May 24, 2013
Stunning Image Released For VLT’s Anniversary – The Daily Orbit
The VLT celebrates its anniversary with a cocktail.
How do you know you’re smart?
What could cinnamon and Alzheimer’s possibly have in common?
And attracting bugs! On today’s Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
It’s an anniversary party! The European Space Observatory is celebrating 15 years of success for its Very Large Telescope. Since 1998, the four giant telescope that comprise VLT were joined by four additional smaller telescopes, making VLT one of the most powerful and productive ground-based astronomical facilities in existence. And what better way to celebrate than by releasing a beautiful picture like this. The image is of a pink gas cloud called IC 2944. It resembles drops of ink floating in a strawberry cocktail, showing one of the interstellar clouds of dust and gas softly glowing pink. We should nickname it “Strawberry Cocktail.” Much easier don’t you think? Cheers VLT!
What’s your IQ? Ok, you really don’t have to tell me. But scientists say IQ tests are relative to cultural or intellectual biases so it gets a little tricky. So a group of researchers came up with an intelligent idea—a vision IQ test. They displayed small moving bars on a screen and asked volunteers to determine their direction of movement. The higher the IQ, the faster they determined the direction. But that wasn’t the same for moving large bars. People with higher IQ’s had a harder time determining movement of large bars suggesting that the intelligent “suppress” background motion. They say this test could remove some of the cultural limitations from standard IQ tests. The test kind of looked like my jacket. I feel smarter just wearing it.
And a little cinnamon power for the brain? New research says that the compounds cinnmaldehyde and epicatechin found in cinnamon have shown promise in combating Alzheimer’s. They prevent the aggregation of the protein “tau,” which plays a role in the structure of neurons, from oxidative stress. Researchers likened the problem to getting a sunburn—a form of oxidative damage. Say you wore a hat to protect your skin—that would be the cinnamon’s role. It protects the “tau” protein, but can also come off to ensure proper functioning of the protein. So all those crazy people on YouTube doing the cinnamon test are actually doing themselves some good—maybe.
Ever heard the saying “you attract more bees with honey?” Well, you don’t always attract more German cockroaches with sugar. But why would you want to? Well maybe if you wanted to kill ‘em. But researchers say not all German cockroaches like the glucose found in most roach-bait poison. For some of the little critters, glucose sets off the bitter taste bud receptors, which the bugs don’t like so they avoid it! Normal German cockroaches still love their glucose but these mutated versions are rapidly increasing in number. Researchers said “these roaches just got ahead of us in the arms race.” Yep they sure did.
And your furry little friend may be attracting more little friends that you didn’t even know about! New research says that people who have an in-house pet dog harbor more types of bacteria than those who don’t, and even some bacteria not even found in dog-free homes. Researchers could tell if a person kept a dog in the house based on the bacteria found on their TV screen or pillowcase. They said bacteria found in soil are 700 times more common in dog-owning households. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing, even though it’s kinda gross to think about. The influx in bacteria may actually hold benefits—especially for pregnant woman who are less likely to have children with allergies. Still, the thought of it just makes me well, queasy.
And that’s all for your Daily Orbit! All this talk on bugs and bacteria makes me itch!