January 25, 2013

Dinosaur Fossil Calls Into Question The Evolution Of Flight – The Daily Orbit

Was there a bird before the bird that came before the modern bird?

What animal takes their cues from the Milky Way?

What’ll make you happier than Prozac naturally?

And we’re lighting it up in more ways than one on today’s Daily Orbit!

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

“Come on Grandma everybody’s doing it.” Looks like the little old ladies down at the nursing home might be lighting up and chillin’ out. A new study tested the effects of medical marijuana on the already possibly dazed and confused. Researchers treated nineteen residents of a nursing home in Israel with cannabis with all patients showing an immediate improvement in their moods and communication skills. Use of prescription drugs dropped by 72% overall, reducing the need for antipsychotics, mood stabilizers and pain relievers And the kicker? Seventeen of the nineteen experienced healthy weight gain, having much improved appetites. Imagine that—Mawmaw got the munchies! Can you see you Grandma smoking a doobie? Inhale grandma….

And it looks like there was a bird-like dinosaur creature that came before the prehistoric bird-like dinosaur that scientists previously thought modern birds evolved from? Confused? Yeah I was too at first. A new fossil from a feathered-but-flightless dinosaur that pre-dates those from which birds were believed to have evolved was recently found in China. This less-than-a-foot in length, 140 million year old creature had a small wingspan and bone structure that limited wing flapping. This new find casts some doubt on current theories of bird evolution. They said “our findings suggest that the origin of flight was much more complex previously thought.”

Fruit and vegetables are healthy…shocker! I know you already know that but we’re going to tell you again. And they make you happy! A new study following eating patterns and self-reports on mood, showed a relationship between higher fruit and veggie intake and more positive moods. Those who ate more fruits and veggies felt calmer, happier, and more energetic then they normally did. But the effects don’t kick in until the next day. Wanna experience the same effect? Researchers say you must consume 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to notice a meaningful positive change. So eat healthy, be happy! Yeah, yeah give me that cookie.

And just as sailors of old used the stars to guide their ships at night—the dung beetle does too! Researchers say that these nocturnal beetles can guide their way through the darkest of nights by the soft glow of the Milky Way in the sky. This is the first example of any animals using the Milky Way as a compass over the stars. The researchers noticed that even on moonless nights, these beetles managed to find their way on a straight path. Dung beetles? Well, I’ll let you imagine what they are carrying along that straight path guided by the Milky Way. Yuck!

Ever had one of those headaches that felt like a bolt of lightning shot right through your head? Well, new research says that lightning can actually trigger headaches and migraines. Researchers found that within a 25 miles radius of lightning, there was a 19% increase in risk of headache, even taking into account other meteorological factors. Chronic headache and migraine suffers were even more likely to be affected. Researchers say that the lightning-induced headache might result from electromagnetic waves emitted by lightning or the increase in air pollutants like ozone and fungal spores.

Well that’s all for the Daily Orbit! I suddenly have a headache.

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