Photo courtesy of flickr.com member E.J. Catter
Is this article about a new species of mistletoe terribly relevant and life-changing? No, probably not. But are we feeling a little warm and fuzzy and slightly less jaded because it’s the holiday season? Yes! And doesn’t it seem like more than a coincidence that the species was confirmed only a few days before Christmas? Well okay, it’s arguable, but we’re leaning towards yes on that one, too. And if mistletoe doesn’t catch your fancy, the article also highlights other beautiful and rare plant discoveries made in 2010.
Photo courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
If you’re not a fan of the sub-zero temperatures the upcoming season bestows upon us, perhaps reading this NASA report about a giant eruption on the sun will warm you up. In August, an entire hemisphere of the sun exploded—NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory along with the STEREO spacecraft recorded the eruption in unbelievable detail. So what does it all mean? Well before this eruption, explosions on the sun’s surface were believed to be isolated incidents, independent of one another. But now scientists think all solar activity is interconnected. One solar physicist came to this staggering conclusion: “To predict eruptions…we have to know the surface magnetic field of practically the entire sun.” The surface area of the entire sun? Oh, about 2.3 trillion square miles. And the magnetic field is unbelievably complex, varies in strength across the sun’s surface, and extends far out into space. We have a feeling the collected thought bubble over all solar physicists’ heads right now reads ‘oy.’
Photo courtesy of flickr.com user Andrew Vargas
Forget about astrology — a study published by the Nature Neuroscience journal suggests the season you’re born in might have a drastic effect on your biological clock and personality. Scientists performed experiments on mice, raising them from birth and weaning them in simulated winter and summer light cycles. They found the biological clocks in winter mice were much more susceptible to be affected with the changing of the seasons; their daily activity also slowed down. The mice born in the ‘summer’ exhibited no major changes in their brains’ behavior. While the findings are not conclusive, we at GLIMPSE think it’s pretty interesting our seemingly arbitrary relationship with the seasons can have a such big impact on our development. So for those of you with birthdays December through March, take a break from blaming mother dearest for all your problems and start shaking your fist at mother nature.