Leaping Electric Eels Resolve a Centuries-Old Mystery

In his writings, naturalist and intrepid explorer Alexander von Humboldt recounted how natives in Venezuela used horses to lure and trap electric eels. Many scientists thought it was just a tall tale, but a new paper lends credence to Humboldt’s account of eels aggressively leaping up and stunning the horses with a series of high-voltage discharges.

Source: Leaping Electric Eels Resolve a Centuries-Old Mystery

Watts are power. Volts are electrical potential or electrical potential difference.

A typical household outlet is rated for 15 A at 120 V, which is 1800 Watts. Unless we know the wattage (or amperage) we can’t know the difference in power.  Wikipedia says the Electric Eel can provide up to 860 volts at 1 A. So less than a household outlet. But still very, very dangerous…

Rare Genetic Mutation May Explain Some Forms of Multiple Sclerosis

Canadian scientists have uncovered a single genetic mutation that significantly heightens a person’s chance of developing a progressive and severe form of multiple sclerosis. While no single factor is responsible for causing the neurological disease, the discovery points to possible treatment options.

Source: Rare Genetic Mutation May Explain Some Forms of Multiple Sclerosis

That’s a very small sample size…

Bring on the Men: Sweden Sees Male Surplus For First Time in Centuries

Europe has what you may call a man problem.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, researchers have found a growing increase in the ratio of men versus women in many of these countries. A recent report published at Phys.org says that Sweden specifically has seen a historic gender shift. For the first time since record keeping began in 1749, the country’s population contains more men than women.

Source: Bring on the Men: Sweden Sees Male Surplus For First Time in Centuries

Men tend to become more promiscuous when sex ratios are skewed towards more women, but more violent when sex ratios are skewed towards more men.

From what I can tell from the article, most of the increase in male population is due to migration – probably due to conflicts in the Middle East. Incoming migrants may experience social isolation in their new home and PTSD from the conflicts they are fleeing, which has the potential to exacerbate violence. I hope Sweden is able to give adequate support to its new residents.

Why Is the BBC Planning to Delete 11,000 Recipes From the Internet?

Think positive: It’s British cuisine that will be gone. 😉

News reports this morning claim that the BBC is planning to delete over 11,000 online recipes. But the internet didn’t suddenly run out of room, so what gives?

Source: Why Is the BBC Planning to Delete 11,000 Recipes From the Internet?

Sources at the BBC have pointed out to Huffington Post that the web pages will be archived rather than deleted. That will apparently make them “increasingly hard to find via a search engine,” so it may pay to bookmark any favorites.

NYC Law Requires Businesses to Feed Food Waste to Giant Metal ORCAs

New York City is doing what it can to be more eco-friendly. We’re not just talking recycling plastic bottles or taxing plastic bags; we’re also talking about behind-the-scenes efforts that tackle waste before it hits the streets. Starting July 19, 2016, many hotels, wholesalers, and other large vendors in New York City will be required to separate their organic waste and recycle it. Businesses can dispose of the waste themselves, or they can coordinate a pick-up from a third party.

Source: NYC law requires businesses to feed food waste to giant metal ORCAs

The process uses an aerobic digestion process, thus no methane.

The Five Types of “Real Tea,” and Other Little-Known Tea Facts

Chai tea is an Indian drink with a specific spice blend, and, in India, a specific process involving condensed milk. Its actual name is ‘chai masala’, which is Hindi for ‘spiced tea’. When white westerners found it, we straddled the line between ‘exotic’ and ‘palatable to anglophone audiences’, and in doing so, made a phrase redundant in two languages. It would have been fine if we’d called it ‘masala tea’ or ‘tea masala’, or just ‘spiced tea’.

Portugal has nothing to do with it.

Guess What: You Can Deep Fry Water

Not that I would ever want to encourage anyone from trying it at home, but you probably could up the safe factor with a fry screen and keeping the pot covered the entire time.  That would be slightly safer…

18 grams of water (a little over a tablespoon) will expand to 22.4 liters of volume when turned to steam, and it will happen really fast. So if that little ball thing leaks, the resulting steam will probably blow the top off your frying vessel and cause the oil to boil over, exposing it to the naked flame beneath or testing the circuit breaker in your electric appliance. You probably won’t have hot oil flying at your face and you might not have an oil fire, but at the very least you will have a very big mess to clean up.

Getting Babies to Stop Crying and Not Die May Have Made Humans Smarter

With sleepless nights and puzzling crying spells, caring for a newborn may seem like a mind numbing endeavor. But the mental abilities needed to keep a helpless, fussy infant alive may actually be the source of our smarts.

Source: Getting babies to stop crying and not die may have made humans smarter

Huh, I’ve often said while raising young children “I’m not sure how the human race survived for so long when children clearly aren’t concerned with their own survival”… 😉
I’m more curious about the fact that I see screaming kids and my brain says “that looks unpleasant, I don’t want that, no kids for me”. Intelligence seems like it should be a barrier to reproduction. Yet, as a species, we keep having them…
Those are other people’s babies. To a certain extent, when it’s your baby, you are hardwired to love it, emphasize with it, feel sad, and try to help it. You also get the really nice stuff of watching your baby develop into a child and start maturing, and the bright spots really help compensate for the occasional issues.  That’s until they become teens – then it’s war!

The Origin Story Behind That Annoying Term, ‘The Biological Clock’

The concept of the “biological clock” is so firmly entrenched in popular culture it feels like it might’ve arrived carved onto the back of the Ten Commandments. But in fact its origins are much more recent—specifically, 1978.

Source: The Origin Story Behind That Annoying Term, ‘The Biological Clock’

I slept through the alarm.  Threw my clock at the wall and smashed it to bits, happy as a clam ever since.