This Unusual Bird Superpower Goes Back to the Dinosaur Extinction

The ibis and the kiwi are dogged diggers, probing in sand and soil for worms and other buried prey. Sandpipers, too, can be seen along the shore excavating small creatures with their beaks. It was long thought that these birds were using trial and error to find their prey.

But then scientists discovered something far more peculiar: Their beaks are threaded with cells that can detect vibrations traveling through the ground. Some birds can feel the movements of their distant quarry directly, while others pick up on waves bouncing off buried shells — echolocating like a dolphin or a bat, in essence, through the earth.

There’s one more odd detail in this story of birds’ unusual senses: Ostriches and emus, birds that most definitely do not hunt this way, have beaks with a similar interior structure. They are honeycombed with pits for these cells, though the cells themselves are missing.

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Leaving so soon? Unusual planetary nebula fades mere decades after it arrived — ScienceDaily

Stars are rather patient. They can live for billions of years, and they typically make slow transitions — sometimes over many millions of years — between the different stages of their lives.

So when a previously typical star’s behavior rapidly changes in a few decades, astronomers take note and get to work.

Such is the case with a star known as SAO 244567, which lies at the center of Hen 3-1357, commonly known as the Stingray Nebula. The Stingray Nebula is a planetary nebula — an expanse of material sloughed off from a star as it enters a new phase of old age and then heated by that same star into colorful displays that can last for up to a million years.

The tiny Stingray Nebula unexpectedly appeared in the 1980s and was first imaged by scientists in the 1990s using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. It is by far the

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Titanium atom that exists in two places at once in crystal to blame for unusual phenomenon

Titanium atom that exists in two places at once in crystal to blame for unusual phenomenon
This high-resolution scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of BaTiS3 crystals is overlaid with illustrations showing the orientation of individual atoms in the crystal. Despite the atomic perfection of the crystal, it is unexpectedly poor at transporting thermal energy. Credit: Caltech/USC/ORNL

The crystalline solid BaTiS3 (barium titanium sulfide) is terrible at conducting heat, and it turns out that a wayward titanium atom that exists in two places at the same time is to blame.

The discovery, made by researchers from Caltech, USC, and the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), was published on November 27 in the journal Nature Communications. It provides a fundamental atomic-level insight into an unusual thermal property that has been observed in several materials. The work is of particular interest to researchers who are exploring the potential use of crystalline solids with poor thermal conductivity in thermoelectric applications, in which heat is

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In an unusual move, Trump administration will protect a pine tree due to climate change

with Alexandra Ellerbeck

In an unexpected decision, the Trump administration announced that a lethal fungus, a rapacious beetle and even a changing climate jeopardize the survival of an iconic tree of the American West.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is set to propose Wednesday listing the whitebark pine as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. 

Granting federal protections to the tree is a “watershed decision,” said Diana Tomback, professor of integrative biology at the University of Colorado at Denver who has studied the tree for decades.

The whitebark pine’s habitat spans over 80 million acres across seven states and Canada. In its official filing, the agency acknowledged that rising temperatures are pushing the high-elevation tree’s habitat up to higher altitudes, hurting the chances of survival for a pine whose nutritious seeds provide sustenance for everything from red squirrels to black bears.

a man standing next to a tree: A dead whitebark pine tree in the mountains east of Jackson Hole, Wyo. (Mead Gruver/AP)

© Mead Gruver/AP
A dead whitebark pine

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Yongnuo Patents Unusual Smartphone and Camera System Combo

Yongnuo has already released a mirrorless camera system designed to be used in tandem with a smartphone, but the company seems to be interested in iterating on that design further. According to a new patent, the latest design looks more seamless and user-friendly.

Yongnuo’s YN43 micro four-thirds sensor with a Canon EF mount was interesting, but the design looked cumbersome. The physical connection point, for example, was a simple clamp and the entire system did not feel like it was meant to stay together outside of the exact moment you wanted to take a photo.

Yongnuo seems to have noticed this flaw, as the new patent states that the “existing external lens assembly is mostly mounted on the mobile terminal by clamping,” and that “the external lens assembly is easy to fall off from the mobile terminal, resulting in low practicability of the external lens assembly.”

Wanting to increase the

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) – 10 Information Technology Stocks With Unusual Options Alerts In Today’s Session

This unusual options alert can help traders track potentially big trading opportunities. Traders often look for circumstances when the market estimation of an option diverges away from its normal worth. Unusual trading activity could push option prices to hyperbolic or underperforming levels.

Here’s the list of some unusual options activity happening in today’s session:

Symbol PUT/CALL Trade Type Sentiment Exp. Date Strike Price Total Trade Price Open Interest Volume
AAPL CALL TRADE BULLISH 11/20/20 $121.00 $32.4K 21.5K 36.2K
INTC PUT TRADE BULLISH 11/20/20 $44.00 $92.2K 18.1K 14.3K
AMD CALL TRADE BEARISH 12/18/20 $90.00 $301.4K 12.7K 6.8K
TSM CALL SWEEP BULLISH 12/18/20 $100.00 $237.8K 7.0K 2.4K
FISV CALL TRADE BEARISH 01/21/22 $105.00 $400.0K 45.2K 1.2K
CSCO CALL TRADE BULLISH 01/15/21 $41.00 $52.8K 11.6K 1.1K
MSFT CALL TRADE BEARISH 11/27/20 $220.00 $38.0K 2.5K 790
HPE CALL TRADE BEARISH 01/21/22 $10.00 $39.0K 1.8K 325
TEAM PUT TRADE BULLISH 01/21/22 $150.00 $472.5K 181 300
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Predators form an unusual coexistence in the central Chilean Andes

What does the fox say to a puma?
Pumas are the top predators in the study research area in the Chilean Andes. Camera trap photo by Christian Osorio. Credit: Christian Osorio

In the high plains of the central Chilean Andes, an ecosystem consisting of only a few animal species is providing researchers with new insights into how predators coexist in the wild.

“The puma and the culpeo fox are the only top predators on the landscape in the Chilean Andes,” said Professor Marcella Kelly, of the College of Natural Resources and Environment. “And there isn’t a wide range of prey species, in part because the guanacos [closely related to llamas] aren’t typically found in these areas anymore due to over-hunting. With such a simplified ecosystem, we thought we could really nail down how two rival predators interact.”

Kelly worked with Christian Osorio, a doctoral student in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, and researchers from the Pontifical

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At least Aaron Yetter surveyed “the whole gamut of ducks,” including good numbers of mallards, on the aerial surveys during a week where the drought conditions and the unusual, even record, warmth, showed its impact on waterfowl and waterfowlers.

Aaron Yetter’s latest blog off the weekly aerial waterfowl survey for the Illinois Natural History notes “the whole gamut of ducks,” but also the impact of the drought conditions and record warmth.

Click here for the listings of aerial surveys by the Illinois Natural History Survey. Keep up with research updates and aerial surveys at the Forbes Biological Station Facebook page.

Here is Yetter’s latest blog:

November 6th, 2020 – Aerial Waterfowl Inventory Blog

We got up early this week and flew the survey on November 3rd. Duck numbers were pretty good and totaled right at or slightly above the 10-yr average. This week we had over 361,000 ducks in the Illinois River Valley, and almost 368,000 along the central Mississippi River. Several times this week as I was figuring out the species composition I thought, it’s the whole gamut of ducks. Literally, there was a

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Unusual structures in bacterial cells keep viral infection from spreading; a list of new ones could provide improved biotech tools — ScienceDaily

Peculiar hybrid structures called retrons that are half RNA, half single-strand DNA are found in many species of bacteria. Since their discovery around 35 years ago, researchers have learned how to use retrons for producing single strands of DNA in the lab, but no one knew what their function was in the bacteria, despite much research into the matter. In a paper published today in Cell, a Weizmann Institute of Science team reports on solving the longstanding mystery: Retrons are immune system “guards” that ensure the survival of the bacterial colony when it is infected by viruses. In addition to uncovering a new strategy used by bacteria to protect themselves against viral infection — one that is surprisingly similar to that employed by plant immune systems — the research revealed many new retrons that may, in the future, add to the genome-editing toolkit.

The study, conducted in the lab

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