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Body Horrors

2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded to Research in Anti-Parasitic Drugs

By Rebecca Kreston | October 5, 2015 9:36 pm

Three scientists that developed treatments for debilitating parasitic infections were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine today for their ground-breaking advancements in tropical medicine.

One half of the prize was awarded to Youyou Tu, a pharmacologist at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing. Her work in identifying anti-malarial compounds in the late 1960s was inspired by traditional Chinese herbal remedies. She screened thousands of these treatm …


The "Male Suicide Epidemic"

By Neuroskeptic | October 5, 2015 1:48 pm

The mass murder and suicide in a college in Oregon last week brought out the following claim by a professional troll:

So is there an epidemic of male suicides? I’ll assume we’re talking about the USA although what I’ll say goes for most other countries. Here are the facts:

Male suicide rates are much higher than female suicide rates. The most recent available data for the USA in from 2013, when the age-adjusted male:female suicide ratio was 3.68:1.
However, this male suicide bia …

The Crux

Fossils Reveal Extinct Mammals' True Colors

By Jakob Vinther, University of Bristol | October 5, 2015 11:51 am

The animal kingdom is full of color. Animals use it for camouflage, to advertise themselves and even as various forms of protection. But we haven’t been paying as much attention to what colors now-extinct mammals might have had – until now.

By matching samples of organic material to their chemical make up we’ve been able to determine the color of extinct bats and our novel research, published in PNAS, has the potential to work out colors in lots of other organisms.

Fossils usuall …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: animals, paleontology

Citizen Science Salon

Simons Foundation Grant to Enable Wider Availability of SciStarter's Project Finder

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) | October 5, 2015 10:00 am

The Simons Foundation just awarded a grant to SciStarter that will enable more communities, media partners, and websites to duplicate its valuable “Project Finder” feature and database of projects on their own pages. SciStarter aggregates more than 1100 citizen science projects on a single website in order to connect scientists and community leaders with anyone who wants to contribute to science. The Simons Foundation grant supports SciStarter’s creation of easy-to-use open and sha …



Poop on a Stick Tests Penguins' Sense of Smell

By Elizabeth Preston | October 2, 2015 11:35 am

Who doesn’t enjoy waking to a pleasant smell wafting past? Unfortunately for them, the penguins in a recent study woke up not to pancakes frying nearby, but to less appetizing aromas—for example, feces on a stick. But scientists promise the experiment taught them valuable lessons about a penguin’s capabilities. Besides, they let the birds go right back to sleep.

“Research into the sense of smell in birds has a bit of a dubious history,” says Gregory Cunningham, a biologist at St. Jo …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: birds, navigation, poo, smell, sound, top posts
MORE ABOUT: Animals, Senses

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Want to be happier? Skip the small talk.

By Seriously Science | October 2, 2015 6:00 am

We all know those people. Maybe you’re one of them. The person who manages, despite all the stress and work it takes to get through a normal day, to always be happy. How do they do it? What is their secret? Although it’s likely that genetics play a major role in determining one’s happiness, it’s also thought that behavior can help (or hinder) you on your path to bliss. These scientists asked whether the content of peoples’ conversation is related to their overall happiness. They re …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: feelings shmeelings


Although Joaquin Is Increasingly Likely to Stay at Sea, It Is Still Expected to Produce a "Truly Historic" Wind Event

By Tom Yulsman | October 1, 2015 8:29 pm

With 130 mile per hour winds, Hurricane Joaquin has now spun up into a dangerous Category 4 storm — and some additional strengthening is possible, according to this evening’s forecast discussion page of the National Hurricane Center.

But despite that unsettling news, the weather models have increasingly nudged Joaquin’s forecast track to the east. Although it is still too soon to say with certainty that the storm will stay at sea, that is looking increasingly likely.

Even if J …


Latest Update: Strong El Niño Persists, And It's Likely to Continue Into Spring. Here's Why.

By Tom Yulsman | October 1, 2015 11:23 am

Even as El Niño has strengthened over the past few months, it has always been possible that it would stall. But the latest report, released on September 29 by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, shows that it is still going strong:
The tropical Pacific ocean and atmosphere are reinforcing each other, maintaining a strong El Niño that is likely to persist into early 2016. Tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures are more than 2 °C above average, exceeding El Niño thresholds by well …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Climate, ENSO, Ocean, select, Top Posts, Weather

The Extremo Files

Could Modified Proteins Build the Microfactories of the Future?

By Jeffrey Marlow | October 1, 2015 9:09 am

The central production line of active biomolecules – from DNA to RNA to proteins – is an exquisitely fine-tuned process with a rich evolutionary heritage. From the four-base nucleotide alphabet, three-letter sets, or codons, specify one of 20 amino acids to build the enzymes that make metabolism happen.

There is, however, some room to maneuver, and biologists have found an important loophole to hack the system and introduce novel functions or sensing capabilities into different proteins.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: living world, top posts

Seriously, Science?

Sorry, science says cats simply can't love you the way dogs can.

By Seriously Science | October 1, 2015 6:00 am

We’re pretty sure this post is going to be hated by all the feline fanciers out there, but this study is just too good not to share. Here, researchers applied a test developed for use with children to investigate the relationships between cats and their humans. The SST can determine whether children, and apparently animals, view their caregivers as a source of safety in a threatening environment. It turns out that using this metric, dogs are “securely attached” to their owners, but cats ar …


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