Why we sleep

Virtually all animals sleep, but scientists have had a hard time figuring out why that is.  New research has apparently uncovered a major reason why our brains need to go out of consciousness on a regular basis:  While we are asleep, toxins that build up in the brain get flushed out.  Experiments with mice show that their brain cells actually shrink  so that there is 60% more space between them, allowing fluid to wash them more effectively, sweeping out dead cells and Alzheimer’s-causing plaque, as well as chemical toxic wastes.

How lucky we are that so many random mutations came together to make this happen so as to allow us to sleep!  I feel bad, though, about the animals that must have lived for millions of years before one of them, completely by chance, gained this survival advantage and spread it to all other species.  Before they could sleep, living organisms must have been really grumpy.

After the jump, details about the discovery. [Read more…]

Why cats are the way they are

I’ve blogged about dogs.  But I also like cats.  They are cool, graceful little killing machines.  I also like what cat-haters don’t:  their independence.  Did you know that cats, unlike nearly every other domesticated animal,  cannot be intentionally bred?   Did you know that cats are the most popular pet in the world, with three-times as many cats as dogs?

British zoologist John Bradshaw, the author of The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat,  has a new book out:   Cat Sense.  After the jump is  an excerpt from that book.  Read it all at the link, but I have quoted a passage that shows how cats sometimes do, in fact, show affection to their human owners.  Sort of. [Read more…]

Has Bigfoot been verified?

Researchers are claiming that they have new photographic and physical evidence of the existence of the Sasquatch, a.k.a. Bigfoot.  Not only that, they have sequenced Bigfoot’s DNA, which reportedly shows that the creature is a hybrid human.

A consistent feature of Bigfoot sightings is that the observer smells an overpowering musky stench.  I am experiencing that right now, and it smells like a hoax.  Still, I get a big kick out of this sort of thing.  After the jump, I give you the website of these reports, a link to the scholarly article on the physical evidence and the DNA analysis, a news story, a photograph of Bigfoot, and a video.  Everything you will need for a Bigfoot extravaganza. [Read more…]

What time is it?

In a story about how the rotation of the earth has slowed 2/1000 of a second over the last century, science writer Ivan Amato explains how dependent our technology is on extremely accurate time-keeping.  For example, if the clocks in your GPS device and the satellite it connects to are out of synch by as little as 1/1000 of a second, your location would be thrown  off by hundreds of miles. [Read more…]

Mount up with wings like eagles

After the jump, a video from a camera mounted on the back of an eagle, showing what it is like to soar from an eagle’s point of view. [Read more…]

“A mind not a material process”

Intelligent Design scholar Stephen Meyer has a new book out, Darwin’s Doubt.  Emily Belz of World reports on a talk he gave in New York City in which he says that various scientists, from a purely secularist point of view, are challenging Darwinism and proposing alternative theories.  The issue, he says, is the growing evidence that the data in the universe points to “a mind not a material process.” [Read more…]


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