The Milky Way Is a Bad Neighbor [Science Round-Up]

Photo: NASA/CXC/UMass Amherst/Q.D.Wang et al

Sure, we call it home. But it turns out our galaxy is the kind of neighbor who keeps the population density, um, comfortable.

Why doesn’t our Milky Way galaxy have many neighbors? Because it throttled nearby star systems during the universe’s youth, according to a new study presented by French researchers Pierre Ocvirk and Dominique Aubert. Published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the study examines why few galaxies exist in close proximity to the Milky Way, while galaxies farther away have thrived. It turns out the Milky Way is not easy to live next to.

That’s right. We’re the neighborhood bully. Read the rest: Is the Milky Way a Galaxy Killer?

Still Life in Oil

The best nature photography comes from the best nature photographers, of course. The winners of the 2011 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year have been announced, with Daniel Beltra taking overall winner for his shot of oil-slicked pelicans (above), “Still Life in Oil.”

There are lots more: Check out the online winners gallery.

A prescription for video games? Uh, yes please. They didn’t have this particular therapy for those of us who had to do word-find games for hours and wear an annoying (and not at all embarrassing) patch, but new treatment for amblyopia  is using a modded version of Unreal Tournament to urge teens (and adults!) to find and focus on Gabor patches in the game, which builds focus strength in the weaker eye.

At the American Academy of Opthalmology’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, a team led by Somen Ghosh of the Micro Surgical Eye Clinic in Kolkata, India, reported that video game therapy improved the visual acuity of 10- to 18-year-olds with amblyopia, or “lazy eye”.

This comes hot on the heels of similar findings from a study of adults with the condition, published in PLoS Biology by a team led by Roger Li and Dennis Levi of the University of California, Berkeley. Even more impressive results may be on the horizon, as video games are combined with another approach, known as “perceptual learning”.

Read the rest: Action-packed video games help solve lazy eye

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One Response to The Milky Way Is a Bad Neighbor [Science Round-Up]

  1. I just want to draw attention to all of the common anthropomorphization of the galaxy.

    "our galaxy is the kind of neighbor "
    "it throttled nearby star systems during the universe’s youth"
    "is not easy to live next to"

    So would you say that our galaxy is obstinate, selfish and rude?