Archive | Biology

Chromatophores

Cephalopods: Nature’s camouflaging masters

When I was watching Finding Dory last weekend, one character caught my eye: Hank the octopus (or septopus—you will understand this reference when you see the movie). Throughout the movie, Hank uses his ability to blend into his surroundings, a skill that is very useful for Dory’s plan to reunite with her parents. Many cephalopods—which […]

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Your microbes might decide how much you weigh




Microbes—usually bacteria, fungi, or protists—made a big splash of news when the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced the new National Microbiome Initiative (NMI) last month. The NMI’s aim is to advance the understanding of microbiome, which refers to all the microbes in a particular environment. The initiative particularly focuses on restoring […]




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Common yeast infection linked to mental illness




In a study published in online journal npj Schizophrenia, Johns Hopkins researchers found that a history of Candida yeast infections was more common in a group of subjects with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder than in those without these disorders. The researchers caution that their findings do not establish a cause-and-effect relationship between mental illness and yeast infections, but […]




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Generalized constructal law shows that evolution doesn’t apply only to biological things




A law of physics that explains why larger animals live longer and travel further can be extended to the simplest forms of mass migration on the planet – like rolling stones and turbulent eddies in water and air currents, according to new research from Duke University. “The finding demonstrates that evolution doesn’t apply only to […]




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Study identifies recipe for Goldilocks quantum phase transitions




University of Miami researchers have found that crossing a quantum phase transition at just-the-right speed generates the richest, most complex light-matter entanglement – a characteristic evident in our Universe. Such structure resembles “defects” in an otherwise smooth and empty space. The findings are published in Physical Review A, the American Physical Society’s main journal. “Our […]




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“Intraterrestrial” life found in rocks below the seafloor.




The discovery that ancient rocks harbored microbial life deep below the seafloor confirms a long-standing hypothesis that interactions between mantle rocks and seawater can create potential for life. The scientists behind the discovery, from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Virginia Tech, and the University of Bremen, have reported their findings in theProceedings of the […]




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Could our beliefs about human consciousness and the notion of self be completely wrong?




Consciousness – the internal dialogue that seems to govern one’s thoughts and actions -is far less powerful than people believe, serving as a passive conduit rather than an active force that exerts control, according to a new theory proposed in the journalBehavioral and Brain Sciences. “The interpreter presents the information but is not the one […]




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Passive smoking and litter could explain high levels of nicotine found in spices, herbal teas, and medicinal plants




Despite the fact that nicotine insecticides were banned in 2009, European researchers say that high concentrations of nicotine are still detected in many plants. The journalAgronomy for Sustainable Development now reports that passive smoking and contaminated soils could be to blame for high levels of nicotine found in spices, herbal teas, and medicinal plants. Lead […]




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Primordial DNA could have appeared spontaneously, suggests new study




The self-organization properties of DNA-like molecular fragments four billion years ago may have guided their own growth into repeating chemical chains long enough to act as a basis for primitive life, say an international team of scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of University of Milan. A paper describing the intriguing […]




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