Daily Orbit – A Whale of a Different Tune

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,818
    10-23-12: On this episode of the Daily Orbit, scientists release audio of a “talking” beluga whale, the tech revolution might be helping kids’ social skills, and the rise in methane levels is linked to rice paddies.

    Emerald Robinson: Look who's talking now! Hint, it ain't the babies in the movie. What's about to get swallowed up by the black hole? And what researchers are saying about Friendship 2.

    0. All that and more coming up on the Daily Orbit!

    Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I'm Emerald Robinson.

    Hey there Emerald!

    Emerald Robinson: Holy Moly! a talking whale. Not unlike recently released audio of a male beluga whale, who was able to pick up on human speech patterns and replicate them.

    [Sound]Scientists say whales usually produce vocals in a completely different way from humans, which means the whale had to modify its mechanics to make the speech-like sounds.

    Biologists were first inspired in 1984 when they heard human-like conversation coming from a whale and dolphin enclosure, and narrowed the sound down to one special whale. Biologists say, "Such obvious efforts suggest motivation for contact.

    "And in more science news.



    Emerald Robinson: Hey wait; I'm the host of the show here! Whales! I tell you! Anyway, more adolescents seem to be permanently attached to their cell-phones, constantly checking in and checking out others on Facebook. Dubbed Friendship 2.

    0, this new phenomenon may not be all that bad. A new study shows that digital media enables teens to reach developmental milestones, giving them a sense of belonging and the ability to share their personal problems with others. They load pictures and get to tag their friends, share a funny story, and give insights about their day or problems that might be weighing on them.

    However, researchers say with this constantly available online community, it's questionable if teens are developing an autonomous sense of self. That's questionable with some adults I know.

    Looks like the black hole is hungry and it's going out to get some dinner. Scientists have determined that a black hole in the middle of our Milky Way galaxy is getting ready to feast on an approaching cloud of dust and gas. New computerized simulations show 3D imaging of the possible demise of the cloud G2, with the dust twice as hot as the surface temperature of Earth and gas twice as hot as the sun. The simulation show that the cloud will not survive the encounter with the black hole. Scientists say it will break up into some incoherent structure. Hey black holes have to eat too! It's just the Circle of Life.

    And surprise, surprise! Scientists have found another toxic source of greenhouse gases. New research has found that the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere together with increasing temperatures is making rice agriculture a large source for the greenhouse gas methane.

    Scientists say as more carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere, rice plants grow faster, which speeds up the metabolism of methane-producing microscopic organisms that live in the soil beneath rice paddies, leaving us with methane. But they add that simple changes in rice cultivation, such as mid-season drainage or alternative fertilizers could help reduce methane emissions. Also switching to more heat-tolerant rice cultivators and adjusting sowing dates would be highly beneficial in reducing emissions.

    And my mom knew this a long time ago without anyone having to tell her. A new study says that children with televisions or other electronic devices in their bedroom lose sleep and develop bad lifestyle habits. Scientists also found that children who had such electronic devices as computers, cell-phones, television and video games in their room, had a greater likelihood of being obese or overweight. They warn parents that if you want your kids to sleep better and live a healthier lifestyle, get the technology out of their bedroom. Why do kids need all that stuff anyway? What happened to just using your good old imagination?

    Well, that does it.



    Well that does it for the Daily Orbit.

    Emerald Robinson: Okay, bye and you can close the show.

    Whale: I think I just did, Emerald.