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Citizen Science Salon

Be thankful for your gut microbes this Thanksgiving

By Guest | November 22, 2017 4:42 pm

By: Daniel McDonald

While you kick back and relax after your Thanksgiving dinner,  your gut microbiota – the collection of beneficial microbes, mostly bacteria, that inhabit your lower intestine – will be hard at work breaking down the food you ate and carrying out all kinds of other essential functions.  Research on the microbes that call your intestine home has shown they can affect your brain, treat a hospital-acquired condition called Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), and much …


Turtles Survive Frigid Hibernations By Breathing Through Their Butts

By Jacqueline Litzgus, Laurentian University | November 22, 2017 1:58 pm

To breathe or not to breathe, that is the question.

What would happen if you were submerged in a pond where the water temperature hovered just above freezing and the surface was capped by a lid of ice for 100 days?
Well, obviously you’d die.
And that’s because you’re not as cool as a turtle. And by cool I don’t just mean amazing, I mean literally cool, as in cold. Plus, you can’t breathe through your butt.

But turtles can, which is just one of the many reasons that turtles  …

MORE ABOUT: animals


How Breathing Links Mind and Body

By Leah Froats | November 22, 2017 1:12 pm

Whether it’s regulating a burst of anger or calming down a bout of anxiety, taking a deep breath can have a potent effect.

There are compelling hints that controlled breathing can improve overall physical wellbeing, but the neurophysiology — the link between our minds and bodies — of controlled breathing hasn’t been very extensively researched. A new study from researchers at Northwestern University and the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine begins to delve into the topic by at …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain


Storms Generate Thunder, Lightning and...Antimatter?

By Charles Choi | November 22, 2017 12:00 pm

In the skies above Japan, scientists have detected lightning triggering nuclear reactions. These new findings are clear evidence that thunderstorms are a natural source of radioactive isotopes on Earth.

Thunderstorms are natural particle accelerators, capable of hurling electrons outward at nearly the speed of light. When these electrons strike atoms, they can generate gamma rays, the highest-energy form of light.

Previous research suggested that gamma rays from lightning can have a va …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

Citizen Science Salon

Happy Thanksgiving!

By Sarah Newman | November 22, 2017 11:56 am

Ben Kreckx

All of us at SciStarter want to thank you for learning about, sharing, or engaging in science. You inspire us. Thank you.

Below, you’ll find a cornucopia full of Thanksgiving-themed citizen science projects. Gobble ’em up!


The SciStarter Team

American Gut


Stuffed yet? Did you know that what you eat affects you …


How Drones Are Being Used In Zanzibar's Fight Against Malaria

By Andy Hardy, Aberystwyth University | November 22, 2017 11:05 am

On a typically hot and humid July day in Stonetown, the capital of Zanzibar, a gaggle of children, teenagers and the odd parents watched our small drone take flight. My colleagues Makame Makame, Khamis Haji and I had finally found the perfect launch spot.

With a high-pitched humming, the drone took to the air. It sounded like a big mosquito—appropriate, since we were testing the use of drones for mapping aquatic malaria habitats. These shallow sunlit water bodies teem with mosquito larv …



PTSD: An Overlooked Consequence of a Cancer Diagnosis

By Nathaniel Scharping | November 21, 2017 4:13 pm

Roughly one in five cancer patients struggle with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the aftermath of diagnosis and treatment.

A recent study from Malaysia indicates that PTSD is a fairly common result of the long and difficult process of living with and treating cancer. Though most commonly associated with soldiers returning from war, PTSD can result from many different forms of trauma. The disorder can sometimes go unnoticed, or be misdiagnosed, causing those suffering to endure  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: cancer, mental health, ptsd


Photo feature: a lenticularly gorgeous sunset along the Front Range of Colorado

By Tom Yulsman | November 21, 2017 3:29 pm

The cloud formations in the photograph above, and those to follow, may look otherworldly, and maybe even a bit ominous. But they are perfectly benign (except when they herald an approaching storm), and are well known to meteorologists.

The scientific name for these cloud formations is “altocumulus standing lenticularus.’ But from here on out, I’ll just refer to them lenticular clouds.

If you’ve never seen lenticular clouds like these before, whether in pictures or in person, you migh …


The Opioid Epidemic Hits Some Generations Harder Than Others

By Gemma Tarlach | November 21, 2017 3:00 pm

As the opioid epidemic rages in the U.S., the number of overdose deaths has nearly quadrupled since 1999. And according to a new study, baby boomers and millennials are at significantly higher risk.

Researchers from Columbia University analyzed drug overdose deaths in the United States between 1999-2014, the most recent year for which data was available. (The team selected 1999 as the start date due to changes in drug classification that would have made reconciling pre- and post-1999 …


High-Ranking Male Primates Keep Wafting Their Sex Stink at Females, Who Hate It

By Elizabeth Preston | November 21, 2017 2:31 pm

Researchers call it “stink flirting.” A male ring-tailed lemur rubs his signature scent onto his long, fluffy tail, then waves it over his head in the direction of a nearby female. Males seem to intend this gesture as a sexual overture. But it often gets them into fights—with lemurs of both sexes. In fact, scientists aren’t sure stink flirting helps male lemurs at all.

Smell is an important communication tool for ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). Both males and females have s …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: boys and girls, smell, top posts

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