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Talking points: Bill Nye teams with NASA, dogs think they’re people and sixth sense for danger

A field of snow-covered pumpkins in Waidring in the Austrian province of Tyrol.

Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press


Bill Nye the Science Guy may not be much of a dancer, but he's the right choice to explain a space mission. reports that the affable educator has teamed with NASA to host a new Web series showcasing the space agency's current Juno probe mission to Jupiter. Nye, 57, was recently a contestant on the reality series Dancing with the Stars, where he suffered a quadriceps injury and was eliminated in early rounds. The new series, titled Why with Nye, is currently available on YouTube's THNKR channel and features Nye, a real-life mechanical engineer, explaining the science behind the Juno mission, which is on the verge of completing its unprecedented two-year journey to Jupiter. No word on whether he'll show off his dance moves on the show.


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Everybody knows most dogs are affectionate, but why do they love humans so darn much? As reported in Men's Journal, a new book by neuroscientist Gregory Berns explores how much puppy love has to do with whoever's filling the food dish. "There's a contingent of hard-core behaviourists who think that the things dogs do they do just for food and shelter," said Berns. "To me, there's no way from looking at a dog to tell the difference." As research for How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain, Berns performed extensive MRI testing on his terrier Callie and other dogs and concluded: "Dogs, and probably many other animals, especially our closest primate relatives, seem to have emotions just like us."


If it feels like you have a sixth sense for spotting danger, you probably do. The Vancouver Sun reports that a study from the University of British Columbia has determined more than half the human population is genetically predisposed to recognize danger wherever it lurks. Focusing on a sizable group of volunteers, the study found slightly more than half had a genetic trait identified as the "ADRA2b deletion variant," which significantly affects how they perceive the world. "These individuals may be more likely to pick out angry faces in a crowd of people," said UBC psychology professor Rebecca Todd. "Outdoors, they might notice potential hazards – places you could slip, loose rocks that might fall – instead of seeing the natural beauty."


Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.

Richard Wright, Author (1908-1960)

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