October 31, 2007

20 Things You Didn't Know About Living In Space. Like it may be a cure for snoring.

Why they called it the Manhattan Project. At least 5,000 people worked in Manhattan secretly building the bomb.

How would life on earth be different if we had no moon? Well, for one thing, we'd have to come up with another term for the act of showing one's backside.

The 16 Greatest Moments in Web History. Curiously, Numa Numa is not on this list.

So bad they're good: the worst music videos ever. No, you don't have to watch to the end.

PS: Happy Halloween!

Bone Broth 101

Whether you drink it on its own or use it as stock, bone broth is the perfect recipe to master this winter. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education

Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?

If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).


More from mental floss studios