Latest Blog Posts


Newly Discovered Hog-Nosed Rat is an Indonesian Oddity

By Carl Engelking | October 6, 2015 3:05 pm

A recently discovered rat has a face only a mother could love.

An international team of researchers studying animals in the isolated, mountainous island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, trapped a shrewlike critter with a distinctive pink snout on Mount Dako in 2013. As it turns out, the critter was previously unknown to science, and the team finally introduced the rest of the world to the newly discovered hog-nosed rat, Hyorhinomys stuempkei.

One of a Kind

As scientists worked to describe t …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Out There

From 0 to 5,000 Planets in Exactly 20 Years

By Corey S. Powell | October 6, 2015 9:57 am

Twenty years ago today, an invisible object circling an obscure star in the constellation Pegasus overturned everything astronomers knew about planets around other stars. No, the fallout was even bigger than that. The indirect detection of 51 Pegasi b—the first planet ever found around a star similar to the sun—revealed that they had never really known anything to begin with.

At the time, even the most adventurous minds blithely assumed that our solar system was more or less typical,  …


How Cuttlefish Stay Camouflaged On the Go

By Elizabeth Preston | October 6, 2015 9:11 am

Most camouflaged creatures try to hold still so they won’t give away their ruse. But cuttlefish aren’t most creatures. These masters of camouflage can change color to seamlessly match their background, and they can keep swimming while they do it.

“Cuttlefish are one of nature’s fastest dynamic camouflagers,” says Noam Josef, a graduate student at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. The cephalopods can change color in just one tenth of a second. They can also create diffe …


Citizen Science Salon

SciStarter and Astronomy Magazine Partner to Bring Citizen Science to Astronomy Enthusiasts

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) | October 6, 2015 6:40 am

Press Release – Astronomy enthusiasts can join forces with researchers through a partnership between Astronomy magazine and SciStarter

A “citizen science” movement is sweeping the country. Now, astronomy enthusiasts who want to collaborate with leading scientists can visit to join cutting-edge research projects.

Astronomy is teaming up with SciStarter to present featured Citizen Science projects through a dynamic project showcase.  Each week, a new citizen science projec …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Space & Physics

Body Horrors

2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded to Research in Anti-Parasitic Drugs

By Rebecca Kreston | October 5, 2015 9:36 pm

Three scientists that developed treatments for debilitating parasitic infections were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine today for their ground-breaking advancements in tropical medicine.

One half of the prize was awarded to Youyou Tu, a pharmacologist at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing. Her work in identifying anti-malarial compounds in the late 1960s was inspired by traditional Chinese herbal remedies. She screened thousands of these treatm …


The "Male Suicide Epidemic"

By Neuroskeptic | October 5, 2015 1:48 pm

The mass murder and suicide in a college in Oregon last week brought out the following claim by a professional troll:

So is there an epidemic of male suicides? I’ll assume we’re talking about the USA although what I’ll say goes for most other countries. Here are the facts:

Male suicide rates are much higher than female suicide rates. The most recent available data for the USA in from 2013, when the age-adjusted male:female suicide ratio was 3.68:1.
However, this male suicide bia …

The Crux

Fossils Reveal Extinct Mammals' True Colors

By Jakob Vinther, University of Bristol | October 5, 2015 11:51 am

The animal kingdom is full of color. Animals use it for camouflage, to advertise themselves and even as various forms of protection. But we haven’t been paying as much attention to what colors now-extinct mammals might have had – until now.

By matching samples of organic material to their chemical make up we’ve been able to determine the color of extinct bats and our novel research, published in PNAS, has the potential to work out colors in lots of other organisms.

Fossils usuall …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: animals, paleontology

Citizen Science Salon

Simons Foundation Grant to Enable Wider Availability of SciStarter's Project Finder

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) | October 5, 2015 10:00 am

The Simons Foundation just awarded a grant to SciStarter that will enable more communities, media partners, and websites to duplicate its valuable “Project Finder” feature and database of projects on their own pages. SciStarter aggregates more than 1100 citizen science projects on a single website in order to connect scientists and community leaders with anyone who wants to contribute to science. The Simons Foundation grant supports SciStarter’s creation of easy-to-use open and sha …



Poop on a Stick Tests Penguins' Sense of Smell

By Elizabeth Preston | October 2, 2015 11:35 am

Who doesn’t enjoy waking to a pleasant smell wafting past? Unfortunately for them, the penguins in a recent study woke up not to pancakes frying nearby, but to less appetizing aromas—for example, feces on a stick. But scientists promise the experiment taught them valuable lessons about a penguin’s capabilities. Besides, they let the birds go right back to sleep.

“Research into the sense of smell in birds has a bit of a dubious history,” says Gregory Cunningham, a biologist at St. Jo …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: birds, navigation, poo, smell, sound, top posts
MORE ABOUT: Animals, Senses

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Want to be happier? Skip the small talk.

By Seriously Science | October 2, 2015 6:00 am

We all know those people. Maybe you’re one of them. The person who manages, despite all the stress and work it takes to get through a normal day, to always be happy. How do they do it? What is their secret? Although it’s likely that genetics play a major role in determining one’s happiness, it’s also thought that behavior can help (or hinder) you on your path to bliss. These scientists asked whether the content of peoples’ conversation is related to their overall happiness. They re …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: feelings shmeelings

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