T-Rex’s Bite: Worse Than We Thought

Posted February 29th, 2012 at 11:30 pm (UTC+0)
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Toothy smile of the Tyrannosaurus Rex (Photo: Michael Basial via Flickr)

Toothy smile of the Tyrannosaurus Rex (Photo: Michael Basial via Flickr)

When you hear the name Tyrannosaurus Rex, you probably think of a giant monster, the most fearsome dinosaur ever.  With a mouth full of teeth that can easily rip the flesh and crush bones, images of T-Rex can be quite frightening.

It turns out T-Rex’s bite was even more devastating than thought.

Scientists studying T-Rex’s toothy smile focus mostly on the huge and varying size of its teeth, but a Canadian paleontologist has gone beyond that.

After analyzing the teeth of the entire tyrannosaurid family of meat-eating dinosaurs, the University of Alberta’s Miriam Reichel found there is considerable variation in the serrated edges of the teeth.  These variations, or keels, not only cut through flesh and bone, but also guided the food into its mouth.

Reichel concluded from her research that the front teeth of the Tyrannosaurus Rex were designed to grip and pull. The teeth lining the side of the jaw pierced and ripped its prey’s flesh while its back teeth not only helped slice and dice the flesh, but also forced food to the back of the throat.

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New Google privacy policy irks users

Google logos (Photo: (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)

Google logos (Photo: (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)

Quite a few Google users, privacy groups and several governments are miffed about Google’s new unified privacy policy which goes into effect tomorrow, March 1.

Besides its legendary search engine, Google has more than 60 internet-related services under its umbrella such as You Tube, Picassa, Google Maps and those Android mobile apps, to name a few.  Right now, each of those services has separate privacy policies which require you to provide information about yourself for each product you use.

The new policy will allow Google to take all of the information you’ve completed at each of those services and merge them into one master file.

The search engine giant says doing so would help make Google services more user friendly and allow for a customized online experience.

But there is outrage is over how much personal information Google will gain and maintain, not only from you directly, but by tracking each of your online movements, such as web searches and pages visited leading concern that, in the wrong hands, such information could prove to be harmful.

According to Reuters, France’s data protection regulator plans to launch an investigation into Google’s new privacy policy after a preliminary review suggested is does not conform to European laws which protect individuals’ privacy.

On this side of the ocean, besides the countless letters of protest that have been sent to Google’s CEO Larry Page and lawsuits filed by privacy rights organizations, the attorney’s general from more than 36 U.S. States have signed and sent a letter of complaint expressing concern about Google’s new “unified” privacy policy.

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More Americans believe Earth is getting warmer

New research shows attitudes about global warming have been changing in the United States.

The Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C., think tank, released the latest results of its National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change, which show a growing number of Americans believe global warming is occurring.

Sixty-two percent of  respondents said “yes” when asked  “is there solid evidence that the average temperature on Earth has been getting warmer,” while 26 percent said “no” and the remaining 12 percent answered “unknown” or “neutral.”

The survey, conducted by the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College, points out that personal observations about the weather and temperature changes were key factors which influenced how people responded.

But, the survey also showed that most who responded that they do not see proof of increased temperatures believe that scientists and the media are distorting the evidence, with more than eight out of 10  nonbelievers saying scientists are overstating the evidence.

In 2008, the first year the survey was conducted, 72 percent believed the Earth was getting warmer, but the number dropped to 65 percent the following year and fell even further, to 58 percent, a year after that.

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Are rich people ethical?

(Photo: Martin Deutsch via Flickr)

(Photo: Martin Deutsch via Flickr)

In the 1980’s movie “Wall Street,” antagonist  Gordon Gecko declares, “Greed is good.”

Now, researchers the University of California, Berkeley, have released the results of seven separate studies which find that upper-class participants were more likely to lie and cheat when gambling or negotiating, cut people off when driving, take candy reserved for children, and approve unethical behavior in the workplace.

The researchers measured the ethical tendencies of more than 1,000 people from lower, middle and upper-class backgrounds.  To help determine their social class rank, the subjects used an index called the MacArthur Scale of Subjective Socioeconomic Status.

The research subjects also filled out a number of surveys which exposed their attitudes about unprincipled behaviors and greed. They participated in various tasks designed to measure their actual unethical behavior.

“The increased unethical tendencies of upper-class individuals are driven, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed,” says Paul Piff, a doctoral student in psychology at UC Berkeley and lead author of the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) .

The research was conducted on the UC Berkeley campus, in the San Francisco Bay area, and nationwide.

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Rick Pantaleo
Rick Pantaleo maintains the Science World blog and writes stories for VOA’s web and radio on a variety of science, technology and health topics. He also occasionally appears on various VOA programs to talk about the latest scientific news. Rick joined VOA in 1992 after a 20 year career in commercial broadcasting.

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