Great day for science

Well, an interesting day for science news anyway.

Slashdot reports that scientists in Jerusalem have discovered a new naturally occurring element, which for the time being at least will go under the name of Unbibium. Most of the exciting new heavy elements that are found these days are very short-lived, created by smashing smaller atoms together until they fuse, but then they fall apart again after tiny fractions of a second. It’s kind of cheating.

But this one is different – they found it by sifting through a mass of naturally occurring Thorium, which means it’s a “proper” element, that any of us might bump into. The detail is here. It doesn’t seem to have been widely reported yet, but I really hope it’s true.

But wait! There’s more. The BBC links off to the investigation into the colossal squid that was found recently, which is now being defrosted. The science team wrote the following on their blog about the squid:

“the maximum weight of the brain is 22 grams and surrounds the oesophagus. The oesophagus is 11 mm in diametre, therefore everything it eats has to be chopped into tiny pieces as it has to pass through the brain!”

So this huge creature, with tentacle 15 metres long has this teeny tiny brain, which is wrapped around its stomach. I have to admit that being a bloke, the idea of the brain and stomach being very closely linked makes sense to me, but I don’t like the idea of getting brain damage if you don’t chew your food thoroughly enough.

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