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Getting Under the Alien Skin of the New 'Independence Day'

By Corey S. Powell | June 24, 2016 4:01 pm

If you are looking for cerebral science fiction stories that meticulously explore the outer limits of known science, Roland Emmerich is not your guy. The auteur behind the 1996 alien-invasion movie Independence Day and its new sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, is all about spectacle over subtlety. (2012 and The Day After Tomorrow are also his handiwork.) Blowing up cities? Check. Sciencing the sh*t out of things? Not so much.

Taken on its own terms, though, the first Independence Day  …

D-brief

Antibiotic-Resistant Genes Hitch a Ride in Just Two Days

By Nathaniel Scharping | June 24, 2016 12:04 pm

When travelers return from a journey, they usually hope to bring back some souvenirs, photos and maybe a slightly different perspective on the world.

But, they may be bringing something more harmful back with them as well. Not only did tourists bring back genes that rendered their gut bacteria resistant to antibiotics, it took as little as two days for it to happen, according to the results of a study presented recently at a conference of the American Society for Microbiology.

Hitchi …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine

Science Sushi

How Committed is Discovery to No Fakes?: Reality Bites Part IV

By Christie Wilcox | June 24, 2016 8:00 am

This is the fourth and final installment of my four-part series on the Discovery Channel show Venom Hunters. In Parts I, II and III, I explain how the show started from a flawed premise, and went downhill from there, seemingly including breaking laws and staging scenes. In Part IV, I explain why it matters that Discovery Channel and Authentic Entertainment are held accountable.
In May, Discovery made the official decision not to continue Venom Hunters into a second season. Even though the sho …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: More Science, select, Top Posts

Seriously, Science?

Flashback Friday: Tired of procrastination? Try pre-crastination!

By Seriously Science | June 24, 2016 6:00 am

While we like to think we’re pretty rational beings, we end up doing irrational things all the time. From believing in superstitions to spending too much on eBay, our quirky brains often lead us to suboptimal results. In this study, researchers asked participants to do a seemingly simple thing: pick up either of two buckets, one of which was closer to them than the other, and carry it to a designated end point. They expected the students to pick the bucket that was closer to the finish line  …

D-brief

This Woman Knows How to Fly a Plane, But Can't Recall Her Husband

By Nathaniel Scharping | June 23, 2016 4:24 pm

She can tell you how to bring an aircraft out of a stall, but has no memory of her marriage. She can explain an arpeggio, but doesn’t remember the tune to “Happy Birthday.” She can detail the steps to remove excess paint from a watercolor painting, but fails to recognize “Starry Night”.

Lonni Sue Johnson is teaching scientists new things about our brains, after losing a critical part of hers. Infected in 2007 with a form of encephalitis, Johnson would end up losing her hippocampus, much o …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain

Citizen Science Salon

Celebrate Pollinator Week with Citizen Science!

By Eva Lewandowski | June 23, 2016 3:14 pm

Photo: Wendy Caldwell

This week we celebrate National Pollinator Week, in honor of the bees, butterflies, beetles, and other animals that provide essential services to ecosystems and agricultural lands everywhere.

Citizen science is at the forefront of pollinator research, and below we highlight six projects that you can join to help study and protect pollinators. To find more, visit the SciStarter Global Project Finder.

Cheers!
T …

MORE ABOUT: newsletter

Science Sushi

From Unethical to Unlawful? Reality Bites Part III

By Christie Wilcox | June 23, 2016 8:00 am

This is Part III of a four-part series on the Discovery Channel show Venom Hunters, and the apparent bad behavior of the network, production company, and cast members involved. Parts I and II revealed how the production company pursued a flawed premise against the advice of several venom professionals, and then probably faked or staged scenes and storylines to promote that premise. In this post, I look at whether the stars were permitted or licensed properly in the states they were filmed.
 …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: More Science, select, Top Posts

D-brief

Astronomers Watched a Black Hole Gobble a Star

By John Wenz | June 22, 2016 4:20 pm

We can’t — yet — directly see black holes, making finding one of these elusive beasts hard, especially since a great majority of them are dormant. But researchers at the University of Maryland, NASA Goddard, and the University of Michigan recently caught one of these sleeping giants waking up to slurp on a big snack: a passing star.

A Star for Dinner
Called Swift J1644+57, the black hole is about 3.8 billion light-years away at the center of a relatively quiet galaxy. The supermassiv …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics
MORE ABOUT: physics, stars

D-brief

Gun Deaths Dropped Following Australian Gun Control Laws, Study Says

By Nathaniel Scharping | June 22, 2016 1:53 pm

 

Gun deaths dropped in Australia following a massive buyback program and tighter gun laws, according to a new study published Wednesday. However, the scientists say they can’t decisively prove a connection.

Researchers from the University of Sydney compared firearm deaths both before and after the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre, when a gunman killed 35 people and wounded 23 others. That mass shooting prompted Australian legislators to take action, launching a firearm buyback program …

Inkfish

Prey Can't Resist a Spider in White Socks

By Elizabeth Preston | June 22, 2016 10:16 am

Maybe you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, but if you’re trying to catch grasshoppers, the best method is bright white socks. The white patches on the front legs of certain Asian spiders make prey willingly flock to them—and scientists don’t really understand why.

Dolomedes raptor is known as a fishing spider. It lives near streams in the forests and cities of East Asia. Females are a little bigger than males—up to about an inch across—and the two sexes have di …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: bugs, evolution, screwups, top posts, vision
MORE ABOUT: Animals, Evolution, Senses
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