Latest Blog Posts

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Tooth-brushing-induced orgasms. Look ma, no cavities!

By Seriously Science | August 18, 2017 6:00 am

Sometimes the human brain does weird things. Take the woman described in this case study, for example; when she brushed her teeth, it would induce a seizure that resulted in an orgasm before she passed out. It seems that there was reduced blood flow (hypoperfusion) and some damage (atrophy) in part of her brain that likely caused her tooth-brushing-induced orgasms. No other activity seemed to produce this effect, including brushing without toothpaste. Why this particular combination of stimu …


Roman Pipes Delivered Water — And Toxic Antimony

By Nathaniel Scharping | August 17, 2017 2:11 pm

The elaborate system of pipes that carried water to Roman households was an engineering marvel—for its time. Unfortunately, their sophisticated water utility may have been poisoning everyone.

An analysis of a pipe fragment from Pompeii revealed the presence of high levels of antimony, an element that can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even organ damage at high enough concentrations. It was probably included to harden the soft lead pipes, which were a luxury for Roman citizens at the tim …


Yes, Scotch Whiskey Is Better With a Splash of Water

By Carl Engelking | August 17, 2017 2:11 pm

A true Scotch drinker doesn’t pour an aged Macallan in order to, as less refined revelers might say, “get the party started.” Quite the contrary, the seasoned aficionado attends to certain norms and customs before imbibing, not unlike a traditional tea ceremony, in a nod to enlightenment, restraint and discernment—the finer things.

The experts recommend pouring Scotch into a tulip-shaped glass to swirl the matured flavors. Sip, but never gulp, as that would be heresy to the histor …

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


Ulcer-fighting Robots Swim Through Stomachs to Deliver a Cure

By Nathaniel Scharping | August 16, 2017 4:18 pm

Tiny robots powered by bubbles have successfully treated an infection in mice.

The achievement is another step forward in a field that has long shown promise, and is only now beginning to deliver. The therapeutic robots in this case were tiny spheres of magnesium and titanium coated with an antibacterial agent and about the width of a human hair. They were released into the stomach, where they swam around and delivered a drug to the target before dissolving.
Robots In the Stomach
Resear …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts


Mount Marilyn: A Name That Will Stick...Finally

By Eric Betz | August 16, 2017 4:10 pm

In 1968, Jim Lovell became the first human to pilot a spacecraft — Apollo 8 — around another world. And two years later, his Apollo 13 heroics earned him an eternal place in spaceflight history. But those feats also left Lovell as the only person to visit the moon twice but never walk its surface.

In July, Lovell got his chance to leave a lasting mark on our satellite. Explorers have always named newly discovered landmarks. But things didn’t work out that way for Apollo astronauts  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: space exploration

The Crux

On the Shores of Lake Erie, Endangered Birds Catch a Lucky Break

By Hannah Gavin | August 16, 2017 2:11 pm

Protecting species in peril doesn’t happen overnight. Rather, it’s all about stringing together small wins that, in the long-term, make all the difference. A little luck can also go far.

When waves surged on the Pennsylvania coast of Lake Erie early this summer, it could easily have been the end for a nest of piping plover eggs caught in the water’s path. Fortunately, a dynamic team of biologists, zookeepers and volunteers swooped into action, rescuing the eggs and rearing them at a qui …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: animals


Do We Manage Online and Offline Friendships the Same?

By Mark Barna | August 16, 2017 1:24 pm

Social media has been a boon to social science. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other platforms serve as online laboratories that reveal all kinds of stuff about the users, researchers say. The rise of these platforms has sparked a flurry of scientific papers describing people’s social network interactions.

A lot of the conclusions of the studies can engender the response, “Well, no kidding.” But offering validation for intuitive or common sense knowledge isn’t such a bad thing.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: psychology

Citizen Science Salon

Science Experiments for the Public during the Solar Eclipse

By Guest | August 16, 2017 12:15 pm

By Dr. Liz MacDonald, founder of Aurorasaurus and scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. This blog reposted from

Over a century ago, American astronomer W.W. Campbell set up a 40 foot ‘Schaeberle camera’ in Jeur, India to take pictures and study various properties of the sun’s outermost layer called the corona during the 1898 total solar eclipse. To make sure no people or animals would tamper with the camera before the eclipse occurred, he found vo …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Space & Physics


Despite an unusually chilly Arctic, and El Niño's absence, July 2017 tied for warmest such month on record

By Tom Yulsman | August 16, 2017 11:22 am

That makes last month one of the warmest our planet has experienced since record-keeping began in 1880

Up in the high north, it was unusually cool last month. And unlike last year, there was no El Niño to help amp up temperatures for the globe overall.

Yet July 2017 was in a statistical tie for warmest such month in 137 months of record keeping, according to the monthly climate, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Spa …


More on "Behavior Priming" and Unconscious Influences

By Neuroskeptic | August 16, 2017 10:00 am

Last year, psychologists B. Keith Payne and colleagues breathed new life into the debate over ‘social priming’ with a paper called Replicable effects of primes on human behavior.

Behavioral or social priming – the idea that subtle cues can exert large, unconscious influences on our behaviour – was a major topic of research for many years, but it’s since been largely discredited. The field’s reputation suffered when Diederik Stapel, a leader in the field, was exposed as a fraud. Many res …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: blogging, methods, papers, select, Top Posts

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collapse bottom bar