(NEWS WEEK) Brendan Cole, November 5, 2018 — A fisherman has been hailed a hero after he plucked to safety an 18-month-old baby he had spotted bobbing in the ocean. Gus Hutt was on holiday near Whakatane, in New Zealand’s North Island, when he spotted a small figure floating in the water he initially believed was a doll.
“His face looked just like porcelain with his short hair wetted down, but then he let out a little squeak and I thought ‘oh God this is a baby and it’s alive.’ He was floating at a steady pace…if I had been just a minute later I wouldn’t have seen him,” he told the New Zealand Herald.
Usually Hutt would head out from Murphy’s Holiday Camp on Matata Beach to fish from the beach, but at around 7.30 a.m. on October 26, he took a slight detour. “He was bloody lucky, but he just wasn’t meant to go, it wasn’t his time,” Hutt said
via Fisherman Discovers 18-month-old Baby Floating in Ocean in ‘Freakish Miracle’.
(NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC) The gases in the air around us are unseen but their influence is surprisingly visible. For instance, did you know that, right now, you are probably inhaling the air from Julius Caesar’s last gasp in A.D. 44? Or that poison gases inspired Einstein to invent a refrigerator? Or that a man became the toast of turn-of-the-century Paris by controlling his own farts?
These are some of the fascinating details that science writer Sam Keanpacks into his new book, Caesar’s Last Breath. When National Geographic caught up with Kean at his home in Washington, D.C., he explained why analyzing the gases in the atmospheres of other planets will be the best way of finding intelligent life; how a German physicist created the gas warfare that killed thousands in World War I and continues to do so in Syria today; and why releasing sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere may be the best way of reducing global warming.
The idea that we might still be inhaling the last breath exhaled by Caesar as he lay dying is a cute conceit for a book title. But there’s no science to it, is there?
As far as we can tell, it is a legitimate idea. It’s sort of an inevitable consequence of a) how many molecules you breathe in every time you take a breath and b) how long those molecules persist in our atmosphere. It’s not a guarantee that every single breath you’re going to get one. But, on average, it’s inevitable that you’re going to inhale some of those same molecules over the course of a day.
Source: The Air You Breathe Is Full of Surprises
(NATIONAL GEOGRAPHY) Using the plant like scaffolding, scientists built a mini version of a working heart, which may one day aid in tissue regeneration.
Scientists have found a way to use spinach to build working human heart muscle, potentially solving a long-standing problem in efforts to repair damaged organs.
Their study, published this month by the journal Biomaterials, offers a new way to grow a vascular system, which has been a roadblock for tissue engineering.
Scientists have already created large-scale human tissue in a lab using methods like 3D printing, but it’s been much harder to grow the small, delicate blood vessels that are vital to tissue health.
Source: Spinach Leaf Transformed Into Beating Human Heart Tissue
(BBC) Matt Walker, January 29, 2017 — Fur seals have been caught engaging in an extreme form of sexual behavior. Specifically, trying to have sex with penguins
Things are heating up in the cold climes of the sub-Antarctic. On a remote, and mostly desolate island, seals have been caught engaging in an extreme form of sexual behaviour.
Specifically, they have been trying to have sex with penguins.
More than one fur seal has been caught in the act, on more than one occasion.
And it’s all been captured on film, with details being published in the journal Polar Biology.
Source: BBC – Earth – Seals discovered having sex with penguins
(DNAINFO) Allegra Hobbs | April 29, 2016 — Because friendship knows no bounds.
Are you and your best friend close? The Cloister Cafe gets you.
The medieval-themed restaurant and hookah bar at 238 E. Ninth Street has placed its toilets in their bathrooms side-by-side, uninhibited by walls — so that you and your BFF don’t have to be apart for a second, said one employee.
“It’s to not be lonely,” said server Alena, who declined to share her last name. “Some people, very close friends, like to use the same bathroom.”
The cafe has two gender-coded restrooms, one for men and one for women, each with the same layout — two toilets so close, they are almost touching.
Source: East Village – This East Village Eatery Has Side-By-Side Toilets to Ward Off Loneliness – Neighborhood News – DNAinfo New York
(WASHINGTON POST) Big things can come in small packages.
What can go from 0 to 60 in a hundredth of a second? That would be the tongue of the chameleon Rhampholeon spinosus. It’s not the world’s tiniest chameleon (that would be Brookesia micra, which could easily balance on the tip of your finger), but the species was the smallest one studied in a paper published Monday in Scientific Reports. And the little lizard is surprisingly fierce: Its tongue packed a bigger punch than that of its bigger cousins.
Brown University postdoctoral researcher Christopher Anderson wanted to figure out just how powerful a chameleon’s tongue can be. Second only to the tongue of a salamander, a chameleon tongue uses unique elastic tissues to produce an incredible amount of force and acceleration. According to Anderson’s analysis of 20 different species of chameleon (which included 55 individuals and 279 individual feeding events recorded at 3,000 frames per second), the acceleration, relative length and relative force of the tongue may actually increase as the chameleon’s size decreases.
Source: The tiniest chameleons may actually have the most powerful tongues – The Washington Post
(DNAINFO) Nicole Levy | October 19, 2015 — Gone are the days when graffiti tags marked almost everything in the New York City subway system.
Now there’s a new kind of vandalism on display at the 14th Street station on the F line: a sticker on the “Downtown & Brooklyn” sign that tweaks the spelling of the borough’s name to that of the Dutch community incorporated in 1646.
A little history lesson for you: in 1636, about 12 years after the Dutch colonists of New Netherlands began settling the southern tip of Manhattan island, some pioneers crossed the East River to set up plantations on the western tip of Long Island, in what is today Brooklyn Heights. They called their community Breuckelen, after a town in the Netherlands.
But the village of Breuckelen was only one of six towns the Dutch would establish within what are the now the boundaries of Brooklyn. In the nineteenth century, the rapidly expanding village annexed its neighbors, becoming the third largest city in the nation. Brooklyn was incorporated into New York City in 1898.
The name “Breuckelen” lives on, lending itself to every other “artisanal” product that Brooklyn-based businesses make, from gin to Brooklyn Industries T-shirts.
Twenty-five bucks says the sticker is a marketing ploy.
Source: ‘Breuckelen’ Sign Mysteriously Appears in F Train Subway Station – Union Square – DNAinfo.com New York
(DNAINFO) Shaye Weaver — An Upper East Side woman who sued her 12-year-old nephew for jumping on her during a birthday party left a Connecticut Superior Court empty-handed on Tuesday afternoon, when a six-member jury ruled against her, according to court documents.
On March 8, 2011, Jennifer Connell was visiting her then 8-year-old nephew Sean Tarala in Westport, Connecticut, when the boy jumped on her to greet her, knocking her to the ground in the process, according to a lawsuit filed with Bridgeport Superior Court.
The lawsuit was filed in 2013, but the case had its hearing in Bridgeport on Tuesday, where Cornell told the presiding judge that she loves her nephew but that he should be held accountable for hurting her, according to ctpost.com.
Source: UES Aunt Loses Lawsuit Against 12-Year-Old Over Hug That Broke Her Wrist – Upper East Side – DNAinfo.com New York
(THE GUARDIAN) Suzanne Goldenberg — One Tuesday last winter, in the town nearest to the North Pole, Robert Bjerke turned up for work at his regular hour and looked at the computer monitor on his desk to discover, or so it seemed for a few horrible moments, that the future of human civilisation was in jeopardy.
The morning of 16 December 2014 was relatively mild for winter in Svalbard: -7.6C with moderate winds. The archipelago, which lies in the Arctic ocean, is under Norway’s control, but it is nearly twice as far from Oslo as it is from the North Pole. The main town, Longyearbyen, has many unexpected comforts – tax-free liquor and cigarettes, clothing stores and a cafe with artisan chocolates shaped like polar bears and snowflakes. For Bjerke, who works for the Norwegian government’s property agency, Statsbygg, the cold and isolation were the big attraction when he moved there. Bjerke loved the stillness, and getting out into that big white Arctic wasteland on his snowmobile; so much so that he signed on for a second posting at Svalbard a decade or more after his first stint. But when Bjerke arrived at the office, he was looking forward to spending Christmas with his wife and three children near Oslo.
Statsbygg’s green industrial-style building sits on a hill overlooking the town and the inky blue waters of a fjord. It is a stunning view, but that day, the monitor commanded Bjerke’s attention. In the most important property under his care – the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – the temperature reading was off. The vault was too warm.
Since 2008, the Svalbard seed vault and its guardians have been entrusted by the world’s governments with the safekeeping of the most prized varieties of crops on which human civilisation was raised. That morning, it contained the seeds of nearly 4,000 plant species – more than 720,000 individual plastic-sheathed samples. The site was built to be disaster-proof: 130 metres up the mountain in case of sea-level rise, earthquake resistant, and with a natural insulation of permafrost to ensure the contents were kept frozen for decades to come.
Source: The doomsday vault: the seeds that could save a post-apocalyptic world | Suzanne Goldenberg | Environment | The Guardian
(DNAINFO) Savannah Cox — A hive of bees hijacked a bicycle parked on a Midtown street corner Tuesday, police say.
The Midtown South Precinct began receiving phone calls at approximately noon that large amounts of bees had congregated on a bicycle parked on the corner of 56th Street and Seventh Avenue, according to police.
“We have no idea why the bees are here,” said an NYPD officer at the scene, “but we’re working to get them removed.”
Source: Bees Hijack Bike in Midtown – Midtown – DNAinfo.com New York