September 21, 2012

Memory Is Not Always Reliable – The Daily Orbit

What might the school lunch menu soon be missing?

Why we can’t help but change our story.

And caught in a web of…ultra violet radiation?

All that and more on today’s Daily Orbit!

Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit…I’m Emerald Robinson.

Certain consumer groups feel mercury poisoning is a real threat.  The Mercury Policy Project is urging the USDA to remove tuna from school lunch menus.  They say that small children should never eat tuna, young children only once a month, and older children no more than twice per month.  They suggest schools choose other seafood alternatives like salmon and shrimp.  I am sure most kids won’t complain about that!

And there is yet another theory on what really caused the Ice Age.  A research team says that the 2 km wide Eltanin meteor that crashed in the southern Pacific Ocean 2.5 million years ago may have plunged the world in to the Ice Ages.  Crashing into deep waters, the impact would have cause not only a major tsunami but also could have ejected massive amounts of water vapor, sulfur, and dust up into the sky—dimming the sun’s rays and reducing surface temperatures.  Researchers say that this event and its effects on the planet have often been forgotten because there’s no obvious crater to investigate.

Ever notice how you tell a story of something that happened and it changes ever so slightly the next time you tell it?  According to new research, that’s due to the fact that the actual memory of an event can change with each retelling.  Scientists say that memories are not static, so if you remember something in the context of a new environment or if you are in a different mood, that information might be integrated into the memory. These findings may explain why some witnesses change their story when giving a testimony.  Hmm…that would have been a good story line for Dr. George Huang on Law and Order SVU…..

Want the good news or the bad news first?  Okay good news, the arctic sea ice has stopped receding this year!  Bad news: not before it reached its smallest extent of all time.  This year’s unprecedented ice melt in the Arctic is the clearest sign yet of global climate change, breaking the previous record in the summer of 2007 by 18%!   Even worse news, scientist warn that although it has seemed to reach its peak, there is still a possibility that the ice extent could potentially recede even more due to changing winds and ice floes. A complete analysis of the 2012 melt season will be released next month.

Come lose yourself in my beautiful, ultra-violet web…..That’s how scientists say the “orb-weaver” spider traps its prey.  Weaving a web of UV light-reflecting patterns, this spider attracts flying insects that are visually sensitive to this light.  The “orb-weavers” make zigzag patterns leading out of the center to catch pollinating insects like flies, wasps, beetles, and butterflies for food.  Oh what a tangled web they weave….

Well, that does for it for this week’s Daily Orbit…..don’t get yourself caught in any webs this weekend.

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