News - March 24, 2016

Panda fun (1)

The pandas, Xing Ya (‘elegant star’) and Wu Wen (‘beautiful powerful cloud’) coming to Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen this autumn will be well provided for. They will each have their own little residence in Chinese style. A clinic is to be built and a birthing room for if they really get together. And that is quite a precise business. Female pandas are only fertile for three days a year.

Panda fun (2)

For panda tourists a complete park will be built around the two oriental guests. It will be called Pandasia and will include a panda shop and, yes, a Chinese restaurant. Guess what’s on the menu? Just joking - of course not. The panda is a protected species. There are only 1800 of them left in the wild. Star and Cloud’s job is to boost that number.


People are more helpful after they’ve had a few beers, concluded researchers from VU University Amsterdam. They asked test subjects in a café to fill in a questionnaire and take a breathalyzer test. Then suddenly the bin full of mouthpieces spilled over the table. People who’d had a beer were quicker to rush to help. The researchers attribute this to inhibition of the bystander effect: looking on without taking action.

Prime time

Prime numbers might not be so randomly distributed as has been assumed, say mathematicians at Stanford University. Prime numbers can only end on 1, 3, 7 or 9. So after a 1 there is a 25 percent chance of the next prime number ending with a 1. Yet that is not the case. The researchers could only reach 18.5 percent for the first couple of million prime numbers. What does this mean? Nothing, probably, but mathematicians are all of a flutter about it.