Reasons to Feel Good About Having Blue Eyes

Josh Hamilton recently claimed he doesn’t hit well during the day because he has blue eyes. Whether or not it’s the color of his eyes, there is a significant difference: as of June 24, he was hitting .122 (6-for-49) during the day and .347 at night. As optometrist Richard Ison explained to ESPN:

"Because of the lack of pigment in lighter color eyes -- like blue or green eyes as opposed to brown -- you get a lot more unwanted light and that can create glare problems.”

Hamilton said he’s started wearing red contact lenses during day games to draw in less light and help him see the ball better. For now, he says it’s made a difference, and that he may have solved his genetic flaw.

But there's really a lot to love about blue eyes.

First of all, there’s the fact that most of us start off with blue eyes, then acquire more melanin as we grow up. In fact, Hamilton should be proud to be part of an exclusive club: recent studies found that only one in six Americans now have blue eyes, down from roughly 50 percent at the beginning of the 20th century.

And according to genetic research, those few blue-eyed folks are all related. According to Hans Eiberg at the University of Copenhagen theorized that humans all started with brown eyes until one single genetic mutation created blue eyes. All blue-eyed people, Eiberg said, demonstrated the same tweak in their DNA, meaning that they can all be traced back to one ancestor.

But those blue eyes may mean that Hamilton is smarter at certain tasks. In a 2007 British study, researchers found that blue eyed people were better at strategic thinking and generally performed better in tasks that required long-term thought, such as running or golf. Meanwhile, brown-eyed subjects had quicker reaction times.

If none of that helps, Hamilton should also realize there's a rather proud legacy of blue-eyed baseball players. Cal Ripken Jr., Mickey Mantle and Lou Gehrig all did just fine with their blue eyes.

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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).


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