Friday, November 14, 2014

The Friday Five

Highlighting some of the coolest science news we’ve seen lately.

1. Paleo, Atkins, raw, juice...diets, diets, diets! Sort the fact from the fiction with this excellent article, “10 Fad Diets, Debunked”, by Esther Inglis-Arkell.

2. The new film odyssey, Interstellar, blasted into theatres recently. Director Christopher Nolan went to great lengths to try and get the science right in the movie, which included consultation with theoretical physicist Kip Thorne. The video below details how they worked together to imagine a real black hole.

Unfortunately, not all of the science in the movie is accurate

3. In this week's episode of “The Big Question”, Craig Benzine explains why your voice gets higher when you inhale helium. Interestingly, it is not the pitch that changes…

4. Here, kitty kitty…what’s the difference between a wildcat and a domesticated one? Nothing – they both hate you. Jokes aside, scientists have recently performed a genetic comparison between the two and found a number of genes that were enriched due to domestication. These genes may explain why your housecat is less shy, tamer, and more responsive to a reward. Interpreted another way, they also explain why we can't really stroll through the woods with tigers.

5. Our ongoing coverage of new species named after celebrities converged with another subject that constantly fascinates us: Ozzy Osbourne. A new species of frog was recently found in Brazil and named Dendropsophus ozzyi. The males have a bat-like mating call, which reminded the researchers of the infamous concert when Ozzy bit the head off a bat during the show.

Scientists named this new species of frog after Ozzy because it makes a bat-like noise, which reminded them of Ozzy's strange stage diet in the 1980s.

Science quote of the week:

"Science fiction has become science fact today - Hollywood is good, but Rosetta is better" –Dr. David Parker, in reference to the first time humans have landed a probe on a comet.

Contributed by:  Bill Sullivan

Follow Bill on Twitter: @wjsullivan

ORRICO, V., PELOSO, P., STURARO, M., SILVA-FILHO, H., NECKEL-OLIVEIRA, S., GORDO, M., FAIVOVICH, J., & HADDAD, C. (2014). A new “Bat-Voiced” species of Dendropsophus Fitzinger, 1843 (Anura, Hylidae) from the Amazon Basin, Brazil Zootaxa, 3881 (4) DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3881.4.3

  Montague, M., Li, G., Gandolfi, B., Khan, R., Aken, B., Searle, S., Minx, P., Hillier, L., Koboldt, D., Davis, B., Driscoll, C., Barr, C., Blackistone, K., Quilez, J., Lorente-Galdos, B., Marques-Bonet, T., Alkan, C., Thomas, G., Hahn, M., Menotti-Raymond, M., O'Brien, S., Wilson, R., Lyons, L., Murphy, W., & Warren, W. (2014). Comparative analysis of the domestic cat genome reveals genetic signatures underlying feline biology and domestication Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1410083111

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