Tag: roundup

News Roundup: Where We're From, Apple for Life, Elephants & Teamwork

By Patrick Morgan | March 8, 2011 6:51 pm

  • Out of Africa: Touted as a “landmark study,” new genetic research suggests that the first humans came from southern Africa. In the study, they found more genetic diversity in the southern part of the dark continent—an indicator of longevity. Experts had previously pinned eastern Africa as the starting line for the human race.
  • An apple a day keeps the fruit fly alive: Researchers discovered that fruit fly lifespans increase by about 10 percent when they’re fed a daily bit of apple. And the benefits don’t stop there: The apple’s healthful antioxidants also helped the flies’ walking and climbing abilities. Scientists note that because this research agrees with past apple studies on other animals, it should encourage more apple eating by humans too.
  • Want to know your risk of lung cancer? Look down. The nicotine levels in your toenail clippings give an accurate idea of future lung cancer risk, according to new research: The men with the highest nicotine levels (mostly smokers, but also some second-hand smokers) were more than three times as likely to develop lung cancer as those with the lowest levels.
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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Journal Roundup

News Roundup: Zombie Ants Controlled by Newly Discovered Fungi

By Andrew Moseman | March 4, 2011 10:52 am

  • We at DISCOVER have always loved the terrifying specter of zombie animals controlled by menacing wasps, worms, and barnacles. This week there’s a new terror on the loose: Four newly found fungi that grow stalks right through the head of zombie ants in the Brazilian rainforest.
  • No glory for Glory: The NASA climate mission we covered last week—which was to study the interaction of the sun’s radiation, aerosols, and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—ended in failure as it did not reach orbit in its launch attempt today.
  • It’s not Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, but a paleontologist’s research suggests that the story of North American survival long ago may have been bison v. mammoth. Eric Scott says the influx of bison from Eurasia may have doomed the saber-tooth cat, mammoth, and other megafauna that couldn’t compete.
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News Roundup: Why the Sun Lost Its Spots

By Andrew Moseman | March 3, 2011 12:27 pm

  • While modeling plasma flows deep inside the sun, scientists may have found an explanation for why some sunspots cycles (like the most recent one) are weaker than others. “It’s the flow speed during the cycle before that seems to dictate the number of sunspots. Having a fast flow from the poles while a cycle is ramping up, followed by a slow flow during its decline, results in a very deep minimum.”
  • Risky business: In defending President Obama’s vision for space exploration that relies upon commercial space companies, NASA administrator Charles Bolden says the country must “become unafraid of exploration. We need to become unafraid of risks.”
  • Bad timing: Just as Apple unveils its new iPad—and Steve Jobs uses the opportunity to gloat about his company’s superiority in apps compared to Google’s Android system—Google had to take 21 apps off the Android Market because they were infected with malware.
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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Journal Roundup, Physics & Math, Space

News Roundup: Even 30 Miles Away, Sharks Can Home in on a Location

By Andrew Moseman | March 2, 2011 12:12 pm

  • Shark seek: Tiger sharks and thresher sharks remember and zero in on specific places to hunt for food in an area that might be 30 miles across. That shows they might possess not only the ability to navigate by smell or by the Earth’s magnetic field, but also broader spatial memory for their home range.
  • “If you eat by shoving your entire writhing body into your meals, your dinner companions are probably going to leave.” The hagfish, however, has no such concern for manners: It absorbs its nutrients right through its skin.
  • We be jammin’: Satellite provider Thuraya Telecommunications and news channel Al Jazeera both report that sources in Libya are illegally trying to jam their signals, and traced the attempts to “a Libyan intelligence service facility south of Tripoli.”
  • British researchers discover a way to use urine tests to screen for prostate cancer—and potentially double the accuracy of current methods.
  • Numismatist power: Coin experts create interactive digital maps of coins through history and where they came from, putting a treasure trove of information at historians’ fingertips.
  • Super honey from down under: A myrtle native to Australia produces honey packed with antibacterial compounds that can stymie even antibiotic-resistant microorganisms like MRSA.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

News Roundup: Real-Life Blood Spatter Analysis Catches Up to “Dexter”

By Andrew Moseman | March 1, 2011 2:55 pm


  • Materials violence: NASA will use a million pounds of force to crush a 20-foot-tall aluminum-lithium rocket fuel tank outfitted with sensors (all in the name of science, of course). The idea is to test out how modern composite materials buckle under incredible pressure, in the hope of finding out where the weaknesses might be.
  • Real-life forensic science is rarely as easy or glamorous as its TV counterpart. Actual blood spatter experts, for example, don’t operate with quite the ease of the title character in “Dexter.” But a new study proposes a way to use simple trigonometry to calculate not only the point of origin for blood but also the height above the ground, which previously couldn’t be determined.
  • You knew this day would come: The United States has approved the first deepwater offshore drilling permit given out since the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
  • As strong as metal and as moldable as plastic: Yale scientist Jan Schroers’ new super-alloys.
  • Half of adult males may be carrying the human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a study in The Lancet. It often lingers quietly but is transmitted sexually and is the cause of most cervical cancers in women.
  • Strictly speaking, there should be no blue whales.” So begins DISCOVER blogger Carl Zimmer as he explores the curious question of why blue whales, with so many more cells than human beings and so many chances for those cells to go wrong, are not killed by cancer at an astounding rate.

Image: NASA

News Roundup: Gmail Crashes, Fire Ant Invasions, & Scientists in Space

By Andrew Moseman | February 28, 2011 3:41 pm

  • Who needs a vomit comet? The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Colorado reached a deal with Virgin Galactic to send some of its scientists up on SpaceShipTwo’s suborbital flights, allowing them to conducts tests in weightlessness.
  • Fire ants may have originated in South America, but their home base for invading the world at large is right here in the United States. So says a new study of more than 2,000 fire ant colonies spread around the globe.
  • Gone in a flash: About 150,000 Gmail users woke up to find their mailboxes wiped clean—messages, folders, and all. Google is racing to recover the lost correspondences. In the meantime, this is a reminder of two things. First, you should back up your email. And second, Google is really, really big. Those 150,000 people represent just .08 percent of Gmail users.
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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Journal Roundup, Space, Technology

What Were Your Favorite Stories This Year? Actually, You Already Chose

By Andrew Moseman | December 20, 2010 9:00 am

New sea creatures, humongous stars, and cockroach antibiotics: Those are just a few reader favorites from this year in science. As 2010 comes to a close, we bring you a dozen of the most popular 80beats posts of the year.

12googlecar
1-marinecensus
10cockroach
11-world
2-medical-marijuana
3-coraldieoff
4-einstein
5-gm-corn
6-sniper
7-fullbodyscanner
8-massivestars
9-sun_nasa

For more great stories from the year in science, check out DISCOVER’s Top 100 Stories of the Year.

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80beats is DISCOVER's news aggregator, weaving together the choicest tidbits from the best articles covering the day's most compelling topics.
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