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Discovered: sharp-eyed shrimp, when yawning is less contagious, checking in on the climate conference, and a way to figure out if you've got math skills.

  • Meet a very strange prehistoric predator.  Sure, this ancient shrimp looks scary--but only in a Star Wars prequel creature kinda way. It's called the Anomalocaris, which aptly translates from scientific lingo to the appropriate name: "strange shrimp." While scientists have previously found that this prehistoric shrimp's teeth-things may not have been that sharp, it does, apparently, have excellent vision. Specifically, it's "a gigantic primordial shrimp with pin-sharp vision," New Scientist informs, which complement its "formidable grasping claws, which allowed it to grab its prey and pull it into its mouth." Pretty scary indeed for, as one science press release writer wrote, a glorified "shrimp from hell." [New Scientist, University of Adelaide]
  • So, how's the latest climate change conference going over in Durban, South Africa?  We're ever optimistic about climate conferences, even though they have the seeming tendency to dissolve without much being accomplished. And, today, The New York Times gives a check-up on the huddle between scientists, diplomats and probably the same old policy-makers hashing out the long-term sustainability of humanity on Earth. No biggie. Here's the first thing we learn from The Times: the "all-encompassing" treaty that everyone's hoped for for forever, "appears as elusive as ever." And China and the U.S. are still arguing about the same things--like China balking that proposed rules will hinder its industrial prowess. "[A]t the end of the two-week session the parties usually pull back from the brink and announce an incremental, face-saving deal. This year’s talks appear headed for the same sort of conclusion." [The New York Times]
  • Yawning gets more exclusive. Another person yawns, then you do too. It's what inexplicably links humanity together. But, today, we're informed by new research finding that people can be more exclusive with their yawning habits. It's not just for every random stranger that we'll contagiously catch the urge to yawn--"You're more likely to reciprocate yawns that originate from people you are close to than from a stranger," The Atlantic informs. Which makes sense. This new study was concocted by a University of Pisa team that watched a whole bunch of participants yawn for a year. Which begs the question: after a certain point did the researchers themselves get immune to yawns contagiousness? Does it work like that? More research is necessary. [The Atlantic, PLoS ONE]
  • Aren't sure if you're any good at math? Well, by now, you should probably have some indication, really. But if you aren't sure if your math skills are decent, new research-you-can-use comes from a team that roped in a few college undergrads to estimate time: "A test of 202 students, evenly divided between males and females, revealed that those subjects who were better at estimating the durations of a series of short tones were also more likely to correctly answer various mathematical questions relative to their more poorly estimating counterparts."  Yup, we'd guess that'd be one way to see if your brain is particularly attuned to math abilities. Although, we'd assume all bets are off on the link between your time estimating prowess and whether should take that advanced class. [Eurekalert]

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