The Week In Science: New Baby Picture Of Universe, Tea-Related Bone Disorder, and The Perils Of Space Sex

 @rpalmerscience on March 22 2013 6:38 PM

We cover a lot of exciting research here at IBTimes, but we can’t possibly get to it all. Here’s a roundup of what else happened this week in science:

Dunking cookies in tea (or milk) actually does increase their flavor, NPR reported. But too much tea proved nearly fatal to one Michigan woman, who developed a rare bone disorder thanks to her daily habit of drinking a pitcher of tea made with 100 to 150 tea bags, which caused a buildup of massive amounts of fluoride in her skeleton, the New England Journal of Medicine said.

Crabs and prawns are dying in droves off the coast of Chile, and no one’s quite sure why, BBC News noted.

New York’s public radio station, WNYC, is looking for citizens to help it predict when cicadas will emerge from the ground. These bugs pop out when the temperature eight inches underground holds steady at 64 degrees Fahrenheit -- so, there’s at least one silver lining to the fact that winter is refusing to release its icy grip on much of North America (defying certain rodent-based meteorlogical methods covered by the Associated Press.)

A newly snapped “baby picture” of the universe reveals that the world as we know it is slightly older than expected and that it appears to be expanding more slowly than expected, according to NPR.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued tighter standards for automated external defibrillators, in response to a spate of recalls and manufacturing problems mentioned by Forbes.

This latest flu season has killed at least 105 children so far, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Quick-thinking scientists may have saved much of the apple crop in parts of Washington state by identifying the exact species of a fly larva with genetic sequencing, the University of Notre Dame reported. The maggot, feared to be a young scion of Rhagoletis pomonella, the apple maggot fly, turned out to be a relatively harmless (to apples, at least) Rhagoletis indefferens, which prefers to dine on cherries.

In news that’s unsurprising to any Southern Californian, European scientists found a direct link between chronic childhood asthma and traffic-related pollution, the Los Angeles Times said.

A total of 2.3 million people worldwide died in 2010 as a result of eating too much salt, according to a CBS News account of one research study. About one in 10 U.S. deaths is linked to excessive sodium intake.

Cliff swallows in Nebraska may be evolving to favor shorter wings, in response to the dangers posed by cars, EarthSky reported. Shorter-winged birds may be able to take off faster than their longer-winged brethren, which are more likely to end up as roadkill.

Huge volcano eruptions 200 million years ago are fingered as the most likely culprits in the massive die-off of about one-half the world’s species at the time, an event that set the stage for the age of the dinosaurs, CBC/Radio-Canada noted. In other geological news, scientists found a layer of liquefied molten rock in the Earth’s mantle that could influence both volcanic processes and the movement of tectonic plates, the National Science Foundation pointed out.

Jeff Bezos, the founder, chairman and CEO of Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), led an expedition that successfully retrieved engines belonging to Apollo-era NASA spacecraft from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, ABC News reported.

Rounding out this roundup, CNet said it appears sex in space is probably a bad idea if you’re looking to conceive.

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