10 Amazing Discoveries That Should Be Worth Millions
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So, why do we care?
"I think humans are lonely and long for another form of life in the universe," says Joyce, "preferably one that is intelligent and benevolent. But wishing upon a star does not make it so. We must either discover alternative life or construct it in the laboratory. Someday it may be discovered by a Columbus who travels to a distant world or, more likely in my opinion, invented by a Geppetto who toils at the workbench."
It might not be the answer we want to hear but it’s more poetic than a lot of poetry. Also, you think he’s been to Disney lately?
8. Our new movie: Ants in the plants
Disney stories are often about an oddly matched pair that manages to get together to conquer all kinds of problems -- a puppet and a cricket, a cowboy and a spaceman, a lady and a tramp. Now we think we have a new one for them: the ant and the plant.
LiveScience’s Charles Choi reports a wonderfully beneficial relationship between Nepenthes bicalcarata -- a carnivorous pitcher plant, carnivorous plants always being the coolest things in the garden -- and their ant buddies Camponotus schmitzi. The plant provides the ant a place to live and nectar to drink and in return it bodyguards the plant, systematically attacking insects who try to escape the plant's predatory clutches, cleans away dead insect debris, keeps the pitcher lip clean so victims will more likely fall in and fertilizes the plant with its waste.
Researcher Vincent Bazile, an ecologist at University Montpellier 2 in France said plants with ants have fuller leaves, are three times richer in nitrogen, “the nutrient that is key to organic molecules such as proteins and DNA” and had larger pitchers that held more prey.
Is that a great buddy movie or what? We’re calling it Schmitzi and Pitch, changing that one Randy Newman song to " I’ve got a friend in me."
9. More creamy vanilla nutritional research, please!
If ants in the plants aren’t an odd enough match, how about mice and yogurt?
Not for breakfast…for each other. Elle Dolgin of Scientific American writes that MIT researchers studying the effects of yogurt on obesity found a decidedly unexpected and hilariously beneficial effect it had on male mice. Following up on research that yogurt prevented age-related weight-gain more than any other food researchers split up a group of male and female mice, feeding half a regular diet and half a junk food-mimicking diet. “ They then supplemented half of each diet group with vanilla-flavored yogurt.”
They set out to study the effects of yogurt on obesity. Well, something got bigger alright.
The coats of all the yogurt-eating mice grew to become remarkably shiny and silky, but that wasn’t biggest news: the testicles of male mice who ate the yogurt were 5% heavier than those of the regular-diet mice and 15% heavier than the junk food mice. Researchers had noticed the males “projected their testes out which endowed them with a certain “mouse swagger,” Dolgin writes. The reproductive rates of the yogurt-eating mice were better, too, with the males inseminating the females more quickly and producing more offspring and the female yogurt eaters producing larger litters and weaning their offspring more successfully.
“The findings could have implications for human fertility,” Dolgin writes.
Come to think of it, we’ve never seen a yogurt commercial that targets men . Something tells us yogurt marketing executives are going to be somewhere they never imagined: all over those mouse 'nads.