Tiny Bird Makes Epic 1700-Mile Trip Over Open Ocean

By Carl Engelking | April 1, 2015 1:26 pm

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A tiny songbird that summers in New England can pull off something even the biggest airline companies can’t: A nonstop flight from Vermont to Puerto Rico.

Every fall the blackpoll warbler embarks on an incredibly dangerous, nonstop flight from New England and eastern Canada to warmer temperatures in the Caribbean. Not only is the flight nonstop, the tiny birds’ course runs entirely over the turbulent waters of the Atlantic Ocean. For more than five decades, scientists believed this epic journey was taking place, and now an international team of biologists has confirmed it’s true. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Simple Facial Scans Reveal How Fast a Person Is Aging

By Carl Engelking | March 31, 2015 1:15 pm

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Aging is a fact of life, but at the physiological level we don’t all age at the same rate. So how to determine our bodies’ overall wear and tear?

Researchers have found that simple 3-D image scans of people’s faces can determine a person’s “biological age” more reliably than blood samples can. This technology could help doctors assess patients’ risk of age-related diseases and evaluate the efficacy of treatments. Read More

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

Cyclists Shine at Night Courtesy of New Reflective Spray

By Carl Engelking | March 30, 2015 2:02 pm

bikers

Riding a bicycle is a great way to get in shape while getting from point A to point B. But it also can be dangerous — especially at night.

In 2012, 45,000 cyclists were injured or killed on roads in the United States, with 29 percent of those injuries occurring from collision with a vehicle. Many times, drivers simply don’t see a bicyclist until it’s too late. That’s why Volvo has come up with a unique way to make cyclists stand out: transparent reflective spray. It’s invisible by day, and potentially life-saving by night. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: materials science

Watch Live as Scott Kelly Embarks on a Year-Long Mission to Space

By Carl Engelking | March 27, 2015 1:42 pm

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly’s bags are packed, and as we write this he’s strapped into the Russian Soyuz-TMA-16M spacecraft preparing for liftoff.

The launch is scheduled to occur at 3:42 EDT, and you can watch it all unfold right here. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: space exploration

Rare, Adorable Pika Photographed For First Time in Decades

By Carl Engelking | March 27, 2015 12:25 pm

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If you went out searching for the Ili pika in the moutains of China, odds are your search would be fruitless. And that’s a darn shame.

Seriously, look at that cuddly distant relative of the rabbit.

Sadly, Ili pikas are “vulnerable to extinction” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and as such, no one has seen the little critters for two decades. But last July, Li Weidong, the man who discovered the creatures in 1983, was reacquainted with an old fuzzy friend while climbing through the Tian Shan Mountains in central China. With his camera in tow, he made sure to snap the first picture of an Ili pika since Bill Clinton was president.

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Why Cold Cities Have More Exploding Manhole Covers

By Carl Engelking | March 27, 2015 11:24 am

manhole

In cold-weather cities in the U.S., slush, snow and wind aren’t the only inconveniences to contend with when the temperature drops; there’s also this small matter of exploding manholes.

Public works officials in New York City have fielded thousands of blown manhole reports throughout late 2014 and into this year, and crews in Indianapolis, weeks before hosting the Final Four, just installed locking manhole covers after two explosions were reported in highly trafficked areas. Similar stories are popping up — pun intended — around the country. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: energy, physics

Astronaut Twins Begin Unprecedented One-Year NASA Study

By Carl Engelking | March 26, 2015 10:27 am
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (right) and his twin brother Mark. Credit: Robert Markowitz/NASA

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (right) and his twin brother Mark. Credit: Robert Markowitz/NASA

NASA is about to take yet another bold step toward sending humans to Mars.

At 3:42pm Eastern time tomorrow afternoon, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly will strap into a Russian rocket and kiss Earth goodbye for an entire year to live on the International Space Station. Meanwhile, his identical twin Mark, a retired NASA astronaut himself, will stay here on Earth. Both men, though serving on vastly different fronts, are the guinea pigs in a big-time NASA study that will examine the physical and psychological effects of extended stays in space. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: space exploration

Super Slippery Bottle Means You Won’t Waste a Drop of Glue

By Carl Engelking | March 24, 2015 2:42 pm

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Glue is so good at sticking to things that it inevitably clings to the one place we need it the least: the inner wall of the bottle. But after more than 65 years holding school art projects together, one of the leading glue manufacturers has found a way out of this sticky situation.

Elmer’s will coat the inside of their bottles with a new, super-slick coating that will ensure every last drop goes where you need it. The company recently signed an exclusive license with LiquiGlide, the makers of a magically slippery substance. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: materials science

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

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

wood bison

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 lands their ancestors thundered upon for thousands of years. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Promising Alzheimer’s Drug Slows Cognitive Decline

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

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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 far elusive drug to battle the underlying causes of the disease. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain
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