Science online, short work-week edition

Make mine a double. Photo by Ballistik Coffee Boy.
  • Not as obvious as it seems. Computer modeling suggests that giraffes are much worse swimmers than other ungulates—which suggests that giraffe populations should be easily isolated by water barriers. (Tetrapod Zoology)
  • Guess it’s time for that second cup. Regular coffee drinkers need their morning dose of caffeine just to achieve the baseline alertness of non-coffee-drinkers. (Yahoo! News)
  • Jet-setting dinos. New fossils show that ceratopsian dinosaurs (the group including Triceratops) had a wider range than previously thought, colonizing the landmass that would become modern Europe. (
  • No carbon-free lunches. A new analysis of plant communities’ ability to absorb carbon dioxide suggests that managed landscapes like cropland may emit more of the greenhouse gas than they absorb. (Conservation Maven)
  • They still haven’t explained why Justin Bieber is so popular. As with biological evolution before it, the study of cultural evolution is advancing as scientists develop methods to directly experiment with cultural transmission. (A Replicated Typo)
  • More bad news. Computer simulations suggest that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, now in its sixth week, will probably spread to the Atlantic by the end of the year. (Wired Science)

Here’s video of one scenario from the oil-in-the-Atlantic study.