Bird brain? What's goes on in it? Pigeons are interesting, as it turns out. Researchers have discovered the part of pigeon's brain that can process magnetic signals they detect, and it's enough to direct them travelling across the globe.
But how do you figure out what's going on in their brains? Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine created a dark room with a three dimensional coil system that allowed them to cancel the Earth's natural magnetic field and create a customized one on demand. They recorded the neuronal activity in the birds while changing the magnetic field. Researchers discovered how the brain decodes magnetic fields.
They found 53 vestibular brainstem neurons that react to the magnetic field and encode the direction, intensity, and polarity of a magnetic field. With that, the birds could navigate:
We suggest that MR cells encode a geomagnetic vector that could be used by the neural population to computationally derive the bird's position and directional heading. The geomagnetic vector elevation component could provide the bird's latitude, the vector azimuth component could be used as a magnetic compass to provide heading direction, and the vector magnitude could provide spatial position cues through local variations in intensity relative to a learned internal model of geomagnetic space.
Which country gets more coitus than most? How do we even know? This map claims to measure the frequency of sexy time and the duration of sex by country. Maroon means tons, and as the shade gets lighter, the frequency drops. Read more
The Smart Highway is an experimental Dutch roadway featuring luminous road markings. It is now opened and as the video after the jump shows, the markings do glow in the dark. Seems a tad bit like Tron's grid? Read more
An internal email unearthed by CNET sent by a Samsung executive, five days after Steve Jobs' death reveals just how brutal business is and how companies will go the lengths to squash the competition. The subject was how to leverage the death of Steve Jobs to Samsung's benefit. Read more