If you are the kind of aquarium goer who can't help touching the glass in hopes of petting a fish, then if you see Under the Sea 3D at an Imax Theatre you should definitely sit on your hands: thanks to the 3D effect, green sea turtles, cuttlefish, sea lions, leafy sea dragons and other denizens of the Coral Triangle (around Papua New Guinea and Indonesia) and the Great Barrier Reef seem to swim just inches in front of your hands.
The discovery of a 60-million-years-old fossil snake from northeastern Colombia, South America, whose size makes today's anacondas and pythons seem like garter snakes is being hailed for the light it sheds on ancient climates, but let's be honest here: the attention it's getting has more to do with its mammoth measurements.
Among the things that scientists don't like is having their grant proposal denied, having their papers rejected by eminent journals, and not getting tenure.
The science of cloning and stem cells has been somewhat of an unholy mess, what with fraudulent claims (by a South Korean biologist) of generating custom-made stem cells lines and, sigh, of producing a baby through cloning. (The little cloned boy should be 5 now; we wish him well in kindergarten.) The latest advance therefore shouldn't inspire headlines about cloned babies being right around the corner, but here goes: scientists have transferred DNA from an adult human cell into a human egg,...
I had no intention of revisiting the debate over the use of brain imaging in social neuroscience, which I blogged about last month. But that post brought such a tsumani of anger, dismay, invective and outrage that I felt an obligation to go back and dig more deeply into whether the charges in a paper by Ed Vul of MIT, Hal Pashler of UC San Diego and colleagues that is in press at Perspectives on Psychological Science were as meritless as many of the scientists I heard from claimed.
Ever since neuroscientists discovered a decade ago that middle-aged and even old brains keep producing new neurons, they have puzzled over a fundamental question: are these new recruits good for anything, and if so, what? "Intuitively we feel that those new brain cells have to be good for something, but nobody really knows what it is," said James (Brad) Aimone, a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego. He and Fred Gage, who led the paradigm-changing discovery of adult...
It will be interesting to see what climate deniers make of this headline: New Study Shows Climate Change Largely Irreversible. If it is—irreversible, that is—then a reasonable response might be, so then why exactly am I being asked to conserve energy and buy a hybrid car and pay more for wind power . . .
And now the last holdout has succumbed: Antarctica had been the only one of the seven continents that measurements showed was not heating up, but a new analysis of the past 50 years, using more complete records than ever before, shows that the mercury has been rising on the southern continent, too.
I hate to pour cold water on what seems like a surefire way to combat childhood obesity—namely, school-based health and exercise programs—so I'll blame the Cochrane Collaboration for doing so.
It was probably inevitable. With the growing use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) , in which embryos created by in vitro fertilization are screened for genetic defects, the day was going to come when fertility doctors used it not for the well-established purpose of identifying glitches that invariably lead to disease—mutations such as those causing hemophilia, fragile X syndrome, neuromuscular dystrophies, Rett syndrome, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs, sickle-cell anemia and Huntington...
When scientists in England reported last April that what a woman eats around the time she conceives can affect whether she has a boy or a girl—the headline-making finding of the study, titled "You Are What Your Mother Eats," was that women who ate breakfast cereal were more likely to have a boy—it was picked up by more newspapers and Websites than you can count (including here, here and here). Basically, they reported that 56 percent of women who consumed the most calories (including...
Looking back, it was pretty dumb to think that people got to the Americas from Asia once, or that a single group braved the ice bridge to the new world. A cool new study published online today in the journal Current Biology may bury that simplistic assumption once and for all: according to the evidence of mitochondrial DNA, the first Americans arrived in at least two separate migrations, at about the same time, about 15,000 to 17,000 years ago.
It's too soon to load Tetris onto the equipment that soldiers carry into battle, but there's an intriguing hint that playing that geometric game might act as what scientists are calling a "cognitive vaccine" against the horrible flashbacks that characterize post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which more and more of those returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering. The idea of using Tetris to vaccinate soldiers against PTSD rests on two facts.
Newborn stars? Planets beyond our solar system? Black holes? The annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society has these and every other (it seems) denizen of the universe, but I have to mention three among my favorites of the discoveries being presented: Our Milky Way galaxy is heavier, moving faster and therefore more likely to smack into its nearest neighbor than astronomers thought.