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Unburdened by social engineering, some females prefer males who act like males so growing up with lots of sisters makes a male less sexy - for rats, anyway.

A new study published in Psychological Science, says that the sex ratio of a male rat's family when he's growing up influences both his own sexual behavior and how female rats respond to him.
When males who were raised with a lot of sisters were presented with receptive female rats, they spent less time mounting them than did male rats that were raised in male-biased litters or in balanced families.
Like 'green' technology?  Currently 97% of the world's 17 rare earths originate from China and they are necessary for catalytic converters that reduce emissions in cars, for computer monitors,  pharmaceuticals and many other things that require these specialty metals.
Is nothing secret any more?    Not with Google Maps prowling the planet.

The top secret location of Batman's Batcave has been revealed and it's not under Wayne Manor - it's at an Air Force base in Okinawa.

Batman symbol Air Force’s 44th Fighter Squadron, the Vampire Bats

Why is it there?  The 44th Fighter Squadron is known as "the Vampire Bats", according to an Air Force spokesman.   Suuuuuuure, that's the truth.
Unlike the American Revolution, the French one turned out to be a bloody mess and led to Napoleon sacking all of Europe.   Because the French hated the British, they then instituted a French clock with 100,000 seconds per day (ten hours of a hundred minutes of a hundred seconds), a French calendar (three décades of 10 days per month - which meant each day of rest was after 9 working days, you can imagine how the French workers loved that) and even a new measurement system, the meter, which like most things French they calculated incorrectly but still caught on, even in Britain.
Not understanding what capitalism means when he isn't giving himself illegal stock options or basking in the glow of an upward stock price, Steve Jobs took the opportunity to explain low iPad sales by ... blaming Google.

He also went after Samsung and Dell, deflecting talk of Apple's 6% stock drop.   "The current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be DOA, dead on arrival  Their manufacturers will learn the painful lesson that their tablets are too small."
When a professor at Sweden's Umea University had his computer stolen, he was devastated by the loss of his data more than anything. But a week after the theft, he got a package in the mail: A USB drive.

Tip of the Science Sombrero to Gawker
Stupid hair getting in the way of your functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) experiments?   Good news!  Researchers from Texas speaking at the Optical Society's (OSA) 94th annual meeting in New York have created a "brush optrode" with fiber tips designed to thread through hair to enhance scalp contact.

fNIRS is an optical technique that measures oxygen levels in the brain to chart neurological activity. The big advantage over something like an EEG is portability and cost, which means beter imaging of changes in cortical plasticity as a function of impairment severity, like in children with cerebral palsy.
The problem with modern progressive notions of equality is that all must be equal - and New York is the home of modern progressive idealism, so serious candidates in the governor's race had to share a stage with Jimmy McMillan of the "Rent Is Too Damn High" Party and he stole the show, issuing forth sage wisdom at random intervals like 
"The chemicals of Agent Orange -- dioxin and a lot of other chemicals mixed up -- I would get sick. When I get home tonight, I know I'm not going to be able to breathe if I take them off. It could be psychological, I don't know, but I just put 'em on and wear them anyway."

Can't get enough of Jimmy McMillan? Here is some video:

With an economy in freefall and his party poised to lose control of the House, President Obama has found time to appear on "Mythbusters", which will shore up the one demographic already guaranteed to vote for anyone not a Republican - scientists.
Hunting as the primary source of food is the common conception of prehistoric man but that may be incorrect, says Anna Revedin of the Italian Institute of Prehistory and Early History in Florence, who ancient starch grains on grinding tools buried at three prehistoric settlements in the valleys and floodplains of Italy, Russia, and the Czech Republic.

Read the tale by Kristen Minogue at Science Now.
Press coverage has cast further doubt on climate scientists' claims that man-made global warming is real and adversely affecting the planet, according to a report by Adam Fleming at the BBC.
Israel's Antiquities Authority is partnering with Google to bring the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls online, in the original languages and in translation.  Some scholars have complained that access to the ancient texts, among the more interesting archaeological finds of the last century, has been too limited. 

The images of the 30,000 fragments will be in high resolution, preventing a need for them to be re-imaged in the future and allowing in-depth analysis.

The first photographs are slated to be online within months.
Chad Orzel at has a fun article on "Goodnight Moon" and a bunny that says good night to a lot of stuff and tackles the question everyone has - how long does it take to say goodnight to all that stuff?

Using the awesome power of science, he lets us know ... 

He's also doing the blogging event for the educational charity DonorsChoose so if you want to donate and help under-funded schools, here is the direct link.
In the 'You shouldn't mix alcohol and goat sacrifice' department, we have this news from Associated Press/NPR;  a 10-day Navratri festival that honors Durga, the Mother Goddess in the Hindu religion, went awry after a scuffle broke out concerning who would get their goat sacrificed first.

It's not like they wouldn't all get a chance - some 30,000 goats were sacrificed at the temple on Saturday, it is said.   But being first was the issue so with 40,000 people at the Tildiha village temple needing their goats sacrificed, it was bound to get ugly.  And so it did, with 10 dead and 11 wounded.
One of the most cuddly early animals might have been a pack-hunting cannibal.   

Those cute critters of the early Earth may have been roving packs of cannibals, according to new evidence on trilobites.  Teeth marks, attack positions, shredded relatives and other signs of cannibalism have been found in the fossilized remains of tiny agnostid trilobites, affectionately called "bugs" by paleontologists and fossil hunters.

Earth's Early Cannibals Caught in the Act
In dioecious species you have males and females, and males do not directly produce offspring. The increase of the population is constrained by the number of females in such lineages (male gametes are cheap). There is no such limitation in asexual lineages, where every individual can contribute to reproductive “primary production.” Additionally, the mating dance is another cost of sex. Individuals expend time and energy seeking out mates, and may have to compete and display for the attention of all. Why bother?
The answer on the broadest-scale seems to be variation, says Razib Khan...
America is a 'melting pot', it used to be said - everyone adds their own stuff but it's part of the same dish.   In the 1970s, partly due to elitism and partly due to idealism, that began to change and multiculturalism took hold.  America was not a melting pot, proponents said, it was a salad bowl and each part needs to remain whole.  People who dislike foreigners happily embraced that progressive idealism.
In China, collagen is not just for ridiculous fake lips.  For those women who think facelifts and Botox are just not enough, they can now buy collagen-enhanced drinks.  

"Take a collagen drink for 30 days and have skin as soft as a baby's"

One 22-year-old enthusiast in the Guardian says her skin is "super smooth" after a six-month course.  Well, it's a little easier at 22, isn't it?  
Rajendra Pachauri is staying on as chairman of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) but it agreed to make some other changes to try and prevent future mistakes in its widely watched climate-science reports, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Communicating Astronomy with the Public journal (CAPjournal) #9 is up and focused on cultural astronomy and how historical or cultural aspects to science pieces can help communicators to engage with a wider audience.  

During IYA2009, many countries ran projects that can be classed as “Cultural Astronomy”. The activities described focused on indigenous astronomy,  the history of astronomy and the inclusive nature of astronomy — as a hobby that can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere. Activities included public events that combined telescope observing with storytelling, new learning modules for school  children, theatre productions and cultural astronomy exhibitions.