Latest Blog Posts


P-Values and Exploratory Research

By Neuroskeptic | March 31, 2015 3:18 pm

Lately I’ve been talking a lot about the question of whether scientists should preregister their research protocols.

One question that often arises in these discussion is: “what about exploratory research?”

The argument goes like this: sure, preregistration is good for confirmatory research – research designed to test a particular hypothesis. However, some research (perhaps most) is exploratory, meaning that it’s about collecting data and seeing where it leads. Exploratory studies  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: FixingScience, science, select, Top Posts

Drone 360

How to Regulate Commercial Drones: Lessons From the UK

By Jim Scanlan | March 31, 2015 2:28 pm

Imagine a scenario where tens of thousands of drones are routinely flown across United Kingdom airspace. Some of these are very large, more than 220 pounds – and some are equipped with jet engines that can reach speeds beyond 100mph. If you think this seems unlikely then you’re quite wrong: there are already more than 36,000 remote control model aircraft hobbyists in the UK flying small aircraft at more than 800 sites.

But there are remarkably few accidents, despite their numbers. To  …



Simple Facial Scans Reveal How Fast a Person Is Aging

By Carl Engelking | March 31, 2015 1:15 pm

Aging is a fact of life, but at the physiological level we don’t all age at the same rate. So how to determine our bodies’ overall wear and tear?

Researchers have found that simple 3-D image scans of people’s faces can determine a person’s “biological age” more reliably than blood samples can. This technology could help doctors assess patients’ risk of age-related diseases and evaluate the efficacy of treatments.
When Things Start to Sag
To track how aging is written on our faces …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: aging, personal health

Body Horrors

The Ringworm Irradiators

By Rebecca Kreston | March 31, 2015 1:08 pm

Ringworm is one of the most common and widespread childhood maladies. Deceptive in its naming, ringworm is no parasite but rather a fairly mild, though atrociously itchy, fungal skin infection that affects 300 million people worldwide. An infection with the contagious Tinea capitis fungus is usually summarily dismissed by means of antifungal medications, but for decades prior to the discovery of such cures in the 1950s, infections with ringworm and other species of fungus were as intractable and …


Moths Fondly Remember Plant Species Where They Lost Their Virginity

By Elizabeth Preston | March 31, 2015 10:01 am

Think real estate decisions are hard for humans? Imagine if the house you lived in were also your singles bar, your babies’ nursery, and your shelter from large animals trying to eat you. And, while you were growing up, your food source, as you nibbled away its floors and shingles.

Moths face all these pressures each time they settle down on a plant. That may be why at least one type of moth uses pleasant associations to help with its choices. The plant species where an individual l …

The mustard green Arabidosis thaliana is a model organisms, and now, scientists have made a drought-resistant version by changing the regulation of one gene.

Science Sushi

GMOs of the Future: Two Recent Studies Reveal Potential of Genetic Technologies

By Christie Wilcox | March 31, 2015 8:01 am

For four years, the state of California has experienced a devastating drought. It’s not just a little dry—according to scientists, it’s the worst drought in over a millennium, fueled by global climate change. Cali is in such dire straits that Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. just signed two emergency measures to funnel another $1 billion to drought relief and critical water infrastructure projects. No sector is feeling the hit more than Golden State’s agricultural industry, where the shortage …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: More Science, select, Top Posts

Citizen Science Salon

Is Climate Change Causing the Seasons to Change? Citizen Scientists in the UK Help Find Out with Nature’s Calendar

By Ian Vorster | March 31, 2015 5:00 am

Interested in more spring themed citizen science projects? Check out the ones the SciStarter team has handpicked for you here! Or use SciStarter’s project finder to find one that piques your curiosity!

In 1998 Tim Sparks, a research biologist at Britain’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Cambridge started a pilot project designed to record the first blush of spring. Sparks saw the importance of continuous phenology records—a record of when plants start to bud and flower, and wa …


Watch the West's Snowpack Shrink Dramatically Right Before Your Eyes in Striking Satellite Image Animations

By Tom Yulsman | March 30, 2015 9:01 pm

On March 18th, I posted a story about the other big drought story you need to pay attention to — not the one in California, which has been garnering most of the headlines but the one that has been afflicting the Colorado River Basin.

Since then, I’ve been keeping an eye on how our snowpack has been doing. And now, at the end of the month, I’m sorry to report that it’s not doing well at all.

The main culprit: High temperatures — outrageously so in some areas — have been causing  …

Drone 360

WATCH: Drones Are Herding Sheep in Ireland

By Carl Engelking | March 30, 2015 3:15 pm

A constant rallying cry for drone technology seems to be: “Anything you can do, drones can do better.” Sheepdogs, this includes you.

New footage shows us how a drone can be put to use herding sheep in the rolling hills of Ireland. Like many videos showcasing utilitarian uses for drones, this one also purports to be the first example of a sheep-herding drone. Paul Brennan, whose company specializes in aerial photography for farmers, captured the film. He nicknamed the drone “Shep.” …



Cyclists Shine at Night Courtesy of New Reflective Spray

By Carl Engelking | March 30, 2015 2:02 pm

Riding a bicycle is a great way to get in shape while getting from point A to point B. But it also can be dangerous — especially at night.

In 2012, 45,000 cyclists were injured or killed on roads in the United States, with 29 percent of those injuries occurring from collision with a vehicle. Many times, drivers simply don’t see a bicyclist until it’s too late. That’s why Volvo has come up with a unique way to make cyclists stand out: transparent reflective spray. It’s invisible by  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: materials science

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