Thursday, April 14, 2011

"In Brief" in New Scientist - always satisfying!

If you're curious about the natural world and don't have time or the inclination to delve deeply into scholarly journal literature, the New Scientist section "In Brief" is for you.  Every week, just 10 minutes will reward you with a wealth of startling new research findings, summed up in engaging reports aimed at a general audience.  You can always find an issue of New Scientist on our "Journals Received This Week" display - settle into the comfy chair positioned there and enjoy brief summaries condensed from peer-reviewed journal articles.  New Scientist writers are marvelous at their craft, and you may well be drawn to read the entire issue cover to cover.

"In Brief" this week includes:
  • Angry birds kiss and make up after a brawl
  • Stem cells grow into partial eyeball
  • Prejudice linked to fertility cycle
  • Like cannabis, but without the buzz
  • Bye-bye electrons, hello atomtronics
The headings alone draw one's attention, and reading these short summaries is always satisfying.  So pause as you pass by the new journal display, and learn something amazing - did you know, for example, that bird parents choose which chicks to feed by discerning the amount of UV light reflected from the chicks' foreheads?  Wild, right?  Heavier chicks reflect less UV light than lighter nestlings, and parents give more food to the chicks reflecting more UV light.  The study that led to this conclusion:  Aviles, J., et alBehavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, DOI: 10.1007/S00265-011-1164-8.

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