Asteroids don't have enough enough mass for gravity to pull them into a spherical shape. The smaller ones, in particular, can be very loosely bound. Here the Hubble Space telesocpe catches one in the process of breaking up with the pieces slowly drifting away.. It is unlikely to be the result of a collsion - that would have been much more dramatic. Rather it is likely that a spin was induced by the pression of sunlight and that was enough for a breakup.
The answer lies, he thinks, in what the scans also revealed: Striking similarities in how dog and human brains process emotionally laden sounds. Happy sounds, such as an infant’s giggle, made the primary auditory cortex of both species light up more than did unhappy sounds, such as a man’s harsh cough. “It shows that dogs and humans have similar brain mechanisms for processing the social meaning of sound,” Andics says, noting that other research has shown that dogs “respond to the way we say something rather than to what we say.” The similarity in auditory processing, he adds, “helps explain why vocal communication between the two species is so successful.”
But there were differences, too. The researchers discovered that in dogs, 48% of their auditory brain regions respond more strongly to environmental sounds, such as a car engine, than to voices. In humans, in contrast, a mere 3% of their sound-sensitive brain regions lit up more for the nonvocal sounds. “It shows how very strongly attuned the human auditory cortex is to vocal sounds,” Andics says. “In dogs, it’s more heterogeneous.”
When the researchers mapped the brain activity of the participants, they found something astonishing. The generally accepted model of the brain contains regions devoted to each sense, such as the sight-centric visual cortex. Researchers had long believed that if those regions aren’t used for their intended sense, they are repurposed for other uses; for example, the visual cortex of someone blind from birth could be used to help boost her hearing. But Amedi and his colleagues found that the area of the visual cortex responsible for recognizing body shapes in sighted people—called the extrastriate body area—lit up with activity in the study participants when they were interpreting the human silhouettes.
Amedi says the traditional sensory-organized brain model can’t explain this activity; after all, the subjects only heard the information, and scientists believed that the body-recognizing area shouldn’t have fully developed without visual experiences during development. Neuroscientist Ella Striem-Amit of Harvard University, who co-authored the paper, thinks it’s time for a new model. “The brain, it turns out, is a task machine, not a sensory machine,” she says. “You get areas that process body shapes with whatever input you give them—the visual cortex doesn’t just process visual information.”
There is even information on an updated program and an iPhone app.
Perhaps? Quite a bit of what we call vision takes place in the brain. A Quirks and Quarks interview with neurologist Aaron Seitz of UCR on his brain exercise work with athletes - although he sees value for people with vision problems. (9m mp3)
For years teams have been using exotics like carbon nanotubes in their hunt for the right materials to make artificial muscles. It turns out a much better solution exists in your house and you can make your own - via Quirks and Quarks (8m mp3). I hope body modification for athletes isn't in the cards down the road...