As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, the cells of your retina start sending frantic messages to your brain. “It’s sunny today! That toast looks done!” One set of cells in particular, the high-resolution retinal cells, are constantly working to give your brain the most detailed, up-to-date picture of your surroundings. But in a mouse’s eye, researchers have recently discovered, the high-resolution cells seem to be on vacation.
That is, until a predator flies by.
To get a sense of how mice use their high-resolution cells, the researchers had first strapped a camera to a rat’s head and let it run around an enclosure. Then they projected this video of what a rodent sees in its daily life onto mouse retinas, while monitoring the cells’ electrical responses. They were surprised to find that while many of the retinal cells reacted to the images, the high-resolution ones remained unresponsive.
The good news: in Europe, once-declining gray wolf populations are rebounding, thanks in part to protection laws in many countries. Unfortunately, some wolves are celebrating their recovery by indulging in mutton—sheep attacks are on the rise. How can we keep the sheep safe without killing the wolves? Just wire up the flocks to let them call for help—literally.
Unmanned drones like this Predator are now central to US warfare—but they are also vulnerable to cyberattacks.
What’s the News: A computer virus that records the keystrokes of US military operators has infected two classes of American military drones. “We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” a military source told Wired’s Danger Room, which broke the story. “We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know.”
Clunky, clumsy, and slow–these are the words that some scientists have associated with Tyrannosaurus rex in the past decade, using these physical traits as evidence that it was more of a scavenger than a hunter. But another group of researchers has held to the notion of T. rex as a fierce predator worthy of the name “tyrant lizard king.” It’s a debate that just won’t go extinct, and this week brings an interesting new argument for the predator position.
In the past several years, scientists have pointed out that T. rex had small eyes and a good sense of smell, and have argued this as evidence that it was a scavenger.