Weekly Science Picks

Science Sunday! Our recurring collection of some of the week’s blogs and science articles that you may have missed.

What a week! So much science! Let’s start with mosquitoes….

The beat the mosquito’s heart didn’t miss…

Frankly I’ve not given much thought to the heartbeat of mosquitoes.  I’m usually much more worried that mine will continue will continue to beat for many more years to come. But Charles Ebikeme’s article covering the research done by Dr Julian Hillyer and his team at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennesee, is fascinating.01_Place_17961_1_Kingb_main

“A mosquito’s heart is very different — without veins or arteries, it pumps a clear liquid called hemolymph. The hemolymph flows from the heart into the abdominal cavity and eventually cycles back through the heart. The heart runs along the insects body as an unbranched tube, no thicker than three tenths of a millimeter. Helical twists of muscle fibres support the central tube. Their sequential contractions makes the heart in a wave-like peristaltic action. A peristaltic action that has the ability to run in both directions.”

As an insect that carries various diseases that wreaks havoc on the human population, mosquitoes are a significant concern for health authorities.  Hillyer’s research is just one more step in understanding the pest and developing effective control strategies.

FishMap – Mapping Australian Fish

Millions of Australians are recreational fishers, there’s a large commercial seafood and aquaculture industry, and plenty of us who like to eat fish!! So who wouldn’t be interested in an online mapping tool that allows us to check out where our favourite marine fish are hiding?

“With FishMap you can find out what fish occur at any location or depth in the waters of Australia’s continental shelf and slope. You can also create species lists for any region that include photographs and illustrations, distribution maps and current scientific and common names.”  

FishMap is a pretty cool tool – and you’d be surprised how much time you can spend looking at fish….old-wife

Creative Commons announces ‘School of Open’ project

The “School of Open” offers courses on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, research, and beyond. This is an interesting initiative. Access to education and research is vital – but what is ‘open source’ software? What do we mean by ‘Open source media’? How does creative commons and copy right work?  The “School of Open” offers course where people can learn more about what “openness” means and how to apply it.

Want to learn more about online copyright? Ever wanted to know how to contribute to Wikipedia and edit articles, learn more about creative commons? The “School of Open” might be for you!