Latest Blog Posts


About that New Antidepressant Study

By Neuroskeptic | February 24, 2018 7:52 am

A new Lancet paper about antidepressants caused quite a stir this week. Headlines proclaimed that “It’s official – antidepressants work”, “Study proves anti-depressants are effective”, and “Antidepressants work. Period.”


The truth is that while the Lancet paper is a nice piece of work, it tells us very little that we didn’t already know, and it has a number of limitations. The media reaction to the paper is frankly bananas, as we’ll see below.

Here’s why the new study doesn’t t …


Your Weekly Attenborough: Palaina attenboroughi

By Nathaniel Scharping | February 23, 2018 5:17 pm

It should have been their big break. By all rights, the crown was theirs, won with years of blood, sweat and slime. Maybe, in some far-distant astral plane where justice matters, they’re the rightful victors.

But the history books are closed now. Palaina attenboroughi, the second snail to be named after David Attenborough in 2017, was a murmur that never became a shout.

The fame, the media frenzy, the glamour shots — the spoils of victory are all too obvious. And Attenborougharion …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts


Making the Case Against Plastic Straws

By Eric Betz | February 23, 2018 4:42 pm

Walk the remote shores of the Great Lakes, far outside the city, and you’ll find miles of sandy beaches and quiet tranquility. You’ll also find plastic straws. Pink ones, white ones, clear ones. They’re everywhere.

In fact, visit any coastline around the world and you’re likely to find plastic straws. Conservation groups highlight them as one of the items most frequently collected during beach clean ups.

The reason isn’t hard to grasp. Whether you order an iced coffee or a Co …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, top posts


Chemists Forge Custom Molecules Upon 'Diamond Anvils'

By Bill Andrews | February 23, 2018 12:03 pm

Chemistry, Walter White once said, is the study of change. Apply the right combination of materials and heat, electricity, or light — some kind of energy — and the results can literally be explosive.

In their quest to manipulate matter, scientists have explored different ways of poking molecules to see how they react. According to a paper that appeared in the journal Nature this week, they’ve found a new one, and possibly the most cartoonish one yet: using tiny anvils to literally b …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: chemistry, physics


How To Make a Monkey an Adidas Fan? Sex and Celebrity

By Nathaniel Scharping | February 23, 2018 11:36 am

We’re no better than monkeys when it comes to advertising. Or, perhaps it’s better said that they’re no better than us.

In a clever study, researchers showed rhesus macaques brand logos (which were just random images to them) paired with a picture of either a high-status male monkey, a low-status male monkey, or female monkey genitals to see if they could elicit preferences in them. In short, they were trying out one of the oldest tricks in the advertising world — selling products wi …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, top posts
MORE ABOUT: animals, psychology


From Painters to Potters, Scientists Stage an Online Art Show

By Elizabeth Preston | February 23, 2018 10:03 am

On January 24, University of British Columbia geneticist Dave Ng tweeted, “It’s always interesting to me how kids react when they find out I’m a scientist who also does artistic things (like they can’t co-exist or something). Would love to start a thread where other scientists share their artistic tendencies. #scienceartmix.”

Ng posted some of his own visual art and writing, and invited others to chime in. Musicians, painters, dancers and more eagerly joined the dataset.

Aqua …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: brains, pretty pictures, top posts

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Android vs. iPhone: what your phone choice says about you.

By Seriously Science | February 23, 2018 6:00 am

Given all the money spent on advertising, it’s no wonder there are stereotypes about iPhone and Android users. But are these real? Is there anything you can predict about me just from knowing whether I use an iPhone or Android (and vice versa – can you predict my phone choice from my personality)? Well, according to these researchers, there really are population differences between iPhone and Android users: if I told them I used an iPhone, they would guess that I’m younger, female, and …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!


Watch: Not just one but TWO hurricane-force storms swirling in the North Atlantic Ocean

By Tom Yulsman | February 22, 2018 8:51 pm

In recent days, two powerful storms packing hurricane-force winds have spun up in the North Atlantic. You can watch them in the animation above of GOES-16 satellite imagery. It was posted to the awesome GOES-16 Loop of the Day website.

The storm closer to North America was so strong that it churned the waters up into stupendous waves higher than 60 feet tall:

That would be almost high enough to inundate the White House.

Here …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Remote Sensing, select, Top Posts, Weather


A Drone Crashed into Apple Park ... Oops

By Lauren Sigfusson | February 22, 2018 3:47 pm

It turns out more than just Apple employees are crashing into the Apple campus. (Seriously, they’re running into its glass walls)

A drone pilot recently crashed a drone at Apple Park — Apple’s spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino, California. Unfortunately, the pilot didn’t know where the precious drone crash-landed, so he recruited a fellow drone operator to help. Matthew Roberts, known for his drone videos documenting the development of Apple Park, and his DJI Phantom 4 Pro ca …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: drone, drone videos, gadgets

Citizen Science Salon

What’s in your rain barrel other than water? Off the Roof wants to find out

By acrall | February 22, 2018 3:47 pm

Many of us are familiar with the phrases “water is life” and “every drop counts,” but may still take our access to clean water for granted. Not until incidents like the lead poisoning of Flint residents or Cape Town running out of water do we become truly thankful for being able to turn on our taps and immediately drink the water that comes out of them. Incidents like those in Flint and Cape Town serve as constant reminders of how precious water is and that we should do what we can to co …


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