20 June 2024
Saturday Citations: Dogs (woolly) and cats (athletic). Plus: Amino acid precursors on Enceladus

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From the frothy effects of ale on Earthlings to Saturn’s icy moon spewing life’s building blocks, this week unveiled wonders galore. Researchers unearthed tales of North America’s shaggy canine ancestors, while modern-day mousers turned heads by embracing a classic canine pastime—fetch.

Ah, isn’t it fascinating how diverse the world of scientific discovery can be? From the effects of a pint on our perception of beauty to the ancient lineage of fluffy dogs, the realms of study are as vast as the universe around us! Let’s dive in, shall we?


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Take the “beer goggles” phenomenon, a curious case indeed! It seems researchers have been pondering over why after a couple of brews, folks might start seeing each other through rose-tinted glasses, so to speak. By the way, did you know that facial symmetry is often linked to how we perceive attractiveness? Well, it turns out that alcohol might be blurring our ability to pick up on facial asymmetry, making everyone appear just a bit more symmetrical, and possibly, a smidge more appealing. However, it’s not so cut and dry, because the study showed that there’s a lot more to attraction than just symmetry. It’s a complex mix of traits, some of which you can’t capture in a photograph. So, the quest to fully understand the “beer goggles” continues!


Now, let’s blast off from Earth and zip over to Saturn’s moon, Enceladus. Did you know that beneath its icy surface lies a vast ocean? And in that ocean, scientists have detected hydrogen cyanide among other organic compounds. This is super exciting because hydrogen cyanide is a precursor to amino acids, which are the building blocks of life as we know it. It’s like finding a secret recipe for life’s beginnings in the most unexpected of places! Enceladus is spewing these clues into space through its cryovolcanoes, and this discovery is like a cosmic breadcrumb trail hinting at the possibility of life out there. How cool is that?


Back on Earth, let’s talk about a dog breed that’s as interesting as it is ancient. The Coast Salish people of North America had woolly dogs, and they treated them a bit like sheep, shearing them for their wool. These dogs were kept pure for thousands of years, a testament to the ingenuity of these communities. It’s a bit sad, though, as their disappearance is a reminder of the darker chapters in human history, where cultural practices were lost due to colonization.


And to wrap it up with a bit of a personal touch, it seems science has finally proven what some cat owners, like myself, have known for ages – some cats love to play fetch! Researchers found that a surprising number of cats do indeed engage in this playful behavior, often associated with their canine counterparts. It’s a delightful reminder that our feline friends can be just as engaging and athletic as dogs.


Isn’t it marvelous how our understanding of the world and beyond is constantly evolving? From the social implications of our recreational habits to the extraordinary potential for life on other planets, to the rich history of domesticated animals and the charming quirks of our pets – science truly has a way of connecting us to the larger tapestry of existence. Keep your curiosity alive, because every discovery, big or small, helps us see the world in a new light!

SAUCE: Saturday Citations: Dogs (woolly) and cats (athletic). Plus: Amino acid precursors on Enceladus, beer goggles on Earth




What is the “beer goggles” phenomenon?


The “beer goggles” phenomenon refers to the perception that people become more attractive to us after consuming alcohol. It is believed that alcohol may blur our ability to notice facial asymmetry, making individuals appear more symmetrical and potentially more appealing.


What is the significance of hydrogen cyanide on Saturn’s moon, Enceladus?


Hydrogen cyanide is significant on Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, because it is a precursor to amino acids, which are essential building blocks of life. The detection of hydrogen cyanide, along with other organic compounds, suggests the possibility of life or the conditions for life to exist beneath Enceladus’ icy surface.


What were woolly dogs and why are they significant?


Woolly dogs were a breed of dogs kept by the Coast Salish people of North America. These dogs had woolly fur and were sheared for their wool, similar to sheep. The significance of woolly dogs lies in their ancient lineage and the cultural practices of the Coast Salish people. Their disappearance serves as a reminder of the impact of colonization on indigenous cultures and the loss of unique cultural practices.


Do cats play fetch?


Yes, some cats do engage in the playful behavior of fetching, similar to dogs. Recent research has shown that a surprising number of cats exhibit this behavior, which challenges the common perception that only dogs enjoy playing fetch. It highlights the engaging and athletic nature of our feline companions.


How does science contribute to our understanding of the world?


Science constantly evolves and helps us understand the world in various ways. It explores phenomena such as the “beer goggles” effect, the potential for life on other planets like Enceladus, the history of domesticated animals like woolly dogs, and even the playful behavior of our pets. Science connects us to the larger tapestry of existence, providing new insights and expanding our knowledge.

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Beer goggles (phenomenon), Enceladus (moon), Woolly dogs (Coast Salish)

Beer goggles
The term "beer goggles" is the phenomenon that people find other people more attractive after having had a few drinks. The term is especially used for people who, when sober, will otherwise not be found as relatively attractive or attractive at all.
Read more: Beer goggles

Enceladus is the sixth-largest moon of Saturn (19th largest in the Solar System). It is about 500 kilometers (310 miles) in diameter, about a tenth of that of Saturn's largest moon, Titan. It is mostly covered by fresh, clean ice, making it one of the most reflective bodies of the...
Read more: Enceladus

Salish Wool Dog
The Salish Wool Dog or Comox dog is an extinct breed of white, long-haired, Spitz-type dog that was developed and bred by the Coast Salish peoples of what is now Washington state and British Columbia for textile production.
Read more: Salish Wool Dog

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