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The Sound Of A Black Hole; Robotic Bacteria Against Cancer; Do Dogs Cry Tears of Joy When They See Us? What Small Eyes You Have, T-Rex! Men, Put On Your Headphones, Turn On Your Favorite Podcast and Go Do The Dishes!

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The Sound Of A Black Hole

  • Robotic Bacteria Against Cancer
  • Do Dogs Cry Tears of Joy When They See Us?
  • What Small Eyes You Have, T-Rex!
  • Men, Put On Your Headphones, Turn On Your Favorite Podcast and Go Do The Dishes!

The Sound Of A Black Hole

The tagline of the science fiction horror film “Alien” is: “In space no one can hear you scream”. In fact, in space no one can hear anything. Sound waves require a medium to move through, mainly air, and thus, nothing can be heard in the vacuum of space. 

However, scientists at the American space agency NASA decided to translate the sounds of the black hole at the center of the Perseus galaxy cluster, about 200 million light-years from us, into audible frequencies. These sounds are created by changes in gas density at the center of the cluster, which result from the activity of the black hole. The researchers took the gas density data measured by the Chandra X-ray Space Telescope and converted the vibrations into sounds in the range of human hearing, by scaling them upward by about 57 octaves compared to their original frequency. That is how they could reproduce the sounds created by the black hole. Many were quick to comment that the resulting sound was exactly what one would expect a black hole to sound like. Naturally, one would not expect a celestial body with a massive gravitational field, which absorbs anything found at a close enough proximity, including large stars, to sound like wind chimes.  

Listen to the sound of a black hole:

Nitsan Moran

Robotic Bacteria Against Cancer

Researchers have transformed bacteria into tiny robots that can deliver drugs directly to a cancerous tumor. They loaded magnetic nanoparticles and lipid nanobubbles onto E. coli bacteria. The nanoparticles facilitate the direction of the bacteria to the tumor using an external magnetic field, while the nanobubbles carry chemotherapeutic molecules. They break down and release their contents in response to infrared radiation. 

Using a magnetic field, the researchers directed the bacteria to tiny targets, in order to simulate complex growth environments, so far in a laboratory setting and not yet within a living animal body. When the bacteria reached their target, they were irradiated with an infrared laser that caused the lipid nanobubbles to break down and release a drug that killed the cancer cells. 

The development of this method is still in its infancy, but in the future we may be able to use bacteria based micro-robots to provide cancer patients with a more effective and targeted treatment with fewer side effects. For the original research

אילוסטרציה של החיידקים המהונדסים מתקרבים לגידול | Akolpoglu et al., Sci. Adv. 8, eabo6163 2022

Researchers have created bacteria that carry tiny robots on their surface in order to fight cancerous tumors. Illustration of the genetically engineered bacteria during growth Akolpoglu et al., Sci. Adv. 8, eabo6163 2022

Do Dogs Cry Tears of Joy When They See Us?

When dogs meet with their owners after being separated from them for a few hours, they exhibit an increase in levels of the oxytocin hormone, which is associated with the formation of social bonds. In a new study, researchers from Japan have demonstrated that during such encounters dogs also get teary-eyed. Though these tears do not run down their cheeks, they fill the dogs’ eyes. If true, this would be the first animal, aside from humans, known to produce tears as a form of an emotional response. 

The researchers tested the amount of tears in the eyes of 18 dogs in the first five minutes after being reunited with their owners, and found that their eyes contained more tears compared to other times. The cause of this is oxytocin, and the evidence to support this is that when a solution containing the hormone was applied to the dogs’ eyes, their tear volume increased. 

Canine tears, apparently, affect humans: the researchers photographed the dogs before and after administering liquid into their eyes, such that their eyes would have a tearful appearance. Subjects who rated the photos tended to report that dogs with ‘tears’ aroused stronger feelings of affection in them as well as a desire to stroke the dog. However, not all professionals agree that dogs indeed have emotional tears, and further studies are required to confirm this. For the original research.

דמעות שמחה של כלבים | מקור: shutterstock, Berezovaya Nonna

The tears of joy of dogs Source: shutterstock, Berezovaya Nonna


What Small Eyes You Have, T-Rex! 

When looking at the enormous skull of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, it is easy to notice the tremendous strength of its mighty jaw, which was equipped with teeth that can reach a length of 30 centimeters. Nevertheless, the secret of this strength actually lies in the peculiar shape of its eye sockets. The eye sockets of an adult T-Rex are relatively small compared to the size of its skull and, in contrast to most dinosaurs, their shape is not round but narrow, resembling a keyhole. In a recently published study, British paleontologist Stephan Lautenschlager examined the skulls of roughly 500 dinosaurs and found that other large carnivorous dinosaurs had eyes similar to those of the T-Rex, while the eye sockets of herbivores were circular-shaped. Mathematical simulations conducted by Lautenschlager showed that the structure of a skull with narrow eyes is stronger compared to that with circular eyes: thus they can withstand a greater load and pressure, which allows for a stronger bite. This does come at the expense of a reduced ability to see one’s prey, but it seems that at least evolutionarily, the preference is to bite it as hard as possible. For the full research.

גולגולות של טי-רקס ואיור של ראשו, כפי שהם במציאות (משמאל) ואיך היו נראים עם עיניים עגולות | Dr Stephan Lautenschlager, University of Birmingham

The T-Rex had small, narrow eye sockets. T-Rex skulls and an illustration of his head, as it was in reality (left) and how it would look like with round eyes | Dr Stephan Lautenschlager, University of Birmingham


Men, Put On Your Headphones, Turn On Your Favorite Podcast and Go Do The Dishes!

A new study found a link between women’s sexual desire and their feeling of equality and fairness in a relationship, in particular with respect to the subject of house chores. It has already been shown in the past that relationships dissatisfaction is a significant risk factor for the lack of sexual desire among women, even more so than the physiological effects of age. In a new study, conducted on 299 women, it was found that women who experience relationship equity reported higher satisfaction with the relationship compared to those who were responsible for most of the housework. In agreement with past studies, satisfaction was linked to sexual desire. And what if the male partner is the one who does most of the house chores? There weren’t enough couples who fitted this criterion to draw statistically significant conclusions. 

The study of sexual desire is divided it into two parts: desire towards a partner and desire that is referential exclusively to the self. An interesting finding of the study was that inequality in a relationship did not affect all aspects of sexual desire, as we might have expected, but rather mainly the sexual desire towards the other.  For the full research.


איור של גבר שוטף רצפה ואישה שוטפת כלים | GoodStudio, Shutterstock

A reason to do the dishes? Women in an egalitarian relationships reported having higher sexual desire toward their partner. Illustration of a man washing the floor and a woman doing the dishes | GoodStudio, Shutterstock