Male goats reek. Yet somehow, their mere presence can turn female goats on. Now scientists think they have figured out how this “male effect” works: They’ve discovered a citrus-scented chemical that males emit that speaks directly to females, activating their reproductive brain region and ramping up their sex hormones.
The study is the first to uncover a single molecule that could be activating the entire female reproductive center, according to the researchers.
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope may be down, but it’s not out, and its data collection is the gift that keeps giving.
Scientists on Wednesday announced the discovery of 715 new exoplanets. As the largest windfall of validated planets the space agency has ever revealed at one time, it doubles the number of planets known to humanity outside our solar system.
All of these planets exist within multi-planet systems similar to our own, and 95 percent are smaller than Neptune. Four are even within the habitable zone, which means they could theoretically support life-giving liquid water on their surfaces. Read More
A long-discounted theory about the evolution of skin color may have had it right all along, new research suggests.
Darker skin gives individuals much greater protection from UV light-induced skin cancer. Pale-skinned people are roughly 1,000 times more likely than individuals with dark skin to suffer from the three most common skin cancers. But for years, researchers believed the lowered risk was an incidental benefit, not one derived through the pressure of natural selection.
Even Charles Darwin poo-poohed the notion that pigmentation could be an adaptive trait. A new study, however, finds evidence that skin cancer was in fact a driving evolutionary force for early hominids to have darker skin.
Any Sriracha devotee knows the spicy condiment will add a little zing to just about anything that’s edible. But in addition to spicing up a meal, the famous rooster sauce also gives you a naturally produced high.
Sriracha is made with a simple recipe of ground red chili peppers, vinegar, salt, sugar and some preservatives. The blend is so potent that Sriracha factories emit a problematically spicy pollution—the subject of a current lawsuit in California.
King Midas famously turned anything he touched to gold, a fun thought even if it didn’t work out too well for him. We like to say successful (or lucky) people today can metaphorically do the same, but it turns out that celebrities — certain celebrities at least — have a more literal version of the Midas touch.
A new study quantifies this “magical thinking” in regards to celebrity memorabilia — and it finds that, the more likeable a celeb, and the more time they spent touching the object, the greater its perceived value.
We all know Earth is a pretty cool place, but it’s been cool longer than previously thought. Using two dating techniques, scientists have confirmed that a tiny zircon, a mineral belonging to the group of neosilicates, from Western Australia’s Jack Hills region is indeed the oldest fragment of Earth’s crust, dating back 4.4 billion years.
The findings, from a team of researchers led by University of Wisconsin-Madison geoscience Professor John Valley, strengthen Valley’s theory that the infant planet was cool enough to support oceans and perhaps microbial life just 160 million years after the formation of the solar system. Read More
A new strain of marijuana has motivated hundreds of families with epileptic children to pack up and move to Colorado to legally obtain the drug. The jury is still out on whether this special pot strain does indeed have measurable benefits, or if it’s even safe, but drug companies are racing to replicate its effects in pill form.
The therapeutic pot strain, called Charlotte’s Web, is bred not have THC—the active ingredient in marijuana. Its namesake is 5-year-old Charlotte Figi, a Colorado girl who has Dravet’s syndrome. Charlotte reportedly went from having 300 seizures a week in 2010 to being virtually seizure-free two years later after connecting with a nonprofit that grows and produces an oil infused with the special marijuana strain. Read More
Next time you spot a muscly athlete showing off at the gym, try out this compliment: “Wow! You’ve got arms like fishing line.”
Though it may not be taken well, it’s actually a flattering comparison. Scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas have designed super strong artificial muscles by simply twisting and coiling ordinary fishing line. The coiled muscles can lift more than 100 times the weight of a human muscle of the same size, and generate as much mechanical power per kilogram as a jet engine — perhaps offering an inexpensive new material to move prosthetics and robotic exoskeletons.
On a smaller scale, the twisted yarns of polymers could also one day yield clothing with pores that open and close based on temperature, or climate-controlled window shutters.
“There are many types of artificial muscles that have been talked about in the literature for years,” said the study’s lead author Ray Baughman, director of the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas. “Very few are commercially used.”
Weather forecasts this winter have brought plenty of bad news. Today brings similarly disappointing news on the flu front. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their interim estimates for this year’s flu season, and those being hit the hardest aren’t who you’d expect.
Normally, flu most strongly affects those on the ends of the age spectrum: those under 4 years old and over 65. But so far in the 2013-2014 season, the greatest number of cases—and the greatest number of deaths from flu—fall into the young and middle-aged categories, the people often assumed to be the healthiest and heartiest. Some 61 percent of hospitalizations for influenza this season have been people between the ages of 18 and 64, up from 35 percent last season. The story is similar among deaths from flu: a surprising 60 percent occurred in the middle-age categories, up from last season’s 18 percent.
Neuroscientists from Harvard University have put a whole new spin on the age-old saying “monkey see, monkey do,” after their brain implants allowed one monkey to control the actions of another monkey. Their findings could someday allow paralyzed individuals to control movement of their own limbs.
Paralysis resulting from nerve or spinal cord damage is still a challenge for modern surgical techniques. Brain-machine interfaces in development now allow people to operate computers, or control robotic limbs — some of which can sense touch. However, the Harvard team’s technique could allow a person to use brain activity to move one’s own limbs. Read More