Latest Blog Posts


Most Autistic People Have Normal Brain Anatomy

By Neuroskeptic | October 25, 2014 12:54 pm

A new paper threatens to turn the world of autism neuroscience upside down. Its title is Anatomical Abnormalities in Autism?, and it claims that, well, there aren’t very many.

Published in Cerebral Cortex by Israeli researchers Shlomi Haar and colleagues, the new research reports that there are virtually no differences in brain anatomy between people with autism and those without.

What makes Haar et al.’s essentially negative claims so powerful is that their study had a huge sample …

Body Horrors

Flowers, Fungi & Felines: An Unusual Epidemic in Brazil

By Rebecca Kreston | October 24, 2014 3:01 pm

Rose-thorn disease sounds like a malady of lovesick teenagers, an illness of romance reserved for budding Romeos and Juliets swooning from their first forays into passion and lovesickness, an affliction arising from the shocking stick and sting of heartbreak. The sweet name of this malady, however, in no way belies the actual crustiness of its symptoms.

Rose-thorn disease, caused by the fungal organism Sporothrix schenckii, is a classic disease of gardeners around the world. The fungus lurks  …

Out There

How the Comet with the Funny Name Became a Globe-Trotting Internet Meme

By Corey S. Powell | October 24, 2014 1:48 pm

I consider the Rosetta spacecraft one of the most exciting space voyagers in years. It is the first probe to orbit a comet, returning images of unprecedented richness. On November 12 it will place a lander on the comet’s surface, another exploratory breakthrough. Rosetta’s target, Comet 67P (its mouthy full name is Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko) is a frozen relic from the early days of the solar system. Studying it up close will teach us a lot about how the planets formed, how Earth got its wa …


Fish Want to Play Too

By Elizabeth Preston | October 24, 2014 12:14 pm

Yes, fish. These aquarium lap-swimmers and pursuers of flaked food aren’t known for their joie de vivre. Yet in one hobbyist’s tanks, scientists say they’ve captured a rare instance of fish playing around.

James Murphy is a herpetologist at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Although he professionally studies reptiles and amphibians, he keeps fish as a hobby. It was one of his cichlids—a 5-inch fish of the species Tropheus duboisi—that first caught his attention by inventing a …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: brains, top posts, Uncategorized
Video games with cooperative gameplay such as "Mass Effect 3" could have pro-social benefits. Credit: Bioware / Electronic Arts

Lovesick Cyborg

Can Video Games Curb Racism?

By Jeremy Hsu | October 24, 2014 11:16 am

Many Americans love to celebrate bone-crunching athletic games such as football that encourage strong social bonds among teammates of all skin colors. The idea of team games helping to cross racial barriers may also apply to violent video games that require gamers of different ethnicities to team up in order to successfully take down virtual aliens, robots or enemy soldiers.

Most studies of violent video games have focused on how the virtual violence of shooting enemies in the head or per …

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: The science behind why we put milk on cereal (and not water).

By Seriously Science | October 24, 2014 10:07 am

Have you ever wondered why we put milk on cereal? Why not juice, water, or any of the other assorted liquids we consume daily? Well, these food scientists finally did the experiments to find out. Turns out that milk, due to its fat content, coats the cereal and keeps it from getting soggy as quickly as it does in pure water. Be sure to read on to the abstract below for some of our favorite examples of (U)nnecessary (A)cronyms (UA)!

Physical properties and microstructural changes during so …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: eat me, told you so


In the Future We’ll Search in Three Dimensions

By Bethany Hubbard | October 24, 2014 8:47 am

Search engines have come to define how most of us interact with digital information. But, if you think about it, they’re still pretty limited. We can search for words and, in recent years, Google Images allows us to search by picture. Want to search, though, for the flavor of apple, or the notes of the song you can’t remember the name to? You’re still out of luck.

However, researchers are making headway in another kind of novel search — searching by 3-D object. And that’s only  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: computers

The Crux

Why Most of Your Body Is Younger Than You Are

By Curt Stager | October 23, 2014 4:51 pm

When you take a sip of water it doesn’t just slake your thirst. It literally becomes you. The water that runs down your gullet will, within minutes and without processing of any kind, become some of the dominant fluid in your veins and your flesh. Most of your blood is simply tap water with cells, salts, and organic molecules floating in it. Some of the rubbery squishiness of your earlobe poured out of a bottle or a can just a short time ago. And much of the moisture in your eyes only recently …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: personal health

Out There

Unlocking The Other Senses of Space

By Corey S. Powell | October 23, 2014 4:30 pm

These days it’s no surprise to come across a gallery of amazing astronomy images. The Hubble Space Telescope, the other NASA great observatories and space probes, the European Space Agency and European Southern Observatory, and many, many dedicated amateurs (among other sources) provide a steady flow of visual riches. Mind-boggling beauty shows up every day; I can barely keep up with it in my Twitter feed.

But what of the other human senses? Our appreciation of the natural world is bolste …


The Rich Allure of a Peasant Champion

By Keith Kloor | October 23, 2014 3:29 pm

ABC Carpet & Home, for the uninitiated, is a sumptuous home furnishings mecca with a chic interior and socially conscious ethic. The flagship store in Manhattan’s Flatiron district feels like a plush museum owned by a billionaire with a New Age affectation.

Reproduced antiques, decorative trinkets, candles, ethnic-themed clothing, Buddhist ornaments and much more are arrayed stylishly across six floors of a century-old building. The offerings are beyond the means of most browsers, but as …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: biotechnology, GMOs, science, Vandana Shiva

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