News for Nerds - The 'Talk Talk' Edition

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  • Posted by: Dom Testa|
  • 2/22/2013 |
  • 10:00 am
News for Nerds - The 'Talk Talk' Edition

Welcome back to News for Nerds! This week we've got stories about goats, spiders, dogs -- and a cooking show in space. But first, here are your headlines.

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Scientists have known for years that women talk more than men. Study after study confirms it. And the anecdotal evidence? Well, that dates back millennia.

The average woman uses up to 20,000 words per day, while the average man manages only 7,000. That's nearly a three-to-one ratio, which is pretty substantial. The issue of why women talk more than men, however, has only recently come to light.

According to a story first published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the culprit might be a simple protein. Based on a study of human children, the protein FOXP2 (which is known to be essential for the production of speech) appears in much higher quantities -- around 30 percent more -- in females than it does in males.

Finding this link doesn't only show why women are better at small talk. It may also allow scientists to trace back the evolutionary origin of speech. All from a tiny protein in your brain.

- from Science World Report

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The Mayan calendar. Giant asteroids. Climate change. Nuclear proliferation. Are you tired of all the recent stories predicting the end of the world? Well then, let's kick it up a notch. How about a story concerning the end of our entire universe?

It has to do, predictably, with the subatomic Higgs Boson particle that was finally discovered at CERN last year. According to renowned theoretician Joseph Lykken, if what we know about the Higgs is true, then another universe could come along and 'slurp us up' at light speed.

In fact, he says that "the universe wants to be in a different state, so eventually to realize that, a little bubble of what you might think of as an alternate universe will appear somewhere, and it will spread out and destroy us.'"

Looking for a silver lining? All of this mass destruction is -- probably -- billions of years away. So we've got that goin' for us. Which is nice.

- from NPR

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Here are a few other cool science stories (and videos!) that you might enjoy:

  • Dogs are apparently much more capable of understanding things from a human's point of view than we previously realized. Think about that the next time Skipper pees on the rug.
  • Like astronomy? Like cooking shows? Well, this is your lucky day. Astronaut Chris Hadfield shows you how to make a peanut butter and honey sandwich while in low orbit.
  • This is a creepy one. Check out this video of thousands of spiders crawling in the skies over Brazil. It's almost enough to make me wish a giant bubble would eradicate the entire universe.
  • And finally... if you haven't seen this video of goats screaming like humans, do yourself a favor and carve out a few minutes. It's not really science, but it made me cry with laughter.

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That's all for now! I'll be back with more News for Nerds next week, but be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, and to sign up for the free e-Newsletter so that you can properly get your nerd on every single month! And please send any juicy News for Nerds tips to me right here!

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