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D-brief

Scientists Discover the Origin of Swiss Cheese's Holes

By Carl Engelking | May 29, 2015 2:18 pm

Sandwich lovers around the world will forever remember 2015 as the year scientists solved the great Swiss cheese mystery.

After nearly a century of research, scientists in Switzerland — of course — have finally discovered why Swiss cheese has holes, and it has nothing to do with hungry mice. Rather, it’s tiny flecks of hay that fall into the milk during production that give Swiss cheese its distinctive appearance, according to experts from Agroscope, a governmental agriculture rese …

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

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Scientifically induced anger is remarkably like visiting the DMV.

By Seriously Science | May 29, 2015 6:00 am

Let’s face it–anger is a very real part of everyday life these days. And evidence is piling up that it has very real effects on our health. But how is that evidence gathered? How do researchers collect well-controlled data on how anger changes our physiology? Well, one way is by experimentally inducing anger. And to do that, it sounds like these researchers may have just taken a tip from one of those companies well known for their lack of customer service: “In the harassment condition,  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: feelings shmeelings

D-brief

Quiz: Test Your Energy IQ

By Carl Engelking | May 28, 2015 6:08 pm

[slickquiz id=4]

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, top posts

D-brief

VIDEO: New Breed of Robots Can Adapt to Injury

By Carl Engelking | May 28, 2015 4:14 pm

A new breed of robots have proven that losing a limb or two really is “just a flesh wound.”

Roboticists Antoine Cully and Jean-Baptiste Moret have built an algorithm that allows robots to detect damage — like losing a leg — and alter their walking motion in order to remain operational. Like an animal that injured its paw, these robots teach themselves to walk with a limp when the going gets tough.
Learning to Limp
For a six-legged robot, if just one leg malfunctions, it’s game …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: robots

D-brief

Reduce Your Prejudices While You Sleep

By Xiaoqing Hu, University of Texas at Austin | May 28, 2015 1:33 pm

Your brain does a lot when you are asleep. It’s when you consolidate memories, and integrate the things you’ve learned during the day into your existing knowledge structure. We now have lots of evidence that while you are sleeping, specific memories can be reactivated and thus strengthened.

We wondered whether sleep could play a role in undoing implicit social biases. These are the learned negative associations we make through repeat exposure – things like stereotypes about women no …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, top posts

Inkfish

Butterflies Have an Extra Stomach Attached to Their Vaginas

By Elizabeth Preston | May 28, 2015 10:31 am

One thing you won’t find in the story of the Very Hungry Caterpillar is the part where after transforming into a butterfly, he mates with a female who has a Very Hungry Reproductive Tract waiting to devour his sperm. She has a special digestive organ just for this purpose. It’s so powerful that it could even compete with the gut that let the caterpillar, in his more innocent days, chew through those five oranges.

This sperm-hungry organ is called the bursa copulatrix. In female butterfl …

Drone 360

Farms of the Future Will Use Drones, Robots and GPS

By Alex Thomasson, Texas A&M University | May 27, 2015 5:18 pm

Today’s agriculture has transformed into a high-tech enterprise that most 20th-century farmers might barely recognize.

After all, it was only around 100 years ago that farming in the US transitioned from animal power to combustion engines. Over the past 20 years the global positioning system (GPS), electronic sensors and other new tools have moved farming even further into a technological wonderland.

Beyond the now de rigeur air conditioning and stereo system, a modern large tractor …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts
Furcifer pardalis, the panther chameleon. Photo by Wikipedia user Tatoute

Science Sushi

One Chameleon, Eleven Chameleons: Genetics Reveal Cryptic Species in Madagascar's Panther Chameleon

By Christie Wilcox | May 27, 2015 4:03 pm

Perhaps the most common way that we tell different species apart is by looks. Different colors often mean deep-rooted differences, but in some species, color is a fluid concept. Take the chameleons: though it’s a myth that they can match any color they see around them, they are able to modify the patterns on their bodies to blend in, and some are known for dizzying color changes that are used as social signals — a colorful way of communicating with the chameleons around them.

The panth …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Evolution, More Science, select, Top Posts

Neuroskeptic

What To Do About A Slow Peer Reviewer?

By Neuroskeptic | May 27, 2015 6:58 am

An amusing editorial in the neuroscience journal Cortex discusses the excuses scientists use to explain why they didn’t submit their peer reviews on time:
Following our nagging for late reviews, we learned that one reviewer had to take their cat to the vet, another was busy buying Christmas presents, one was planning their holidays, an unfortunate one had their office broken into […] others agreed to review whereas indeed they really intended to withdraw, or were just too busy to reply.

Th …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: funny, papers, science, select, Top Posts

Seriously, Science?

She had an extra nipple where?!?

By Seriously Science | May 27, 2015 6:00 am

Yup, you guessed it–according to this case study, a woman was found to have an extra nipple… in her vulva! And guess what else? It produced milk! Although extra nipples aren’t all that common, they usually can be found along the “milk line” (the imaginary line on a person’s torso that correlates with the line between multiple pairs of nipples on other mammals). But extra nipples have also been reported on other places, like the foot. So this extra nipple is unusual for its location. But  …

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