Cool Shit From The Scientific Community

Well guys, it’s been a while.  We’ve missed some days, and been busy- really dropped the ball on our end- but I’m here to make it all up to you.  I’ve found three really cool recent stories out of the science community, and I’m going to share them with you today.  These are all stories that came out in the last week or so, that you need to hear about!  I’ve got some really cool star-nosed mole facts, some glowing mushroom research, and the god damn coolest looking research ship you ever did see.

First, star-nosed moles -man, they are so damn cool.  About a week and a half ago Ken Catania- a biologist who studies these crazy creatures- gave a talk on some of the incredible things these moles can do, and I just want to share the highlights with you.  1. Their crazy ass noses help them move around and find prey, not by sensing electric fields, but thanks to an unbelievable amount of nerves.  Their star nose- which is about the size of a human finger- has five times the amount of nerve fibres than your entire hand!  It’s like this little super powered feeling machine!  2. They eat quick- like real quick.  In 8 milliseconds a star-nosed mole can identify the prey, then eat it in 200 milliseconds.  All of this adds up to the fastest foraging behaviour on our planet.  3. They can smell underwater.  They blow air bubbles underwater, then inhale them back in, allowing them to smell the water.  Like I said, these guys are awesome.

Moving right along, a team of researchers from Brazil, Japan, and Russia recently discovered the mechanism for bioluminescence in mushrooms.  Studying Neonothopanus gardneri, a glow in the dark species of mushroom found in Brazil, the scientists figured out that an oxidation of the compound luciferin is the culprit.  When luciferin reacts with oxygen, oxyluciferin is produced- which glows.  The oxygen is then “exhaled” by the mushrooms, ending the process, while also allowing it to start right back up.  There’s also tons of other molecules at work- like 3-hydroxyhispidin and caffeic acid- but it’s a bit too much for me to understand.

And finally, the WWF is about to get a sick new research boat thanks to a Norwegian billionaire.  Kjell Inge Røkke is buying a 181-meter long research vessel, complete with labs, submarines, drones, and an auditorium, to be launched by the WWF in 2020.  Oh, and he’s also paying for its maintenance, as well as for its 30-60 person research team.  The ship will be able to do tons of things, including taking atmospheric measurements both above and 6,000 metres below sea level, taking measurements of whats going on 20 meters below the sea bed, and melting down five tonnes of plastic, every day, in a harmful-emissions-free process.  Seriously, this thing is bad ass.  And why is Røkke doing this??? “I want to give the lion’s share of what I have earned back to society. This ship is part of that.”  Yeah, he’s that cool.  Anyways, to really get an idea for the full bad assery this ship is capable of, check out the video below.