The Unlimited Cool Science Stuff Thread

This forum is for general topics. Keep all posts, images, etc safe for those who read the forum at work. Post only that content that you'd want your mama to read. Violators will be banned.
DayTripper
Posts: 2041
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:01 am
Location: northern mi

The Unlimited Cool Science Stuff Thread

Post by DayTripper » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:19 am

Image

ScienceDaily (July 14, 2009) — Forget the old folk tales about snakes hypnotizing their prey. The tentacled snake from South East Asia has developed a more effective technique. The small water snake has found a way to startle its prey so that the fish turn toward the snake's head to flee instead of turning away. In addition, the fish's reaction is so predictable that the snake actually aims its strike at the position where the fish's head will be instead of tracking its actual movement.

"I haven't been able to find reports of any other predators that exhibit a similar ability to influence and predict the future behavior of their prey," says Kenneth Catania, associate professor of biological sciences at Vanderbilt University, who has used high-speed video to deconstruct the snake's unusual hunting technique.

His observations are published the week of June 15 in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Catania, who is the recipient of a MacArthur "genius" award, studies the brains and behavior of species with extreme specializations. He was attracted to the tentacled snake because it is the only snake that comes equipped with a pair of short tentacles on its nose and he was curious about their function.

"Before I begin a study on a new species, it is my practice to spend some time simply observing its basic behavior," Catania explains. The snake forms an unusual "J" shape with its head at the bottom of the "J" when it is fishing. Then it remains completely motionless until a fish swims into the area near the hook of the "J." That is when the snake strikes.

The snakes' motions take only a few hundredths of a second and are too fast for the human eye to follow. However, its prey reacts even faster, in a few thousandths of a second. In fact, fish are famous for the rapidity of their escape response and it has been extensively studied. These studies have found that many fish have a special circuit in their brains that initiates the escape, which biologists call the "C-start." Fish ears sense the sound pressure on each side of their body. When the ear on one side detects a disturbance, it sends a message to the fishes' muscles causing its body to bend into a C-shape facing in the opposite direction so it can begin swimming away from danger as quickly as possible.

Catania is the first scientist to study this particular predator-prey interaction with the aid of a high-speed video camera. When he began examining the movements of the snake and its prey in slow motion, he saw something peculiar. When the fish that the snake targets turn to flee, most of them turn toward the snake's head and many literally swim into its jaws! In 120 trials with four different snakes, in fact, he discovered that an amazing 78 percent of the fish turned toward the snake's head instead of turning away.

Next, the biologist noticed that the first part of its body that the snake moves is not its head. Instead, it flexes a point midway down its body. Using a sensitive hydrophone that he put in the aquarium, he confirmed that this body fake produces sound waves intense enough to trigger the fish's C-start response. Because these sound waves come from the side opposite the snake's head, this reflex action drives the fish to turn and swim directly toward the snake's mouth.

"Once the C-start begins, the fish can't turn back," Catania says. "The snake has found a way to use the fish's escape reflex to its advantage."

As he studied the snake's actions even closer, he made an even more remarkable discovery. When it strikes, the snake doesn't aim for the fish's initial position and then adjust its direction as the fish moves – the way most predators do. Instead it heads directly for the location where it expects the fish's head to be.

"The best evidence for this is the cases when the snake misses," says Catania. "Not all the targeted fish react with a C-start and the snake almost always misses those that don't react reflexively."

Catania's next step will be to determine whether this predictive capability is hard-wired or learned. To do so, he hopes to obtain some baby snakes that have just hatched and videotape their first efforts to catch prey.

The research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

User avatar
Dude
Posts: 456
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:42 am
Location: Canukistan

Re: The Unlimited Cool Science Stuff Thread

Post by Dude » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:47 am

Badass. I love snakes
"Why is it not surprising that this guy's name is "Quill Gordon?" For some reason, I doubt anybody named "Weighted Zonker" would threaten legal action 48 hours after signing on."- Nemo

"The reason I don't want to watch TV on my phone is the same reason I don't want to take a shit in my oven"

User avatar
BigCliff
Posts: 5925
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 10:59 am
Location: SanAntonyo

Re: The Unlimited Cool Science Stuff Thread

Post by BigCliff » Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:33 pm

"Want to keep your wallet? Carry a baby picture" - http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 681923.ece
Hundreds of wallets were planted on the streets of Edinburgh by psychologists last year. Perhaps surprisingly, nearly half of the 240 wallets were posted back. But there was a twist.

Richard Wiseman, a psychologist, and his team inserted one of four photographs behind a clear plastic window inside, showing either a smiling baby, a cute puppy, a happy family or a contented elderly couple. Some wallets had no image and some had charity papers inside.

When faced with the photograph of the baby people were far more likely to send the wallet back, the study found. In fact, only one in ten were hard-hearted enough not to do so. With no picture to tug at the emotions, just one in seven were sent back.
Buy better hooks and bourbon.

Image

User avatar
Ramcatt
Posts: 4523
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:15 pm
Location: yinzburgh

Re: The Unlimited Cool Science Stuff Thread

Post by Ramcatt » Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:39 pm

Image
"Ramcatt is the origninal cuntry fishing troubadour, and the youngest dirty old man to fish these waters"
- Al Goldstein (c.1973)

User avatar
Sagittarius62
Posts: 548
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:02 am
Location: The Toolies

Re: The Unlimited Cool Science Stuff Thread

Post by Sagittarius62 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:39 pm

Spent some time talking to a biologist with the DEC, and we got on the subject of freshwater mussels. A sizable part of his work revolves around these creatures. He started talking about their reproductive adaptations. The larvae use fish hosts to develop, and move around a body of water, by clinging to their gill plates, fins, or in their digestive system, then eventually drop off in their new home. Some of them simply latch on to any fish that passes by, but some of them use unbelievably sophisticated mechanisms to lure a host, and I do mean lure. Check out this site for a few examples.
http://www.bogleech.com/bio-clampirism.html
Image
Image
Check out this mimicry by the Villosa iris. What smallmouth bass could resist?
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/UILViOpLBWQ&hl ... ram><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/UILViOpLBWQ&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>[/youtube]
RIP Ryan. You will be missed.

User avatar
Bad Fish
Posts: 588
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:13 pm
Location: Nexus of the Trout Universe

Re: The Unlimited Cool Science Stuff Thread

Post by Bad Fish » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:00 pm

From this page - http://www.cracked.com/article_17476_7- ... ysics.html - Full of cool shit.

Fish where you are going, not where you've been.

DayTripper
Posts: 2041
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:01 am
Location: northern mi

Re: The Unlimited Cool Science Stuff Thread

Post by DayTripper » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:10 pm

what goes up, must come down


User avatar
Bad Fish
Posts: 588
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:13 pm
Location: Nexus of the Trout Universe

Re: The Unlimited Cool Science Stuff Thread

Post by Bad Fish » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:16 pm

^^^ Hahaha, reminds me of this one. File under the science of wine making I guess.

Fish where you are going, not where you've been.

DayTripper
Posts: 2041
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:01 am
Location: northern mi

Re: The Unlimited Cool Science Stuff Thread

Post by DayTripper » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:18 pm


User avatar
Redchaser
Posts: 6041
Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 1:01 am
Location: Lafayette, La
Contact:

Re: The Unlimited Cool Science Stuff Thread

Post by Redchaser » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:23 pm

I see a future of well insulated homes, and bad ass super light weight flats boats made of this stuff.

Image
Aerogel is made from Silicon Dioxide, the same material as ordinary Glass,
only 1,000 times less dense.

Aerogel (also called 'frozen smoke' because of its hazy blue appearance), is a truly remarkable material.
It is the lightest and lowest-density solid known to exist, and holds an unbelievable 15 entries in the Guinness Book of World Records, including best insulator and lowest density solid.
Aerogel is composed of 99.8% air and is chemically similar to ordinary glass.

Being the world's lightest known solid, it weighs only three times that of air.

When handled, Aerogel feels like a very light, hard foam. Being chemically similar to glass, it also happens to shatter like glass, yet is incredibly strong structurally, and can support thousands of times its own weight. Theoretically, a block weighing less than a pound could support a weight of half a ton.
Due to its microstructure, Aerogel is a powerful desiccant, rapidly absorbing any moisture in your fingertips when held. This usually leaves some dry spots on the skin that disappear in a short time.
Aerogel's true strength is its incredible insulating properties. It negates just about any kind of
energy transfer - thermal, electrical or acoustic.
A one-inch thick Aerogel window has the same insulation value as 15 panes of glass and trapped air - which means a conventional window would have to be ten-inches thick to equal a one-inch thick Aerogel window.
"... don’t let your life become the sloppy leftovers of your work" Jim Harrison

"Put in the effort and good things happen"... Hogleg

"Salinity is proportional to sanity for sure" ..The Volfish

Redchaser.com, all about Louisiana Fly Fishing

User avatar
fatback
Posts: 108
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:01 am
Location: varies

Re: The Unlimited Cool Science Stuff Thread

Post by fatback » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:06 pm

Image

User avatar
FlyFish2
Posts: 107
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:19 pm
Location: Midwest, USA

Re: The Unlimited Cool Science Stuff Thread

Post by FlyFish2 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:53 pm

http://www57.wolframalpha.com/


Play around with this! :bomb

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bigguy, Bing [Bot], EML, fishpimp, fishskibum, pxatim, RFA, Saltan and 63 guests