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Some grizzly bears appear to target railways for foraging in Canadian national parks -- ScienceDaily

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Spilled grain, rail-killed ungulates, and the effects on other species of increased light and warmth may all attract grizzly bears to forage along railways in Canada's mountain parks, which could increase their risk of being hit by trains, according to a study published May 24, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Maureen Murray from the University of Alberta, Canada, and colleagues.

Trains frequently kill wildlife along railways worldwide but little is known about what attracts animals to the rail area. Potential attractants include agricultural products that leak from train cars, vegetation that benefits from light and disturbance, and scavenging opportunities from rail-killed animals. To assess these effects, collaborators in Canada's Banff and Yoho National Parks fitted 21 bears with GPS collars. The U of A team then measured stable isotopes and analyzed 230 grizzly bear scats collected over three years, some of which could be attributed to GPS-collared bears. Isotope analyses focused on 15N, which reflects dietary animal protein and 34S, which showed an increased amount of railway vegetation for rail-using bears in a previous study.

The researchers found that 19 of the 21 collared bears used the tracks at least once while collared, but only four used it more than a fifth of the days they were monitored. Unexpectedly, the isotopes of nitrogen and sulfur did not vary with amount of rail use, but 15N increased with body mass in male bears and scats containing sulfur pellets also contained grain. Scats found within 150 m of the rail were six times more likely to contain nutrient-rich grains, including wheat, barley, canola seeds, and lentils. Scats near the rail also contained more ant parts and ungulate hair, while scats containing grain also contained a greater diversity of both plants and animals.

Colleen Cassady St. Clair, PI of the study, said she was surprised by the large variation among bears in rail use and the apparent diversity of their foraging targets. "We could attribute scats containing grain to only four of the GPS-collared bears; three skinny teenagers plus the biggest, most dominant male bear." To reduce the risk of trains killing the bears, the researchers recommend that managers continue to remove grain and ungulate carcasses from the railway, reduce grain spills from trains, and target mitigation on the specific bears and locations that generate high rates of rail-based foraging.

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Materials provided by PLOS. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Animator Sasha Katz Explores a Symbiotic Relationship Between Plants and Technology

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There’s perhaps no two objects more different than a brand new laptop built in a sterile factory and a healthy living plant that’s evolved over millions of years, but for animator Sasha Katz the relationship between computers and plants is a bit more gray. As part of her ongoing GIF series that sees plant specimens sprouting from the glassy screens of iPhones or the keys of keyboards, Katz instead imagines a convergence, where computers can one day interface directly with organic life and perhaps the two become one. She also draws influence from pop art and the minimalism of 8-bit graphics, giving some of her pieces a nostalgic retro video game feel. You see many more of her GIFs on Instagram and GIPHY. (via Colossal Submissions)

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Does Hand and Foot Size Really Correlate with Penile Length?

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Kelley M. asks: Is a guy’s hand or foot size actually a good indicator of the length of their penis or is that a myth?

bananaGiven that public nudity is generally considered unacceptable in most of the modern world (and if you’re wondering, see: When Did Humans Start Wearing Clothes?), people have long tried to come up with other potential indicators to determine the size of a guy’s manhood without actually seeing it. A seemingly tried and true method for doing just this is to look at the size of the man’s hands and/or feet. But does hand and foot size really correlate to the length of the penis?

Nope.

Studies have consistently shown that the size of a guy’s feet or the overall size of their hands is not related to their member’s erect measurement. However, a man’s fingers do give a strong clue as to their probable penis size- but the overall length of the fingers is not what’s important here.

For instance, a study published in the Asian Journal of Andrology in 2011 found that the ratio between the 2nd and 4th digits on the hands strongly correlates with the overall length of an individual’s penis. Specifically, Dr. Ho Choi and et al. state;

Univariate and multivariate analysis using linear regression models showed that…. only digit ratio was a significant predictive factor for stretched penile length…

fingers2In a nutshell, the lower the ratio- how much shorter the index finger is than the ring finger- the longer the penis will probably be when erect. (And if you’re wondering, flaccid penis length is not an accurate predictor of erect penis length.)  More specifically, you can calculate your ratio by taking the length of your index finger (measured from the crease where it meets your hand, to the tip) and divide it by the length of your ring finger. The shorter your index finger is compared to the ring finger, the lower the ratio will be and, if you’re a man, the longer your penis probably is.

So why does the ratio of the index and ring finger lengths correlate to erect penis length? In the beginning, female and male genitals are pretty much the same. This is because they develop from the same cluster of tissues (gonads).  In males, somewhere around weeks 7-9 of gestation, the gonads begin secreting two hormones- Anti-müllerian hormone (AMH) and testosterone. AMH prevents the development of the ducts that eventually turn into the fallopian tubes, the uterus, and upper vagina.

Once the gonads begin secreting testosterone, some if it (around 5-10%) gets transformed into another hormone called dihydrotestosterone. Both testosterone and dihydrotestosterone will attach to androgen receptors, which affect the growth and development of many different body systems.

Notable here, dihydrotestosterone attaches to androgen receptors on tissues that eventually develop and combine into the penis and scrotum. Low levels of this within the womb, or later during puberty, may result in an underdeveloped or malformed penis.

So to sum up here, penile growth in the womb is stimulated and affected by testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and androgen receptors. Circulating amounts of the two hormones, combined with the associated androgen receptor stimulation, will determine penis size.

So what about fingers? Circulating testosterone in the womb will affect other body parts as well- pertinent to the topic at hand, including the ratio between the 2nd and 4th digits (index and ring fingers).

Why does testosterone affect digits differently? For that, I’ll have to get a little more technical, but essentially the activity mediated by androgen receptors, and estrogen receptor-a, is higher in your ring finger compared to your index finger. This is regulated by the structure of genes controlling the process for the bone growth of your fingers, called endochondral ossification. The spread of chondrocytes will determine the length of your finger, and this expansion is higher in the ring finger compared to the index finger.

When you decrease the activation of androgen receptors during the narrow window of digit development (usually completed by week 13 of gestation), you will decrease the length of your ring finger. This activation is attributed to amount of testosterone and DHT circulating throughout the tiny fetus. Conversely, if you decrease the activity of the receptor estrogen-a (the ones being stimulated more when you’re female), you will get a longer ring finger.

Based on this physiology, it has been long known that you can predict prenatal hormone exposure based on the ratio of these two fingers. Since both penile length and the ratio of the ring and index finger is basically a result of the amount of testosterone and DHT circulating in utero, there is a correlation between that ratio and the length of a man’s favorite appendage.

As you might have guessed from all this, the ratio between the lengths of one’s index and ring fingers is usually quite different in men and women- men tend to have shorter index fingers than ring fingers; women tend to have their index fingers either the same length or longer than their ring fingers.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy subscribing to our new Daily Knowledge YouTube channel, as well as:

Bonus Facts:

  • Beyond the stereotype of penis size correlating to hand or feet size being false, the just as prevalent stereotype concerning race and penis size also appears to be untrue; scientifically rigorous studies looking at penis length and race to date have consistently shown no statistically significant difference here.
  • While there are some minor differences from study to study, reviews have shown that the average flaccid penis size at birth is around 1.39 inches (3.55cm);  the average circumference at this time is 1.72 inches (4.38 cm). By the age of 19, the average flaccid length is 3.61 inches (9.1 cm). The average erect length is 5.17 inches (13.1 cm). The average erect circumference is 4.59 inches (11.6 cm). After this time, penile length is pretty much set for life for most. (And it should be noted here that males measuring their own penises almost universally seem to measure themselves much larger than when researchers do it…)
  • The question of what is more influential on penile development, puberty or prenatal testosterone levels, hasn’t yet been fully studied. Several researchers point out, however, that those who go through normal puberty will have widely varying penis sizes, perhaps pointing to prenatal testosterone being the more crucial factor.
  • Penile length isn’t the only thing digit ratio can predict. Since testosterone and DHT control the development of several body systems and processes, digit ratio can be a predictor of a wide range of physiological and psychological conditions. These include things like athletic ability, sexual orientation, fertility, and some sex based ailments such as prostate and uterine problems. Lower digit ratios tend to occur in people with more aggressive behaviors, and those with them are less likely to suffer from eating disorders. People with higher digit ratios tend to be more agreeable. Research has also indicated that straight women and gay men who have higher ratios tend to prefer partners who are more masculine.
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The post Does Hand and Foot Size Really Correlate with Penile Length? appeared first on Today I Found Out.

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Cyclops

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I made a new friend. He likes to watch.

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BMW just unveiled the sleek electric motorcycle of the future | Inhabitat

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Ready to commute in style? BMW just unveiled a futuristic, zero-emission motorbike at the Concorso D’eleganza Villa D’este, showing us what the motorcycle of the future looks like. Modeled after the BMW Motoradd Vision Next 100, the design is both sleek and functional, and is perfect for those who want to get around in urban settings in a sustainable way.

BMW Motorrad Concept Link, motorbike, electric, green technology, green transportation, innovation,

The BMW Motorrad Concept Link may look like a scooter, but it is anything but. The motorbike has a low-slung, stretched body with a flat seat and, according to the company, “is ideally suited to meet the requirements of modern urban mobility with fast acceleration and easy handling.”

Getting on the electric bike is easy due to its low overall height. Additionally, a reverse gear ensures it is easy to maneuver and park in tight city spaces. Clear lines, large-area surfaces, and precise shapes play a part in emphasizing the bike’s state-of-the-art look. All colors are oriented diagonally to underline the dynamic potential of the ride. A touch of futurism is added to the bike with iconic LEC front lights, a clear-cut layout, and slim contours.

BMW Motorrad Concept Link, motorbike, electric, green technology, green transportation, innovation,

A feature that sets the BMW Motorrad Concept Link apart from other motorbikes is the fact that information such as speed, remaining charge, and navigation information is projected right onto the windscreen. If one desires, they can swap out the windscreen for alternate versions with different options. There is also a secondary display below the handlebars that offers touchscreen input. The handlebars also have built-in touch sensitive controls that ensure easy access to favorite features while commuting.

BMW also included a design for rider equipment, that includes a lightweight jacket with hidden protection. Because motion controls have been built in, a wave of one’s arm can open the sliding door underneath the seat which leads to a storage compartment.

Related: Retro electric motorbike with 40-mile range fits in the trunk of a car

BMW Motorrad Concept Link, motorbike, electric, green technology, green transportation, innovation,

Said Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design of BMW Motorrad, “The BMW Motorrad Concept Link stands for a new understanding of urban mobility. It links the digital and analogue world and places the focus on the rider and his mobility needs. In the way it links functionality and digitalisation it performs both as a means of transport as well as a communication device. For me the BMW Motorrad Concept Link, with its timeless and reduced style, is more than a concept – it is rather a symbol for a new era.”

“The BMW Motorrad Concept Link is not based on today’s concepts, but rather meets the basic functionality needs, the technical architecture and the digital reality of today’s users. The technical realities of electric drive – such as the flat energy packs in the underfloor and the compact drive on the rear wheel – allowed us to create a highly distinctive design which shapes a new segment. The resulting expressive power of the vehicle is absolutely new for BMW Motorrad and breaks with all conventional viewing patterns,” added Alexander Buckan, Head of Vehicle Design at BMW Motorrad.

+ BMW Motorrad Concept Link

Images via BMW Motorrad Concept Link

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Your Corpse Could Become a Tree With Egg-Shaped Coffins Made of Seeds

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This article was originally published on February 27, 2015 but we think it still rocks!

Imagine if, at the end of your life, you could choose between being reincarnated as either an oak, ash, birch, or a tree of importance to your life. With the Capsula Mundi project, designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel rethink the ways in which we bury and mourn our loved ones by proposing egg-shaped seed coffins made from 100% biodegradable starch plastic, in which the deceased can be tucked in a fetal position, then planted into the soil, with their tree of choice for the crown.

"To make a coffin nowadays you cut down an old tree, of valuable wood. A coffin has a short life span and is a product of our society," says the team on their site. "The growth of a tree needs from 10 to 40 years and a coffin is used for three days." Like the planet provides for us during our lives, our deaths could be more meaningful by giving back in this small way, they explain.

A person would choose their Capsula Mundi while still alive, and after their death, relatives and friends could continue tending to their trees, transforming traditional cemeteries into sacred woodlands that literally keep memories alive after death. "By planting different kinds of trees next to each other it creates a forest," they add. "A place where children will be able to learn all about trees. It's also a place for a beautiful walk and a reminder of our loved ones."

Click here to learn more about Capsula Mundi.

Related:

3D Sculptor Creates High Art Death Masks

A New Art Project You Can "Like To Death"

Lose Yourself In A Digital Representation Of Memory In This Audio-Visual Performance

Help Curb Deforestation By Planting A Real Life Tree In Electronic Shadow's Virtual Forest [Q&A]



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