Esto le pasa a tu cerebro sólo con azúcar

Univision original broadcast date: November 3, 2012

This is your brain on sugar

Wait! Before you take that sip… or that bite….

Did you know that binging on soda and sweets - for as little as six weeks - might do damage to your memory?

A new study suggests that a diet high in fructose – that is, sugars commonly derived from sugar cane, beets and corn – can slow your brain, hampering your memory and learning. Fortunately, this same study also suggests that eating foods that contain nutrients called omega-3 fatty acids – like walnuts, salmon, flax seeds and sardines - can counteract these negative effects.

The study - headed by Fernando Gomez-Pinilla at the University of California Los Angeles - focused on high-fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive liquid that’s six times sweeter than cane sugar. It’s used in many processed foods, including soft drinks, condiments, applesauce and baby food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes more than 40 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup every year.

The study monitored two groups of rats. Each were fed regular food and trained on a maze twice daily for five days. They were then switched to a diet high in fructose for six weeks. One group also received omega-3 fatty acids.

After six weeks on their experimental diet, the rats were tested on the mazes again.

Of the two groups, the rats that received fructose without a supplement of omega-3 fatty acids were slower at completing the maze, and their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting the rats’ ability to think clearly and recall the maze route.

Omega-3 fatty acids protect us against damage to synapses — the chemical connections between brain cells that enable memory and learning.

Fernando Gómez-Pinilla:

The membranes that surround these cells have a high content of Omega-3, and this is very important for the functioning of these cells.

So what does this mean for us humans? In short, what you eat might have a big impact on how your brain functions.

Fernando Gómez-Pinilla:

Be careful not to eat bad foods – thought something that’s not very easy because in general many of these bad foods are also really tasty.

Still planning to throw caution to the wind and indulge in a hot-fudge sundae? Then also eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Fernando Gómez-Pinilla:

We all have to eat. And we’re beginning to investigate this and understand that foods actually act like drugs, like medicines.

When all is said and done, we’re all rats in a maze, and what we eat might influence if we win the cheese or come across a dead end.

Univision original broadcast date: May 2, 2012

How are chemistry and art connected?

If you’ve ever seen the world’s most famous painting – the Mona Lisa – please thank a chemist! According to chemist Piero Gardinali of Florida International University, chemistry helps us keep great works of arts intact. And, chemistry got us humans painting, in the first place.

Piero Gardinali:

Human beings have been chemists for many years – when fire first appeared we were already chemists. And what we’re doing now is using chemistry to understand how painters, sculptors and artists 300, 400, 3000 years ago, how they learned to use the things around them to create art.

Today, we take it for granted that we can paint and draw in so many colors. But early artists – cave artists – had to explore nature to find art materials.

Their palette was limited. According to Dr. Gardinali, chemical analysis of cave paintings shows that ancient artists used charred wood to produce the color black. They used clay – which contains iron – to produce shades of red, and they ground stone to produce white pigment. Early artists mixed these with animal fat to convert them into paint.

The process got more complicated as human culture advanced, and people began to trek across the globe. Artists started adding minerals into their paints – the kind that can produce brilliant shades of greens, blue and red, for example. Unfortunately, some of these paints turned out to be toxic. And most weren’t built to last.

Piero Gardinali:

Red paints from the Renaissance were made using lead and mercury, which are toxic. Another thing we know is that they’re not stable like other colors of paint. So, if you look at paintings today from the Renaissance, what was red at one point has lost its intensity of color, it’s transformed. Its color is washed out. And this is part of the natural degradation of an artwork.

For this very reason, art restorers need to know a lot about chemistry. It helps restorers deduce what the world’s greatest artists originally intended with their interplay of colors, shadows and light.

Piero Gardinali:

The art restorer has two fundamental roles: to understand why the work has degraded, to stop this process; and to try to reproduce what the artist tried to tell us with the colors, shadows and lights. And this requires analysis of the pigments; it requires technical instruments to photograph the paints with x rays, with infrared light, with ultraviolet light – more than anything to preserve them.

In other words, science helps experts make centuries-old masterpieces look good as new.

Univision original broadcast date: July 2, 2012

Are solar storms dangerous?

The sun makes our days bright and warm. Sunlight lets plants make food to feed us all. The sun creates our seasons and weather and drives ocean currents. All life on Earth wakes and sleeps in rhythm with the sunrise and sunset in our sky.

But sometimes the sun is stormy. Scientists say the sun has an 11-year cycle of activity. During this cycle the number of sunspots goes from low to high, and back down to low. Space observatories detect brilliant solar flares – intense bursts of radiation and our solar system’s largest explosive events – lasting minutes to hours on the sun’s surface.

The sun is now in an active part of its 11-year cycle. The current cycle – called Number 24 by space physicists – is expected to peak in the year 2013.

When it is active, giant bubbles of gas and magnetic fields sometimes erupt from its surface. These events cause up to a billion tons of charged particles to travel up to several million miles per hour through the space between the sun and Earth. Sometimes, this solar material strikes Earth.

Though this sounds scary, we needn’t worry. The Earth’s magnetosphere and atmosphere protect us from the effects of solar storms.

Augusto Carballido, astronomer at the University of Texas at Austin:

This magnetic field can act like a type a shield, changing the speeds of ionized particles, making them move in different ways so they don’t hit our surface. The atmosphere can also act like a type of shield.

It’s likely that the sun has been stormy for much of the past several billion years, since the sun and Earth came to be. If that’s so, then all life on Earth evolved under the influence of these vast storms on the sun.

In space, it’s a different story. Solar storms would be dangerous to unprotected astronauts traveling to the moon or Mars. Without shielding for these astronauts, large doses of radiation from the sun would cause radiation poisoning that could be fatal.

And solar storms do affect our technology. These storms can cause a temporary disturbance of the Earth’s magnetic field, and interfere with cell phone reception and navigation systems.

Augusto Carballido:

Storms could affect our telecommunications networks – not in a global manner, but possibly locally. But we don’t believe this is a huge danger.

An extremely large solar storm can also affect the power grid. It has the potential to black out cities. But that happens only rarely.

What can we expect in 2013, when the sun is at the peak of its cycle of activity?

Most of us won’t notice anything. We’ll see the same beautiful sun as always.

Augusto Carballido:

Life will continue as it always has. But it’s important to be aware of what’s going on around us in nature. We live not just on earth, but also in space, where many phenomena happen that we don’t yet fully understand. But as time passes, we’re able to understand things better and perhaps one day use this knowledge to our benefit.

What is more, as this cycle reaches its peak, people at high northern or southern latitudes will see something especially wonderful. It’s after a large storm on the sun that we on Earth witness the mysterious, glowing aurora.

Visit article @ EarthSky en Español

EarthSky en Español publish date: January 7, 2013

Calendario de Lluvia de Estrellas 2012

La próxima lluvia de estrellas de tamaño considerable será la de las Gemínidas que tiene su punto máximo el 13/14 de diciembre

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Donec odio. Quisque volutpat mattis eros. Nullam malesuada erat ut turpis. Suspendisse urna nibh, viverra non, semper suscipit, posuere a, pede.

Donec nec justo eget felis facilisis fermentum. Aliquam porttitor mauris sit amet orci. Aenean dignissim pellentesque felis.

Morbi in sem quis dui placerat ornare. Pellentesque odio nisi, euismod in, pharetra a, ultricies in, diam. Sed arcu. Cras consequat.

Praesent dapibus, neque id cursus faucibus, tortor neque egestas augue, eu vulputate magna eros eu erat. Aliquam erat volutpat. Nam dui mi, tincidunt quis, accumsan porttitor, facilisis luctus, metus.

Phasellus ultrices nulla quis nibh. Quisque a lectus. Donec consectetuer ligula vulputate sem tristique cursus. Nam nulla quam, gravida non, commodo a, sodales sit amet, nisi.

Pellentesque fermentum dolor. Aliquam quam lectus, facilisis auctor, ultrices ut, elementum vulputate, nunc.

Sed adipiscing ornare risus. Morbi est est, blandit sit amet, sagittis vel, euismod vel, velit. Pellentesque egestas sem. Suspendisse commodo ullamcorper magna.

Meteor Shower Guide 2012

The next meteor shower of considerable size will be the Geminids, which reach their peak the 13/14 of December.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Donec odio. Quisque volutpat mattis eros. Nullam malesuada erat ut turpis. Suspendisse urna nibh, viverra non, semper suscipit, posuere a, pede.

Donec nec justo eget felis facilisis fermentum. Aliquam porttitor mauris sit amet orci. Aenean dignissim pellentesque felis.

Morbi in sem quis dui placerat ornare. Pellentesque odio nisi, euismod in, pharetra a, ultricies in, diam. Sed arcu. Cras consequat.

Praesent dapibus, neque id cursus faucibus, tortor neque egestas augue, eu vulputate magna eros eu erat. Aliquam erat volutpat. Nam dui mi, tincidunt quis, accumsan porttitor, facilisis luctus, metus.

Phasellus ultrices nulla quis nibh. Quisque a lectus. Donec consectetuer ligula vulputate sem tristique cursus. Nam nulla quam, gravida non, commodo a, sodales sit amet, nisi.

Pellentesque fermentum dolor. Aliquam quam lectus, facilisis auctor, ultrices ut, elementum vulputate, nunc.

Sed adipiscing ornare risus. Morbi est est, blandit sit amet, sagittis vel, euismod vel, velit. Pellentesque egestas sem. Suspendisse commodo ullamcorper magna.
Visit article @ EarthSky en Español

EarthSky en Español publish date: December 12, 2012

¿Los Mayas realmente pronosticaron el fin del mundo en el 2012?

Mucha gente señala el antiguo calendario maya, creado hace 1200 años, como el origen de los rumores acerca del fin del mundo en el 2012. Pero ni los mayo ni su calendario predijeron tal evento.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Donec odio. Quisque volutpat mattis eros. Nullam malesuada erat ut turpis. Suspendisse urna nibh, viverra non, semper suscipit, posuere a, pede.

Donec nec justo eget felis facilisis fermentum. Aliquam porttitor mauris sit amet orci. Aenean dignissim pellentesque felis.

Morbi in sem quis dui placerat ornare. Pellentesque odio nisi, euismod in, pharetra a, ultricies in, diam. Sed arcu. Cras consequat.

Praesent dapibus, neque id cursus faucibus, tortor neque egestas augue, eu vulputate magna eros eu erat. Aliquam erat volutpat. Nam dui mi, tincidunt quis, accumsan porttitor, facilisis luctus, metus.

Phasellus ultrices nulla quis nibh. Quisque a lectus. Donec consectetuer ligula vulputate sem tristique cursus. Nam nulla quam, gravida non, commodo a, sodales sit amet, nisi.

Pellentesque fermentum dolor. Aliquam quam lectus, facilisis auctor, ultrices ut, elementum vulputate, nunc.

Sed adipiscing ornare risus. Morbi est est, blandit sit amet, sagittis vel, euismod vel, velit. Pellentesque egestas sem. Suspendisse commodo ullamcorper magna.

Kathryn Reese-Taylor on the Mayan calendar and 2012 doomsday prophesies

EarthSky spoke with a professor of Mayan archaeology about the supposed connection between an ancient Mayan calendar and 2012 doomsday prophecies.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Donec odio. Quisque volutpat mattis eros. Nullam malesuada erat ut turpis. Suspendisse urna nibh, viverra non, semper suscipit, posuere a, pede.

Donec nec justo eget felis facilisis fermentum. Aliquam porttitor mauris sit amet orci. Aenean dignissim pellentesque felis.

Morbi in sem quis dui placerat ornare. Pellentesque odio nisi, euismod in, pharetra a, ultricies in, diam. Sed arcu. Cras consequat.

Praesent dapibus, neque id cursus faucibus, tortor neque egestas augue, eu vulputate magna eros eu erat. Aliquam erat volutpat. Nam dui mi, tincidunt quis, accumsan porttitor, facilisis luctus, metus.

Phasellus ultrices nulla quis nibh. Quisque a lectus. Donec consectetuer ligula vulputate sem tristique cursus. Nam nulla quam, gravida non, commodo a, sodales sit amet, nisi.

Pellentesque fermentum dolor. Aliquam quam lectus, facilisis auctor, ultrices ut, elementum vulputate, nunc.

Sed adipiscing ornare risus. Morbi est est, blandit sit amet, sagittis vel, euismod vel, velit. Pellentesque egestas sem. Suspendisse commodo ullamcorper magna.
Visit article @ EarthSky en Español

EarthSky en Español publish date: November 2, 2012

El ruido de barcos dificulta la comunicación entre ballenas

Según un nuevo estudio, las Ballenas Franca Glacial han perdido del 63 al 67 por ciento de su espacio de comunicación en el Santuario Nacional Marino Stellwagen Bank debido al ruido de barcos.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Donec odio. Quisque volutpat mattis eros. Nullam malesuada erat ut turpis. Suspendisse urna nibh, viverra non, semper suscipit, posuere a, pede.

Donec nec justo eget felis facilisis fermentum. Aliquam porttitor mauris sit amet orci. Aenean dignissim pellentesque felis.

Morbi in sem quis dui placerat ornare. Pellentesque odio nisi, euismod in, pharetra a, ultricies in, diam. Sed arcu. Cras consequat.

Praesent dapibus, neque id cursus faucibus, tortor neque egestas augue, eu vulputate magna eros eu erat. Aliquam erat volutpat. Nam dui mi, tincidunt quis, accumsan porttitor, facilisis luctus, metus.

Phasellus ultrices nulla quis nibh. Quisque a lectus. Donec consectetuer ligula vulputate sem tristique cursus. Nam nulla quam, gravida non, commodo a, sodales sit amet, nisi.

Pellentesque fermentum dolor. Aliquam quam lectus, facilisis auctor, ultrices ut, elementum vulputate, nunc.

Sed adipiscing ornare risus. Morbi est est, blandit sit amet, sagittis vel, euismod vel, velit. Pellentesque egestas sem. Suspendisse commodo ullamcorper magna.

Ship noise hinders whale communication, say scientists

North Atlantic right whales have lost 63 to 67 percent of their communication space in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary due to noise from ships.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Donec odio. Quisque volutpat mattis eros. Nullam malesuada erat ut turpis. Suspendisse urna nibh, viverra non, semper suscipit, posuere a, pede.

Donec nec justo eget felis facilisis fermentum. Aliquam porttitor mauris sit amet orci. Aenean dignissim pellentesque felis.

Morbi in sem quis dui placerat ornare. Pellentesque odio nisi, euismod in, pharetra a, ultricies in, diam. Sed arcu. Cras consequat.

Praesent dapibus, neque id cursus faucibus, tortor neque egestas augue, eu vulputate magna eros eu erat. Aliquam erat volutpat. Nam dui mi, tincidunt quis, accumsan porttitor, facilisis luctus, metus.

Phasellus ultrices nulla quis nibh. Quisque a lectus. Donec consectetuer ligula vulputate sem tristique cursus. Nam nulla quam, gravida non, commodo a, sodales sit amet, nisi.

Pellentesque fermentum dolor. Aliquam quam lectus, facilisis auctor, ultrices ut, elementum vulputate, nunc.

Sed adipiscing ornare risus. Morbi est est, blandit sit amet, sagittis vel, euismod vel, velit. Pellentesque egestas sem. Suspendisse commodo ullamcorper magna.