Abstracts: Monkeys, Silly Putty, Marijuana, and More

A roundup of science news from around the web — and around the world.

• It was long thought that monkeys could talk if only they had the proper vocal cord structure. However, a recent study suggests that it’s not anatomy that precludes speech, but rather brain wiring. (New York Times)

Massachusetts residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana last month.

Visual by iStock.com

• Practice makes perfect. That’s why NASA astronauts embarked on an expedition to a Hawaiian volcano as a trial run before their mission to Mars. (Washington Post)

• In an effort to include Native Alaskans in federal decisions surrounding environmental policies, Obama consulted with local tribes and designated 112,300 square miles of the Bering Sea as a “resilience area.” (Christian Science Monitor)

• On November 8, voters in Massachusetts approved the use or recreational marijuana. But like those states before it, Massachusetts will experience a gap between the time pot becomes legal to possess (next Thursday) and when it can be sold. (WBUR)

• The emergence of a new kind of virtual reality video permits NFL fans to experience the thrills of stadium spectating from the comfort of their own homes. (Wired)

• Why send stem cells to the International Space Station? Scientists hope to understand what microgravity does to our cardiovascular systems, as well as how it affects the stem cells themselves, and what this could mean for potential therapies back on Earth. (Science)

• Forgetting to put your Silly Putty back in its plastic case can have disastrous consequences as the runny substance melds to nearby surfaces. But the bane of parents everywhere may be the key ingredient for devices like heart monitors. (NPR)

• After the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, scientists there say Renzi was all talk and less action when it came to advancing research. (Nature)

• Move over Harry Potter, you’re not the only one with an invisibility cloak. Some crustaceans boast an anti-reflective coating that allows them to virtually disappear from sight. (National Geographic)