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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Track Watebirds Using Nuclear Physics

Nuclear physics used to track australian waterbirds.
Australia's native birds are on the decline - those damn humans! Yes, we are destroying the planet and we have to do something about it.  Obtaining data on bird numbers is paramount. Nuclear physics is the answer.  Researchers are examining feathers recently dropped by waterbirds. It provides information on where birds have been and what they have eaten.  The I-TRAX Core Scanner shows chemical changes over time. A mass spectrometer is also used to determine oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen isotopes.
Australian waterbirds
Feathers are composed of keratin like hair. Water sources have different chemical composition. This is stored in the keratin, so a map can be created of where birds have been living. The method of feather analysis is much cheaper than leg banding or satellite tracking.

Members of the public can contribute. At present scientists are picking up feathers then posting them to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). Anyone can do this to further the body of data on birds.
◆ Physics by Ty Buchanan 
 
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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Shortsightedness is Environmental and Genetic - Health

Myopic vision is genetic as well as Environmental - Health.
Myopia is a very odd condition. Shortsighted people can only focus at a close distance because their eyeballs have grown too large. It is not so much an illness as a consequence of growing.
It is a genetic problem. About 90 per cent of East Asians suffer from myopia. This compares to 25 per cent of Australians. Too much reading indoors is a causative factor. The more years one partakes in education the higher the probability that shortsightedness will occur. Spending time outdoors where it is necessary to focus on things at a distance seems to be preempt the ailment.

Getting glasses does treat the condition. However, it can lead to problems in the future. There is a higher possibility of going blind. Detached retinas and glaucoma lead up to this.

The age of technology has not been a factor in myopia. Yes, there is a lot of reading on tablets which is detrimental. Whether reading a book or looking at a screen, there is no difference.
Genetics by Ty Buchanan 
 
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Monday, September 12, 2016

Tasmanian Devil Resistance to Facial Cancer (DFTD)

Biological research shows genetic resistance to Tasmanian devil disease.
The Tasmanian devil is an animal unique to Australia. It Once resided all over the continent. Perhaps is was easy for Aboriginals to catch for food. It cannot run very fast. It could just have died out due to a warming of the country. Tasmania is its only natural home today.
Tasmanian devil facial tumor disease (DFTD
Their raucous cries led to them being named devils by European settlers. They are violent to each other though attacks on humans are virtually non-existent. Scavenging for food is their number one priority.

A facial disease began in the species in 1996. It was unusual in that it is the only known cancer transmitted from animal to animal. Tasmanian devil numbers fell by 80 per cent in twenty years due to Tasmanian devil facial tumor disease (DFTD).

Extinction was predicted. However, it was noticed that some animals survived without getting the disease. Genes were examined and these devils had five genes not present in their brothers who succumbed. This shows that all animals currently living are unlike their ancestors who dominated even a hundred years ago.
Biology by Ty Buchanan 
 
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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Area 51 Fish

Strange fish from Area 51.
"I am the latest out of Area 51.  "Yeah, invisible to radar."
Funny Animal Pictures
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