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(13) Things we know now that we didn't know this

time last year

"We thought we knew everything about everything, and it turned out that
there were unknown unknowns."

Richard Fisher, the director of NASA's Heliophysics Division.

1. Domestic pigs can quickly learn how mirrors work and use them to find
food.

2. Grumpy people think more clearly because negative moods trigger more
attentive, careful thinking.

3. One mutated gene is the reason humans have language, and chimpanzees,
our closest relative, do not.

4. Babies pick up their parents' accents from the womb, and infants are born
crying in their native dialect. Researchers found that French newborns cry in
a rising French accent, and German babies cry with a characteristic falling
inflection.

5. Surfing the Internet may help delay dementia because it creates stimulation
that exercises portions of the brain.

6. Hormones that signal whether whales are pregnant, lactating or in the


mood to mate have been extracted from whales' lung mucus, captured by
dangling nylon stockings from a pole over their blowholes as they surface to
breathe. (This method could allow scientists to study whales without having
to slaughter them.)

7. The calmest place on Earth is on top of an icy plateau in Antarctica known


as Ridge A, several hundred miles from the South Pole. It is so still that
stars do not twinkle in the sky because there is no turbulence in the
atmosphere to distort the light.

8. The eyes of the mantis shrimp possess a feature that could make DVDs and
CDs perform better. By emulating this structure, which displays color
wavelengths at all ranges, developers could create a new category of optical
devices.

9. A chemical component in broccoli can protect the lining of arteries from


blockage that leads to angina, heart attack and stroke.

10. The speed of U.S Internet broadband lags far behind other industrial
nations, including Japan, Finland, South Korea, France and Canada.
(13) Things we know now that we didn't know this
time last year

"We thought we knew everything about everything, and it turned out that
there were unknown unknowns."

Richard Fisher, the director of NASA's Heliophysics Division.


11. Polar bear skulls have shrunk 2 percent to 9 percent since the early 20th
century. It's the result, scientists theorize, of stress from pollution and
melting habitat.

12. A close relationship with a caregiver can give Alzheimer's patients an edge
in retaining brain function over time.

13. Watermelon is more efficient at rehydrating our bodies than drinking water.
It contains 92 percent water and essential rehydration salts.

Sources: Sydney Morning Herald; BehavioralHealthCentral.com; Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and


Psychiatry; New Scientist; Neurology; BBC News; Women's College Research Institute; Current Biology;
Saint Joseph Health Scene; Live Science; University of California, Berkeley; stltoday.com; Journal of
General Internal Medicine; Live Science, American Naturalist; Nature Photonics; London Times;
Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes; Science News; Current Biology; NASA Jet
Propulsion Laboratory; Acta Biomaterialia; San Francisco State University; Trends in Ecology and
Evolution; Behaviour; Eurekalert; Tohoku Institute of Technology and Kyoto University; Evolution and
Human Behavior; Journal of Experimental Biology; Geophysical Research â?? Space Physics; U.S.
Geological Survey; Evolutionary Biology; National Geographic News; Oxford University Museum of
Natural History; Rothamsted Research; Imperial College London; National Human Genome Research
Institute; Communications Workers of America; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences;
Science; Redfern Natural History Productions; Current Biology; World Wildlife Fund; Geology; Journals of
Gerontology; University of Aberdeen Medical School