Latest Blog Posts


Mike Adams, Monsanto, Nazis, and a Very Disturbing Article

By Keith Kloor | July 22, 2014 5:05 pm

I really thought Mike Adams couldn’t write anything more possibly deranged than he already has at his Natural News website. (Readers of this blog have seen a freaky side of Adams.) Jon Entine has the scoop on his editorial output and alt-med empire. Entine’s piece, which Forbes cravenly took down (after Adams threatened to sue), asked if Adams was the “most ‘dangerous’ anti-science GMO critic?”

That was meant as a rhetorical question, since Adams spouts all manner of outrageous misinformati …



Reactions to the Kennedy Profile

By Keith Kloor | July 22, 2014 12:28 pm

My recent Washington Post magazine piece on Robert Kennedy Jr. has prompted numerous reactions in media outlets, on Twitter, and in the blogosphere. Generally speaking, readers have found the story both compelling and maddening. What folks seem to be divided on is how Kennedy comes off in the story.

Laura Helmuth at Slate says I was “remarkably generous” to Kennedy, “presenting him as dogged and genuine.” I disagree, in part. I don’t believe my story can be read as “remarkably generous” to hi …


An Elephant's Sense of Smell May Be Better Than Yours

By Bill Andrews | July 22, 2014 12:00 pm

Next time you’re deciding whether to throw out some questionable produce, you might want to turn to an elephant. That’s because the lumbering pachyderms turn out to have more genes coding for olfactory receptors (which detect smells) than any other known mammal — more than twice that found in dogs, and almost five times more than humans. Sorry, Fido, you’ve been genetically outsmelled.

Genomic Junk in the Trunk
The researchers started out studying the OR repertoire (as they cal …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: animals, Senses


The Beefy Environmental Cost of Eating Steak

By April Reese | July 22, 2014 10:57 am

A top cut of sirloin at your local grocery store will cost you about $7. But behind the price tag is a hidden cost: its beefy environmental impact.

To carnivores, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a thick, juicy steak. But how many of us think about what resources it consumed on its way to our plate? Cattle, along with other livestock such as dairy cows and chickens, typically fatten up on grains and hay grown with fertilizers that can pollute waterways. And the animals need water to d …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, top posts

The Crux

Readers Respond: When Did You Get Hooked on Science?

By Carl Engelking | July 22, 2014 9:27 am

Scientific inquiry has yielded novel cures for diseases, revealed distant planets and unearthed ancient civilizations. And behind these grand achievements are individual people with a burning question — one that, at some point, set their mind spinning and after that it never stopped.

It’s likely that there came a point when science placed you under its spell as well (after all, you are reading Discover right now). So we asked readers to share the moment that they became hooked on science, …



How Stress Creates Landforms Like the Delicate Arch

By Lacy Schley | July 22, 2014 8:40 am

Many of us can think back on beachside memories of playing architect and trying to build the perfect sand castle only to watch that sand fall to the shore, knocked down by wind and water.

But civilians and scientists alike have looked at natural landforms mand from sand like the Delicate Arch or the Double Arch in Utah’s Arches National Park and wondered just how that sand managed to form something so massive and durable.

While many researchers have argued that stress placed on sedimen …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts, Uncategorized
MORE ABOUT: geology

Seriously, Science?

Scientists explain the amazing process by which bees make hexagonal honeycombs.

By Seriously Science | July 22, 2014 6:00 am

Ever wonder how bees make all those hexagons in their honeycombs? It’s not one wall at a time, which might be your first guess. Need a hint? The holes in the honeycomb don’t actually start out as hexagons! In fact, according to this study, the bees make each hole as a circular tube in a precise staggered organization (Figure 1, below). The heat formed by the activity of the bees softens the wax, which creeps along the network between the holes. The wax hardens in the most energetically favo …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals, rated G

Citizen Science Salon

Patients Who Were Research Subjects and the Doctors Who Listened - the Citizen Science of HIV/AIDS Research

By Caren Cooper | July 21, 2014 9:44 am

Editor’s Note: Flight MH17 was a horrible tragedy, with many lives lost, including HIV/AIDS researchers en route to a conference. In Caren Cooper’s latest Coop’s Citizen Sci Scoop, she explains how citizen science assisted with AIDS research, and how AIDS activists were able to become participatory members of the medical and scientific process.  Here, in full, is Caren’s post.

Many prominent people involved in HIV/AIDS research lost their lives when Malaysian plane MH17 was shot down ove …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine

Seriously, Science?

Does she want a hookup or a relationship? The answer is in her gaze.

By Seriously Science | July 21, 2014 6:00 am

It’s a common scenario in the dating world: two people begin a relationship, and it quickly becomes apparent that one person is looking to commit while the other just wants
some nookie. Well, what if there were a scientific way to tell whether that hottie at the bar is interested in you for your body or your mind? According to this study, a person’s intentions are hidden in their gaze. The researchers tracked the eyes of subjects prompted to think about love versus lust, and they found that …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: feelings shmeelings


Babylonian Neurology and Psychiatry

By Neuroskeptic | July 20, 2014 2:43 pm

A fascinating little paper in Brain examines Neurology and psychiatry in Babylon. It’s a collaboration by British neurologist Edward H. Reynolds and Assyriologist James V. Kinnier Wilson.

The sources they discuss are almost 4,000 years old, dating to the Old Babylonian Dynasty of 1894 – 1595 BC. Writing in cuneiform script impressed into clay tablets, the Babylonians left records that (unlike paper) were inherently durable, so many of them have survived. All understanding of cuneiform was …


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