Category Archives: Weird

Bark Scorpion Arose from Rare Genetic Event

Arizona bark scorpion glowing under ultraviolet light. Photo by Bryce Alexander.

More than 450 million years ago, the entire genetic instruction book of spiders’ and scorpions’ common ancestor doubled, according to a genomic comparison of the common house spider and the Arizona bark scorpion.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Rare Whole Genome Duplication Gave Rise To Arizona Bark Scorpion

Pentagon Researches Ways to Boost Learning in Soldiers

Eight U.S. Department of Defense brain studies, one at Arizona State University, are investigating ways to help soldiers learn more efficiently.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) hopes not just to make better sharpshooters, but also to shorten training periods for translators, analysts and cryptographers — and, perhaps, to improve outcomes for soldiers with brain injury and memory loss.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
U.S. Department Of Defense Brain Study Seeks To Boost Learning In Soldiers

We’re Not in Phoenix Anymore: How Radio Signals “Skipped” All the Way to Kansas

Yes, it’s that exciting.

Unlike AM signals, FM is confined to line-of-sight, so Phoenix’s KBAQ radio station doesn’t typically reach much beyond the Valley of the Sun, let alone to a Volkswagen Beetle 875 miles away. So it’s no wonder that Ken Baker of the Radio Kansas Network was surprised to see what resolved on his HD tuner that day.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
How Phoenix-Area Radio Signals Can Bounce All The Way To Kansas

Zebrafish Make a Big Splash in Arizona Medical Research

Photo by Nicholas Gerbis.

Mammals might seem like better human stand-ins than a minnow’s striped cousin, but zebrafish resemble us in surprising and useful ways. But zebrafish also offer practical advantages over other model species: They’re cheap, hardy, breed like rabbits on Viagra, and their skin can be made transparent.

To find out more about how Arizona researchers are using zebrafish in their research, read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Tiny Fish Makes A Big Splash In Arizona Medical Research

Rude Burials Might Have Fueled Blood Feuds Among Ancient Sonorans

Photo of cacti at sunset
Photo by Tomas Castelazo.

Bodies buried  in unusual postures and without funeral rites could suggest a history of revenge and blood feud in certain ancient Sonoran Desert cultures, according to a paper in the August 2016 edition of Current Anthropology.

The authors say a rude burial would have deeply distressed the victim’s family and community — and sent a message of dominance and defiance. Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:

Haphazard Burials May Suggest Revenge, Blood Feud Among Sonoran Desert Cultures