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Seriously, Science?

What makes chocolate so deliciously melty in your mouth?

By Seriously Science | May 22, 2017 6:00 am

Mmmmm…. chocolate! It’s not just the flavor that makes is so delicious, it’s also the rich texture in your mouth. But what factors lead to that smooth film that coats your mouth when you eat chocolate? If you think it’s simply melted cocoa butter, think again! According to this study, properties of both the chocolate and your saliva contribute to the “lubrication” of the chocolate as you chew it. These scientists measured the physical properties of molten chocolate mixed with either saliv …

Neuroskeptic

A Survey of Our Secret Lives

By Neuroskeptic | May 21, 2017 6:55 am

What kinds of secrets does the average person keep? In a new paper, Columbia University researchers Michael L. Slepian and colleagues carried out a survey of secrets.

Slepian et al. developed a ‘Common Secrets Questionnaire’ (CSQ) and gave it to 600 participants recruited anonymously online. Participants were asked whether they’d ever had various secrets, at any point in their lives. The results are a monument to all our sins:

It turns out that extra-relational thoughts – meaning “thou …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: papers, select, selfreport, Top Posts

D-brief

A Peculiar Star Is Doing Peculiar Things, Again

By John Wenz | May 19, 2017 2:29 pm

There’s a star 1,300 light years away that has exhibited some of the strangest behavior ever seen: something dims 20 percent of its light, something that is beyond the size of a planet. It’s called KIC 8462852, but most people shorthand it Tabby’s Star, or Boyajian’s Star for its discoverer, Tabitha Boyajian.

Here’s the thing, though. Absolutely nobody knows why it’s dimming that much. It could be a massive fleet of comets or the debris of a planet. But it’s not giving off m …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: stars

Science Sushi

Older, wiser, deadlier: "blood nuking" effects of Australian brown snake venom acquired with age

By Christie Wilcox | May 19, 2017 7:00 am

There’s an age old belief that baby snakes are more dangerous than adult ones. There are generally two proposed reasons why this could be: either a) young snakes have yet to learn how to control how much venom they inject, so they deliver all of their venom per bite, or b) that because the snakes are smaller, they need more potent toxins to successfully take out their prey. The first is misleading, because even if baby snakes did dump all their venom into each bite, they still have so m …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Evolution, More Science, select, Top Posts

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Pop quiz: which animal communicates by farting?

By Seriously Science | May 19, 2017 6:00 am

Answer: Herring! It’s been known for quite some time that these fish make unusual sounds, but it wasn’t until these scientists captured wild herring and observed them in captivity that they realized these fish produce the sounds by expelling air through their anuses. Herring are more likely to make these “Fast Repetitive Tick Sounds” (abbreviated FRTs… we assume the pun is intended) when other fish are present, suggesting that FRTs are used for social communication. Now if only I could …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ha ha poop

D-brief

Cold War-era Nuclear Tests Created Belts of Charged Particles Around the Earth

By Nathaniel Scharping | May 18, 2017 2:33 pm

Up until 1963, both the U.S. and Soviet governments conducted over 500 atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. They blew up these weapons anywhere from 16 miles above Earth to 250, well into space. The resulting fallout is estimated to have raised levels of thyroid cancer across the country, and could one day even serve as a marker for the Anthropocene—the age of humans.

But the effects of these tests spread far beyond the surface of the Earth. A nuclear explosion creates a storm of charged …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Technology, top posts

ImaGeo

April marked the 388th month in a row that the global temperature was warmer than average

By Tom Yulsman | May 18, 2017 2:01 pm

To find a month when the global average temperature over the land and oceans was below average, you have to go all the way back to December 1984, according to the latest monthly analysis from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Including April 2017, that makes it 388 straight months in which the global temperature has been warmer than the 20th century average.

Like NASA’s independent analysis released earlier this week, NOAA finds that last month was the second warmest …

D-brief

The Power of Office Rituals

By Mark Barna | May 18, 2017 12:40 pm

Anthropologists have long studied how rituals bind practitioners together. From African tribes moving rhythmically around a fire to the scripted kneeling and standing by Catholics during Sunday mass, participants deepen group identity through ritual.

But ritual also spills over into business and social situations. “The great thing about ritual is that anywhere humans are, a ritual will be there,” says Nicholas Hobson, a psychology and neuroscience researcher at the University of Toron …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Seriously, Science?

Study reveals that women date men who look like their brothers.

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

Incest is generally not a good idea because children born of closely related parents can end up with genetic diseases. But some amount of genetic similarity between parents can actually be evolutionarily advantageous, as genes that evolve together tend to work best with each other in a given environment. So how do people select “optimally similar” mates? Well, these scientists hypothesized that mating with a distant relative might satisfy both ends: the relationship would be distant enough  …

ImaGeo

Polar eye candy: check out this spectacular aerial photo of a Greenlandic fjord from NASA's Operation IceBridge

By Tom Yulsman | May 17, 2017 6:59 pm

PLUS: a gallery of other compelling images from the mission

I’m always looking for cool imagery to use here at ImaGeo, and today I stumbled on this photo.

It’s of a fjord in southern Greenland, taken during Operation IceBridge’s final flight of the 2017 Arctic campaign, on May 12, 2017. Fractured sea ice floats between the towering cliffs, with a glacier visible in the far distance at the head of the fjord.

NASA posted the image here today. I’ve done some modest processing to correct …

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