Killer whales can learn to “speak dolphin”

Via DiscoverMagazine.com:  ‘[T]his study suggests that, given a chance, different species of cetaceans may be able to learn to communicate with each other. Scientists noticed that killer whales who had spent time with bottlenose dolphins incorporated more clicking and whistles in their vocalizations than other whales, making their “language” a mashup of the two. In fact, one whale was able to learn the sounds taught to a dolphin trained by people! Although we don’t know what these different languages mean, or how much information is being transmitted between the species, it’s clear that these animals are motivated to learn to make each other’s sounds.’

 

Study: What Your Brain Is Doing When You Really, Really Hate Someone

Via io9:  ‘[Subjects stared] first at the picture of a person the subjects had neutral feelings toward, and then at the picture of someone they hated. The subjects did this while hooked up to an MRI, allowing the researchers to see which parts of the brain were activated and deactivated…

The parts of the brain activated, the medial frontal gyrus, the right putamen, the medial insula, and the premotor cortex, have come to be known as the “hate circuit.” The premotor cortex is one part of the brain that springs into action when people have feelings of aggression. When we hate, at least part of us is preparing for a physical attack. The frontal gyrus deals with self-awareness, and is involved in go/no go decisions. This part of the brain seems to be in league, however tentatively with the premotor cortex. Haters using the “hate circuit,” then, seem to always be wondering if its the right time to move against the object of their hatred.’

 

Common Pesticides May Be Causing Clinical Depression

Via io9: ‘A landmark 20-year study indicates that 7 pesticides, some widely used, may be causing clinical depression in farmers. The precise reason remains unknown, but researchers suspect its related to the fact that the chemicals—designed to disrupt the nervous systems of insects—are also affecting human neurologic functions.’

And exactly why should anyone be surprised by this news?

 

Scientists Discover ‘Stupidity Virus’

Via io9:  ‘U.S. scientists studying throat microbes have inadvertently stumbled upon an algae virus that appears to have a slight but measurable detrimental affect on cognitive functioning in humans, including visual processing and spatial orientation. Disturbingly, millions of us could already be infected.’

 

The Four Types of Sleep Schedules

The Four Types of Sleep Schedules - The Atlantic

Via The Atlantic:  ‘“[O]wls”—people who prefer to wake up late and are more alert in the evenings [are] one of two basic chronotypes, or preferred sleep schedules. The other is “larks,” or crazy people those who prefer early mornings.But now, scientists in Russia are proposing that there are actually four chronotypes: In addition to early and late risers, they say, there are also people who feel energetic in both the mornings and evenings, as well as people who feel lethargic all day.’

I’ve been one of the lucky ones. However, I think one’s sleep type can change with age, and I am clearly losing my ability to burn the candle at both ends.