Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Giant Fleas and Tyranosaurus Rex - New Scientist latest

Mr GP, too, is into lists. One of his latest exercises is to post a summary of the latest snippets from his favourite mag New Scientist. Here's the latest, for 3 March issue. Am I thankful that new GP cat isn't a dinosaur. It'd take a sight more than a splash of Advocate to see off Freddie the Flea then!

- T rex had the most powerful bite of any animal that has ever lived,
some 60 times greater than a human.
- It was thought women are born with all the eggs they will ever
produce. However stem cells have been discovered which suggest eggs
continue to be produced throughout life.
- Neutrinos: some errors in the equipment may explain the faster than
light neutrinos.
- Neanderthals were mariners, evidence being found of them colonising
islands in the Mediterranean 100,000 years ago.
- The "Bruce" effect has been demonstrated in wild monkeys. (not a
tendency to emit strange sounds at high volume btw. Its the fact that
after a new male takes over a pack of females causes them to abort any
foetuses they may be carrying)
- Fossils of a 1.3m tall penguin have been discovered, making it the
tallest ever.
- As has the fossil of the largest ever flea, 20mm long, which may
have lived on feathered dinosaurs.
- Near 25 billion apps have been downloades from AppStore. The user
who downloads the 25 billionth itself will get a $100k dollar reward.
- Pinterest.com is faster hittng 10m users than twitter or facebook.
- An underwater equivalent of streetview for the Great Barrier Reef is
launched at
- Special issue speculating on the future of humanity over the next
100,000 years. Key points
-- We will still be here. Its hard to imagine an event so catastrophic
that it would wipe out all human life. The only event likely to do
this is a nearby supernova that would cause an extreme gamma ray burst
which would wipe out the ozone layer. However these only occur once
every 300 million years or so.
-- Left to nature, human beings will not have evolved to an extent
that they would be unrecognisable. However the impact of cybernetics
and genetic engineering is much harder to anticipate.
-- No consensus on what will happen to language. May become simpler
and more universal, may become more fragmented.
- If global warming continues, some parts of the world around the
equator may become uninhabitable. On the other hand barren tundra may
become fertile and access to the Antarctic bedrock may encourage
- We are unlikely to send people beyond the solar system without a
breakthrough in space travel speed.
- We are unlikely to run out of natural resources, as history has
shown new alternatives are found more quickly than old resources run

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