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Frog found to emit ultrasonic sounds

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Good Morning,
Did you get a chance to check out the new Microsoft space
site yesterday? I am going to put it on my things to do this
weekend. I think my son will get a kick out of it as well.
We have some more interesting articles to keep the week
moving... enjoy!

Until Tomorrow,

Questions? Comments? Email me at: mailto:gizmo@gophercentral.com
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Insulation is NASA's 2007 best invention

The U.S. space agency says its 2007 Government Invention of
the Year is a heat shield insulation material. The National
Aeronautics and Space Administration said the lightweight
ceramic ablator, or LCA, material is slightly denser than
balsa wood and is designed to protect a spacecraft during
its fiery re-entry into Earth's atmosphere. The LCA is a
low-density material that weighs one-fifth as much as
conventional heat shields, but can withstand temperatures
up to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, according to NASA project
engineers. The material has a foundation made of fibers
coated with a thin layer of organic polymeric resin. The
resin, traditionally used as a bonding agent, creates a
light, durable, heat-resistant shield. "This material will
play a key role in NASA's future space missions as we mount
human and robotic missions to the moon, asteroids, Mars and
throughout the solar system," said S. Pete Worden, the
director of NASA's Ames Research Center. "This is indeed an
honor and I'm very proud of the Ames team that developed this
critical technology." NASA's general counsel selects the
agency's Invention of the Year Award with technical assistance
from NASA's Inventions and Contributions Board.

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Frog found to emit ultrasonic sounds

U.S. scientists say female concave-eared frogs draw mates with
ultrasonic calls -- an ability shared only with bats, dolphins,
whales and some insects. Professor Albert Feng and colleagues
at the University of Illinois said most female frogs don't call
since most lack or have only rudimentary vocal cords. But the
female concave-eared torrent frog (Odorrana tormota) emits a
high-pitched chirp that, to the human ear, sounds like a bird.
The frogs live along streams in central China's Huangshan Hot
Springs, where waterfalls and rushing water provide a steady
din. The frog has a recessed unusual ear structure and the
high-pitched calls are likely an evolutionary adaptation to
the noisy environment, Feng said. The male response to the
female call is instantaneous, Feng said, and their ability
to home in on the sound call was astonishingly precise. A
typical male could leap toward the sound with an accuracy of
more than 99 percent. "This is just unheard of in the frog
kingdom," he said. The research that included Jun-Xian Shen
at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Peter Narins at the
University of California-Los Angeles is detailed in the
journal Nature.


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Fruit fly study could lead to pain control

U.S. scientists say they've discovered why maturing fruit flies
switch from voracious eating to the avoidance of food. The
University of Georgia researchers said after the flies hatch
from eggs laid inside overripe, young fruit, the flies feed on
the sugar-rich fruit. As they mature, however, they stop eating,
leave the fruit and burrow into the earth, where they grow into
flies that will eventually lay their own eggs. The scientists
said they discovered that the switch from food attraction to
food aversion is controlled by a timing mechanism in the fly's
brain and its sensory system. "What we found was that a molecular
timing switch tells them when to quit eating and burrow into the
earth," said Assistant Professor Ping Shen. "We also found that
the same switch can trigger strong cooperative behavior in the
flies." The authors said the system has a counterpart in
mammalian models implicated in the response to food and alcohol
and the suppression of anxiety and pain. Understanding that
system in the fruit fly could, possibly, lead to the development
of more effective pain relievers with fewer adverse events for
humans, they said. The study appears in the journal Nature


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