Fun Friday Links: Google Fights Insects, Missing Sleep Can Ruin You, and Candy Calories
Welcome to Conspire’s Super Happy Fun Friday Link Time, a weekly collection of cool discoveries from around the Web. Most times the goal is to get you thinking differently about communication, collaboration, culture, and life in general. Other times, LOLCAT ATTACK! Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Google Street View and Invasive Species
Not many people welcome rogue bugs into their homes, but the occasional insect can be easily dispatched with the business end of a broom. It gets a little bit harder when you’re facing an aggressive, invasive species like the pine processionary moth, whose caterpillar travels in droves, and is more destructive to cedars and pines than even the highly dangerous H.Sapien. But Google Street View just might be able to help by assisting scientists in locating and tracking various species around the world that are hellbent on eating their way through different habitats. From LiveScience and France’s National Institute for Agronomic Research:
Mapping where species are in the world is key to monitoring native and invasive organisms. However, collecting this data can be quite an expensive and time-consuming task.
To help tackle this problem, scientists investigated Google Street View, through which Google supplies panoramic views from the streets of hundreds of cities across the world…The researchers analyzed data regarding the presence or absence of caterpillar nests collected in these blocks through either direct observation in the field or Google Street View. They found Google Street View was 96% as accurate as field data. [Altogether], these findings suggest Google Street View could help scientists monitor both endangered and invasive species.
Sleep: Nature’s (Really, Really Important) Detox
Anyone who’s ever missed their nightly dose of snoozing knows that no amount of caffeine can totally alleviate the damage — the dull senses, the constant yawning, or the mismatched socks. Unfortunately, it turns out that failing to get enough sleep does a whole lot more than risk some embarrassment — it can actually destroy your brain, and lead to degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s. From Joseph Bennington-Castro:
In a nutshell, this new study provides evidence that we need a certain amount of sleep every night, because the brain takes this time to rid itself of toxic metabolic byproducts, which would otherwise accumulate in the brain and impair brain function, destroy neurons — and potentially cause neurodegenerative disorders…One of the main functions of the lymphatic system is to remove the body of waste. A fluid called lymph bathes the cells and tissues in the body, collects cellular waste products and dumps them back into the bloodstream to be filtered from the body.
But the brain has no lymphatic vessels. [It’s] well known that sleep deprivation decreases your cognitive functions — could this impairment actually be due to the accumulation of brain waste?
To help get you geared up for Halloween, here are some unfortunate facts about how very detrimental candy consumption can be for your diet. Enjoy!