On Science – Exercise Your Brain

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 9,939
    12-5-13: On this episode of On Science, exercise helps writers’ block, killer whales use a sneak attack to catch prey, and iPads are helping kids do better in school.

    How do you work out your writers block?

    A galactic tango between two giants…. 

    Just how stealthy are killer whales?

    And a new research that is all mixed up!  Coming up today… On Science!

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

    (Exercising) Don’t mind me just working out a little writer’s block!  Having problems with what to put on paper?  Work it out!  Researchers from the Leiden University in the Netherlands found that exercise helps promote creative thinking.  From the study, scientists found that the group of participants who exercised regularly performed better on a “remote associates task” than the non-exercising group.  This task involved finding a common link between three non-related works.  In the exercising group, it showed better convergent thinking, which is the ability to come up with a single solution to a problem, demonstrated more cognitive control.  The study authors said that physical movement is good for flexible thinking as well.  Actually, when I have writer’s block I put on the music and dance!

    But I be dancing with myself, Billy Idol throwback, unlike these two galactic giants who are intertwined in an interstellar dance together.  NASA astronomers have found two supermassive black holes at the center of a remote galaxy that are locked in a fierce, circling dance.  Sounds like the flamingo.  Using their Wide-field Survey Explorer, or WISE, NASA scientists see the two black holes circling each other with a strange looking particle jet.  Scientists say they “think the jet of one black hole is being wiggled by the other, like a dance with ribbons.”  They said the dance started slowly, thousands of light years apart. But as the black holes continued to circle one another, they became closer and closer.  How does did this dance possibly end?  With the death spiral merging of the two black holes.  Too much passion can kill you.

    Like killer whales hunting their prey.  But how did these fierce marine beast hunt at night?  Scientists from the University of Cumbria’s Centre for Wildlife Conservation say that killer whales may use hearing to help locate prey.  By applying observation tags to whales in Alaska, the team of researchers found that these mammals used a stealth approach to hunt other mammals.  The whales, known for their clicking and echolocation abilities, go silent before a kill as to go undetected.  They eavesdrop on their prey, such as a male harbor seal calling to a potential mate, and then they strike.  The team plans to do more research using pre-recorded seal roars and porpoise echolocation clicks. 

    Science is so fascinating and important for children to explore.  But what is the best way to educate children in the sciences.  Scientists say the iPad.  Researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics say that the iPad helps students better grasp some nuances of science better than in the classroom. Their study revealed that high schoolers who used iPads to explore simulated space understood the concepts better than those who were taught by traditional classroom methods and the improvement was seen just after 20 minutes of tablet use.  They say that iPad  classrooms report stronger gains in understanding in biology, chemistry, physics, and geology.

    The view of early humans may have just gotten scrambled.  Scientists have recorded the oldest human DNA sequence ever decoded.  Just how old exactly?  400,00 years old.  The new information shows that the bones, found in a cave in Spain, show a mitochondrial genome sequence similar to Denisovans.  And scientists have one word for this info—“irritating.”  Because it raises the question—“how did the Spanish early human species end up with Siberian DNA.” This new older DNA suggests that the evolutionary history of Neaderthals and Denisovans may have involved mixing and been very complicated.  The previously oldest DNA sequenced was 120,00 years old.  Now scientist have to struggle to identify this older group of hominids that are just all mixed up!

    And that’s all for today On Science.  Catch ya tomorrow!