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What We’re Reading: Deaf Dolphins, Shuttle Trouble, Cat Fluid Mechanics

Beached Dolphins Often Deaf, Study Finds

1115_washpost.jpg“In a world where hearing is as valuable as sight,” deafness may be a major factor in what’s stranding dolphins on seashores, The Washington Post reports. Researchers studied dolphins and other marine mammals by affixing sensors with suction cups to their heads, playing tones and then measuring electrical signals in their brains. The findings were published Nov. 3 in a PLoS One study. (David Fahrenthold, Washington Post)

Third Crack Found in Skin of Discovery Shuttle’s Fuel Tank

1115_space.jpgTechnical glitches, poor weather conditions and fuel leaks have already delayed Discovery Space Shuttle’s final launch. Now, a new problem: NASA engineers are dealing with a third crack in the shuttle’s external fuel tank. (Denise Chow, Space.com)

Conservation Expedition Sparks International Row

1115_nature.jpgGroups representing the Ayoreo Indians, a self-isolated tribe in Paraguay’s Dry Chaco region, are calling on London’s Natural History Museum to cancel its upcoming conservation expedition, amid concerns of an encounter between conservationists and the indigenous tribe. The trip’s mission is to catalog rare plants and animals threatened by logging. (Ewen Callaway, Nature News)

How Cats Drink: A Lesson in Fluid Mechanics

1115_philly.jpgThis week in the journal, Science: an analysis on the fluid mechanics of how cats lap up water — by levitating columns of liquid using the end of their tongues. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a good explainer on how it works. (Tom Avril, Philadelphia Inquirer)

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