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Seriously, Science?

The latest cat fashion trend also protects local birds.

By Seriously Science | March 24, 2015 6:00 am

Some people are surprised to find out that domestic cats are a major threat to bird populations — in the United States alone, cats kill over one BILLION birds each year. Fortunately, these Australian scientists are on the case. They tested a commercial product (made in the USA) called “Birdsbesafe®”, a collar cover that bears a strong resemblance to a hair scrunchie. The idea is that the colorful collar makes it easier for birds and other prey to see the cat coming, reducing Fluffy’s huntin …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals

Drone 360

Smuggling Drugs Into Prison Via Drone Fails, Again

By Carl Engelking | March 23, 2015 4:33 pm

Prison bosses in the United Kingdom — and the rest of the world for that matter — are adding drones to the list of security issues demanding their attention.

Earlier this month, guards at HMP Bedford in Bedfordshire, England, breathed a sigh of relief after a DJI Phantom 2 carrying a payload of drugs, weapons and mobile phones crashed into the razor wire surrounding the prison. The identity of the pilot is still unknown, but prison officials are now on the lookout for copycat attempt …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Top Posts

D-brief

Wood Bison Roam the U.S. for First Time in a Century

By Carl Engelking | March 23, 2015 2:41 pm

After vanishing from their wild habitats over a century ago, wood bison, the largest land mammals native to North America, now roam freely in Alaska once again.

The first group of 30 juvenile wood bison arrived in the rural Alaskan village of Shageluk after making a one-hour flight from the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center on Sunday. Over the next several weeks, 70 more wood bison will make the same trip before ultimately being released as a herd into the Inoko Flats — the same land …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Citizen Science Salon

Journey North: Tracking the Stories of Survival with Citizen Science

By Ian Vorster | March 22, 2015 9:00 am

It was a crisp morning following a cold night in Goleta’s Coronado Monarch Butterfly Preserve. As Luke crossed a beam that had been dropped across a swampy area, he looked up at the Eucalyptus grove and sighed quietly. “Where are the butterflies Dad,” he asked me—with one part expectation and one part disappointment.

“They’re meant to be roosting up there in the leafy branches,” I motioned before adding, “hopefully.” But we didn’t immediately see any monarchs in th …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment

Neuroskeptic

Can Neuroscience Teach Us About Winemaking?

By Neuroskeptic | March 22, 2015 5:52 am

Modern winemakers may have erred when they switched to producing high alcohol wines. According to a new paper, from Spanish neuroscientists Ram Frost and colleagues, a low alcohol content wine actually produces more brain activity in ‘taste processing’ areas than more alcoholic varieties do.

But what does the brain really have to say about Beaujolais? Can scanning help us pick a Sauvignon? Will neuroimaging reveal the secret to a good… er… Nero d’Avola?

In their paper, publishe …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: drugs, fMRI, neurofetish, science, select, Top Posts

Collide-a-Scape

Frankenjournalism at MSNBC

By Keith Kloor | March 21, 2015 7:15 am

Two years ago, a bill to label foods that contained genetically engineered ingredients was introduced into Congress by a Democratic representative from Oregon and a Democratic senator from California. It didn’t go anywhere, and we haven’t heard much about it, though since then proposed mandatory GMO labeling laws in some states have been in the news. As Nathanael Johnson wrote in Grist last year, these initiatives draw media interest, which often helps to educate consumers that are mostly clue …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Uncategorized

Neuroskeptic

Can Monkeys Get Depressed?

By Neuroskeptic | March 20, 2015 5:19 pm

According to a new study from Chinese neuroscientists Fan Xu and colleagues, some monkeys can experience depression in a similar way to humans.

The researchers studied cynomolgus monkeys, also known as crab-eating macaques (Macaca fascicularis), a species native to Southeast Asia. Cynomolgus monkeys are highly social animals. Xu et al. previously showed that isolating a monkey from its companions caused it to develop depression-like behaviors. In their new paper, the authors say that they’v …

Drone 360

Amazon Gets FAA Permission to Test Delivery Drones

By Carl Engelking | March 20, 2015 3:48 pm

When the Federal Aviation Administration released its draft regulations for commercial drone flight last month, it appeared Amazon’s ambitions to launch a drone delivery service were effectively grounded.

But things aren’t always as they appear, and the Internet retailer’s delivery drones may still have a fighting chance.

On Thursday, the FAA issued Amazon a special “experimental airworthiness certificate,” which allows the company to conduct outdoor research to test its flee …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts

D-brief

Promising Alzheimer's Drug Slows Cognitive Decline

By Carl Engelking | March 20, 2015 1:57 pm

The search for an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease has been riddled with failures, but a promising new drug could serve as a rare success story for those living with mild forms of the condition.

Biogen Idec, a Massachusetts-based company, announced Friday that a drug they’re testing effectively slowed the mental decline of some patients and reduced levels of amyloid plaques in their brains. Although the results are from an early-stage study, they offer hope of finding the so  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain

The Crux

Six Things Facebook (Thinks It) Knows About Your Love Life

By Sarah Scoles | March 20, 2015 1:24 pm

Facebook is watching you, collecting data on your every interaction and feeding it to their data scientists, who are hungry for correlations. But you know that, and you accept it as the price to live in the modern world (you probably even know that Facebook is manipulating you).

And Facebook’s data-science team is particularly interested in your romantic life. They’ve been watching you hook up and break up and, according to a recent presentation by Facebook employee Carlos Diuk, they …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts
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