Venomous Frogs, a Polar Bear World Record, and Printing Pills
A polar bear has set a world record—but it isn’t good news. Researchers observed a polar bear diving underwater for three minutes and 10 seconds while hunting seals. (They typically dive for a maximum of 30 seconds). It used to be that a polar bear on the hunt could conceal itself among floating sheets of ice. But this reportedly gaunt animal could only hide from its prey by staying below the water’s surface. While the sighting is yet another example of polar bears coping with their new environment, it appears that the rate of climate change is outpacing their ability to adapt. And you’ve heard of poisonous frogs, but what about venomous ones? A new study—aptly titled “Venomous Frogs Use Heads as Weapons”—discusses this previously unknown quality, discovered in two Brazilian frogs: Corythomantis greeningi and Aparasphenodon brunoi. Rachel Feltman from The Washington Post recounts the painful way researchers found these venomous frogs, and discusses other science stories making headlines this week.
Plus, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first 3D-printed pill on Monday. The drug, called SPRITAM, is produced by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals Company and used to treat epilepsy. Jim Ruble, who specializes in bioethics and is an associate professor in the University of Utah’s College of Pharmacy, describes what 3D-printing could mean for the delivery of modern medicine in this week’s episode of Good Thing/Bad Thing.
Rachel Feltman is author of Been There, Done That: A Rousing History of Sex, and is the host of “The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week.”
Jim Ruble is an associate professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Utah and chair of the University of Utah Health Care System’s Ethics Committee. He’s based in Salt Lake City.