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Dead Things

The Evolutionary History Of A Malaria Parasite

By Gemma Tarlach | August 20, 2018 2:00 pm

Millions of people annually contract malaria after infection by nasty little parasites belonging to the genus Plasmodium. Thanks to new genomic insights, researchers believe they’ve uncovered a key chunk of the disease’s evolutionary back story — and a potential new path to fight it.

There are more than 100 species in the rogues’ gallery that is Plasmodium, but only four typically lead to malaria in humans: P. falciparum, found mostly in Africa and causing a particularly severe and …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts


People Were Definitely High For the 2017 Solar Eclipse, Study Finds

By Nathaniel Scharping | August 20, 2018 12:16 pm

Day turning to dusk in the span of minutes, sunsets all around, a jewel-bright ring in the sky where the sun once stood — an eclipse is an otherworldly experience. But, if there’s one thing we like to do with amazing experiences, it’s try to make them better. Though you may have already guessed, a new study provides the confirmation: Lots of people got high for the 2017 solar eclipse.

The new data comes courtesy of a study from a group of researchers from Murray State University in Ken …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine
MORE ABOUT: drugs & addiction

Rocky Planet

Wilderness vs. Monitoring: The Controversy of a New Seismic Network at Glacier Peak

By Erik Klemetti | August 19, 2018 3:34 pm

One of the most potentially dangerous volcanoes in the Cascades is Glacier Peak in Washington. It produced the one of the largest eruptions in the past 20,000 years in this volcanic range that spans from British Columbia to California. Multiple eruptions around 13,500 years ago spread ash all the way into Montana. Over the last 2,000 years, there have been multiple explosive eruptions that have impacted what became Washington state and beyond. Put on top of that the many glaciers on the slo …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Rocky Planet, Science, Science Blogs


Science's Bullying Problem

By Neuroskeptic | August 19, 2018 10:45 am

Over the past few weeks, the stories of three high-profile scientists accused of bullying have emerged: geneticist Nazneen Rahman, psychologist Tania Singer and astrophysicist Guinevere Kauffmann.

Each of these researchers are (or were) at the top of their fields, recipients of huge amounts of funding. They are accused of abuses of power, bullying and abuse of their subordinates and creating a climate of fear in their institutions.

It would be easy to look to the personal character …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ethics, science, select, Top Posts


Independence: A New Performance Indicator for Researchers?

By Neuroskeptic | August 18, 2018 2:50 pm

A scientist’s achievements are often measured in terms of the number of papers they publish (productivity) and how many citations those papers get (impact). These ‘bibliometric indicators’ are widely derided but they have proven remarkably stubborn.

Now, in a new preprint on bioRxiv, researchers Peter van den Besselaar and Ulf Sandström propose a new metric that, they say, could measure another important researcher characteristic: independence.

For van den Besselaar and Sandström, in …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: papers, science, select, Top Posts


One Third of Known Planets May Be Enormous Ocean Worlds

By John Wenz | August 17, 2018 5:45 pm

Water is a key ingredient for life — and new research suggests we might find it all over the galaxy.

Scientists looked at the mass of Super-Earths, a kind of planet common across the cosmos but not present in our own solar system. These rocky worlds are several times larger than Earth, but the team’s analysis of known Super-Earths reveals something astounding: Many of them may be literal water worlds.

According to the research, many of these planets may be half water. By comparison …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

The Crux

Unearthing Secrets of Human Sacrifice

By Charles Choi | August 17, 2018 4:43 pm

In the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, the demigod and his comrade Enkidu rip out the heart of the Bull of Heaven as a gift to the sun god Shamash. This bloody act is far from the only time sacrifice makes an appearance in the world’s most ancient stories, and in some tales such rituals claim human lives, or almost. In Greek myth, King Agamemnon decides to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to Artemis as payment for letting the Greek fleet sail to Troy. In the book of Genesis, Abraham ne …

MORE ABOUT: archaeology


This NASA animation shows something one could mistake for blue blood pumping in an alien venous system

By Tom Yulsman | August 17, 2018 3:36 pm

Alien it most certainly is not. But the word ‘venous’ is not far from the mark. So just what is this thing anyway?

When I first spotted this mesmerizing animation on Twitter, my mind really did wander to the metaphorical idea of blood flowing through some sort of alien venous system.

And actually, to the extent that a river can be the lifeblood of a region, you are looking at something akin to a venous system.

The time-lapse animation consists of 14 false-color satellite images of t …

The Crux

Why Did NASA's Pioneer Spacecraft Mysteriously Slow Down?

By Doug Adler | August 17, 2018 3:24 pm

Before Voyager 1 and 2 explored the outer solar system, Pioneer 10 and 11 paved the way. Launched in 1972 and 1973, respectively, these spacecraft were the first to transit the asteroid belt and the first to make close observations of Jupiter (both Pioneer 10 and 11) and Saturn (Pioneer 11). Like their successors, the Voyagers and New Horizons, both Pioneers are past the orbit of Pluto and will continue speeding outward from the center of the solar system.

Powered by four plutonium-238  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: NASA, space exploration

The Crux

Uncertain Hope Blooms for Tasmanian Devils

By Katie Jewett | August 16, 2018 5:16 pm

On a misty summer morning in 2015, Manuel Ruiz ditched his pickup truck along a dusty two-track road in northwest Tasmania and trod into a grove of eucalyptus. He was searching for a devil. “If I were a devil, this would be a nice place to spend the night,” thought Ruiz, a wildlife veterinarian and doctoral candidate at the University of Tasmania.

The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial. Despite that distinction, the animal is only abo …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Living World
MORE ABOUT: animals, cancer

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