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July 25, 2020

Discovery of the world's highest dwelling mammal

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Above, the title of a paper published July 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

But perhaps you'd like to ease your way into things.

Below, a CNET article that translates the paper into understandable language.

A mouse was captured at the top of a 22,000-foot volcano in the Andes

The world's highest summits aren't as desolate as scientists once thought.

During a mountaineering expedition in northern Chile earlier this year, researchers spotted and captured a yellow-rumped leaf-eared mouse (above) atop the 22,000-foot summit of Volcan Llullaillaco.

The mouse broke the world record for the highest-dwelling mammal documented by scientists to date. Last year, the same species of mouse was spotted at 20,340 feet

In a study, university researchers from the US and Chile documented their rodent discovery and explained that it could help scientists better understand how mammals adapt to and survive harsh conditions at high altitudes.

"The discovery suggests we may have generally underestimated the altitudinal range limits and physiological tolerances of small mammals simply because the world's highest summits remain relatively unexplored by biologists," the study says.

The yellow-rumped leaf-eared mouse (Phyllotis xanthopygus rupestris) dwells high in the Andes mountains but also lives at sea level, which makes it an interesting mammal for scientists to study. 

"That wide of a range is extraordinary," Florida State University biology professor Scott Steppan told National Geographic. "No other species does that."

University of Nebraska biologist Jay Storz led the recent expedition that found the yellow-rumped leaf-eared mouse at the highest point.

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[This high-altitude survey map shows the places visited during the expedition: (A), Volcan Llullailliaco; (B), Region de Antofagasta, Chile; (C) is a view of Volcan Llullaillaco from the west]

Even though Storz and his team set small traps to capture rodents for study, he actually caught the mouse atop of the 22,000-foot summit by hand when he spotted it scurrying under a rock.

"In one of the harshest environments on Earth — considered by some as the closest thing on our planet to Mars — these mice not only survive but apparently thrive," Steppan said in a statement. "This astonishing elevation shows to what extremes life is capable of."

Professional mountaineer Mario Perez-Mamani, who accompanied Storz on the expedition, captured the mouse-catching moment on video.

The yellow-rumped leaf-eared mouse wasn't the only rodent breaking records on Storz's expedition.

He also found a Lima leaf-eared mouse (Phyllotis limatus) at 16,633 feet.

That surpassed previous altitude-dwelling records for this species.

Lagniappe for those who've read to the end: below,

the video of the actual mouse capture.

July 25, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Most expensive game ever sold

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It's a sealed copy of Super Mario Bros., which brought $114,000.

From the Verge:

Sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. breaks record for most expensive game ever sold

Super Mario Bros. keeps breaking records three and a half decades after release.

A mint copy of a U.S. version of the 1985 game just sold for $114,000 at Heritage Auctions, breaking the previous record set by a copy of Super Mario Bros. in similar condition that sold for $100,150 at an auction last year.

That makes it, according to game collector and journalist Chris Kohler, the most expensive game ever sold to date.

What makes this particular version so coveted?

Well, it's graded at a 9.4 out of 10, which means it's in near-perfect condition, with everything sealed in the original packaging.

It's also a particular version of the U.S. retail edition, which went through quite a few iterations over time.

Here's Heritage with a neat explanation of the so-called cardboard hangtab that makes this unit so rare:

What's the deal with cardboard hangtabs? One may, understandably, wonder. Cardboard hangtabs were originally used on the U.S. test market copies of black box games, back before plastic was used to seal each game. As Nintendo began to further establish their company in the U.S., their packaging was updated almost continuously. Strangely, the addition of the plastic wrap came before the box cutting die was altered to remove the cardboard hangtab. This rendered the functionality of the cardboard hangtab completely useless, since it was under the plastic seal.

There are four sub-variants of the plastic sealed cardboard hangtab box (this particular copy of Super Mario Bros. being the "3 Code" variant) that were produced within the span of one year. Each sub-variant of the cardboard hangtab black box, produced within that timeframe, had a production period of just a few months; a drop in the bucket compared to the title's overall production run.

In short, a cardboard hangtab copy of any early Nintendo Entertainment System game brings a certain air of "vintage" unrivaled by its successors.

Heritage also outlines the broader picture in terms of the game's value and nostalgia factor: it is the highest-selling game on the original NES console of all time, in addition to being the first entry in the Super Mario Bros. series and marking the first appearance of series villain Bowser.

Yet why, of all items, is this one worth $114,000?

We can't be entirely sure, as the auction winner remains anonymous.

Typically, these buyers, often very wealthy, like to stay that way.

That said, it's certainly believable that someone with the money and dedication to building out the rarest of Nintendo or video game collections would want something like this on the shelf (or perhaps sealed in glass or in a safe).

July 25, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

BehindTheMedspeak: A simple way to increase the chance of successful CPR

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Long story short: have someone raise the CPR recipient's legs to a 45° angle while chest compressions are performed.

No risk, no knowledge needed.

Mechanism of action: each leg contains about a unit of blood (on average, adults have five units).

That's 40% of a person's blood volume simply pooling during cardiac arrest.

Gravity can "transfuse" all that blood to the central circulation where it's most needed during CPR, perfusing the coronary arteries to give the heart a better chance of restarting.

Here's a 2003 paper, "Computational simulation of passive leg-raising effects on hemodynamics during cardiopulmonary resuscitation," that explains the science.

One more thing: this maneuver is also beneficial in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and after a person faints.

July 25, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

The first time I heard this classic song back in 1969 — when it hit #1 — I was sure it was Cher singing.

Even now that I know it's not, it still sounds exactly like her.

Am I the only one who thinks so?

Gary DeCarlo, co-author of the immortal lyrics, died in 2017.

Sing along.

July 25, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

What is it?

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Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: smaller than a bread box.

Another view:

22

Lagniappe:

33

July 25, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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