June 17, 2013
Menopause May Have Been Caused Men – The Daily Orbit
Did men cause menopause?
Could it be a no-go for snow in LA?
Why medical devices aren’t so secure.
And the science of bad hair on the Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
There’s a reason the word menopause begins with m-e-n. A new study from McMaster University in Canada says that menopause was born of natural selection. Women only stopped reproducing at an older age because men tended to choose younger mates. Being dropped from the “mating pool” lead to mutations and hormone changes that caused menopause. Researchers said that had females continued to mate and reproduce in their older age, they would have maintained the ability to reproduce—like men. Or if the cards had played out the other way and women would have chosen younger mates, menopause would have happened to men. But let’s think about Demi and Ashton, Mariah and Nick… Looks like the tables are turning men, and it’s the females choosing the younger mates now—watch out! Natural selection might get you.
And hackers could have their sights set on the medical community next. At a time when eyes are on national cyber security, the FDA says the medical community needs to be on guard. A recent report showed that many medical devices—from patient monitors to surgical equipment—have been infected with malware. Researchers say it’s easy to find passwords for medical equipment, as they tend to be the default passwords. And it’s easy to spread malware through a medical center with infected thumb drives or visiting an infected website. Malware is pathogenic I guess you could say! The researchers said that a motivated hacker could do serious damage to these unsecured systems and that “to fight the evils of the internet, not only do you have to have a moat, you have to have a drawbridge, burning oil to pour on attackers, and guys with arrows.” Love the medieval metaphor.
And this report made me sad because I love to go snowboarding in California! A new study from UCLA reveals snowfall in the Los Angeles-area mountains will be 30-40% lower by mid-century. Of course the culprit is climate change but researchers say the choices we make now could save the snowfall. They say Los Angeles must begin today to prepare for climate change and mitigate greenhouse gases. If there is less snowfall it could mean changes in seasonal timing of local water resources, greater difficulty controlling floods and damage to mountain and river ecosystems. But to spoiled Angelenos, it would mean you couldn’t go to the beach and go skiing on the same day. Think about that!
Ursa major has flare. The star WX UMa in this constellation gave off a major flare, shining 15 times brighter in a matter of 160 seconds. It’s a so-called flare star—a class of stars that become 100 times or more brighter within a few seconds or minutes. Flares are caused when a small focus of instability arises within the plasma of the star, causing turbulence in its magnetic field. Scientists liken it to an electric discharge. Scientists say it’s important to study these flares and flare stars because it provides us key information about the formation and evolution of stars.
And my hair has been experiencing some unusual flare. Everyone here at the Daily Orbit knows my hair drives me crazy and there actually might be a scientific explanation it turns out. Scientists say that copper lurking in our water can leave hair dull and lifeless. Though low levels of copper occur naturally in tap water, most deposits come from pipes and hot water tanks in our homes. Researchers say this residue builds up on hair, accelerating any damage that has already been caused. What you get? Dry hair with split ends and fly-aways. And no amount of Pantene can repair it! So what is a girl to do? Researchers say chelants—chemicals commonly found in laundry detergent can neutralize the copper. So the race is on for beauty companies to find a way to incorporate chelants into dyes and shampoos.
Well that’s all for the Daily Orbit. See you tomorrow!