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 Science News and Facts



The Teenage Brain

(Story from SCIENCE NEWS for KIDS)

     It’s not easy being a teenager.  The teen years can play out like a choose-your-own-adventure novel, where everyday temptations lead to tough decisions. What if I took that big jump on my bike? What’s the worst thing that could happen if I snuck out after curfew? Should I try smoking?
     Teenagers must act on an endless parade of choices. Some choices, including smoking, come with serious consequences. As a result, adolescents often find themselves trapped between their impulsive tendencies (Just try it!) and their newfound ability to make well-informed and logical choices (Wait, maybe that’s not such a good idea!).
     So what makes the teenager’s brain so complex? What drives adolescents — more than any other age group — to sometimes make rash or questionable decisions? By peering into the brains of teenagers, scientists who study brain development have begun finding answers.

The evolved teenager

     If you have ever thought that the choices teenagers make are all about exploring and pushing limits, you are on to something. Experts believe that this tendency marks a necessary phase in teen development. The process helps prepare teenagers to confront the world on their own. It is something all humans have evolved to experience — yes, teens everywhere go through this exploratory period. Nor is it unique to people: Even laboratory mice experience a similar phase during their development.
     For example, laboratory experiments show that young mice stay close by their mothers for safety. As mice grow, their behavior does too. “When they reach puberty, they’re like, ‘I’m gonna start checking out how this environment looks without my mom,’” explains Beatriz Luna, of the University of Pittsburgh.
     As a developmental cognitive neuroscientist, Luna studies those changes that occur in the brain as children develop into adults. She and other researchers are showing how the teen experience can lead to powerful advantages later in life. Take mice again: Young mice that explore most tend to live longest — that is, unless a cat eats them, Luna adds.


     What really goes on in a teenager’s brain? Of course, neuroscientists can’t actually peer inside the brains of living teenagers. So they do the next best thing; Researchers scan teen brains while their owners are thinking, learning and making critical decisions.  Eveline Crone is a psychologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands who studies how the brain develops. To do so, Crone uses a huge, high-tech instrument called a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. The scanner relies on a powerful magnet and radio waves to create detailed images of the brains of Crone’s young volunteers. It is painless and safe. All that Crone’s adolescent subjects have to do is lie back — and play a few games.

As Crone’s volunteers look up, they see a mirror that reflects a computer screen on which they can play casino-like computer games. Press a button and a slot machine appears, allowing teens to gamble — and win. Three bananas in a row? You win a dollar! “Kids love it. They always want to come back,” laughs Crone.  Teens also can play games that require them to make choices, such as whether to pull a trigger, smile at an attractive face or accept a tempting offer. Some choices earn them rewards, such as coins or food.
     While her subjects play away, Crone and her coworkers are hard at work observing and measuring which parts of the teens’ brains are most active. The researchers can pinpoint activity by observing how much oxygen various brain regions are using. Very active parts of the brain use a lot of oxygen.
     During the risk-taking and rewards-based tests, one region deep inside the brain shows more activity in adolescents than it does in children or adults, Crone says. This region, known as the ventral striatum, is often referred to as the “reward center” of the brain. The region can drive us to repeat behaviors that provide a reward, such as money and treats.
     Concludes Crone: This physical difference in adolescent brain activity “shows that adolescence is a unique phase in development.”


     Adolescents are particularly sensitive and responsive to influence by friends, desires and emotions, researchers say. It’s one of the hallmarks of this stage in life.
     A major reason why teenagers often respond to those influences with irrational decisions is the presence of a brain chemical known as dopamine. The brain releases dopamine when something makes us feel good, whether it’s receiving a teacher’s compliment or finding a $20 bill. Dopamine levels in general peak during adolescence. In teenagers, the strength of this “feel good” response helps explain why they often give in to impulsive desires.
     B.J. Casey of Cornell University tries to understand these biological patterns in teenagers. In laboratory experiments, this brain scientist and her coworkers have seen increased activity in the ventral striatum whenever someone at any age is confronted by a risky decision or the offer of a reward. However, this brain region seems “to be shouting louder” between the ages of 13 and 17 than at any other time during human development.

Crucially, the ventral striatum also communicates with another brain region, this one located just behind the forehead. Called the prefrontal cortex, it’s the brain’s master planner.

Another way to think of the prefrontal cortex is as the conductor of an orchestra. It gives instructions and enables chatter among other brain regions. It guides how we think and learn step-by-step procedures, such as tying our shoelaces. Even preschoolers rely on the prefrontal cortex to make decisions. Overall, the prefrontal cortex’s ability to boss the brain increases with age.
Casey’s research shows how the adolescent brain is locked in a tug-of-war between the logical pull of the prefrontal cortex and the impulsive pull of the ventral striatum. Although teens can make good decisions, “in the heat of the moment — even when they know better,” the reward system can outmuscle the master planner. That can lead to poor decisions, Casey says.
In fact, teenagers almost cannot help but respond to the promise of a reward, Casey says. “It’s like they’re pulled toward it.” It even happens if the choice appears illogical.
While this would appear to push teenagers toward years of serious risk-taking, it is no mistake of evolution. Casey and other researchers believe the adolescent brain specifically evolved to respond to rewards so teens would leave behind the protection provided by their parents and start exploring their environment — a necessary step toward the independence they will need in adulthood.

Improved chatter

     While all of this is going on during adolescence, the prefrontal cortex seems to lag in developing. It turns out this delay serves an important evolutionary function, says Michael Frank of Brown University. Frank studies the brain processes that occur during learning and decision making.
     The prefrontal cortex is important because it teaches the rest of the brain the rules about how the world works. So it’s important that the master planner not be too rigid or restrictive during adolescence. Instead, it stays open to learning. Only later on in development can the brain disregard less useful information, Frank says.
     Prior to adolescence, the master planner isn’t quite advanced enough to guide all the other brain regions. That’s because it still doesn’t know the rules of the game. “So that’s why you have parents to act as your prefrontal cortex,” Frank jokes. Then, all too often, he says, “you reach adolescence and you don’t listen to your parents anymore.”

Pruned, not shriveled

     During adolescence, two key processes appear to play an important role in the maturing of our brains. One of the processes involves axons, or fibers that connect nerve cells. From infancy, these fibers allow one nerve cell to talk to another. Throughout the teen years, fatty tissue starts to insulate the axons from interfering signals — it is a bit like the plastic that coats electrical cables.

     In axons, the insulating tissue allows information to zip back and forth between brain cells much more quickly. It also helps build networks that link the prefrontal cortex with other brain regions, allowing them to work together more efficiently. Eventually, the master planner can send messages throughout the brain with speed and precision.
     The second key process involves synapses. A synapse is like a dock between nerve cells. Nerve cells communicate by transmitting chemical and electrical signals. Those signals move through the synapses.
     In their first three years of life, children develop seemingly endless connections in their brain circuitry. Then, beginning in adolescence, the brain starts discarding many of these connections. Luna, the developmental cognitive neuroscientist, compares it to an artist who begins with a block of granite and carves away any unneeded stone to create a sculpture. In this case, the brain acts as the sculptor and chops away excess synapses. Scientists refer to this process as synaptic pruning.
     By this stage, the brain has learned which synapses are most useful, Luna explains. So the brain strengthens the synapses it really needs and eliminates those that either slow things down or aren’t useful. For example, as people grow older, they become more proficient in their native tongue but find it harder to learn a language they have never spoken before. They may lack some of their earlier language-learning synapses.
     Synaptic pruning and other changes that occur in the adolescent brain give teenagers the tools to start making decisions on their own — even if they’re bad decisions, says Luna.
     “Now you have a brain that says, ‘I can make my own decisions. I can skateboard down those steps,’” says Luna. “When you’re a kid, you’d check with Mom. But now you have the prefrontal system that gives you the ability to make decisions.”
     Combined, all of these processes help explain the sometimes logical — but often impulsive or unpredictable — decisions that the teenage brain can make. So next time you are torn over whether a reward is worth a certain risk, remember the tug-of-war that’s taking place in your brain — and that somewhere in there, you have the tools to make the best decision.

Power Words

adolescence A transitional stage of physical and psychological development that begins at the onset of puberty, typically between the ages of 11 and 13, and ends with adulthood.

axon The long, tail-like extension of a neuron that conducts electrical signals away from the cell.

evolve To change gradually over generations.

magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) An imaging technique used to visualize internal structures of the body.

neuron An electrically excitable cell that receives, conducts and transmits messages throughout the nervous system.

prefrontal cortex The front portion of the brain, just behind the forehead, which controls executive functions in the brain.

synapse The junction between neurons that transmits chemical and electrical signals.

synaptic pruning The reduction in the number of neurons and synapses that begins in infancy and is mostly complete by early adulthood.

ventral striatum A region deep inside the brain known as the brain’s reward center.

What are Allergies?

(story from Discovery kids online) 

The human body is incredible. It has all sorts of ways to defend itself against foreign invaders. When something gets in your nose that doesn't belong, you sneeze. Your eyes water to flush out alien objects. Your skin swells to combat invasions such as a bee sting. 

But sometimes your body gets just a little carried away and overreacts. It thinks that something is attacking, when it's really not, and it goes a little bonkers.

All around you there are things that can get on or in your body. They don't do any real harm. But your body may react to them. Some people's bodies react to dust or cat dandruff (called dander). In your case it's pollen. 

In the spring and fall, primarily, grains of pollen float through the air from trees and flowers. Your body has an oversensitivity to pollen. When pollen enters your nose, your body believes it's under seige and starts to manufacture antibodies to attack. The antibodies make other chemicals, such as histamines. The work these chemicals do is generally valuable. But in this case, the histamines unnecessarily make the inside of your nose swell so that it's hard to breathe, your nose gets stuffed up, your eyes begin to tear and you develop all the symptoms that you were describing. 

People have always had allergies. If yours are really bad, your doctor may prescribe an anti-histamine to combat your body's reaction to pollen. But, it's far more likely that your best bet is to keep an extra tissue around and wait for allergy season to pass. 

 Meat from Scratch

(Story from SCIENCE NEWS for KIDS)

Scientists are working to produce meat without killing animals.

By Stephen Ornes / April 12, 2012

If all goes according to Mark Post’s plan, he will appear on television in October and devour a hamburger that costs about twice as much as most houses do in the United States. Yes, as Charlotte the spider might have written, that’s some burger.

“It’s not something you’d flip every day on the barbecue,” admits Post, a biologist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. The burger’s price — roughly $330,000, or about 250,000 Euros — might break a record for the most expensive ever.

But that won’t be the biggest reason for its making history. The burger will look like meat, and be cooked like meat, but no animal will have been killed to make it. Under a microscope, the patty’s cells will look identical to those from animal muscles, the source of conventional meat. Post says he wants this publicity to make people think hard about food of the future.

The population of the planet is increasing, which boosts the demand for meat. The amount of land available for raising livestock probably won’t be able to meet the increasing demand for much longer.

Moreover, raising animals for food can take a toll on the environment: The practice increases pollution and boosts levels of greenhouse gases, which increase global warming. For many reasons, scientists like Post — as well as organizations that oppose the killing of animals — think it’s time to find a new source for meat in our diet.

Post uses chemistry, biology and creativity to grow meat in glass dishes. The laboratory creations are white because they don’t contain blood (which colors meat red), and Post describes them as rubbery, “sort of like a piece of squid.”

Post says he has about 20 strips of would-be meat growing at a time, each about 6 inches (15 centimeters) long. The scientist estimates he’ll need 3,000 of the little gummies to build an entire burger. That means that between now and October, he’s going to be very busy.

Growing a new meat product from scratch means he must start with cells and then work his way up. It requires know-how in scientific fields like agriculture, nutrition and biology. Most of all, it requires the attention and work of scientists who tinker, experiment and create — and who believe engineered meat would improve life on Earth.

Dishing it out

Some people call the meat “lab-grown,” “engineered” or “cultured.” Others prefer the description “in vitro,” which means from a test tube or lab dish. People who dislike the idea of bypassing cattle to get their beef might refer to Post’s goal as a “Frankenburger” (as though it were created by a mad scientist like Dr. Frankenstein.)

The names may differ, but the idea is the same: a quest for less-costly and less-polluting sources of animal protein.

Future burgers! Biologists working to create meat without killing animals use stem cells to grow tissue in the lab. The scientists hope to one day serve up a lab-grown burger that is indistinguishable from the real deal. Credit: Len Rizzi/National Cancer Institute

In 1912, French biologist Alexis Carrel removed part of a chicken heart and kept it beating in a lab dish. This demonstrated that tissue can be kept alive outside the body. Two decades later, British prime minister Winston Churchill declared his optimism for lab-grown meat: “Fifty years hence we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.”

Churchill was overconfident: No one ate engineered chicken in 1982. But if scientists today succeed, it might be a regular menu item by 2082.

NASA, the U.S. space agency, took an interest in lab-grown meat during the 1990s. Engineered meat would provide a good source of protein for astronauts (especially after they tire of freeze-dried fruit and ice cream). In 2002, NASA-funded experiments produced fish nuggets grown in a lab.

“They essentially took a filet from large goldfish” and then cultivated it to grow new tissue in a nutrient broth made from mushrooms, explains Nicholas Genovese, a biologist at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The goldfish filet study, he says, introduced the idea of engineered meat to a wider audience, including interested scientists.

Genovese says scientists have been creating meat in laboratories since at least the early 1990s. But they weren’t calling their first products “meat,” or talking about using them for food. Instead, those scientists established what could be done, or what’s called “proof of principle.” Since then, the science has blossomed.

The scientific pursuit of growing meat outside of an animal has been helped by an expanding interest in stem cells. These cells, found in many parts of the body, can become different types of cells and are the basis of research by scientists like Post and Genovese.

A growing awareness that livestock production can harm the environment has further encouraged interest in growing meat from stem cells. Pesticides, as well as drugs fed to animals to keep them healthy, pollute the soil. The process of growing, harvesting and eating animals contributes greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Clearing forests to make more room for animals removes trees, which naturally soak up some of the carbon dioxide.

“It’s not very environmentally friendly,” Post says of livestock production.

If diners learn to accept engineered meat, this could ease the pollution associated with meat production, argues Post. He also notes that, unlike meat from animals, engineered meat can be fine-tuned to offer improved health benefits. Studies have linked high consumption of red meat to a variety of diseases, including many types of cancer. Post hopes that in the future, scientists may be able to boost engineered meat’s nutritional content and reduce health risks by tweaking the growing process.

As Earth’s human population increases, so too does the demand for meat. But raising animals for food changes the environment: The practice produces greenhouse gases that can contribute to global warming. Credit: Keith Weller/USDA

That’s probably far in the future. Right now, scientists are racing to get the first sample of lab-grown meat on the shelves. In order to succeed, says Genovese, scientists have to create something that’s edible, nutritious, affordable and easy to produce. That’s going to take time, and Genovese thinks success will depend on future scientists.

“Right now, in vitro meat is where computers were in the 1970s,” Genovese says. Although primitive versions exist, he points out, it may be a decade or more before people have easy access to affordable products that offer major benefits to health and the environment.

Inside the new meat

Post’s recipe for this next-generation meat sounds straightforward: Take some cells from an animal without killing it, add nutrients and put the mixture in a lab dish. Then watch the meat grow.

But you can’t use just any random cell to grow meat. Muscles, the part of an animal that’s consumed as meat, contain a wide variety of cells, including stem cells. Within muscle, stem cells can grow into muscle cells and replace those that are lost or damaged. Bone stem cells grow to become new bone cells. Some types of stem cells, called pluripotent stem cells, are like blank slates. They can grow into any type of tissue.

Biology and medicine have taken a keen interest in stem cells lately. Types of these versatile cells can play a role in both the spread and treatment of cancer. Stem cells also figure prominently in the proposed treatments for many other diseases. In the future, for instance, stem cells may be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. Other scientists think that stem cells can be coaxed to grow into entire organs outside the body, which means someone who needs a new liver might get one from a lab, not an organ donor. New medications might even be tested first on stem cells to see if the drugs are safe and effective.

Now, meat engineers have begun eyeing stem cells. When the body needs to produce new skeletal muscle cells — those long and strong cells that allow us to reach and stretch and lift and push — stem cells jump into action. They can become new skeletal muscle cells, dividing quickly and offering support to the body’s frame. Stem cells also help muscles grow larger and repair injuries. They divide quickly, creating an organized, sprawling family of new skeletal muscle cells.

In his laboratory, Post starts out with individual stem cells taken from animals at the slaughterhouse. He places them in a gel that contains nutrients, or cell food. He anchors the cells in place with off-the-shelf hook-and-loop tape (such as Velcro), sterilized to keep unwanted germs away. Then the cells start dividing, creating new tissue that grows and expands.

In order to grow and become strong, muscle has to do work, and it’s no different for engineered meat. “If you don’t use a muscle, it wastes,” Post says. He and his team have to make the cells perform labor in the culture dish, which isn’t easy. The scientists sometimes use electrical shocks to force the tissue to contract, which helps it produce more proteins and grow stronger. “If you zap them, they grow more vigorous and robust,” he explains.

“Protein is what makes muscle contract, since a muscle is basically a bag full of protein.”

Although those shocks of electricity are useful, they can also pose a problem. One argument for producing meat in the lab is that animals use a lot of energy to produce a kilogram of meat. To make one kilogram of beef, for example, a cow has to eat seven kilograms of grain — and that feed has to be grown. Using electricity to stimulate meat to grow in a lab adds energy to the process. “It’s a waste,” Post says. He’d like to find a way to grow meat without such electrical needs.

Genovese points out other limitations. For example, stem cells divide only a limited number of times before they stop. If scientists have to harvest a lot of stem cells to create engineered meat, then the process still relies heavily on real, live animals for the starter stem cells. “If for every one cell you harvest from an animal, you get 10 billion cells, maybe then it can become efficient.”

A meaty prize

Though obstacles remain, scientists like Post and Genovese are optimistic. They’re not the only people interested and invested in the future of meat products. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, is an animal-rights organization. It has offered $1 million to the first scientist who creates and sells chicken meat grown in a laboratory (rather than in an actual bird). (Post can’t win: He’s creating new beef, not chicken.) The project that bags the PETA prize has to be identical to chicken in every way — including taste, texture and appearance.

Ten PETA judges will taste-test competing products, prepared according to a fried chicken recipe, to see which ones are most chicken-like. PETA has also funded Genovese ‘s research.

In the meantime, watch for Post’s televised dinner in October. It might signal the first step toward a future where engineered meat is on supermarket shelves. With a lot of work and money, and plenty of luck, future generations may eat meat not from an animal but from a specialized store, says Genovese.

“You might imagine that in 10 or 20 years from now, just like bread is produced in a bakery, and wine is produced in a winery, cultured meat will be produced in a carnery,” he says. “The word’s just not in the dictionary yet.”

Power Words (adapted from the New Oxford American Dictionary)

biology The study of living things.

greenhouse gas A gas that contributes to Earth’s greenhouse, or warming, effect by trapping and absorbing heat.

cell The smallest structural and functional unit of an organism, typically microscopic and enclosed in a membrane.

stem cell A cell of a multicellular organism that can develop more cells of the same type, sometimes indefinitely. Some stem cells can develop into almost any cell in the body.

skeletal muscle A muscle that is connected to the skeleton to form part of the mechanical system that moves the limbs and other parts of the body.

pesticide A substance used for destroying insects or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants or to animals.


Are Bats Blind?

(story from Discovery kids online) 

Those who believe bats are blind just can't see the truth themselves. In reality, all bats can see. Many of them, in fact, can see really well, even in dim light. Most fruit-eating bats, for example, have large bulging eyes that help them find their way and locate food by sight. But other bats, especially those that hunt for insects at night, need to rely a lot more on other senses in the dark. These winged wonders make up for low visibility by "seeing" with their ears, and they do this by using a technique called echolocation. A bat echolocates by sending out streams of high-pitched sounds through its mouth or nose. These signals then bounce off nearby objects and send back echoes. By "reading" these echoes with its super-sensitive ears, the bat can determine the location, distance, size, texture and shape of an object in its environment. In some cases, a bat can even use echoes to tell insects that are edible apart from those that aren't. And even bats which have been blinded can catch their food without a hitch this way.

Curious about what bats sound like when they're echolocating? Sorry to say, but your ears alone won't tell you. Those sounds are so high-pitched, they're beyond the range of human hearing. But if you borrow a scientist's bat detector, a handy gadget that converts bat calls to sounds people can hear, you can indeed listen in and make the mysterious world of bats a little less


Are Dolphins Doomed?

With sick and dead dolphins washing up on shores around the world, experts are worried and a bit baffled.

By Tim Wall (story from discovery.com)

  • Numerous mass deaths of dolphins have occurred over the past few years, but experts say we are not witnessing a global population crash.
  • Unlike the fungus decimating multiple North American bat species, no single factor causes different dolphins' dilemmas.

Several mass deaths of dolphins have occurred over the past few years and while experts are worried about the die-off they say we are not witnessing a global population crash.

But what is behind the resent mass strandings and deaths is complicated and, inevitably, involves humans.

For example, the bottlenose dolphin die-off in Gulf of Mexico started in early 2010, even before BP's massive oil spill in April 2010. Disease was linked to some of the hundreds of Gulf dolphin deaths, but not all of them. The ultimate cause remains mysterious.

"There is no evidence at this time to indicate that such a world-wide, multi-species crash is occurring," Randall Wells, director of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program said. “The large scale mortality events and mass strandings that have made the news in the past two years appear to be unrelated.”

Nonetheless, the past two years have been rough for several species of dolphins, but not all of the nearly 40 species of dolphins are in hot water.

“There is not a large scale die-off of dolphins across the globe or throughout ocean basins,” said Connie Barclay, spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s National Marine Fisheries Service.

“What we do see are localized areas where strandings and deaths have increased,” Barcaly said. "Scientists have seen unusually high rates of illness and death in specific populations of bottlenose dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico, long-beaked common dolphins along the beaches of Peru and short-beaked common dolphins along the shores of Cape Cod."

And only certain populations of the effected species have been hit hard.

“While bottlenose dolphins in the northern Gulf of Mexico are dying at higher-than-average rates, elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico bottlenose dolphin populations are doing fine,” Wells, a former chair of NOAA's Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events , said.

One population that suffered a serious dolphin disaster swam in the Pacific off the coast of Peru. Discovery News recently reported on the thousands of dolphin corpses washing up on the tropical beaches.

“The Peru mass stranding is the largest ever reported in the [Western Hemisphere] and the biggest since the mass stranding in Europe during the '90s,” Carlos Yaipen-Llanos, president and science director for Organization for Research and Conservation of Aquatic Animals (ORCA).

The causes of the dolphin strandings and deaths seem to be varied as well. Unlike the fungus decimating multiple North American bat species, no single reason has been found for the dolphins' dilemma.

“No common infectious disease has been identified in any of the current dolphin stranding events,” said Barclay. “Scientists are still working to understand the local and global effects of changing environmental conditions on marine mammal populations.”

Dolphin-rescueMr. Z says: "Kids, don't try this yourself!  If you see a beached dolphin or other marine mammals and fish, get professional help immediately.  This is very dangerous and you could easily get serious injuries!
But, here's the lowdown on what adults can do if they are brave enough:
1. First things first: Put someone on camera duty. Don't then ask this person to hold your ipod, keys and wallet-- that's someone else's job.

2. It's calving season, some baby dolphins will be smaller than others. But adult dolphins are much like adult humans in terms of weight (150-240 pounds) and height (5 to 6+ feet long) -- and like sunscreened people on the beach, they're slippery. So, don't try a fireman's carry.

3. Dolphin skin is actually very delicate. If you have long manicured fingernails, you'll be doing everyone a favor if you hold the ipod, wallet and keys ... I just hope the people handing you these items know you.

4. Take action and get the rescue going. Don't stand around and wait.

5. The tail-grab: This is clearly the most effectual way of dragging the dolphins to deeper waters. But try to keep their bodies as close to a horizontal plain as possible. At higher angles a dolphin is more likely to try and kick its tail out of your grasp -- probably because you are dragging its beak in the sand.

6. Orienting the dolphin tail toward the water in preparation for a tail-grab drag can be a two-person job, best done with the helper at the front of the dolphin and the dragger at the back. But it is possible for a single person to pivot the dolphin just by the tail if necessary.

7. The farther out to deeper waters you can drag a dolphin, the more likely it is not to wash back ashore on the next incoming wave.

8. Know your limits -- don't expect the dolphin to rescue you in turn if you don't know how to swim in deep water.

9. Timing is critical: In the case of outgoing tides, the situation can go from bad to worse in a matter of minutes. The entire rescue shown in this video took less than 3 minutes!

10. Congratulations to everyone involved! Amazing job -- well done!!  



Another Earth?

NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed its first planet in the "habitable zone," the region where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface.

 click here for the complete story





NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, has found evidence that the lunar soil within shadowy craters is rich in useful materials, and the moon is chemically active and has a water cycle. 







Octopuses have been discovered tip-toeing with coconut-shell halves suctioned to their undersides, then reassembling the halves and disappearing inside for protection or deception, a new study says.    click here for the complete story







A violin maker decided to make a violin out of fungi-treated wood. According to a recent sound test before about
180 people, two of fungi infested violins bested a multi-million dollar Stradivarius! 

 Click here for the complete story




For centuries, scientists have wondered where basking sharks go in the winter. Now they know!

Click here for the complete story









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