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D-brief

Wasp Venom Selectively Assassinates Cancer Cells

By Kiona Smith-Strickland | September 1, 2015 11:28 am

Many wasp species have chemicals in their venom that kill bacteria. In the last few years, researchers have found that some of these chemicals also kill cancer cells, though exactly how they work has remained a mystery.

Now a new study has described exactly how one of these chemicals works its cancer-fighting magic: by tearing holes in the cancer cells’ outer layer.

Marked for Destruction
The venom of the Brazilian wasp Polybia paulista contains a molecule called MP1. It’s been  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Living World

Inkfish

Parasitized Bees May Self-Medicate with Nectar

By Elizabeth Preston | September 1, 2015 11:06 am

Mary Poppins taught us that a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. A bumblebee’s favorite sugary drink may already be laced with medicine. And bees seem to dose themselves with medicinal nectar when they’re suffering from a gut full of parasites.

Plants manufacture many chemical compounds to defend against attackers. Some of these are familiar to humans—like capsaicin, the potent weapon made by chili pepper plants. But not every animal enjoys painful food experiences like w …

Body Horrors

A Weapon from the Soil

By Rebecca Kreston | August 31, 2015 9:47 pm

It is common knowledge that the discovery of penicillin in the laboratory of Alexander Fleming radically changed the world of medicine and public health, allowing us to treat and cure once intractable and deadly bacterial infections. Less well-known is the winding road from discovery, past numerous roadblocks including production limitations and the second World War, to widespread use. A decade and a half of limited access to the world’s first antibiotic came to an end in 1943, when a prol …

D-brief

Shock Therapy is Saving Endangered California Condors

By Carl Engelking | August 31, 2015 2:27 pm

North America’s largest bird is on the verge of extinction, and scientists are using shock therapy to give them a fighting chance.

The California condor’s wings stretch nearly 10 feet across to help them glide atop air currents while they search for a meal to scavenge. Power lines are a formidable foe for these birds because their large size makes it easier for them to be electrocuted.

Now, with fewer than 500 California condors remaining, researchers are administering gentle shock …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Seriously, Science?

Strong-stomached scientists develop a (hilarious) hand-pumped artificial vomiting machine.

By Seriously Science | August 31, 2015 6:00 am

When a friend has a stomach bug and you hold her hair back while she blows chunks, are you at risk for inhaling aerosolized virus? Well, that’s exactly what these scientists wondered. But who wants to spend months hanging out at the hospital in the hopes that someone with a stomach bug walks in and lets you measure how many viral particles get aerosolized when they puke? Let’s just go ahead and say (or hope) no one. So, to answer the question, these scientists built a vomit machine–that …

Citizen Science Salon

Does Your Personality Affect Your Dog? Here's How You Can Find Out

By Guest | August 31, 2015 5:25 am

Researchers are trying to find out how your personality affects your dog’s behavior. Learn how you can participate in the largest citizen science project of its kind.

by Kristin Butler

When I adopted my dog Kia from a puppy rescue center three years ago, I became a member of a growing sub-culture of people who focus their time, money, and love on their dogs.

Once valued for their ability to perform work, dogs are now more often considered to be a part of the family. This trend is evid …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Living World

ImaGeo

First Time on Record: Three Category-4 Hurricanes Swirl East of the International Dateline at the Same Time

By Tom Yulsman | August 30, 2015 4:53 pm

The unusually warm waters of the Pacific Ocean have helped spawn three hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean.

And according to Scott Bachmeier of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, this is something we haven’t seen before: three hurricanes rated at category-4 swirling east of the dateline at one time.

You can see them lined up in the screenshot above, from an animation of satellite images. Click it and be mesmerized by this synoptic view of hurricanes Kilo,  …

Body Horrors

Venus & Aesculapius: The Gloves of Love

By Rebecca Kreston | August 28, 2015 8:40 pm

Advancements in the medical sciences follow a well-trod path: observation of a problem, reasoned hypothesis and experimentation, and implementation of a solution. This course is governed by logic and, occasionally, reinforced by unorthodox thinking with the ultimate goal of improving the viability of man. An exception to this rule is the invention of the rubber glove. One of the most important breakthroughs in the practice of medicine was born not of careful problem-solving and the scientific p …

The Crux

Six Amazing Sights That Look Even Better From Space

By Miho Janvier, University of Dundee | August 28, 2015 3:57 pm

Imagine seeing the lights of cities spreading around the Nile Delta and then in less than an hour gazing down on Mount Everest. The astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are among the lucky few who will have this humbling, once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing the beauty of Earth from space.

The ISS doesn’t just offer spectacular and countless views of the natural and man-made landscapes of our planet. It also immerses its residents into the Earth’s space environment and …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: space exploration

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Sexually aroused by farts? You're not alone.

By Seriously Science | August 28, 2015 1:49 pm

The saying goes “to each his own,” and that definitely holds true for fetishes. This paper describes a person with “eproctophilia”, which is the term for when someone is sexually aroused by flatulence. The first half of the article is included below. Warning–it’s a bit of a wild ride!

Eproctophilia in a Young Adult Male

“Olfactophilia (also known as osmolagnia, osphresiolagnia, and ozolagnia) is a paraphilia where an individual derives sexual pleasure from smells and odors (Aggrawal,  …

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