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D-brief

Why Does Pain Hurt? Scientists Find the Neurons That Cause Our Aches

By Lacy Schley | January 18, 2019 5:21 pm

A group of researchers have found the brain cells responsible for the emotional unpleasantness of pain — well, they’ve at least found them in mice. But the results, published in Science, could help scientists develop new treatments for chronic pain if that same cluster of cells exits in humans.

“While painful stimuli are detected by nerves,” says Gregory Scherrer, one of the study’s authors, in a press release, “this information doesn’t mean anything emotionally until it reache …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: Vaccines & drugs

D-brief

Here's How to Watch Sunday's Total Lunar Eclipse

By Rich Talcott | January 18, 2019 5:00 pm

A total eclipse of the moon will be visible in its entirety across North and South America this weekend. For more than an hour the night of January 20/21, the colors from all Earth’s sunrises and sunsets bathe the Full moon in an ethereal orange glow.

As sunlight passes through Earth’s atmosphere, our blanket of air strips out the short-wavelength blues and yellows and leaves only the longer-wavelength oranges and reds. It is this light that reaches the moon a quarter of a million mil …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

D-brief

China Grew Cotton Plants on the Moon. They Died in the Darkness and the Cold

By Chelsea Gohd | January 18, 2019 4:14 pm

Dead Plants
Earlier this month, an experiment on China’s Chang’e 4 lander got cotton plants to sprout on the moon for the first time. Well, they’re already dead.

On Jan. 7, China’s space agency released pictures of cotton seeds beginning to grow on the Chang’e 4 lander. But, as reported by GBTimes on Jan. 16, the new sprouts haven’t survived the freezing temperatures on the lunar surface, even in their protective capsule. The cotton seeds sprouted inside of a container as part of  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

D-brief

SNAPSHOT: Hoppy Beer Doesn't Last Long Before Losing Its Aromatic Flavor

By Alison Mackey | January 18, 2019 4:00 pm

Keep those craft beers cold and don’t hang on to them for too long. That’s the advice from researchers at the Technical University of Munich’s Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology. Scientists there found that cold-stored craft beers lost more than one-third of an important hop aroma after just three months. The beer lost even more flavor when kept at room temperature.

These are generally beers created with a method called “dry-hopping,” where hops is added to young beer lat …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: food science, plants
A wild bee (Melandrena sp.) visits an apple flower.

D-brief

What 88 Bee Genomes and 10 Years of Studying Apples Tell Us About the Future of Pollinators

By Anna Groves | January 18, 2019 2:30 pm

Stroll through an apple orchard in bloom, and you’ll be surrounded with the buzz of busy bees. But unless the farm manager has rented hives of domesticated honeybees — which are not native to the U.S. — the bees at work will be a highly diverse crew that live in the nearby wild. Big or small, green or striped, shiny or fuzzy, bees come in all types.

While news of bee declines has almost stopped feeling like news, a group of researchers has figured out a new question to ask about the …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: ecology

D-brief

The Remains of Ancient Lunar Impacts Reveal Earth's Own Impact History

By Chelsea Gohd | January 18, 2019 2:01 pm

Lunar Impact Craters
By studying the scars left from long-gone, violent lunar impacts, scientists have revealed  new details about the history of impacts on Earth.

Because the moon is so close to the Earth, it’s thought that impacts there correspond to impacts and craters left on our own world. “The moon and Earth are very close neighbors. The population of impactors that would hit the moon would also hit the Earth,” study author Sara Mazrouei of the University of Toronto said in an …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

D-brief

Gut Bacteria Protects Against Food Allergies

By Megan Schmidt | January 18, 2019 11:44 am

Earlier this year, news broke that 11-year-old Cameron Jean-Pierre of New Jersey suffered a fatal allergic reaction to the smell of fish. His family knew about his fish allergy and took precautions to limit his exposure. But after Jean-Pierre and his father stopped by grandma’s house for a New Year’s Day visit, the boy unexpectedly came into contact with fumes from fish cooking on the stove. Within minutes, Jean-Pierre went into anaphylactic shock, which constricted his airways and caus …

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

The Crux

Why Humans Lost Their Hair and Became Naked and Sweaty

By Bridget Alex | January 17, 2019 5:34 pm

What makes humans stand out among primates?

We’re naked and unusually sweaty.

Yes, we’re also distinguished by upright walking, big brains and advanced culture. But here I want to focus on our sweaty bare bods.

Millions of years back our ancestors were likely as hairy as chimpanzees and gorillas. Over the course of human evolution, our lineage traded its fur coat for a covering of minuscule body hairs and a few ample patches over the head, armpits and nether region.

Why we be …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: human evolution

D-brief

Thousands Of New Microbiome Species Found Living on the Human Body

By Roni Dengler | January 17, 2019 5:08 pm

In the largest study of its kind, scientists have uncovered thousands of new species inhabiting the human microbiome – -the extensive collection of bacteria, viruses and other micro-organisms that reside all over our bodies, influencing our health. And most of the newly discovered bugs live in and on people from non-Westernized populations. The discovery redefines scientists’ understanding of the human microbiome and could shed light on the increasing incidence of allergies, autoimmu …

MORE ABOUT: evolution, microbiome
On July 19, 2013, in an event celebrated the world over, NASA's Cassini spacecraft slipped into Saturn's shadow and turned to image the planet, seven of its moons, its inner rings -- and, in the background, our home planet, Earth. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

D-brief

Cassini Reveals the Surprisingly Young Age of Saturn's Rings

By Chelsea Gohd | January 17, 2019 1:00 pm

Exploring Saturn’s Rings
During NASA’s Cassini spacecraft’s Grand Finale, the craft dove between the planet and its rings. In doing so, it collected new insights into the ringed planet, including the surprising age of Saturn’s rings. According to a new study, scientists have found that Saturn’s rings are actually much younger than the planet itself. And they most likely formed in the last 100 million years.

Before swooping in between the planet and its rings, Cassini orbited the plan …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
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