ICYMI: A handful of science and technology updates from September 9 to September 15, 2018.

Typhoon Ompong hits Luzon

Internationally known as Typhoon Mangkhut, Typhoon Ompong entered Luzon Friday evening, after slowly moving closer to the Philippines over the course of several days. The 900-km-wide typhoon brings with it 250-kph-winds and a gustiness of up to 255 kph. According to PAGASA, Ompong will continue moving west-northwest at 30 kph. Read the full story.

State weather bureau PAGASA gives the latest update on Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) Saturday, September 15.

Posted by Rappler on Friday, September 14, 2018

Local scientists rush to save critically endangered Philippine crocs

Crocodylus Porosus Philippines Incorporated (CPPI), a non-government organization, has strengthened its research program in an attempt to save the critically endangered Philippine crocodile. According to program head Rainier Manalo, the Philippine crocodile population is shrinking. Data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species supports this, as the organization estimates that there are fewer than 200 adult Philippine crocodiles left in the wild. Read the full story.

Shocking discovery: Gut bacteria produce electricity

A newly published study revealed that certain types of bacteria that we consume or that already exist in our guts can create electricity. Known as “electrogenic” bacteria, they can be found in places outside the human body, such as at the bottom of lakes. Tests revealed that these bacteria in our guts not only produce electricity, but also use a much simper procedure or system in order to do so. Read the full story.

Can BPA replacements in plastics cause reproductive problems?

Two decades ago, researchers found that the chemical ingredient BPA (bisphenol A) found in plactics had leached out of plastic cages housing female lab mice, causing their eggs to become chromosomally abnormal. After conducting further research on BPA replacements in BPA-free plastics, scientists found that the alternative ingredients may have also caused the same problem in mice. Read the full story.

Bonnethead shark is world’s first omnivorous shark

The bonnethead shark. (Photo: Alamy)

The bonnethead shark has officially been declared the world’s first omnivorous shark, based on a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Irvine and Florida International University. Subsisting on a diet of both seagrass and meat, the bonnethead shark has special enzymes in its system similar to what human beings use in digesting plant material. Read the full story.

Was an ancient virus responsible for human consciousness?

Recent research suggests that an ancient virus that once bound its genetic code to the genome of four-legged animals may be the reason why human beings have consciousness. This virus is said to live on in modern-day humans’ brains, packing and sending genetic information from nerve cells to their neighbors. The information transmitted may be crucial in making higher-order thinking possible. Read the full story.

Winners of 2018 Ig Nobel science prizes officially announced

The Ig Nobel awards, a parody of the Nobel Prize awards, recognizes unusual, strange, trivial, or funny (yet practical) scientific research and work. Announced at Harvard University, this year’s awardees included scientists who thought of using rollercoasters for kidney stone removal, measured the caloric value of the human body (for the benefit of cannibals, presumably), and looked into how effective Voodoo dolls are when used by employees to torment their supervisors. Read the full story.

Nuclear pasta in neutron stars: the strongest material in the universe?

Nuclear pasta may sound equally dangerous and delicious, but it may actually be the strongest material in our universe. Scientists believe that this incredibly strong (and currently still theoretical) substance exists in ultradense dead stars (a.k.a. neutron stars), and are potentially 10 billion times tougher than steel. Read the full story.

Three new fish species discovered in Pacific Ocean depths

A team of 40 scientists from 17 nations explored the depths of the Pacific Ocean, capturing footage of three apparent new species of the rather hard-to-find snailfish. The three species, which were given the temporary names pink, blue, and purple Atacama Snailfish, were discovered 7,500 metres beneath the surface of the ocean. Read the full story.