Latest Blog Posts


If La Niña follows the current super El Niño, it will probably be bad news for drought-plagued California

By Tom Yulsman | February 13, 2016 5:25 pm

La Niña tends to cause drying in California, and it often persists — and deepens — for years afterward

The El Niño that has been helping to spawn wild and wacky weather in many parts of the world for months now is still very strong. But the latest analysis from the U.S. Climate Prediction Center suggests that it should start to weaken and transition to neutral conditions by late spring or summer.

Then what?

If the cooling of the eastern and central tropical Pacific character …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Climate, Drought, ENSO, Ocean, select, Top Posts, Weather


Winter Brain, Summer Brain: Seasonality in Brain Responses?

By Neuroskeptic | February 13, 2016 4:39 am

A new paper in PNAS raises the interesting suggestion that our brain function goes through yearly cycles. According to authors Christelle Meyer and colleagues, their findings reveal new evidence of seasonal effects in human cognitive brain function “that could contribute to cognitive changes at specific times of year.”

However in my view, the study is too small to be conclusive.

Meyer et al. used fMRI to scan 28 young participants. Each of the volunteers spent 4 1/2 days in a laborator …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fMRI, papers, science, select, Top Posts, voodoo

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Which sexual positions are more likely to break your penis?

By Seriously Science | February 12, 2016 6:00 am

Penile fracture is no joke. It is a serious injury that occurs when an engorged penis is bent, breaking the lining of the corpus cavernosum, the two cylinders inside the penis that fill with blood. A broken penis can often be heard as a cracking sound, followed by intense bruising. Left untreated, this can result in life-long deformities and/or erectile dysfunction. Clearly, the best solution to all of this is to avoid breaking one’s penis altogether. But before you sign yourself up for a life …


WATCH: Here's the powerful storm that a Royal Caribbean cruise ship literally blundered into — as seen from space

By Tom Yulsman | February 12, 2016 1:53 am

There’s a good chance you’ve heard about that Royal Caribbean cruise ship that negligently blundered right into the maw of a powerful, hurricane-strength Atlantic cyclone on Sunday. (If not, keep reading — details are coming.)

Now, click on the image above to watch a spectacularly detailed animation of satellite images showing the development and rapid intensification of the storm off the U.S. East Coast on Sunday, Feb. 7.

The animation, originally posted at the CIMSS Satellite Blog …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Extreme Weather, select, Top Posts, Weather


Neanderthal DNA May Still Affect Our Health and Habits

By Kiona Smith-Strickland | February 11, 2016 6:45 pm

If you’re of Eurasian descent, about 3 percent of your DNA probably came from Neanderthals, and new research suggests that it could have a small effect on your health.

Roughly 50,000 years ago, when the ancestors of modern Eurasian people migrated north and east out of Africa, they encountered other hominins – members of different, but closely related, species. Researchers believe Neanderthals died out largely thanks to humans, through a combination of violence and competition for res …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts


'Boxing' Ants Can Trade Over 40 Blows a Second

By Nathaniel Scharping | February 11, 2016 4:32 pm

To settle a labor dispute, ants put up their dukes. And when the bell rings, they can unleash a flurry of punches in the blink of an eye.

A new study from researchers at the University of Illinois and North Carolina State University used slow-motion videos to watch trap-jaw worker ants square off in antenna boxing matches. Trap-jaw ants communicate via pheromones, but when it’s time to divvy up tasks peaceful negotiation is off the table.

These fast-paced antenna slap-ups, called rapid …

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

Citizen Science Salon

Citizen Science Love: a Valentine’s Weekend Special!

By Guest | February 11, 2016 3:49 pm

Who needs chocolate, cards, roses, or a significant other, when you can celebrate Valentine’s Day with citizen science?

Below you’ll find five projects we love. Visit SciStarter to find 1000 more.

PS: If you have 30 seconds, consider taking this quick poll. We’re curious to learn more about the formal education level of the citizen science community.


The SciStarter Team


The Great Backyard Bird Count 

This annual bird count runs from February 12th to 16th  …

Citizen Science Salon

The gamification of data analysis in cancer increases citizen contribution and reduces research time

By Carolyn Graybeal | February 11, 2016 12:13 pm

Individuals diagnosed with muscle-invasive bladder cancer face a difficult treatment decision – intensive radiotherapy or complete surgical removal of their bladder. Each option has benefits and draw backs, and there are limited data available to patients and physicians to help predict which treatment might provide the best outcome.

Dr. Anne Kiltie, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at Oxford University and Clinical Group Leader at Cancer Research UK (CRUK) is trying to improve that d …


LIGO Scientists Settle Gravitational Wave Rumors

By Carl Engelking | February 10, 2016 10:22 pm

On Thursday, scientists confirmed yet another aspect of Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity.

Rumors were correct, and researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced that they directly detected a gravitational wave, or a ripple in the fabric of space-time. LIGO’s twin detectors, in Louisiana and Washington state, use lasers to watch for these tiny stretches and squeezes of space-time. Einstein published his pioneering work predicting the existen …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts


eARTh: Cloud streets off Kamchatka

By Tom Yulsman | February 10, 2016 9:01 pm

As frigid air poured out of western Siberia and out over the Sea of Okhotsk two days ago, it helped create one of the atmosphere’s more striking phenomena: long bands of cumulus clouds arranged in roughly parallel rows called “cloud streets.”

When I saw an image of the action captured by NASA’s Aqua satellite, my mind’s eye went to work. I saw that with some cropping to emphasize abstract patterning over immediately recognizable features, as well as modest enhancements to bring out de …


Discover's Newsletter

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

Collapse bottom bar