Killer Penguins, Asteroids and Maple Leaves

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Wednesday in Science, we're reading about killer penguins, texting moms, asteroid mining, designing a more pleasurable condom and a maple leaf controversy in Canada. Check out these and other science headlines from around the Web.

No Escape from a Hungry Penguin: Hungry penguins with tiny video cameras strapped to their backs have given scientists a rare glimpse of their killer feeding habits, reports The Guardian. In more than 14 hours of filming using cameras strapped to 11 Adélie penguins, not once did a bird fail to capture its prey. Penguins are such efficient killers, most of their victims have no time to hide, while others try in vain to flee. Watch it all on Penguin-cam.

The Last 925,000 Pounds Are Always the Hardest: Boston's citywide challenge to lose one million pounds in a year appears to have fallen about 925,000 pounds short, The Wall Street Journal reports. With just a few months left to go, the city's collective weight loss has reached only about 75,000 pounds. Why did the city diet fail? Maybe it was the "Scooper Bowl" all-you-can-eat ice cream festival.

The Condom Gets a Makeover: Most condoms are made of latex. Los Angeles design company Strata has developed a new silicone condom it claims not only does a better job blocking viruses and bacteria, but also scores more points in the pleasure department. You can learn more about the "Origami" condom and watch a video at New Scientist (registration required).

Canada Turns Over a New Leaf: Canada's new $20, $50 and $100 bills appear to have the wrong maple leaf on them, reports BBC Canada. Botanists say the bills feature a Norwegian maple leaf, with five lobes, rather than the Canadian sugar maple leaf, which has just three lobes. Bank of Canada officials say the image is a "stylized blend" of maple leaves created with the help of a botanist and designed to avoid regional bias.

Universal Art: Scientists use thin sections of meteorites to study the history of the universe. But to the rest of us, they are just really pretty. Scientific American offers a slide show revealing the stained-glass beauty in ancient meteorites.

Businesses Invest in Sleep: Tired office workers cost businesses billions in productivity and it's estimated that one in three workers doesn't get enough rest. As a result, some companies are now offering sleep talks and special lighting to promote better sleep among the staff, reports The Wall Street Journal. Google offers its workers a sleep pod for midday power naps.

Men More Likely to Cheat at Science: Men are more likely than women to commit scientific fraud, reports Science Daily. A new study in the journal mBio found that in 215 cases of scientific fraud in the records of the United States Office of Research Integrity, 65 percent were blamed on men.

Anti-Bacterial Soap Ingredient Found in Lakes: Triclosan, the common ingredient found in antibacterial soaps and toothpastes, is showing up in increasing amounts in Minnesota lakes, Science360 reports.

Mining Asteroids: A team of entrepreneurs and engineers announced plans for a space mining company that would turn asteroids into rocket fuel, solar panels and components for spacecraft orbiting the earth, reports The Christian Science Monitor. In theory, mining asteroids should be cheaper than hauling materials from earth. Watch a video discussion on CBS This Morning. National Geographic also reports on the perils and promise of mining asteroids.

Alcohol Hinders Sleep: While many people think a nightcap might help them sleep, drinking alcohol before bedtime actually reduces sleep quality, reports WebMD. The review of 27 studies found that while alcohol does allow healthy people to fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply for a while, it also reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

Moms Text Behind the Wheel: Having a baby on board does not curb a new mother's texting and cellphone use, reports USA Today. A new survey shows that 78 percent of mothers with children under age 2 acknowledge talking on the phone while driving with their babies. Meanwhile, 26 percent say they text or check their e-mail – behavior that rivals that of teenage drivers. Nearly two-thirds of them said that they have turned around to deal with their baby in the back seat while driving.

science

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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