeling you, boo.
And now for your Global Warming Update. So the ice is melting and temperatures are rising and it seems like we’ve talked about all the possible impacts. Well, here’s another global warming effect – the Arctic is going to get greener! New research says that a gradual increase in temperature will lead to an increase in trees and shrubs in the Arctic, which could cause wooded areas to increase by as much as 50% over the next few decades. And in turn, the “greening” could further accelerate global warming by the albedo effect in which greenery absorbs more sunlight than snow and causes the temperature to increase, affecting the entire global ecosystem. It’s a vicious cycle.
And this California sea lion can keep the beat! Meet Ronan, a three year old sea lion who scientists taught to bob her head to the beat. The experiments were conducted to disprove the commonly held theory that the ability to synchronize movements with sound is associated with the same mechanisms that allow for vocal mimicry. Sea lions are not capable of vocal mimicry. Until recently scientists thought that dance was unique to humans but Ronan’s got rhythm. To prove she was actually keeping rhythm and not just bobbing her head around, researchers varied the types and speeds of sounds. One of her particular favorites—the Backstreet Boys. Go Ronan, Go Ronan! It’s your birthday… Hey!
“I wish I was little bit taller I wish I was a baller.” Then lead a healthy life! A group of economists have found that healthy habits influence how much you shrink as you grow older. Looking at a pool of individuals over 45, the team found that height loss over time was an important indicator for other health issues and that health decisions later in life also affected shrinkage. The survey showed that those who experienced the most height loss also demonstrated less cognitive aptitude. Urban dwellers exhibited less shrinkage then those in rural areas as did those people with more education. Decreases in height can be further exacerbated by certain kinds of arthritis, inflammation of the spine and osteoporosis. So stay healthy and stay taller!
And there’s a new, unlikely player in the fight against obesity…Viagra. Researchers say there is a growing need to find novel treatments against obesity. Well, I would definitely say that is novel! Doctors found that Viagra coaxes the body to store “brown fat”, rather than “white fat” on a molecular level. Brown fat has been shown to use other fat as fuel to burn calories. They say Viagra won’t alone be enough to shed the pounds, but it is capable of changing some things deep in the body. Well, I guess that gives men an, (cough)…excuse to ask for the little blue pill right. I just need it to lose weight…um-hmm.
Well, that does it for the Daily Orbit! Stay healthy my friends!