Daily Orbit – Earth’s Hotter Cousin

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,553
    9-6-12: In this episode of the Daily Orbit, scientists discover a habitable planet, green tea has a positive effect on memory, and solar energy is being produced with spinach.

    Emerald Robinson: What hot new discovery was made in space? Don't you want to know? Staring fear in the face and saying, I'm scared. And having memory problems? There might be a simple fix. All that and more coming up on the Daily Orbit!

    Hi! I'm Emerald Robinson, welcome to the Daily Orbit.

    What's big, hot in 50 light years away? Well, that would be the newly discovered exoplanet, Gliese 163c. Scientists discovered this potentially habitable exoplanet using ESO's HARP Telescope. It is at least 6.

    9 times the Earth's mass and orbits the red dwarf star Gliese 163. While scientists are calling this exoplanet habitable, it's hot! It receives almost 40% more light from its star than the Earth does from the sun. It's now believed that 40% of all red dwarf stars could have habitable planets in their orbit. Who knows, maybe one day we will be broadcasting from an exoplanet far, far away.

    Ah! That creepy, crawly, ugly tarantula really, really, really scares me. There, I don't feel so afraid now. Scientists at UCLA say that expressing your fears and feelings in times of anxiety and stress helps you overcome those fears. The study asked four groups of people to approach a tarantula using different methods of positive and negative self-talk or no talk at all. The participants who honestly expressed their fear were able to get much closer to the spider than those who used positive self talk or said nothing at all. And the real kicker, researchers now say the more negative self talk you use, the more you can reduce your fears. That's a study I am glad that I was not a part of.

    And in the next story -- oh wait! I forgot what's it about -- oh yeah, green tea boosts memory. Researchers recently discovered that green tea helps improve brain cell production to boost memory. They found that EGCG, an antioxidant contained in green tea, not only helps combat degenerative diseases but actually increases the production of neural progenitor cells. Production of these cells, or neurogenesis, improves cognitive function. So if you switch that morning latte for a nice big Venti Green Tea, maybe you'll remember where you put your keys.

    Why do I have so much energy? Because I eats me spinach. You got it? Popeye! Turns out spinach is more than just good for you; it can be used to produce solar energy. Researchers at Vanderbilt University combined the photosynthetic protein that converts light into electrochemical energy in spinach with silicon to create an electrical current. This produce significantly more electrical current than previous biohybrid solar cells. The team will next work to build a solar panel using this combination that will produce enough power to run various small electrical devices. That puts the green in going green for sure!

    Hey white liar, truth comes out a little at a time. That was so bad. Turns out there's a lot of truth to that little country song. Researchers say that we are much more likely to tell the truth when given more time to consider our behavior. But if there's money to be made, we have a tendency to lie.

    Researchers concluded that humans are more likely to tell a lie when they don't have a lot of time to think or when they see an immediate financial gain. According to one researcher, People usually know it is wrong to lie; they just need the time to do the right thing. So the next time you're tempted to tell a fib, give yourself some time before you tell that white lie. Oh wait! Maybe that could be a song.

    That's it for today's Daily Orbit, we'll see you right back here tomorrow. I think I will stick with my Latte.