Tag Archives: science lolcat

Science Caturday: LOL Effect

peefroze

The area around Buffalo, NY was buried under an astonishing seven feet of snow this week, due to a phenomenon called “lake effect”, which is explained here. Meteorologists may find this fascinating, and kids may be happy to miss school, but at least one group of upstate New Yorkers is seriously disgruntled: the cats. Well, except for this guy. There’s always one.

makesnowstop

Science Caturday: I smell a whatchamacallit

noms

A team of scientists led by Jonas Olofsson published a study this week in the Journal of Neuroscience, describing research that identified two areas in the brain which link odor to language. Using fMRI and other techniques, researchers were able to map areas of the brain which provide the interface between olfactory and verbal cues. The team hopes to use the findings to advance research into dementia. We hope they go on to experiment on cats, whose superior sense of smell is, alas, joined to a somewhat weaker verbal ability, particularly with regard to the word “the”.

Science Caturday: Curiosity Revisited

curiosity

A study published this week in the journal Neuron suggests why people learn better when their curiosity is piqued.

Researchers from UC Davis conducted  fMRI scans on students and found evidence that activity in the midbrain was enhanced during states of high curiosity. The study indicated that curiosity was related to an increase in the activity of the brain chemical dopamine, which seemed to strengthen the students’ memories.

While this may be good news for human students and teachers, researchers have yet to test the findings on cats, a group to which curiosity is often said to be lethal. Good luck getting those proposals past IRB cat!

irb cat

 

Science Caturday: Made it!

It was a long week, wasn’t it, kittens? But we made it through.

portal

Science Caturday: Welcome, Weird New Thingies

mushroomcat

Scientists have discovered a new kind of mushroomy, jellyfishy type thingie that nobody had ever studied before. A paper published this week in the journal PLOS ONE describes the discovery of the previously unknown creatures off the coast of Australia. Lead author Jean Just, of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, admitted “we don’t even know if they’re upside down.”

The animals are described as looking like floppy chanterelle mushrooms but feeling like dollops of gelatin.  The two new species described in the study were officially named Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides.  As yet, almost nothing is known about them, and only 18 specimens have been studied.

Mushroom Cat says “ohai” to his newly discovered cousins.