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The Crux

Can a Smartphone App Help Save a Dying Language?

By Carrie Arnold | September 23, 2016 4:07 pm

(This post originally appeared in the online anthropology magazine SAPIENS. Follow @SAPIENS_org on Twitter to discover more of their work.) 

Joshua Hinson’s first biological son was born in 2000. His son’s birth marked the start of the sixth generation that would grow up speaking English instead of Chickasaw, which was the primary language his ancestors had spoken for hundreds of years. Hinson was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in Texas. Other than a small handful of word …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: anthropology


Rat Pants and Goatman, the 2016 Ig Nobels Were Wacky As Ever

By Nathaniel Scharping | September 23, 2016 3:22 pm

The 2016 Ig Nobel prizes were awarded last night, and the honorees included, as always, the best, brightest and wackiest minds in science.

The Ig Nobel prize tradition began in 1991 as a way to honor research that “could not, or should not, be reproduced,” and has since grown into both a fond celebration of bizarre science and an opportunity for esteemed researchers to sing operas about coffee. Actual Nobel Prize winners serve as the presenters during the ceremony, which takes place at …

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Retention of memory through metamorphosis: can a moth remember what it learned as a caterpillar?

By Seriously Science | September 23, 2016 12:57 pm

The metamorphosis of caterpillars into moths or butterflies is a crazy thing. Not only do these animals acquire new body parts (Why, hello wings!), but other body parts undergo radical changes or disassemble altogether. In this study, scientists tested whether memories made by caterpillars are retained in adult moths despite all of these massive changes. To do this, they trained caterpillars of various “ages” (developmental stages called instars) to avoid specific odors, and then tested whet …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals

The Crux

Police Lineups: The Science of Getting It Right

By Ben Thomas | September 23, 2016 12:42 pm

One night in 1984, a man broke into Jennifer Thompson’s apartment and raped her at knifepoint. Throughout the attack, the college student memorized every detail of her rapist’s face, promising herself that when she took the witness stand against him, “he was going to rot” in prison.

Thompson hurried to police the morning after the attack, giving them a detailed description of her rapist, filling in all the characteristics she’d memorized so carefully. The police put together a p …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, Top Posts

Citizen Science Salon

Citizen Science Maker Summit 2016

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) | September 22, 2016 11:50 pm

The ASU Citizen Science Maker Summit 2016 is a two-day event, hosted by Arizona State University in partnership with SciStarter, designed to explore the crossroads of citizen science and the maker movement. The summit is scheduled for October 26 (evening), 27 & 28, 2016 in downtown Chandler, Arizona at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center.

Registration is now open with discounts before September 30.

Arizona State University is a thought leader in both the citizen science and maker mo …



Gaia: Mapping our Milky Way Galaxy

By Liz Kruesi | September 22, 2016 4:56 pm

When you’re walking through a forest, it’s nearly impossible to know the forest’s boundaries or layout. This same idea applies with our galaxy, yet we know the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, and we know our Sun orbits the center of the galaxy from about 26,000 light-years out. With no way to propel ourselves outside of the galaxy and look at it from that view, how have astronomers learned so much about the Milky Way? By tracking the positions and movements of stars and gas clouds. And a …



New Hieroglyphics Translations Offer a Glimpse of Ancient Egyptian Life

By Nathaniel Scharping | September 22, 2016 1:58 pm

“Man perishes; his corpse turns to dust; all his relatives pass away. But writings make him remembered in the mouth of the reader. A book is more effective than a well-built house or a tomb-chapel in the west, better than an established villa or a stela in the temple!”

Those prescient lines were written over 3,000 years ago, in ancient Egypt. They are part of a new book offering fresh translations of Egyptian hieroglyphics by Toby Wilkinson, an Egyptologist at the University of Cambridge. …

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


Ötzi the Iceman Sounded Like a Chain-smoker

By Nathaniel Scharping | September 22, 2016 12:52 pm

Ötzi the Iceman is speaking from beyond the grave.

It’s not a seance that brought his voice — or a rough approximation of it — to life though, but instead a careful reconstruction of his vocal cords. A team of researchers led by members of the Ear, Nose and Throat Department at Bolzano General Hospital conducted a series of CT scans of the 5,300 year old mummy’s vocal cords and vocal tract and attempted to digitally reconstruct his speech organs, according to Seeker.

They report …

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

Citizen Science Salon

Connecting Citizen Scientists to Watersheds: A Conversation with Kim Hachadoorian

By acrall | September 22, 2016 12:17 pm

By Russ Campbell

Brandywine Creek, which runs through southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware, once powered the mills  that supported European settlements in the late 17th and 18th centuries.  Today, people rely on the creek for recreation and as a source of drinking water.  SciStarter contributor Russ Campbell recently spoke to Kim Hachadoorian, The Nature Conservancy Delaware’s project manager for Stream Stewards, a citizen science project  that seeks to preserve this natur …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment

Seriously, Science?

The ancient Romans were onto something: cold showers might be good for you.

By Seriously Science | September 22, 2016 12:03 pm

If you’ve ever visited Roman ruins, you’ll know that the ancient Romans were really into bathing. Every town had at least one bathhouse, which had a combination of steam rooms, hot tubs, and cold baths. But did these rituals actually do anything for the Romans’ health? In this study, the researchers had subjects add a cold shower at the end of their regular hot shower routine to measure its effects on heath and other lifestyle factors. They found that cold showering significantly reduced th …


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