The Brain Scoop: The Hero Shrew
We are so lucky to have a wonderful research staff here at The Field Museum. It’s not uncommon for me to ask someone what they’re working on, and for the casual response to be, “oh, we’re describing a new species. Want to see it?!” That is exactly what inspired today’s episode. Bill Stanley showed me this previously undescribed hero shrew anomaly back in April, before it was ever published in a scientific journal. It’s amazing discoveries like Thor’s hero shrew that make me so glad I can use The Brain Scoop to share these fascinating scientific contributions with the rest of the world!
Check out more photos of all of the shrew examples in these previous posts here!
This is fascinating! Got to love the hero shrew.
Gravitational waves are the elusive ripples in spacetime that are theorized to pervade the entire Universe, generated by violent events, chronicling the evolution of some of the most massive objects in the Cosmos. Now, by using a clever technique to measure the observed variations in pulsar spin rates, astronomers may be getting close to not only observing the presence of these waves, but also understanding why some of the biggest black holes are so fat. Read more
The science of lightning detection has improved dramatically since Ben Franklin flew his kite in a thunderstorm in 1752. Researchers can now predict conditions that precede a bolt from the blue, and track the location and strength of a strike while it’s occurring. Read more
We live in an age where we camp out, line up and inflate the media buzz, just to be one of the first ones the get The New Gadget, only to line back up in three months for The Newer Gadget. Though perhaps not his original intent, artist Thijs Rijke’s latest project is a perfect comment on the Sisyphean absurdity of tech’s throw-away culture. Read more
"This species of Pachysoma grabs bits of poo and gallops forward with it. That is really odd."
I think I’m in love with that beetle.
For the first time, astronomers have discovered a sun-like star playing host to a “habitable zone” exoplanet located inside the Milky Way’s galactic bulge — some 25,000 light-years distant — using a quirk of Einstein’s general relativity.
But don’t go having dreams of exotic getaways to the glistening lights of the center of our galaxy, this exoplanet is a huge gas giant world, about five times the mass of Jupiter. However, there is something (potentially) very exciting about this new discovery. Like Jupiter, this newly discovered giant exoplanet may possess small satellites; exomoons that could have life-giving potential. Read more
New footage shows Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking freefall from the stuntman’s point of view.
Wow, my heart stops still, a year later…
Two weeks into the government shutdown, flu season is about to ramp up. And without full-scale infectious-disease surveillance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, experts said, health consequences for the nation could range from unsettling to disastrous. Read more
Although prosthetic hands give amputees a way to grasp objects, they do not offer a sense of touch. That means the person has to watch his or her robotic hand as it reaches to push or pick up an item.
Now researchers at the University of Chicago might have found a way to add touch to prosthetic limbs. The research, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is funded in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and it’s not hard to see why the military would be interested. Beyond dreams of cyborg warriors, there’s the more prosaic matter of helping injured veterans. Read more