Latest Blog Posts


Boosting Testosterone Helps Women Run Longer, Study Finds

By Leslie Nemo | October 15, 2019 5:30 pm

Caster Semenya (right) competes during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Semenya filed a discrimination lawsuit against the International Association of Athletics Federations, challenging a rule that female athletes’ testosterone levels must be below a certain limit. (Credit: CP DC Press/Shutterstock)

New research finds that women with boosted testosterone levels develop more lean muscle mass and can run longer before getting tired.

Though some researchers and activists think t …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts


Jupiter Shields Europa from Cosmic Rays That Could Erase Evidence of Life

By Erika K. Carlson | October 15, 2019 5:19 pm

(Credit: Britney Schmidt/Dead Pixel VFX/Univ. of Texas at Austin)

Europa, one of Jupiter’s four largest moons, has an ocean of liquid water beneath its icy crust. In the coming years, scientists hope to send probes to the world to study the chemistry of its ocean and look for possible signs of alien life. One challenge is figuring out whether radiation hitting Europa would tamper with potential chemical evidence of life.

Luckily, it seems scientists won’t have to worry too much abou …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts


Boeing's Starliner Spacecraft Preps for Test Flights Ahead of Bringing Astronauts to ISS

By Hailey Rose McLaughlin | October 15, 2019 4:28 pm

Boeing’s Starliner capsule. (Credit: NASA)

NASA has confirmed that the aerospace company Boeing is pushing forward with their new Starliner crew capsule, which aims to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2020. But before the craft is deemed fit to carry a crew, it still must clear two critical tests.

The first test — the Pad Abort Test — will ensure the craft’s escape system works as expected during an emergency on the launch pad. That test is set to take pla …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: human spaceflight

The Crux

China and Europe Want to Build More Powerful Supercolliders. Is it Worth it?

By Yuen Yiu | October 15, 2019 4:15 pm

Particle collisions event simulation at 13,000 GeV in the CMS, a general-purpose detector at the Large Hadron Collider. (Credit: CERN)

(Inside Science) — In 2012, particle physicists detected the long-sought-after Higgs boson for the first time. This particle was the last missing puzzle piece of what physicists call the Standard Model — the most thoroughly tested set of physical laws that govern our universe. The Higgs discovery was made possible by a giant machine in Europe, known as the  …


The Crux

How Scientists Know Our Human Ancestors Ate Insects

By Bridget Alex | October 15, 2019 10:54 am

Today, insect eating is on the rise. Did our ancestors chow down on the critters, too? (Credit: CK Bangkok Photography/Shutterstock)

Anticipating food shortages in coming decades, some companies are touting insects as tomorrow’s protein source. Entrepreneurs are jumping on board and chips made of crickets are hitting grocery shelves. But scientists advise caution, saying more research is needed on the environmental impact of rearing insects at an industrial scale.

As sustainability exp …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts


A Frank Look at Female Orgasms and Rabbits

By Neuroskeptic | October 15, 2019 4:04 am

A very weak paper in PNAS has attracted some attention lately: An experimental test of the ovulatory homolog model of female orgasm

The paper aims to be a test of the hypothesis that the human female orgasm is a kind of evolutionary relic from an earlier stage in evolution.

In humans, ovulation happens on a monthly cycle and is not related to sexual activity. However, in some mammal species, such as rabbits, ovulation is triggered by sex (or copulation, as biologists say). In the new  …

The Crux

Fatal Familial Insomnia: The Disease That Kills By Stealing Sleep

By Nathaniel Scharping | October 11, 2019 4:56 pm

(Credit: Rachata Teyparsit/Shutterstock)

A brief bout of insomnia can be maddening. You know what it feels like. We all do. Lying awake chasing feverish thoughts from our minds while the slow tick of passing minutes compounds sleep-stealing anxiety.

For most of us, these episodes are a brief interruption to our sleep schedules. Others experience more persistent insomnia, but at a level that’s often manageable. But for a very rare group of people with a frightening disease called fatal fam …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, Top Posts

Rocky Planet

Humans Are Causing a Larger Impact on the Planet than an Asteroid Impact or Flood Basalt

By Erik Klemetti | October 11, 2019 10:22 am

Volcanic plume from Soufriere Hills on Montserrat, see from the ISS on October 11, 2009. Image: NASA.

Carbon dioxide! Little did we realize 100 years ago how this simple gas would become such a cultural lightning rod. Yet here we are, in what might be an existential fight focused on how much carbon dioxide humans pump into Earth’s atmosphere. It isn’t a little bit, either. No, humans might now be the gold standard in carbon dioxide emissions in the history of the planet.

Let’s get a few t …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Rocky Planet, Science, Science Blogs

Citizen Science Salon

Explore biodiversity around you

By cnickerson | October 10, 2019 8:53 am

Do you want to know more about the world around you?

iNaturalist allows anyone, anywhere to contribute to a global record of biodiversity by uploading pictures of plants and animals with their smartphone or computer. In a new podcast episode, co-host Justin Schell talks with Dr. Carrie Seltzer, the Stakeholder Engagement Strategist for iNaturalist, and with representatives and a volunteer from the Appalachian Mountain club.

Tip: add your iNaturalist username to your Sc …

Dead Things

Siamraptor suwati: First Bitey Dino of Its Kind in Southeast Asia

By Gemma Tarlach | October 9, 2019 1:00 pm

A reconstruction of the predatory dinosaur’s skull based on partial fossils of Siamraptor suwati. (Credit: Chokchaloemwong et al., 2019)

Siamraptor suwati joins the ranks of predatory dinosaurs known to science — and it’s the first of its lineage from Southeast Asia, giving its discovery greater significance.

When it comes to bitey dinos, most people think of T. rex and
velociraptors (thanks, Jurassic Park…). But if toothy terrors are
your thing, you should really get to know the  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: paleontology

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