TGI Friday! Wrapping up the week with a bundle of uplifting news snippets.
Here's a research project worth giggling about. According to a study published Tuesday in Biology Letters, the laughing patterns of human infants match those of great apes. Human adults primarily laugh while exhaling, whereas infants and great apes laugh during both inhalation and exhalation. The researchers also learned that listeners perceived the laughter produced by exhaling more positively, pleasanter, and more contagious. Adults do it by inhaling first, then producing "ha-ha-ha" sounds in short bursts, starting loud, then fading away.
Mountains play a bigger role in evolution and creating new species than climate change, a study from the University of Cambridge has found. Scientists pooled three million years of data looking at the rise and fall of Earth’s mountains and found that as the surface rises, the rate of speciation increases. They discovered that the fluctuating landscape was responsible for the creation of more new species of birds and mammals than historical climate change.
There’s good news for the tuna you’re used to seeing in supermarkets, like Atlantic and Southern bluefin. They are showing signs of recovery from overfishing, says the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Scientists have reported the peculiar case of an Australian musk duck that learnt to say “you bloody fool,” most likely from a former caretaker. The research, published in a special issue of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B, demonstrates the presence of advanced vocal learning in Australia’s endemic musk duck species at a level comparable to that of songbirds and parrots. Strewth! Budgie's are pretty remarkable talkers too! (See today's video).
Mexico has become the first country in North America and the 41st country in the world to completely ban cosmetics testing on animals.
It's been a great summer for Benyamin Ahmed. The 12-year-old boy has made about £290,000 ($400,000) in cryptocurrency after creating digital pictures of whales and selling tokens of their ownership, which are stored on blockchain. His collection of pixelated artworks called Weird Whales went viral during the school holidays. His success may be a harbinger of the digital business models that could disrupt the banking sector. His father, Imran, a software developer, described the artwork as similar to “digital Pokémon cards” and said they had been a big success because collectors realised their historical significance. Confused? Yup, so are we.
Scientists have developed technology that can turn footsteps into electricity. By tapping into an unexpected energy source, wooden flooring, researchers from Switzerland have developed an energy-harvesting device that uses wood with a combination of a silicone coating and embedded nanocrystals to produce enough energy to power LED lightbulbs and small electronics. This device, called a nanogenerator, is based on sandwiching two pieces of wood between electrodes. So, your 10,000 steps a day target will soon take on a whole new dimension. But did you know that the 10,000 steps figure is entirely arbitrary?
Good news for Madrid-based fans of train travel: Europe's longest network of high-speed railways is not in Italy, Germany or even in France. That honour is held by Spain, where billions of euros have been invested into new railways radiating from Madrid over the last 30 years. At 3,567 km, it's the second longest high speed rail network in the world, although still less than 10 percent of that built by China over the last decade.
Despite children in China being told that they have to limit the amount of time they spend gaming online, there is now some much better news for them with the announcement of sweeping educational reforms aimed at reducing the sometimes crippling pressure for pupils to succeed at school. End-of-year exams for children in China aged 6 and 7 have been abolished. The ban mirrors one passed earlier this year for written homework for first and second graders, and one limiting the homework burden on Junior High students to 1.5 hours per night.
Fun Fact: People who live in New Zealand seem to love having at least one animal companion around. That's why 68 percent of households in the country have a pet, which is more than any other nation in the world. Americans also happen to love furry friends, which is why more than half of all U.S. homes have either a dog or cat (or both).
Dive in Deeper
That's the name of this incredible talking budgie. Apparently, when budgies mimic their owners they are simply doing what they would do in the wild.
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