On Science – Asteroid vs. Star

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 7,408
    2-21-14: On this episode of On Science, an asteroid collides with a pulsar star, sad music can make you feel better, and Google creates an app called Global Forest Watch to help save the rainforest.

    In a fight with a star and an asteroid, who would you put your money on?


    A surprising type of music will cheer you up when you're sad…


    Scientists discover some amazing similarities between dogs and humans… 


    And Google is adding 'Saving the Earth' to its list of achievements…Coming up today… On Science!


    Hello and welcome to On Science.  I’m Emerald Robinson.


    Everyone likes to pick on the little guy!  Astronomers say that a particularly little star located in the constellation of Puppis got hit by a massive asteroid.  The star is a pulsar star, meaning it emits radio waves towards Earth.  When astronomers noticed a change in the pulsar’s spin rate and the shape of the radio pulse seen from Earth, that’s how that came to suspect that the star had been hit.  But the little star had a trick up its sleeve.  Astronomers think that the pulsar’s radio beam zaps the asteroid, vaporizing it.  However, the vaporized particles from the asteroid are electrically charged and slightly alter the process that creates the pulsar’s beam.  Regardless, that pulsar sure showed that asteroid who’s boss! Take that you big bully!


    Bullying makes me so sad. (Then comes on beautiful, sad music).  This music should make me sad too but somehow I’m feeling better.  “Beautiful but sad music” can help cure a case of the blues according to psychologists at the universities of Kent and Limerick.  The researchers wanted to know why we choose to listen to certain music when we are sad.  They had participants recall a negative emotional event in their lives and what sad music they had listened to following the event.  They found that the sad people’s motives to choosing music they perceived as ‘sad,’ wasn’t to enhance their mood.   Instead, the music participants identified as ‘beautiful’ was what ultimately enhanced their mood.   Beautiful… sad…it’s all so bittersweet.


    And can’t you always tell when you’re friend is sad just by hearing it in their voice?   Well, our little four-legged, furry friends have that same ability.  Canines’ brains, like human brains, are sensitive to acoustic cues of emotion.  So you’re dog really can tell how you’re feeling.  The researchers used MRI technology to peer into the brains of canines while listening to 200 human and canine sounds from playful barking to laughing and crying.  Approximately 39% of the dogs’ vocal regions responded to other dog sounds, 48% to other environmental noises and 13% to human voices.  But they found the dog voice areas in exactly the same location as human voice, meaning our pets are a little more like their master than we thought.  No wonder we make such good friends!


    You never know what our friends at Google are going to do next!  Looks like the search engine giant is out to save the world. Well, the rainforest at least.  Google unveiled its new app called Global Forest Watch to highlight areas of deforestation and forest fires in an effort to help save the rainforest.  The app uses Google’s technology in conjunction with NASA satellite data that’s incorporated with information on a nation’s logging and palm oil licenses.  Essentially, it will help groups and corporations track deforestation pretty much as it happens.  So a big-name store like Wal-mart, who has pledged to obtain their raw materials without contributing to deforestation, can track the source of their products and know the real deal. 


    Keep on saving the Earth, Google...you’re getting close!  The stress of trying to avoid contributing to deforestation can be a big headache for companies.  A study supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, says that stress does in fact lead to more headaches  In their study, thirty-one percent of participants had tension-type headaches, fourteen percent had migraines, eleven percent had a combination of the two and seventeen percent had no classification at all.  Those with the tension-type rated their stress at an average of 52 out of a 100, while the migraine sufferers reported 62 out of 100.  Researchers said this study shows that stress is indeed a factor in the onset of headache disorders and just overall makes them worse!   So stress management is a good approach for headache prevention and treatment.  I could have just told them that and saved them a lot of money!


    And that’s your latest On Science.  Ugh...I think I feel a headache coming up...Thank God it’s Friday!