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All that pecking may give woodpeckers brain damage

All that pecking may give woodpeckers brain damage

Science
Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Turns out, woodpeckers do get brain damage. All that pecking comes at a price, new research shows -- or does it?Until now, many assumed woodpeckers had a remarkably resilient brain. Woodpeckers absorb 1,200 to 1,400 g's of force every time they slam their head and beak into a tree. Just 60 to 100 g's is enough to cause a concussion in humans."There have been all kinds of safety and technological advances in sports equipment based on the anatomic adaptations and biophysics of the woodpecker assuming they don't get brain injury from pecking," Peter Cummings, researcher at the Boston University School of Medicine, said in a news release. "The weird thing is, nobody's ever looked at a woodpecker brain to see if there is any damage."When scientists analyzed the brains of woodpec...
Rocket rumbles give volcanic insights

Rocket rumbles give volcanic insights

Science
What do volcanoes and rockets have in common? "Volcanoes have a nozzle aimed at the sky, and rockets have a nozzle aimed at the ground," explains Steve McNutt, a geosciences professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa. It explains why he and colleague Dr Glenn Thompson have installed the tools normally used to study eruptions at the famous Kennedy Space Center. Comparing the different types of rumblings could yield new insights. In the case of rockets, the team thinks their seismometers and infrasound (low-frequency acoustic waves) detectors might potentially be used by the space companies as a different type of diagnostic tool, to better understand the performance of their vehicles; or perhaps as a way to identify missiles in flight. In the case of volcanoes, the idea is to take...
Hey bitcoin millionaire: Give away your fortune for a tax break

Hey bitcoin millionaire: Give away your fortune for a tax break

Finance
Now that bitcoin is surging past $ 16,000, it might be time to give it to charity.It's no secret that the IRS has kept an eye on the wildly popular cryptocurrency, ruling that bitcoin and others like it are considered property for tax purposes. This means that if you cash out, you're likely on the hook to report capital gains to the Tax Man – and those gains can be substantial, particularly if you bought bitcoin back in 2010 when one unit was worth less than a dollar.There's a solution to that: Give your cryptocurrency to charity via your donor advised fund – an account that you can fund with highly appreciated assets and use for making grants to charities -- instead of cashing out. This way, you unload assets that could face steep capital gains taxes and you collect a charitable contribut
Signals from missing Argentine sub give hope for rescue effort

Signals from missing Argentine sub give hope for rescue effort

World
Seven signal pings believed to be from the submarine ARA San Juan, which has been missing since Wednesday when communications broke down, are giving Argentine officials hope that the crew can still be saved. Argentine Defense Minister Oscar Aguad tweeted out the news Saturday night, confirming that the 44 crew members may be able to be saved after receiving "7 signals from satellite calls that would have been from the San Juan submarine." Authorities said the calls were made on Saturday, and that the Defense Ministry is working with an American company to analyze the location the calls came from. "We are working arduously to locate it and we are transmitting our hopes to the families of the 44 crew members: that they may soon have them in their homes," he wrote. The Argentine Armada, ...
Facial expressions give clues on bank policies

Facial expressions give clues on bank policies

Technology
Software can be used to analyse the facial expressions of central bank governors and predict policy changes, researchers have claimed.Two artificial intelligence researchers in Japan have been using technology to measure the momentary expressions on the face of Haruhiko Kuroda, the governor of the Bank of Japan, during press conferences.The research uses computer vision technology to detect minuscule changes which humans might not pick up on, and which could otherwise be subjectively interpreted.The technology was developed by Microsoft as part of its cognitive services products, and uses an algorithm to analyse an image and return a confidence rating for eight emotions: anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, neutral, sadness and surprise.Mr Kuroda's expression was seen as neutral most...