The road to good health is paved with plenty of sleep.
Parents and doctors have repeated this bit of wisdom for years; however, the link between your sleeping patterns and the onset of sickness was a parable based on correlation – not causation, the ultimate aim of scientific inquiry.
But scientists have proven that, as always, your mother was correct: It turns out that people who skimp on sleep are four times more likely to catch a cold than the well rested.
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.
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 shocks to teach the birds to avoid these dangerous obstacles. Read More
We often think of our homes as clean and the outdoors as dirty, but it turns out that our homes actually contain a more diverse population of microbes than the dirt outside — and most of them came from you and your pets.
That’s the finding of a new study that surveyed the fungi and bacteria in 1200 houses across the U.S.
A dog’s nose knows best, even in the digital age.
By now you’ve probably heard about the downfall of former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle, who has said he will plea guilty to having paid minors for sex and having obtained child pornography. But an interesting factoid of the case is that justice was served thanks to dogs trained to sniff out electronics. From iPads to tiny memory cards, these dogs with a rare talent are finding themselves in high demand in an era rife with cyber crime. Read More
Humans aren’t the only beings to reach for the medicine cabinet when they get sick. It turns out animals large and small know what it takes to cure what ails them.
Ants are the latest non-humans to make it on the list of self-medicating creatures, after researchers in Finland observed them ingesting hydrogen peroxide to cure their fungal infections. Though scientists have hypothesized ants and other insects fight infections by ingesting therapeutic substances, it’s now safe to say, conclusively, that they do. Read More
Planning a vacation is a daunting task, so why not let big data take the reins?
That’s exactly what data scientist Randy Olson did. Using specialized algorithms and Google Maps, Olson computed an optimized road trip that minimizes backtracking while hitting 45 of Business Insider’s “50 Places in Europe You Need to Visit in Your Lifetime.” (Five locations were omitted simply because you can’t reach them by car.)
They’re ugly. They’re misshapen. They’re perfectly edible. But these fruit and veggies will never make it to the produce section in your grocery store.
Vast quantities of asymmetrical fruit and veggies are cast aside on the farm simply because we like our roughage to look beautiful before we chew it up in our mouths. Now a new start-up, called Imperfect, hopes to change that. The company plans to collect rejected produce and ship 10-14 pounds of oddball deliciousness to your doorstep, and it’ll only cost $12. Read More
Scientists have long puzzled over how our solar system’s planets formed, because this isn’t a process they can watch unfold. Researchers have generally thought that Jupiter and Saturn grew out of collisions of smaller clumps of rock and ice, building up proto-planets called planetesimals. But the prevailing model produced far too many.
Scientists’ new computer model found a way for these massive wonders to form from mere collections of pebbles.
Hummingbirds’ whole survival strategy is built around motion. Since they can’t afford to linger too long at one flower, they’ve evolved a way to drink nectar in a hurry.
And a new study using super slow-motion video indicates their tongues do that in a very different way than previously thought. Instead of siphoning up nectar using capillary action, hummingbird tongues are actually pumping liquid up in a very unexpected way. That discovery flies in the face of what biologists have thought for more than a century.