February 20, 2014
Memories Aren’t Made Forever – On Science
The year your memories lose importance.
Online lies could be catching up to you.
Something trapped is finally being released in Yellowstone.
And the buzz about bees is bad…again. Coming up today…On Science.
Hello and welcome to On Science. I’m Emerald Robinson.
First day of kindergarten, first kiss, first car. Memories that are etched in our minds forever. But according to one study, we don’t make a lot of important memories forever. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire and the University of Aarhus say that most people have already made the most important memories of their lives by age 25. Researchers had study participants, all between the ages of 59 and 92, recount their life story as a free-flowing narrative. All portrayed a major “reminiscence bump” between ages 17 and 24. A “reminiscence bump” is a period where the majority positive and negative memories are recalled. Researchers say that such narrative therapy could be utilized to help patients overcome issues and to predict levels of well-being. Well if the cut off is 25, I still have plenty of time to make memories.
[ Lie detector going off ] Really? It was just a little white lie! Speaking of which, isn’t it so easy for people to tell little white lies on social media? Sometimes, I don’t know what to believe! A European Union-funded project is aiming to create a new system to automatically verify online rumors. It will analyze, in real time, whether a piece of information is true or false. Researchers working on the system say that it will help journalists, governments, and emergency services, among others, respond more effectively to claims on social media. The system will classify online rumors into four categories: speculation, controversy, misinformation, and disinformation. The creation of the system comes in response to the spread of rumors on social media during the 2011 London Riots. A lot of Hollywood stars will benefit from that new system too.
And ESA’s looking for facts about the stars…no not the Hollywood stars…the ones in space. The European Space Agency is planning a mission called Planetary Transits And Oscillations of Stars, or PLATO, to look for “extrasolar planets.” These are planets around stars other than our own Sun. PLATO will gather three years’ worth of observational data using an array of 34 separate 12-centimeter telescopes and cameras to investigate a million stars spread out over half the sky. This configuration makes PLATO a completely new type of space telescope and will allow it to discover planets smaller than Earth and also planets at distances from their host stars similar to the Earth-Sun distance. One scientist involved with the mission said, “Plato will begin a completely new chapter in the exploration of extrasolar planets…We will find planets that orbit their star in life-sustaining ‘habitable’ zones: planets where liquid water is expected, and where life as we know it can be maintained.” Explore on, ESA!
And bees may be spreading diseases. Diseases that are common in managed honeybee colonies are now widespread in the UK’s wild bumblebees say researchers from the Royal Holloway University of London. As we’ve talked about often, wild and managed bee populations globally are in major decline, which is bad for pollination. So we’ve got to figure out why. These researchers suggest that the spread of disease from managed bees to wild bees might be a major culprit. They found that wild bumblebees are also falling prey a common killer of honeybees – the deformed wing virus – and they think the honeybees are responsible for spreading the parasite. Infected bees leave behind a fungal spore or virus particle on a flower, and there you go, the virus spreads. Researchers say that there needs to be policies created to protect, not just the managed honeybees, but wild bees as well. It seems the bad news just keeps on coming for the bees….
And if Yellowstone could talk, what would it have to say? Not what I was expecting. Yellowstone is blowing off a lot of helium say researches investigating the gases the geyser releases. They say this helium had been trapped under the Earth’s crust for hundreds of millions of years. More recently though, in the last couple million years that is, the old part of the crust has been being heated by a nearby volcano sleeping under the park. The pressure of a plate moving over a hot spot is pushing old rocks up and releasing helium that’s been trapped inside for a long time. Sounds to me like something is stewing under Yellowstone…researchers better keep an eye out on that supervolcano before it blows…
Well, that’s it for On Science. Stay cool, On Scientists!