November 16, 2012
Is There A Symphony In Your Head – The Daily Orbit
Does your pet get bored?
What’s about to be the death of a bunch of rats?
And hear the sweet brain music in your ears?
All that and more coming up on the Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
Let us begin with some news from Mars and it’s actually not about Curiosity. Curious now? A new detailed study of Martian meteorites on Earth has provided evidence of water on Mars that was sufficiently warm enough to support life. Scientists determined that this Co2 rich water ranged from 122 degrees to 302 degrees Fahrenheit. Microbes can live in water with similar temperatures on Earth in the volcanic thermal springs at Yellowstone National Park. Scientists say they have a good understanding of the conditions in which minerals form, but to go to the details, chemical models are needed. And that’s your Mars update.
Think your dog or cat never gets bored? Um wrong. New research has been investigating the boredom of captive animals. Since animals can’t tell us how they feel, researchers say they could only judge animals’ level of boredom by how motivated they are for stimulation. Researchers introduced different stimuli to caged animals, from treats to boring items like leather gloves. They found the these animals confined to empty spaces avidly sought stimulation three times faster, and investigated them longer, consistent with boredom. They also say they don’t know if animals feel boredom in the same way humans do but they hope to encourage the development of more suitable housing systems for captive animals.
What do you do if the cure for a phobia is the phobia itself? I completely identify with this next study. Scientists say a fear of relaxation is a real phobia! Most people look forward to free time when they can veg in front of the TV– but for some of us relaxation produces the same level of anxiety as other fears, like public speaking. Researchers found this fear of relaxation can fall into one of three categories: physical—having to do with sensations that could spark a phobic response, cognitive—the thought processes associated with relaxation, and social—issues like, what others might think of you in a relaxed state. Although the phobia might sound a little off-kilter, researchers say it’s a relatively common occurrence. I’m just glad they’re finally raising awareness…so we don’t feel so all alone. 😉
I have to admit I was a bit taken back when I saw this next headline…it just sounded a little morbid to me! Ecuador is preparing to drop 20 tons of poison on the Galapagos Islands to wipe out rats. Not to say I’m a rat fan, but I mean, really? A helicopter will begin dropping almost 22 tons of a specially-designed poison to wipe out these rodents. The Ecuadorian government is attempting to save the many unique native species that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution. The non-native Norway and black rats were introduced to the islands by whalers and buccaneers during the 17th century. They feed on the eggs and hatchlings of the islands’ native species, along with decreasing the amount of plants on the island. At $1,8 million, representatives say this project is pricy but completely necessary. The plan is to rid the island of the rodents by 2020.
Oh wait give me a moment— there is a symphony in my head. China has developed a method to transform brain waves into music that closely resembles something a human composer might write. The scientists used EEG recordings to create the pitch and duration of a note and MRI recordings to control its intensity. The authors of this study said that the remixing of these brain waves “embodies the work of the brain as art, providing a platform for scientists and artists to work together to better understand the links between music and the human brain.” I like that, the idea of science and art working together.
Well that does it for today’s Daily Orbit! Remember to go out and watch the Leonid meteor shower this weekend! You can see all the details on Redorbit.com and our Daily Orbit Facebook Page. Now for Brain Orchestra No. 5…