Latest Blog Posts


How Lizards Regrow Their Tails

By Carl Engelking | August 20, 2014 4:04 pm

The green anole lizard is master of a well-known trick: it can disconnect its tail in a jam and grow a new one. It’s not only impressive, but enviable: regrowing broken or missing body parts has long been the dream of regenerative medicine. Now scientists have unlocked the secret to the lizard’s regenerative abilities, and it lies, in large part, within genes that humans share with the reptiles.

Finding the Recipe
Several other animals like salamanders and fish have regenerative abilit …


This Is What Lives Under Antarctic Ice

By Lisa Raffensperger | August 20, 2014 1:24 pm

Today scientists formalized the news we broke from the field early last year — microbial life has been found 2,600 feet below the surface of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in Lake Whillans. A paper published in Nature today reports that nearly 4,000 species of microbes inhabit the lake, the first organisms ever retrieved from a subglacial Antarctic lake.
The microbes are chemoautotrophs, meaning they get their energy not from sunlight nor from consuming other organisms but from minerals disso …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, top posts
MORE ABOUT: arctic & antarctic


Robert Kennedy Jr. and Mark Hyman to Appear on Dr. Oz Show

By Keith Kloor | August 20, 2014 9:16 am

UPDATE: On the same day (August 20) that Kennedy taped a segment on the Dr. Oz show, he was interviewed on Good Day New York (a Fox affiliate), and the Leonard Lopate radio show. Lopate was very skeptical of Kennedy’s claims and challenged him with good questions.


I was at the Baltimore aquarium with my wife and kids a few weeks ago when Robert Kennedy Jr. called me on my cell phone to vent about the media’s deep reluctance to take his newly published book seriously. At the time, even …


How Humans Are Helping Ravens and Hurting Hawks

By Elizabeth Preston | August 20, 2014 9:07 am

You’ve already picked a side in the bird wars, whether or not you know it. As humans carve up formerly empty expanses of the western United States with our roads, electrical towers, and power lines, we’re inadvertently giving a boost to ravens. Meanwhile, the birds of prey that once ruled the land are being left in the dust.

“The ecology of the sagebrush steppe is changing,” says Idaho State University biologist David Delehanty. He means a type of dry, scrubby grassland that’s found in th …

Seriously, Science?

Horses use their ears to communicate with each other.

By Seriously Science | August 20, 2014 6:00 am

If you’ve ever spent time with a horse, you’ve probably noticed how mobile their ears are; not only can they point up or lie flat, but they can swivel nearly 180 degrees! Horse handlers harness this mobility to tell a lot about how a horse is feeling by ear-watching. But it is less clear whether horses use their ears to communicate to each other. To test this, British scientists let horses choose to feed from one of two buckets. Behind the buckets was a life-sized photo of a horse’s head, fa …


Pygmies' Small Stature Evolved Multiple Times

By Carl Engelking | August 19, 2014 3:23 pm

There are roughly half a million known pygmy people living in various tribes around the world, clustered mainly near the tropics in African and Southeast Asia. Anthropologists have long attributed the small body sizes of pygmy peoples to nutritional deficits resulting from harsh living conditions of the rainforest. But in a new study, researchers report that the human pygmy trait has a genetic basis, and has in fact evolved several times in different populations.

“We have found the strong …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts


Your Brain Sucks at Video Games

By Lisa Raffensperger | August 19, 2014 12:32 pm

While it might be easier to blame a glitchy controller or a slow internet connection, the real culprit behind your lost lives may actually be your quirky brain.

From slow reaction times, to misdirected attention — to your hardwired tendency to avoid blame — your brain is behind some of your worse video game fails, as Anthony Carboni explains. So take solace. You don’t have to take blame — blame your brain.


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, top posts
MORE ABOUT: virtual reality


Time-lapse Satellite Animations Show Birth of Giant Thunderstorms in Glorious Detail

By Tom Yulsman | August 19, 2014 8:03 am

I often find myself transfixed when big, towering thunderheads boil up along Colorado’s Front Range, where I live. Hail-spitting, tornado-spawning supercells are not required. Even a lone cell can have that effect on me.

So when the folks at the Satellite Blog of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies began posting animations of thunderstorms taking shape — as seen from space by  the GOES-14 weather satellite — I thought I would share them with you, along with …

Seriously, Science?

How to make people think random Disney characters are creepy.

By Seriously Science | August 19, 2014 6:00 am

As you might already know, it’s pretty easy to give people false memories. It’s why “past life regression” sometimes seems to work, and why even eyewitness testimony can be called into question in court. Here, a group of scientists attempted to introduce false beliefs to make college students wary of the Disney character Pluto. To do so, they used survey results to make some of the subjects think they were likely to have had a creepy encounter with someone dressed up as Pluto: “For Bad Pluto …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: feelings shmeelings, WTF?


World's Fastest Camera Shoots 4.4 Trillion Images Per Second

By Carl Engelking | August 18, 2014 12:43 pm

Researchers in Japan have built a camera capable of recording 4.4 trillion frames per second, making it possible to visualize heat conduction and chemical reactions — things in nature once thought impossible to photograph.

The team of 12 researchers from the University of Tokyo and Keio University call their technique Sequentially Timed All-optical Mapping Photography (STAMP). Researchers say their new camera is now the fastest in the world, and could be used in both medical and manufa …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: gadgets

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