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Bats: Wonders of the Night

In this week’s It’s Okay To Be Smart you’ll learn all about some BAT-ass flying mammals. 

I live in Austin, TX, a city known for breakfast tacos, cowboy hipsters, live music, and BATS. Lots of bats. Yet, even after living in this city for years, I had no idea just how many bats called Central Texas home. That is, until I shot this video.

Our backdrop for this episode, Bracken Cave near San Antonio, TX, is a very special place. That cave is home the largest congregation of mammals on Earth, 20+ million Mexican free-tailed bats. In some areas of the cave, 200+ are hanging in a single square foot! At sunset, when they journey out to find dinner… well, it’s one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen (and heard). Their emergence lasts hours, flowing overhead like a river of wings, rushing by with the sound of a fluttering waterfall.

The bats that live here can eat as many as 100 tons of insects in a single night! Exactly how they hunt is even cooler, but you’ll have to watch the video to find out more.

You’ll also learn what bats eat, why they might be the most advanced flying hunters in nature, the incredible impact they have on ecosystems, and how we are threatening their future with disease and habitat loss. Oh, and poop. You’ll learn about bat poop.

Special thanks to Bat Conservation International for their help making this video. They own the land around Bracken Cave, in order to protect this natural treasure for the future. Check out their website to learn how you can help protect these amazing animals.

If you like the videos we’re making, please consider subscribing on YouTube, and share this one with your bat-loving friends :)

(via scishow)

Sweat-Eating Bacteria: Acne Miracle Cure?

Ammonia-oxideizing bacteria (AOB) digest ammonia, which is a major component of sweat. A new, small study has shown that applying a topical creme containing the bacteria leads to healthier skin and could be used to treat acne and promote healing in wounds. Learn more

Lakes Around the World Are Rapidly Disappearing

A few days ago, NASA posted startling satellite pictures of the Aral Sea in Central Asia, once the fourth biggest lake on the planet, which over the past 50 years has been virtually drained as a result of an ill-advised Soviet-era effort to create farms in the desert.

How Fast Are You Moving Through The Universe?

First Case of Ebola in U.S. Diagnosed in Dallas

The United States has diagnosed its first case of the deadly Ebola virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

The patient is a man who became infected in Liberia and traveled to Texas, where he was hospitalized with symptoms that were confirmed to be caused by Ebola, a CDC spokesman told AFP. Learn more

Dolphins Can Sense Magnets

Dolphins can now add magnetic sense to their already impressive resume of abilities, new research suggests.

When researchers presented the brainy cetaceans with magnetized or unmagnetized objects, the dolphins swam more quickly toward the magnets, the new study found. The animals may use their magnetic sense to navigate based on the Earth’s magnetic field, the researchers said. Read more

Sexsomnia Explained

Solar System’s Water is Older Than the Sun

Next time you’re swimming in the ocean, consider this: part of the water is older than the sun.

So concludes a team of scientists who ran computer models comparing the ratios of hydrogen isotopes over time. Taking into account new insights that the solar nebula had less ionizing radiation than previously thought, the models show that at least some of the water found in the ocean, as well as in comets, meteorites and on the moon, predate the sun’s birth. Read more

Everything You Need To Know About Ebola In Under 3 Minutes 

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