Weird Science Weekly: Jellyfish problem? Call in the Terminators…


Weird science happens every day, all around us. This week, we have four of the weirdest examples, including jellyfish terminators, pufferfish erotic art, downing 'poop' pills to cure what ails you, and a way to get out of trouble for daydreaming...

Jellyfish problem? Call in the Terminators...

Jellyfish are an important part of the ocean's ecosystem. However, with the changing climate and polluted waters of the ocean, some places are dealing with massive blooms of jellyfish. This turns them into a real problem, as they take over, killing off or driving out other forms of sea life.

Well, the solution to so many science fiction extermination needs has been brought straight into reality to deal with this problem, in the form of jellyfish extermination robots called JEROS — Jellyfish Elimination RObotic Swarm. Simply program JEROS with the area that needs fewer jellyfish, release the robots into the water, and they use on-board cameras to track the bloom as they maneuver around and mow through them. Pretty soon the jellyfish numbers are down, much needed nutrients are returned to the ocean, and the biodiversity of a region can increase again.

Now, with that problem solved, it's time to turn our attention to the ones that caused the problem in the first place — pollution and climate change.

[ Related: Weird Science Weekly: Science can help you get served first at the bar ]

Undersea mystery turns out to be pufferfish erotic art

Staying underwater for the moment, for years there's been a persistent mystery about strange circles found on the floor of the ocean. Are they like crop circles, created by the aliens that are said to have a base under the sea, as an attempt to communicate with us?

No, but they are a means of communication. It's how a horny male of a newly-discovered species of pufferfish tells the female pufferfish that he wants to mate.

'Poop' pills fight gut infections

Some of the weirdest science revolves around the ultimate fate of most of the food we eat, but although we've considered feces as just a waste product to flush away, more and more research is showing the benefits we can get from it.

The latest is a treatment for a particularly nasty bug that can infect our digestive tract, called Clostridium difficile. Infections from this bug can be treated with antibiotics, but often someone gets a C. difficile infection because they've taken antibiotics and it killed off most of the good bacteria in their gut, leaving themselves open to these more harmful bacteria to flourish. So, taking more antibiotics may just put you into an endless circle of repeated infections. You can go for the more effective 'fecal transplant' treatment, which is every bit as revolting as it sounds.

However a team from the University of Calgary has basically taken the 'fecal' out of the 'transplant'. The pills they've come up with are packed with the good bacteria you need, which have been extracted from the feces. This makes for a much easier, and less nightmare-haunting method of treatment.

[ Related: Weird Science Weekly: Science knows why women want to eat babies ]

Daydreaming makes you smarter

Have you ever been caught daydreaming at work or at school?

Well, science has given you a bit of an 'out' when it comes to explaining your wandering mind to your boss or teacher — daydreaming can actually make you smarter!

Daydreaming is seen by most as simply a waste of time, and its considered to be the bane of productivity. However, a new theory of 'personal intelligence' says that our mind wandering off into 'la la land' may be doing more than just passing time until we can go home. It may be helping us to form connections between what we learn and our own personal goals and experiences, thus making it easier for us to relate to the new information and better able to recall it on tests.

There's no guarantee that your boss or teacher will actually accept it as an excuse if you're caught, but at least you now have something to help back you up.

[ More Geekquinox: Rare giant squid found washed up on Spanish beach ]

Keep your eyes on the wonders of science, and if you spot anything particularly strange you'd like me to check out for next week, comment below or drop me a line on Twitter!

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Geek out with the latest in science and weather.
Follow @ygeekquinox on Twitter!