Scientists Are Making Modern-Day Mummies in the Lab

By Carl Engelking | May 22, 2015 3:19 pm


The ancient Egyptian practice of preserving bodies through mummification is no longer the preferred method to pay homage to our dead, but it is still alive and well in research labs.

We’ve learned a lot about mummification from historical texts and actual mummies, but to truly understand the original embalmers’ secrets, scientists are following millennia-old recipes to make modern-day mummies. In turn, these 21st century mummies are producing new insights about their ancient forebears. Read More

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

Billboards Use DNA to Identify and Shame Litterers

By Carl Engelking | May 21, 2015 3:26 pm
DNA billboards

(Credit: Ogilvy)

The litterbugs that make the world their personal dumpster can no longer hide in the shadows, thanks to an alarming and futuristic ad campaign.

If you toss an empty coffee cup or cigarette butt onto the street in Hong Kong, you could find a computer-generated image of your face plastered on a billboard at a bus stop. Thanks to a technique called DNA phenotyping, it’s now possible to digitally sketch a person’s face based on telltale genetic markers, which is a useful tool for criminal investigators and environmental activists alike.

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts

Month of June Will Be One Second Longer This Year

By Carl Engelking | May 21, 2015 1:24 pm


If your birthday is June 30, our planet has a special gift for you this year. Thanks to Earth’s rotation, your special day will last 24 hours and one second.

Come midnight Coordinated Universal Time June 30, the official time will read 23:59:60 rather than resetting to 00:00:00. The extra second, or “leap second,” is needed to resynchronize our land-based clocks with Earth’s rotation, which is slowing down ever so slightly each year. This is the 26th time we’ve added a second to the day since the practice began in 1972. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: math, physics

New Type of Drug Shows Promise in Battling Obesity

By Kiona Smith-Strickland | May 21, 2015 11:10 am

obese woman on scale

Thunder God Vine is a thoroughly deadly plant: Its flowers, leaves, and roots are all highly toxic. But new research suggests that a compound found in its roots could be a brand-new approach to treat obesity.

A compound called Celastrol, found in the roots of Thunder God Vine, may increase the body’s sensitivity to hormones that help fight obesity, according to new research. Mice given oral doses of Celastrol lost an average of about 45 percent of their body weight – and they lost body fat, not lean mass.

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts

VIDEO: Time-Lapse of a Bee’s Birth, From Egg to Adult, in 60 Seconds

By Carl Engelking | May 21, 2015 9:45 am

Watching a wriggling, translucent egg transform into a full-grown bee in 60 seconds is certainly amazing.

But there’s a deeper purpose behind this unprecedented video produced by photographer Anand Varma. He partnered with the bee lab at the University of California, Davis, to visually document the first 21 days of a bee’s life in order to better understand what’s making them disappear in alarming numbers. You see, one of the biggest threats to bee colonies today is a tiny parasitic mite from Asia: Varroa destructor. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Video Games May Have Negative Effects on the Brain

By Ben Thomas | May 20, 2015 4:06 pm

video games

Video games are a favored target for various kinds of hand-wringing, about things as diverse as obesity, ADHD, and violence. In many cases the evidence is scant. Now, another item has been added to that list.

A small study has found that people who play action games on a regular basis may undergo brain changes associated with certain kinds of neurological and psychiatric disorders. If this linkage holds up under scrutiny, it could mean that gamers are putting their minds at risk.

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, top posts

Young Blood Heals Fractures in Older Bones

By Carl Engelking | May 20, 2015 3:22 pm


The mythical “Fountain of Youth” isn’t in some far-off land; it’s flowing beat-by-beat inside every single young person.

Young blood, it turns out, contains special healing properties that seem to fade away as we get older. Scientists in a new study showed that old mouse bones healed faster after a fracture when they were enriched with fresh blood from a young mouse. The findings indicate that, rather than old bones themselves being the problem, fractures in the elderly could be addressed by targeting blood proteins. Read More

World’s Oldest Stone Tools Predate Humans

By Carl Engelking | May 20, 2015 12:31 pm

Tool unearthed at excavation site. Credit: MPK-WTAP

This is an updated version of our post from April 2015.

Archaeologists say they’ve unearthed the world’s oldest stone tools made by human ancestors at a dig site in Kenya.

The set of 149 stone flakes, hammers and anvils, found off the shores of Lake Turkana, appears to have been crafted more than 3.3 million years ago — 500,000 years before our genus Homo, designating the first fully fledged humans, came to be. The implications, if the evidence holds up, will be far-reaching, since it has long been believed that tool-making was a skill exclusive to Homo. Read More

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

Genetically Modified Yeast Can ‘Home-Brew’ Morphine

By Carl Engelking | May 19, 2015 3:11 pm


In the near future, amateur basement brewers mulling over their next batch may struggle to choose between concocting an IPA or an opioid.

Scientists have recently announced that they’ve genetically engineered brewer’s yeast to convert common sugars into pain-killing opioids like codeine and morphine. The process is simple enough that hobbyists could easily brew morphine with a run-of-the-mill brewing kit — if they get their hands on yeast with the right genetic tweaks.  Read More

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

Scientists Identify the World’s First Warm-Blooded Fish

By Carl Engelking | May 15, 2015 2:39 pm

This opah was caught during an NOAA Fisheries survey off the California coast. (Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Southwest Fisheries Science Center)

All fish are cold-blooded.

Just a week ago, that statement would have been true. But on Thursday, scientists announced they discovered the world’s first warm-blooded fish, the opah, forcing us to rethink some of the most basic biological concepts we learned back in elementary school. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Discover's Newsletter

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


Briefing you on the must-know news and trending topics in science and technology today.

See More

Collapse bottom bar

Login to your Account

E-mail address:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »