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Even as Spectacular Storms Bring Relief to U.S. Southwest, Drought Conditions Persist — and Worsen in California

By Tom Yulsman | July 31, 2014 5:59 pm

After a profound lack of precipitation, parts of the Southwestern United States have finally begun to get some desperately needed relief.

New Mexico, where the spectacular photo above was taken yesterday, has been suffering through four years of drought. And while the drought hasn’t ended (not by a long shot), the storms have finally come — in very dramatic fashion.

Overall, rainfall totals through July 29th have been twice normal in several New Mexico locations, according to the lat …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, select, Top Posts, Weather


Functional Neuroimaging's Neymar Problem

By Neuroskeptic | July 31, 2014 4:26 pm

As a “World Cup tie in post” this one’s a bit late, but here’s a story that’s been getting a lot of attention: According to scientists, Neymar uses instinct and not his brain when playing football

Yes, if you believe the headlines, research has shown that legendary Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva Santos is so good, he can play with his brain switched off.

What’s the reality? The research in question used fMRI and it was published in Frontiers in Human Neurosciences: Efficient foo …

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 1.32.56 PM


Video: Thousands of Years of Human Migration in Five Minutes

By Lisa Raffensperger | July 31, 2014 2:00 pm

It’s enough to put an old-fashioned family tree to shame. A visualization of the migration routes of more than 150,000 people, from 600 BC to the present day, brings to life human history in the Western world in an engrossing and novel way.

The model, produced by Maximilian Schich, at the University of Texas at Dallas, along with collaborators from the U.S., Switzerland and Hungary, represents the birth and death dates and locations of individual people. These data came from community dat …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: history

Body Horrors

On the Road: The Evolution of HIV Along Highway Networks

By Rebecca Kreston | July 31, 2014 1:25 pm

Just as we jetsetters and nomads wander the wide world’s winding roads and byways by foot, on horseback, atop a bicycle or packed into an automobile, so too do infectious diseases make use of our ever-improving networks of thoroughfares. They ride along in human bodies, their journeys fueled by our social mobility and contact, two factors unavoidably intensified anytime we embark upon a voyage. But as these pathogens travel new routes and encounter new bodies, they can change and mutate. Lucki …


How Chronic Pain Saps Your Mental Motivation

By Ben Thomas | July 31, 2014 1:00 pm

A sore back or sprained wrist makes your day-to-day life harder in more ways than one. Physical impairment is annoying enough on its own, but the chronic pain is its own distraction – one that makes it hard to focus.

It’s been known for a while that chronic pain saps people’s motivation. And now, a team led by Stanford University’s Neil Schwartz has pinned down, in mice, some of the chemical and neural changes by which aches lead to ennui.

Tricky Treats
Schwartz and his tea …

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


In Shootouts, Goalkeepers Fall Prey to Flawed Logic

By Carl Engelking | July 31, 2014 12:37 pm

The recently-concluded 2014 World Cup yielded four knockout matches decided by the dreaded penalty shootout, a total reached just two other times in the tournament’s history. Few outcomes in sports are crueler than accepting defeat in such a fashion. But if teams are looking for a leg up in 2018, they’ll want to brush up on an old concept: the gambler’s fallacy, or the false belief that future outcomes will balance out past ones.

Cognitive scientists from the University of London anal …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, top posts

Seriously, Science?

Can getting a heart transplant change your personality?

By Seriously Science | July 31, 2014 6:00 am

You might think that in this day and age, we would be past seeing the heart–an organ that pumps blood–as a center of a person’s personality. However, the authors of this study regularly dealt with real patients who worried that their personalities would change after a heart transplant. In fact, they report that some patients refuse hearts from the opposite sex, and others experience anxiety about their sense of self after having a heart transplant.  To get a better handle on this phenomen …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: duh, feelings shmeelings


Evangelicals and Climate Change

By Keith Kloor | July 30, 2014 2:49 pm

Nearly a decade ago, I wrote a profile of Richard Cizik for Audubon magazine. He was, at the time, a prominent lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals and a member of good standing among social and political conservatives. But Cizik’s views on a number of hot-button issues were evolving. In 2008 he was forced to resign, or as he later put it, fired for remarks he made on NPR:
In a broad-ranging conversation about my work to educate my fellow evangelicals about the impacts of cli …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, global warming

Citizen Science Salon

Exploring a Culture of Health: Nurses Making Things with their Hands to Improve Healthcare with MakerNurse

By Ian Vorster | July 30, 2014 9:14 am

This post is part of Exploring a Culture of Health, a citizen science series brought to you by Discover Magazine, SciStarter and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, serving as an ally to help Americans work together to build a national Culture of Health that enables everyone to lead healthier lives now and for generations to come.

Every day, nurses craft devices out of ordinary materials and hospital supplies to improve health care. These innovations aren’t dreamt up in a lab or by  …


Seriously, Science?

Study finds that like yawning, sniffing is contagious.

By Seriously Science | July 30, 2014 6:00 am

Here’s another entry to add to our list of contagious behaviors (which currently includes yawning and driving like an old person): sniffing. In this study, the researchers had participants sit in an “odor clean room” and watch the movie Perfume, which contains “28 movie sniff events (MSEs) where a character takes a sniff” in the first 60 minutes of the film. While the movie was playing, the researchers measured how often the subjects sniffed within 7 seconds of hearing and/or seeing a sniff …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: smell you later

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