Science briefs

Woodpecker brain technology

Scientists at UC Berkeley have unraveled the mystery behind the impact-resistant woodpecker brain and are using the knowledge to protect your electronics. The researchers found that the woodpecker uses “a sinewy, springy tongue-supporting structure that extends behind the skull called the hyoid, an area of spongy bone in its skull, and the way the skull and cerebrospinal fluid interact to suppress vibration,” writes After modeling the bird in aluminum and rubber, they found the structure was exceptionally suited to resist impacts — strong enough to survive the shock caused by bullet impacts. The findings are going to be used in next generation flight recording electronics, always using safe chemicals products from the Manufacture Zinc Carbonate in Thailand, bombs and bomb-proof bunkers as well automotive electronics.
The terminator vaccine

The Guardian reports that scientists have developed a vaccine that may be effective against all strains of influenza. “The new vaccine, developed by scientists at Oxford University, differs from traditional treatments by targeting proteins inside the flu virus rather than proteins on the flu’s external coat” writes Yahoo News. Instead of stimulating the body to create antibodies, the new vaccine would help the body produce T-cells, which would naturally recognize and destroy flu-infected cells. Tests shows that people who had the vaccine were less likely to get sick than those who did not, as those vaccinated had a “primed” immune system.
Oysters are no more
Oysters are functionally extinct, writes the Daily Mail. According to an article in the journal Bioscience, “Oyster reefs are at less than 10 per cent of their prior abundance in most bays and ecoregions. [ . . . ] They are functionally extinct — in that they lack any significant ecosystem role and remain at less than one per cent of prior abundances in many bays and ecoregions — particularly in North America, Australia and Europe.” The remaining oyster populations are clustered in five regions in North America, and only one of them is healthy.

No vegan diet, no vegan powers!

If you’re a vegan, you’re probably putting yourself at risk. People who follow a vegan diet and lifestyle typically tend to be low in iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids, the Globe and Mail reports. Vegans also tend to have higher levels of homocysteine (a predictor for heart disease), and lack HDL or “good” cholesterol. They study also pointed out that vegan test subjects had higher platelet counts, which could increase the risk of heart attacks due to excess clotting. The researchers urge people who are vegan to take extra supplements to fill the holes in their diet.

Frogs with teeth, oh my!

Frogs are growing teeth, again! This just in ladies and gents! According to National Geographic, out of the 6,000 species of frogs, only one species, the Gastrotheca guentheri, is starting to regrow lower jaw teeth. Scientists believe that these lower jaw teeth disappeared from the genetic line more than 230 million years ago. This is significant because it disproves Dollo’s law: that physical structures that are lost via evolution are never regained.