Animals, Anthropology, Biology, Environment, Science, Studies

Urban grasshoppers courting more loudly to overcome traffic

As urban city environments continue to spread, more and more research is being done to measure the effects human pollution of all sorts is affecting the local wildlife. Researchers from the University of Bielefeld in Germany have recently released the results of a study focused on the mating tunes of grasshoppers. They found that the city-boy grasshoppers had a 1 to 4 kiloHertz frequency advantage over their country brothers. Similar to crickets, grasshoppers produce tunes by rubbing their back legs against their front wings. These tunes are used for a variety of reasons, from warnings and marking territory to reproduction. When courting, male grasshoppers produce a two-part tune to attract females…

Discoveries, Nanotechnology, Physics

Graphene thickness now easily identifiable

We’ve all been hearing about the miracles that carbon nanostructures will provide us in the near future for several years now. One of the first steps to making its application commercially viable is making it easy to use and manufacture. Researchers from the Harbin Institute of Technology at Weihai and Southeast University have made identifying the thickness of graphene easy with the use of just a normal microscope and the Matlab computer program. The thickness of graphene is one of the major factors in determining the structure’s purpose, and varying thickness leads to a number of useful applications. However, since its discovery in 2004 there has not been a reliable, cheap…

Anatomy, Biology, Chemistry, Health & Medicine, Inventions, Research

Ear could power efficient radios

Take a moment to think about what your ears do. The human ear has a complex system for turning mere sound waves into electric messages for your brain, and it serves to keep you balanced. In order to turn sound waves (which are mechanical energy) into the electrochemical energy that sends messages to the brain, the waves have to go through the three parts of the ear. The outer ear is what you generally think of, the fleshy outside and ear canal, and it funnels sounds into your ear and helps with identifying where the sound came from. The middle ear uses the eardrum and some very small bones to…

Animals, Biology, Research, Science, Studies

Wrens teach password for food to their eggs

The superb fairy-wren is a small Australian bird whose nests are often invaded by cuckoo birds. The cuckoos lay their eggs in the wrens’ nests, leaving their young to be taken care of by the wren family. This is bad for the actual wren chicks, because it limits the amount of resources, like food, that they receive. The fairy-wren has developed an astonishing system to protect their young and identify the invading cuckoo chicks. Researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide found that mother wrens sing a unique tune to their eggs as the chicks grow inside. Once the eggs hatch, only those chicks that can repeat the “password” tune are fed….