Readers ask about Cuvier’s beaked whales, microbes within the ambiance and extra

Ready to exhale

Cuvier’s beaked whales could depend on giant shops of oxygen, a sluggish metabolism and the power to tolerate lactic acid to dive for hours with out surfacing for air, Erin Garcia de Jesus reported in “A beaked whale’s practically four-hour-long dive units a brand new document” (SN: 11/7/20, p. 5).

“Your report on Cuvier’s beaked whales’ lengthy dives begins: ‘To interrupt the document for longest dive by a marine mammal, take a deep breath and soar within the water,’ ” reader John Hoskins wrote. “Do these whales inhale or exhale earlier than diving?” he requested. Hoskins famous that northern elephant seals exhale earlier than diving deep. That, together with versatile rib cages, helps these mammals’ lungs collapse as water strain will increase.

Cuvier’s beaked whales exhale a lot of the air from their lungs earlier than diving, Garcia de Jesus says, and the whales even have versatile rib cages. “Plainly Cuvier’s beaked whales have very comparable diving strategies to northern elephant seals,” she says.

Swept away

Micro organism and different microbes that get swept into the ambiance can find yourself in clouds and affect climate, Cassie Martin reported (SN: 11/7/20, p. 4) in an replace to a 1970 article “Clouds could also be ecosystems” (SN: 11/14/70, p. 384).

Reader Mike Sevilla puzzled if clouds might unfold the algae chargeable for dangerous purple tides. “Can the clouds choose up and carry [the algae]?” he requested. “Nice meals for thought over toast and tea.”

It’s potential that some algae might get swept into the ambiance the place they could seed clouds, Martin says. “However these species haven’t been documented in samples of cloud water to my information.” It’s additionally unclear if the organisms would survive the journey. “Microbial meteorology is a comparatively new subject,” Martin says. “Whereas researchers don’t but have a solution for whether or not clouds disperse algae that go on to type purple tides, the query is unquestionably price discussing throughout your subsequent teatime chat.”

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It’s a small world in any case

A photograph of a zebrafish’s lymphatic system took high honors within the 2020 Nikon Small World pictures contest, Erin Garcia de Jesus reported in “A glowing zebrafish wins the 2020 Nikon Small World pictures contest” (SN: 11/7/20, p. 32).

The third-place winner, featured in an internet model of the story, was a magnified picture of a snail tongue. Reader Orlando Saint-Sebastien was shocked to be taught that snails have tongues and requested how sticky they’re.

Snail tongues are available in numerous shapes, sizes and textures. Igor Siwanowicz, a photographer and neurobiologist at Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Analysis Campus in Ashburn, Va., doesn’t suppose the tongue of the freshwater snail he photographed was sticky. Siwanowicz admits that he’s by no means been licked by a snail, however he imagines the tongue would really feel like advantageous sandpaper. “Extra like a cat’s than a chameleon’s tongue,” he says.

Serendipity with a splash of salt

Ardour and joyful likelihood encounters join botanists learning uncommon crops and a physicist making an attempt to copy supernova explosions within the lab, Nancy Shute wrote in “In reward of serendipity — and scientific obsession” (SN: 11/7/20, p. 2).

“That’s solely the half of it,” reader Thomas Nied wrote. In “Large lasers assist re-create supernovas’ explosive, mysterious physics” (SN: 11/7/20, p. 20), Emily Conover “writes that as a graduate scholar within the 1980s, the physicist Hye-Sook Park labored on ‘an experiment 600 meters underground in a working salt mine beneath Lake Erie.’ Though the story doesn’t say, that salt mine underneath Lake Erie was owned and operated by Morton Salt, with its headquarters in Chicago,” Nied wrote.

In the meantime, a part of “How ardour, luck and sweat saved a few of North America’s rarest crops” (SN: 11/7/20, p. 14) is about in Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ailing. “The identical Morton who funded the arboretum based the salt mine…. However, at this level, to paraphrase [journalist and author] Walter Lippmann, ‘the info have far exceeded my curiosity,’ ” Nied wrote.

Rhythm of the evening

Music created from telescope information helps individuals with visible impairments expertise the wonders of astronomy, such because the Pillars of Creation, and will help analysis, Maria Temming reported in “Turning house pictures into music makes astronomy extra accessible” (SN: 11/7/20, p. 4). On Fb, reader Alexander Micheal Carter praised the hassle with a pun: “Find it irresistible!!! Nice algor-rhythms.”

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