March 19, 2013

    Photo: Daniel D. Snyder

Study: Athletes Think Faster

Tend to be better at cognitive tasks

Brains and brawn go together more often than you may think. That's the takeaway from a new study which found that elite athletes performed better at cognitive tasks than their non-athletic counterparts.

Researchers at the University of Illinois subjected 87 top Brazilian volleyball players, including Olympic medalists, to a battery of memory and cognitive tests, and compared their results to a control group, and found that the athletes scored better on all but one of the activities.

"We found that athletes were generally able to inhibit behavior, to stop quickly when they had to, which is very important in sport and daily life," said psychology professor Arthur Kramer, who led the study. "They were also able to activate, to pick up information from a glance, and to switch between tasks more quickly than non-athletes." Kramer said the findings support the idea that spending years on a single athletic activity can have mental benefits as well.

Via News Bureau Illinois


Google Street View Everest

Google Street View Everest     Photo: Courtesy of Google

Explore Everest on Google Maps

Street View adds four of Seven Summits

It turns out that Google has an adventure bucket list, too. The tech giant recently crossed four of the world's highest peaks off its list after sending a team of people with digital cameras and fisheye lenses to chronicle Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus, and Everest Base Camp. Now they have posted photos of the trips to Google Street View so online viewers can have a look around.

"While there’s nothing quite like standing on the mountain, with Google Maps you can instantly transport yourself to the top of these peaks and enjoy the sights without all of the avalanches, rock slides, crevasses, and dangers from altitude and weather that mountaineers face," said Google adventurer


A man is believed dead in Rocky Mountain National Park after an avalanche struck.     Photo: Coloradophotos/Shutterstock

Climber Dead in Colorado Avalanche

Killed in Rocky Mountain NP

A 43-year-old climber is presumed dead after an avalanche in Rocky Mountain National Park Sunday evening. David Laurienti and his climbing partner, Lisa Foster, 45, were reported overdue Monday morning.

Park rangers found Foster near Ypsilon Lake with "numerous" injuries Monday afternoon and transported her to a hospital. Laurienti's body could not be immediately recovered.

A park spokesman said that Blitzen Ridge, from which the pair descended, includes sections of technical rock that can be hazardous in winter.

Via Denver Post


    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Scientist Resurrecting Extinct Species

Australian brooding frog to be brought back first

Scientists around the world are growing giddy at the prospect of resurrecting extinct species, and that whole mad scientist thing in general. Last week at a conference in Washington, Australian scientists reported that they had revived the genome of the long-extinct gastric brooding frog, a species primarily known for incubating its young in its stomach and giving birth through its mouth.

The scientists used a cloning technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer. According to the Guardian, the process involves taking frozen tissue samples and implanting the dead cell nucleus into a fresh egg from a similar species. However, the scientists have so far only been able to produce embryos, which die quickly, so we’ll have to wait just a little longer for a plague of frog-vomiting frogs.

Also under consideration are a number of other extinct species, including the wooly mammoth, a kind of cattle known as the aurochs, and the noble passenger pigeon, which we gleefully massacred early in the 20th century.

Some have also floated the idea of resurrecting our Neanderthal cousins using backbreeding, in which scientists look for remnants of their DNA in living species, and then enhance those traits using selective breeding over time. However, according to Hank Greely, director of the Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University, 500-generation human backbreeding would not be “feasible.” He also added, “It would be a really bad idea,” thereby cementing his status as a total buzzkill.