Latest Blog Posts


We're Throwing Away Too Many Viable Kidneys, Study Suggests

By Cody Cottier | December 7, 2017 4:00 pm

Researchers found that thousands of potentially usable kidneys have gone to waste across the United States in recent years, leaving many patients waiting unnecessarily for transplants.

The study, published Thursday in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, highlights inefficiencies in the transplant system. According to data collected over the past 15 years, in roughly 7,600 unilateral kidney transplants—those in which one kidney was used and one discarded—about 5 …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: transplants

Out There

Aliens in the Mist

By Corey S. Powell | December 7, 2017 3:09 pm

What would happen if we found an intelligent alien civilization that was less advanced than our own? I posed this as a hypothetical question in a recent blog post. But really, it doesn’t need to be posed as a hypothetical. The answer is playing out right now in the forests of Africa, and it doesn’t reflect very well on us.

The gorillas of Rwanda and Congo are some of our closest living relatives. They are intelligent, socially complex primates. They are also critically endangered. Poachin …


Why Does Coffee Make You Poop?

By Lauren Sigfusson | December 7, 2017 1:49 pm

You may consume coffee to get your day started, as a pick-me-up, or to get you through a lengthy meeting. You may also drink it to, perhaps, get things moving along on schedule.

About 29 percent of people claim they felt the urge to poop after drinking coffee, according to a commonly cited study from 1990. But why? Discover reached out to a gastroenterology expert to see if we could get to the bottom of it.

Gastroenterology is the study of the digestive system, which starts at your mo …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: personal health

Dead Things

It's Official: Timeline For Human Migration Gets A Rewrite

By Gemma Tarlach | December 7, 2017 1:00 pm

The wealth of new paleoanthropological, archaeological and genetic evidence has passed the tipping point: In a review published today in the prestigious journal Science, researchers acknowledge that the conventional timeline of human migration out of Africa “can no longer be considered valid.”

The idea of an African homeland for our species is less than a century old, rooted in the discovery of early hominin fossils in South Africa in the ’20s and championed by individuals such as Ra …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts


Mark Your Calendars for a Superb Geminid Meteor Shower

By Alister Ling and Martin Ratcliffe, for Astronomy Magazine | December 7, 2017 11:13 am

The stars — or at least the Moon — will align this month for a terrific display of meteors.

The Geminid shower ranks as both the richest and most reliable of the annual meteor showers. It peaks the night of December 13/14 under a slim crescent Moon, whose feeble light won’t interfere even after it rises around 3:30 a.m. local time.

The meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Gemini, which rises around sunset and climbs nearly overhead by 2 a.m. The best views come th …

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


Large-scale Genetic Study Helps Untangle Male Sexuality

By Leah Froats | December 7, 2017 11:03 am

While the discussion of “nature versus nurture” dominates many areas of scientific research, the debate is particularly contentious when it comes to the origin of sexual preference.

However, multiple studies have found links between DNA and homosexuality. Building on this foundation, a new large-scale genetic study explores the roots of male sexual orientation, finding two regions of genetic variance in homosexual men.

The factors contributing to a person’s sexual preferences are …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts


Wrinkled Fingers Might Be Your Body's Rain Treads

By Nathaniel Scharping | December 7, 2017 10:54 am

Pruny fingers, they’re an unavoidable byproduct of a long bath or a turn washing the dishes. Though they may seem like little more than the puzzling cost of getting our hands wet, the phenomenon could actually be helping us keep a tight grip on those wine glasses.

If you’ve never thought about it, consider that fingers and toes are the only parts of our bodies that wrinkle up (as a result of constricting blood vessels) when exposed to water for extended periods. It can’t be an intrinsic p …

Seriously, Science?

The bad news: your ice cubes are full of bacteria. The good news: we know how to kill it!

By Seriously Science | December 7, 2017 6:00 am

Yup, you read that right: according to this study, the ice you make in your freezer is full of bacteria, and some of it is the bad kind. Store-bought ice isn’t too bad, but you might want to be suspicious about the ice from your local watering hole. The good news is that many drinks we pour over the ice can kill those bacteria, including “alcohol, CO2, pH and antibacterial ingredients of vodka, whisky, Martini, peach tea, tonic water and coke.” I guess that makes it a carbonated peach tea w …

Citizen Science Salon

Saving Sea Turtles Through Community Litter Cleanups

By Guest | December 6, 2017 7:25 pm

By: Christi Hughes

In January 2016, a young sea turtle named Grace was found floating cold and listless next to a dock in Awendaw, South Carolina. She was rescued by compassionate locals to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center™ for life-saving medical treatment. Grace, who was the size of a dinner plate, ultimately required exploratory surgery to remove a piece of flexible plastic about the size of a silver dollar­– very likely from a single-use plastic grocery bag – from …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment


Plate Tectonics on Europa Boost Odds for Finding Life

By Alison Klesman | December 6, 2017 3:17 pm

On Earth, the theory of plate tectonics describes the way large pieces of the planet’s crust move and interact. These pieces, or plates, slide over the mantle, the malleable outer layer of Earth’s core. Now, new research indicates that the frozen surface of Europa, one of Jupiter’s four largest moons, may also experience plate tectonics. If so, this process could be a way to transport materials — such as nutrients for life — to the liquid water ocean just beneath the moon’s icy c …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

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