Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Roundup of Science News

Sorry for the relative dearth of new posts in the last month. But I fully intend on being back on track, and we'll start with a roundup of recent science news.

College Men, Pay Attention:
In an article in a recent issue of Behavioral Ecology, researchers in Denmark reported that thanatosis (playing dead) is an adaptive mating behavior in pisaura mirabilis spiders. The spiders that played 'possum achieved copulation with females more than twice as often as those who did not. Also, they shared the romantic moment with the female spiders longer than the other spiders, and were able to fertilize more eggs during that time.

Gross Tales from Grad School:
The water you drink leaves a record in your hair because of differing oxygen and hydrogen isotopes it contains, and this can predict with 85% accuracy where you live. The technique is already in use by police in Salt Lake City, Utah to identify a murder victim. How did they conduct the research? They collected tap water samples and hair clippings from barbershop floors in 18 states. And I thought getting children who are dyslexic for our experiments was frustrating. Imagine traveling to 18 states to sweep up barbershop floors.

Other Blogs:
Finally, check out this post at Greg Laden's blog at scienceblogs.com - echoes my thoughts, more or less exactly. Spot on.

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