Some Fish Make Alcohol In Wait For Oxygen

goldfish and some fish besides it in aquarium

Some fish, for example, the goldfish, can produce their own alcohol.

As you see a goldfish pond in the summer, your thoughts might turn to how those beautiful creatures survive in winter under a sheet of ice. Well, a group of scientists with the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom believes that they have discovered what helps keep them and some of their relatives alive. It appears that some fish make alcohol while they are in wait for oxygen. Also, for a few them, that blood alcohol level can rise over the legal limit to drive in most countries.

Some Fish Include Goldfish and the Carp

When ice covers a pond or lake during winter, the oxygen levels can drop quickly depending on how much water volume there is. It also depends on how many creatures live within this body of water using up its oxygen reserve. This can spell death for some fish during an unusually long or harsh cold season.

The bodies of fish and most other animal species produce a substance called lactic acid whenever oxygen levels run low in the bloodstream. Lactic acid is toxic, and it is the same stuff that causes the muscles to feel sore after a hard workout.

Well, it seems that goldfish and their cousins in the carp family have developed a secondary system that kicks in inside their cells when their oxygen levels run low. This causes the cellular mitochondria to make alcohol out of the lactic acid in a process not that different from fermentation.

“The ethanol production allows the crucian carp to be the only fish species surviving and exploiting these harsh environments,” claimed Dr. Cathrine Fagernes, “thereby avoiding competition and escaping predation by other fish species with which they normally interact in better-oxygenated waters.”

 

Fagernes is the study author and also part of the University of Oslo, which also participated in the study. She then went to point out that this adaptation may be one of the reasons why the goldfish, the ‘carp’s cousin’, ‘is arguably one of the most resilient pets under human care.”

Study results and further details are available in the journal Scientific Reports. 

Image Source: Pixabay

The First Gliding Mammals Seem To Have Lived Alongside Dinosaurs

gliding mammals illustration

Scientists took a closer look at what might well be the first gliding mammals.

An international team of scientists identified what are most likely the first ever gliding mammals, and these seem to have lived alongside dinosaurs.

A pair of fossils discovered in northeastern China, in the Tiaojishan Formation, revealed new details about the ancestors of all modern-day mammals. They show that, some 140 million years ago, if not more, these were soaring through the skies.

Exceptionally Well-Preserved Fossils of Gliding Mammals From the Jurassic

The team of paleontologists took a closer look at the two discovered fossils, which are now at the Beijing Museum of Natural History. These specimens were determined to be a Maiopatagium furculiferum and a Vilevolodon diplomylos.

The Maiopatagium, which translates to “mother of wings” was the biggest of the two, but still came to just around nine inches in length and some 4 to 6 ounces in weight. Vilevolodon or the “gliding mammal” was even smaller, being just three inches long and weighing some one to two ounces.

These two gliding mammals are haramiyidans or a branch of mammaliaforms that were herbivores and which went extinct some 40 million years ago. Mammaliaformes are held as being the ancient ancestors of all modern-day mammals.

Both of the analyzed fossils were exceptionally preserved as they still clearly presented membranes. These were noted to have connected their front to back limbs.

Skeletal features in both the forelimbs and the shoulder joints suggested that the animals were agile enough as to use the connected membranes for gliding. Their digits also suggested that they could have been used for gripping onto branches, much like the present-day bats.

Examples of Amazing Evolutionary Process

These are just some of the data that suggested that these two animals were well adapted for an aerial locomotion. Both of the species lived during the Mesozoic Era, in the Jurassic period, which makes them contemporaries of some of the dinosaurs.

The Maiopatagium and Vilevolodon were both dated as being at least 140 million years old, which makes them the earliest gliding mammals discovered until now.

“It’s amazing that the aerial adaptions occurred so early in the history of mammals,” stated David Grossnickle, a researcher part of the study and the University of Chicago.

“The groundwork for mammals’ successful diversification today appears to have been laid long ago,” stated another study member, Zhe-Xi Luo.

Research results and further details are available in the journal Nature.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Black Panther Reveals New Poster And Footage At SDCC 2017

black panther cast and new poster

Marvel released an exclusive footage and a new poster for Black Panther during its SDCC 2017 panel.

Marvel revealed a slew of new details about its upcoming cinematic releases, but one of the highest acclaimed ones was Black Panther. During its SDCC 2017 panel, Marvel Studios released a new poster for the movie and also played an exclusive footage of what is to come.

Black Panther Gets New Poster and Exclusive Footage

 

The new poster for the film shows T’Challa as he stands atop a panther statue. In doing so, he is looking over Wakanda as aircraft are also across the sky.

“Long live the king” is used as the tagline and can be found under the name and production studio, with the released date (2.16.2018) placed underneath it.

Those attending Black Panther’s panel also got an exclusive first look at footage from the upcoming movie. At least according to reports, it seems that they will be the only ones able to do so. This montage has yet to be posted online and might never be uploaded.

Details on the Footage

Nonetheless, the footage was discussed by many media sources. This first look at the movie features a sequence set in South Korea. It presents T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), along with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) dressed in formal civilian attire at a casino. They seem to be shadowing Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis), the arms dealer.

Everett K. Ross, the government agent first introduced by Martin Freeman in Civil War, also makes an appearance as he has a scene with Klaue. Things go rather wild after the casino scene. T’Challa is being chased by a car, morphs into the Black Panther costume as he does so. His return to Wakanda leads to a combat scene on the sound of war drums and later a press conference.

The footage then zipped back to South Korea and shots of people in a museum, a car battle, and Killmonger confronting T’Challa, to keep it short. Killmonger also reveals his own Black Panther-like costume, this being gold-hued.

Although the footage will seemingly be kept under wraps, Marvel did post the cast’s reaction to the montage, and their excitement almost makes up for it.

 

Meanwhile, we can still watch the teaser trailer, released in early June.

 

Image Source: Wikimedia

New Study Suggests People Find It Hard To Detect Fake Images

fake images of a tree

People are not as good at detecting fake images as initially believed.

A recently released study suggests that people actually find it quite hard to detect fake images, especially if these seem contextually appropriate.

Research results showed that people actually identified only about a third of the photos manipulated as part of the study. Their ability to spot the fakes was also quite influenceable, as the participants were more or less successful, depending on the picture’s context.

University of Warwick, UK, researchers led by Sophie Nightingale conducted this new study. Their study involved almost 700 participants between the ages of 13 to 70. These were asked to look at banks of images in which no picture repeated itself. This, in turn, made it harder to detect if the photos had been altered or not.

Human Capacity of Spotting Fake Images Still Not Fully Understood

The images utilized were real-life situations and depicted everyday scenes. Among the picture banks, half of the photos were real, and the remaining ones had been altered. Nonetheless, these digital modifications were subtle changes.

Namely, the research team airbrushed faces, for example. Or they added or subtracted items. Still, they also made some implausible changes such as incorrectly placed shadows or weird angles.

As the participants were shown banks of 10 images, chance performance for this task was 50 percent. In comparison, the people did not do such a splendid job, as they were only able to correctly identify 65 percent of the fake images. They also accurately identified just 58 percent of the original photos.

When asked to explain why they had made such a choice, the participants were even less successful. However, additional tests had people identify possibly altered areas of an image. The participants fared better in this task, as they correctly spotted 56 percent of the manipulations.

This also seems to suggest that, given time and by catching a hint of something being wrong, people might be able to spot fakes even if the alterations are subtle or barely visible.

“So the challenge now is to try and find ways to help people improve at this task. For instance, fake images often contain tell-tale signs that they have been manipulated,” states Nightingale.

Now, the team is conducting a new research in the same area. They are trying to determine if, given these signs, people can become better at detecting manipulated or fake imagery.

Current study results are available in the journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications.

Image Source: Pixabay

Hubble Managed To Capture An Image Of The Hidden Galaxy

hidden galaxy

Hubble managed to capture a much clearer image of IC 342 or the Hidden Galaxy.

The Hubble Space Telescope managed to snap a picture of a quite challenging cosmic target, namely the so-called Hidden Galaxy. Named IC 342, this bright galaxy is nonetheless hard to spot and capture in pictures, thus gaining its nickname mentioned above. IC 342 is situated relatively close to the Milky Way, at least in astronomical terms.

The Hidden Galaxy Offers a First Clearer Look

Because of the many obstacles in their way, astronomers have yet to determine the exact distance separating the two systems. This could be anything in between 7 million light years, to 11 million light years.

The Hidden Galaxy or Caldwell 5 is an intermediate spiral galaxy. It is positioned near the equator of the galactic disk of the Milky Way. This cosmic region is heavily populated by bright stars, dark dust, and cosmic gas. Also, these are not the only obstacle in viewing IC 342. The galaxy is also obscured by a significant amount of cosmic material in our solar system.

IC 342 appears to be one of the two brightest galaxies in the IC 342/Maffei Group galaxy groups of the Camelopardalis constellation. First discovered in 1985 by William Frederick Denning, it can be detected even with binoculars.

However, all the obstacles in its path make it hard to observe by either amateur or professional astronomers. Now, with some help from the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA and ESA managed to capture the clearest yet image of the Hidden Galaxy.

This reveals: “A beautiful mixture of hot, blue star-forming regions, redder, cooler regions of gas, and dark lanes of opaque dust can be seen, all swirling together around a bright core.”

These colors indicate, according to a NASA statement, that the galaxy is very active. The new image reportedly captured the “very central region” of IC 342.

Back in 2003, astronomers confirmed that the core of this galaxy is a very specific type of central region. Titled an HII nucleus, its very name underlines the presence of ionized hydrogen. This is likely a driving force behind the creation of so many hot new stars.

Image Source: Flickr

Snorting Chocolate Might Be The New Trend

snorting chocolate

Coco Loko is a recently released cacao-powder joining the latest trend of snorting chocolate.

A cocoa-based powder called Coco Loko was recently released on the market, with the announcement that it can be snorted. The powder will supposedly give the users a rush without the use of chemicals or other additives. A 10-serving tin can of Coco Loko cost only $24,99.

Snorting chocolate powder – are there any risks?

The founder of the Legal Lean company, which produces the Coco Loko powder, stated that he was inspired by a chocolate-snorting trend in Europe. With the Coco Loko powder, he tried reproducing the product and make it into his own blend.

According to him, by snorting the powder, the users will feel the rush of an energy drink from 30 minutes to an hour. Moreover, the product description claims that it will also produce a serotonin and endorphin rush in the body.

This will make the users feel positive, happy and euphoric. This is the result of the guarana and taurine used in the mix. At the same time, the raw cacao will give the users a sense of calm, as it supposedly reduces anxiety and stress.

On the other hand, it is known that the inside of the nose is a very sensitive area. One protected by the natural secretions and linings of the membrane. Thus, foreign objects that the inside of the nose cannot process might lead to injuries. By snorting the chocolate powder, there is the risk of disrupting the natural defenses. In turn, this could harm the body.

The US Environmental Protection Agency advised avoiding inhaling anything that is made of tiny particles as it is a direct link to respiratory diseases. Still, the exact effects of snorting chocolate and over a certain period of time have not been studied so currently, there is no final answer.

While the powder is already available on Amazon, it was still not approved by the FDA.

Image Source: Pixabay

MOM Celebrated Its 1,000th Day In Space, And Will Last Longer Than Expected

mom spacecraft

The MOM spacecraft recently celebrated its 1,000th day spent up in space.

The Mars Orbiter Mission or MOM celebrated its 1,000th Earth day in space, a feat not many expected it to achieve as the orbiter was estimated to last 180 days or over six months in space. Also, its remaining fuel levels also mean that the orbiter may still have “more years” left.

MOM Outlasted its Expected Target

MOM was launched on November 5, 2013, aboard a PSLV-C25 rocket and reached its Martian target nine months later. Starting with September 24, 2014, the spacecraft has been in a fixed orbit around the Red Planet. Also since then, it has been collecting and beaming back data. Until now, MOM’s onboard camera returned over 715 pictures.

Initially set to orbit the planet for 180 days, Mars Orbiter Mission outlived this estimates by almost ten times. However, the spacecraft did have to face some quite serious issues. One of them is its “blackout”, which lasted from June 2, 2015, to July 2, 2015. This is considered to have been caused by a solar conjunction.

Also, from May 18, 2016, up till May 30, 2016, MOM had a “whiteout”, which left it unable to communicate with Earth. This was generated by Earth coming in between Mars and the Sun.

ISRO (the Indian Space Research Organization) launched MOM with a fixed 852 kilograms of fuel on board. Back in March 2015, its then fuel levels offered the first chance to extend its mission by a further six months. Now, the still remaining fuel will help further increase the mission’s duration.

The 1,000 Earth days spent orbiting Mars correspond to 973,24 Mars Sols or Martian Solar days. During this period, MOM completed 388 orbits. Its remaining 14 to 15 kilograms of fuel are expected to keep it going for another few years, according to an ISRO release.

Also, ISRO points out that “First-year data from MOM was released to the public on September 24, 2016, through ISSDC website. “

Image Source: Wikimedia

Ori And The Blind Forest Is Officially Getting A Sequel

ori and the blind forest poster

Ori and the Blind Forest is officially getting a sequel only about a year after its Definitive Edition release.

Ori and the Blind Forest is officially getting a sequel, named Ori and the Will of the Wisps, announced during the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2017. This reveal also came with a trailer, which offers a first look at the new game. Presently, its developer has yet to announce a release date.

Ori and the Blind Forest is a platform adventure, Metroidvania-style video game designed and developed by Moon Studios. The single-player game is published by Microsoft Studios, which also announced on June 11, during the E3, that it will be getting a sequel.

Sequel Announced Only Around A Year After the Release of the Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition

The sequel, “Ori and the Will of the Wisps”, will have quite a name to hold. Its predecessor was both critically acclaimed and loved by its players. Both have praised Ori’s gameplay, the story, its action sequences, and beautiful environmental design. They also point out the game’s quite haunting soundtrack. Or the fact that its painted art brings to mind works of traditional animation.

For the sequel announcement, Microsoft Studios maintained the game’s haunting atmosphere by having a pianist play live music. Although it did not offer exact details as to the sequel, most assume that Ori and the Will of the Wisps will come with a similar Metroidvania gameplay. Presumably, it will also star Ori, who is the first game’s titular and which also appeared in the trailer.

This presents a new series of beautiful environments. It also features Ori, who is seemingly consoling a sad owlet gazing at what could be the skeletal remains of its parents. In the first game, players had control over Ori, a white guardian spirit, and Sein. This is “the light and eyes” of the Forest’s Spirit Tree.

To advance, gamers have to move between platforms, all the while solving puzzles. The game also comes with an upgrade system, which can increase Ori’s skills. It also has “soul links” or a system which allows users to save the game at will.

A release date for the sequel has yet to be revealed. Ori and the Will of the Wisps will be available exclusively on the Windows 10 Store and Xbox One.

Image Source: Flickr

Playing Video Games Can Seemingly Be Good For College Students

people playing video games

Research claims that playing video games for a moderate number of hours can improve and help develop academic skills.

A new study goes to contradict the common belief that playing video games, at least on a moderate scale, can impose on a student’s academic results. Research claims that such an activity can actually be helpful as it encourages the development of mental adaptability and also communication skills.

Playing Video Games Can Help Academics

This study was conducted by researchers part of the University of Glasgow and led by Matthew Barr. Results are available in a paper in Computer & Education. Research involved the participation of 36 undergraduate students in Arts and Humanities. These were randomly split into units, one of which acted as a control group. Members of the other were asked to log in 120 minutes of play on a number of games.

These had to be achieved over a period of eight weeks, and in total represented 14 hours of gameplay. Participants were offered commercial titles, not targeted at developing skills or learning. The games included Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Minecraft, Borderlands 2, and others.

The study did not impose game hours or a specific number of minutes per day. Instead, they opened a drop-in basis game lab, open in between specific hours, on particular days. On them, the students could come in and play, but the time management was their own responsibility.

“This work demonstrates that playing commercial video games can have a positive effect on communication ability, adaptability, and resourcefulness in adult learners, suggesting that video games may have a role to play in higher education,” states Barr.

He adds that video games can actually have positive effects for their kids. Barr points out that these commercial video games can help develop and encourage critical thinking and reflective learning. They can also improve adaptability, communication, and problem solving, to state just a few.

The study underlines that this activity can be helpful with academics. But the gained qualities are also featured as desirable attributes and extra points in employability.

Image Source: Flickr

Mars’s Life Supporting Window Was Longer Than Initially Estimated

mars life supporting window

Mars’s life supporting window may have lasted longer than initially believed, according to a new study.

A new study offers evidence that Mars’s life supporting period may have been longer than initially believed, as it could have gone further back into the past. The researchers reached this conclusion after the Curiosity rover discovered “halos”.

Study results are available in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The Planet’s Groundwater lengthened Mars’s Life Supporting Window

The first evidence brought for Mars’s potential habitability came back in 2012. In August of that year, NASA’s Curiosity rover touched down inside the Gale Crater, a 96-miles wide structure. Observations of the area showed that it had once housed a potential lake-and-stream system sometime in its ancient years.

Now, the Gale Crater presented further evidence to sustain this theory and even lengthen Mars’s potential habitability period. Curiosity detected “halos” of silica-rich bedrock. These were noted to surround a series of structures situated near the crater’s floor.

These recent halos were established to be overlying ancient lake sediments. According to the mission team, they presented a high silica content. In turn, this seems to indicate that the halos detected in younger such rocks were very likely “remobilized” from older sedimentary rocks by “the water flowing through the fractures.”

“What this finding tells us is that, even when the lake eventually evaporated, substantial amounts of groundwater were present for much longer than we previously thought,” states Jens Frydenvang.

He is a scientist part of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and also of the University of Copenhagen. Frydenvang is the lead author of the new study as well. He continued by pointing out that the longer presence of groundwater basically extends Mars’s life supporting window.

Curiosity discovered these new silica halos as it was studying the lower north slope of Mount Slope. This is 3.4-miles high mountain situated in the center of the Gale Crater. The rover analyzed its new discovery with many instruments including its cameras, and an X-ray spectrometer. It also used its laser-firing Chemistry and Camera instrument.

Image Source: Pixabay