Latest Blog Posts

Citizen Science Salon

Making Citizen Science Tools Accessible and Discoverable

By Guest | December 4, 2016 8:34 am

At SciStarter, we aim to make it easy to find and join meaningful citizen science projects. Choose a location, activity, or topic to find appropriate adventures and learn more about the project and what tools (sensors, digital scales, rain gauges, etc) are needed to participate. But, for many projects and would-be participants, there are challenges to accessing the right tools for the job. (We define “tools” as equipment not usually found at home.) So, we took the follow steps to find a solu …


Citizen Science Salon

Citizen Scientists, Citizen Educators

By Eva Lewandowski | December 3, 2016 1:29 pm

When most people think about citizen scientists, they tend to think of them as data collectors, volunteering their time to report wildlife sightings, gather microbe samples, or transcribe old weather reports. It’s true that data collection is the primary task of most citizen scientists, but many volunteers take their participation a step further by designing experiments, analyzing data, and conducting education and outreach. The last task is the one that I think is the most interesting and acc …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Education


An Imposing Egyptian Queen, Survived Only By Her Knees

By Nathaniel Scharping | December 2, 2016 4:19 pm

After years of speculation, researchers have proven that a pair of mummified knees found in Egypt’s Valley of the Queens once belonged to Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramses the Great.

The partial legs are all that remain of the legendarily beautiful Nefertari, who was buried in a lavish tomb during Egypt’s 19th Dynasty, around the 13th century B.C. At some point after her death, robbers ransacked the tomb.
Everything But The Knees
It was likely during this raid that her body was dismember …

MORE ABOUT: archaeology


Parkour Athletes Teach Scientists about Swinging Apes

By Elizabeth Preston | December 2, 2016 12:40 pm

“I was at a conference, and a colleague was talking about the locomotion of great apes in the trees,” says Lewis Halsey, a physiologist at the University of Roehampton in London. The colleague mentioned that it’s tough to measure how these animals use energy. That’s when Halsey had an epiphany. “I was working with parkour athletes on another project,” he says, studying how much energy the athletes used while jumping and climbing around a city. Why not use these human athletes to stand  …



For Cancer Patients, Psilocybin Brings Much-needed Relief

By Nathaniel Scharping | December 1, 2016 3:18 pm

Two recent studies of psilocybin, the psychoactive compound in so-called magic mushrooms, contend that the chemical can act as a powerful remedy for cancer patients suffering from depression and anxiety.

The two studies, one from New York University and one from Johns Hopkins University, are the largest and most rigorous studies of psilocybin and depression in decades, and they report that the anti-depressant effects of the drug can last for months, offering relief to chronically ill pat …

Citizen Science Salon

Thankful for the Holidays and Citizen Science

By acrall | December 1, 2016 3:17 pm

Last week was Thanksgiving, and all of us at SciStarter contributed to a list of which citizen science projects we are most thankful for. Although a number of projects came to mind, one stood out for me because it actually pulled me into the field of citizen science. This was ten years ago, and at that time, if someone had asked me what citizen science was, I would not have had an answer. So, what happened to bring about this shift in my career interests?

I was working at the Natural Resource …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Technology


Found: A Missing Link in Whale Evolution

By Jon Tennant | December 1, 2016 2:03 pm

Whales are some of largest animals to ever exist on Earth, and they have an incredible evolutionary history.

Modern species can be divided into two major groups depending on their feeding style: the toothed carnivores, such as the killer whale, and those such as the blue whale that use comb-like ‘baleen’ to filter enormous amounts of plankton from seawater. Baleen is formed from a series of plates made from keratin that hang suspended from the upper jaw, and provide a distinct filte …

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

Seriously, Science?

Hardcore bee species builds its nest in ash by an active volcano(!)

By Seriously Science | December 1, 2016 1:14 pm

Bees can fly anywhere, so you’d think they’d have their choice of places to live. Well, these ground-nesting bees are so hardcore that they chose to live in the ash next to an active volcano. But why? In this paper, the authors attempt to explain why the bees might pick such a hazardous location, which is exposed to “continuous, strongly acidic gas emissions.” Their conclusion? “Notwithstanding the extreme nature of the site, and the co-occurrence of specialist natural enemies and predators …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals, WTF?

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Which sexual fantasies are the most (and least) popular? Science finally weighs in!

By Seriously Science | December 1, 2016 6:00 am

Sexual fantasies: we all have them, yet many people think they’re in the minority when it comes to their own fantasy of choice. Enter these scientists, who took it upon themselves to catalog the most common sexual fantasies in a population of 1,516 people from Quebec, Canada. Turns out that very few fantasies are truly rare; the rest are primarily ranked as “common”, while a few are so common as to be “typical” (e.g., “receiving oral sex”).  Curious where you rank on the list? See below for …


Out There

The Human Footprint on Mars is Expanding...Sometimes Faster Than We'd Like

By Corey S. Powell | November 30, 2016 11:45 pm

It will be a long time until humans put boots on Mars–at least until the 2030s and possibly a lot longer, depending on what the incoming Trump administration thinks about NASA’s unfunded exploration plans. But through our robotic emissaries, we have already made quite a mark on the planet. The newest one, on October 19, was the sad and unexpected splat from the European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli probe. Apparently, betrayed by an errant altitude reading from one of its instruments, the la …

MORE ABOUT: Curiosity, ESA, rover

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collapse bottom bar