Science News 2013

Here's a list of all the news articles that appeared on Science a GoGo in 2013.

31 December 2013

Testosterone can enhance desire to sing, but not song quality


Scientists listening to the effects of testosterone on birdsong say their findings have broad implications for understanding how steroid use in humans affects sexual behaviors and how hormones regulate the different components of speech...

29 December 2013

A good book can rewire your brain


The scientists behind a novel study into reading say that when we immerse ourselves into a work of fiction, lingering changes occur in the connectivity of our brain...

28 December 2013

Eye reflections identify those behind the camera


A new study shows that the high resolution images produced by modern digital cameras can be used to identify the photographer and other individuals positioned behind the camera. The researchers say that images retrieved from corneal reflections could be especially important when the images record criminal activity, such as hostage taking or child sex abuse...

23 December 2013

Hunting humans imitate honeybees


Working with the Hadza tribe in Africa, researchers have found that human hunter-gatherers follow the same mathematical pattern in their movements as sharks, honeybees, and other animals...

22 December 2013

Modern crops' lack of adaptability threatens global food chains


Using the largest dated evolutionary tree of flowering plants ever assembled, new research suggests how plants developed traits to withstand low temperatures, with implications that human-induced climate change may pose a bigger threat than initially thought to global agriculture...

20 December 2013

Radical new data compression method delivers significant gains in quality and speed over existing techniques


To create an entirely new way to compress data, UCLA researchers drew inspiration from physics and the arts. The technique, dubbed "anamorphic stretch transform," works by stretching and warping the data using a newly developed mathematical function that operates in both the analog and digital domains...

19 December 2013

Text messages coded into booze vapor


A team of scientists from the UK and Canada have demonstrated a system to code any generic message into evaporated alcohol molecules. The researchers believe their molecular communications system, which works in a similar fashion to how animals communicate with pheromones, could be used for the transmission of messages and data in challenging environments such as tunnels, pipelines, underwater, and within the body...

17 December 2013

Loved-up bonobos are perpetual teenagers


Bonobos and chimpanzees are closely related but bonobos lack of aggression, playfulness, and strong familial ties make them very distinct from their male-dominated, aggressive chimp cousins. Now, researchers say that these behavioral differences might be because bonobos retain elevated thyroid hormone concentrations well into adulthood, whereas in humans and chimps, levels decline after puberty...

16 December 2013

Innovative fiber optic imager may soon photograph exoplanets


A new instrument that combines two high-resolution telescope techniques - adaptive optics and interferometry - has for the first time resolved in visible light the individual stars in the binary star system Capella. Astronomers using the instrument say it holds great promise for eventually picking out and imaging planets around other stars...

15 December 2013

Athletes show significant performance boost from stroboscopic glasses


Professional hockey players who trained with special eyewear that only allowed them to see the action intermittently recorded a huge 18 percent improvement in on-ice skills...

14 December 2013

First pics from Chinese Moon rover Yutu


The Chinese lunar probe Chang'e-3 has successfully touched down on the Moon in the crater Sinus Iridum and its rover Yutu has sent back its first pictures from the surface of the Moon...

13 December 2013

Collapse of Universe may be sooner rather than later


It could happen tomorrow, it could happen in a billion years, but whenever it is, calculations by physicists at the University of Southern Denmark indicate that the risk of a collapse via The Big Slurp is even greater than previously thought...

12 December 2013

Water vapor seen gushing from Europa


The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered water vapor erupting from the south pole of Jupiter's moon Europa. Astronomers were already reasonably certain that Europa harbored a liquid ocean beneath its icy crust, but the new images are the first observational evidence of the existence of water beneath the moon's surface...

12 December 2013

Read my skin: chameleon color communication deciphered


Chameleons can change color to blend in with the environment, but biologists now say that chameleons' body regions can also function as "billboards" for communicating different types of information during social interactions...

11 December 2013

Hipster or Goth? Software algorithm identifies your urban tribe


Social networks like Facebook may soon be able to tell which urban tribe you belong to. Computer scientists are developing an algorithm that uses group pictures to determine whether you're a hipster, Goth, biker, or surfer. So far, the algorithm is about 5 times more accurate than chance, but the researchers think they can get it to perform at least as well as a human...

11 December 2013

Poor diet shown to have dramatic effects on sperm and future health of offspring


A startling new study from McGill University suggests that a father's diet before conception plays a major role in fetus development and the offspring's future predisposition to disease. The researchers say that significant alterations to the sperm epigenome triggered by diet and lifestyle choices should raise serious concerns about the long-term effects of current Western diets...

10 December 2013

Alzheimer's may begin in childhood


The people who carry the high-risk SORL1 gene for late-onset Alzheimer's disease show changes in their brains beginning in early childhood, according to researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health...

9 December 2013

Curiosity rover finally demystifies radiation hazards on Mars


A manned mission to Mars doesn't just depend on overcoming technological hurdles. With no magnetic field and only a thin atmosphere, the surface of Mars is exposed to much greater amounts of radiation than the surface of the Earth. Quantifying the health risks to astronauts from this radiation has been difficult, but thanks to the Curiosity rover, nearly a year's worth of radiation measurements are now available...

8 December 2013

Gene expression altered with meditation


Previous studies have shown that meditation can trigger changes in the brain and body but the biological mechanism for these effects has remained a mystery. Now, researchers are reporting the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of meditation...

8 December 2013

The cloning of quantum information from the past may be Achilles' heel of quantum cryptography


While the notion of physically travelling through time may still be the stuff of science fiction, a new research paper shows that it is theoretically possible to copy quantum data from the past. The new work has surprising ramifications for the field of quantum cryptography, which is widely touted as the future of secure communication...

5 December 2013

Entangled quarks hint at reconciliation of quantum mechanics and general relativity


Building on related research that showed how two entangled black holes could be linked by a wormhole, an MIT physicist has shown that two entangled quarks could also give rise to a wormhole that connects the pair of elementary particles. The new work bolsters the relatively new idea that the laws of gravity holding together the universe may not be fundamental, but arise instead from quantum entanglement...

4 December 2013

Europa report: moon's ocean currents make life possible


A team of scientists who have been modeling the subsurface ocean on Jupiter's moon Europa say that the ocean's deep currents and circulation patterns likely create heat and energy transfers capable of sustaining biological life...

3 December 2013

Good Housekeeping, Neanderthal style


Neanderthals were far from primitive in their domestic living arrangements, say anthropologists who have unearthed evidence that our prehistoric cousins organized their living spaces in ways that would be familiar to modern humans...

3 December 2013

Hubble spots water on distant exoplanets


Peering into the atmospheres of planets many trillions of miles away using the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists have found the signature of water on five exoplanets...

3 December 2013

"Striking" differences between brains of men and women


Scientists studying brain connectivity have found significant differences in the neural wiring of men and women that lends credence to some commonly-held beliefs about gender traits and behaviors...

2 December 2013

Comet ISON: ashes to ashes, dust to dust


After several days of continued observations, NASA scientists still don't know whether the bright spot seen moving away from the Sun was a cloud of dust or the remnant nucleus of Comet ISON, but they conclude that whatever it was has likely now disintegrated completely...

1 December 2013

Stem cells breathe new life into lungs


For the first time, scientists have succeeded in transforming human stem cells into functional lung and airway cells, an advance that could lead to the growth of lung tissue for rejection-free transplantation...

29 November 2013

"I'm back!" Comet ISON hangs on in there


When ISON failed to reappear after its close encounter with the Sun, NASA scientists thought it had disintegrated completely. However, a bright streak observed by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory late on Thanksgiving could mean the comet's nucleus is still intact...

28 November 2013

Dude, where's my comet?


Comet ISON, which was due to emerge from behind the Sun today, has failed to appear, indicating that the comet disintegrated during its close encounter with the Sun...

27 November 2013

Thanksgiving close encounter looms for comet ISON


As the comet ISON heads toward its closest approach to the Sun tomorrow, scientists have been trying to work out if the comet might already have broken up from the intense heat and gravitational forces of the Sun...

26 November 2013

Unclouding the behavior of clouds


How air pollution creates larger and longer lasting storm clouds has been a topic of intense debate in climatology circles. Now, a new investigation that finally reveals the atmospheric mechanism at work also shows how pollution plays into climate warming...

25 November 2013

Scientists mull evolutionary role of "sexual regret"


In the largest study to date on regret surrounding sexual activity, a team of researchers have found a stark contrast in remorse between men and women, potentially shedding light on the evolutionary history of human nature...

25 November 2013

Siberian seabed methane more than double previous estimates


Ongoing international research led by scientists from the University of Alaska indicates that the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is releasing 17 millions tons of methane into the atmosphere each year, more than twice the amount previously estimated. The researchers behind the new methane estimates say the subsea permafrost in the area has thawed much more extensively than previously thought...

24 November 2013

Obesity can change our sense of taste


Previous studies have shown that obesity can lead to alterations in the brain, but in new research, scientists have found that being severely overweight alters our sense of taste at the most fundamental level: by changing how our tongues react to different flavors...

24 November 2013

Novel synchrotron X-ray generator could revolutionize security, medicine


Compared to ordinary X-rays, synchrotron X-rays produce much higher quality images with less radiation, but their use has been limited by their size and very high cost. Now, researchers say they have designed a device that uses a "tabletop" laser to produce synchrotron X-rays...

21 November 2013

Marijuana memory problems prevented with Advil


The molecular pathways responsible for the learning and memory problems associated with marijuana use have been mapped by scientists for the first time. Importantly, the new research suggests that the over-the-counter painkiller ibuprofen can prevent these debilitating side-effects of the drug...

20 November 2013

Anomalous ferroelectric behavior could point way to brain-like computing


Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory say their observations of unexpected behaviors in ferroelectric materials lend support to the concept of "memcomputing," an emergent computing paradigm in which information storage and processing occur on the same physical platform...

17 November 2013

Penguin propulsion could drive marine vessels


Scientists have created a highly efficient and extremely maneuverable propulsion system by mimicking the shoulder of an Emperor penguin. The mechanism, which features an innovative spherical joint with three actuated degrees of freedom, could lead to new types of propellers that have directional thrusting capability...

14 November 2013

Can probiotics treat depression?


Probiotics are best known for supposedly helping maintain a healthy digestive system, but they are also increasingly the subject of neurological research to understand how microbes could supplement our gut bacteria to improve our mental health...

13 November 2013

Decoded smartphone movements reveal transport mode


Planes trains, and automobiles - scientists in Finland have worked out how to use accelerometer data from smartphones to reveal which mode of transport a subject is using...

11 November 2013

Customizing animal scents to manipulate animal behaviors


New molecular surveys have afforded unprecedented views of the diversity of microbes inhabiting mammals' scent glands - revealing an encyclopedia of information about the animals that left them...

10 November 2013

Electrosmog harvested to produce electricity


Using inexpensive materials configured and tuned to capture ambient signals from the electromagnetic spectrum, researchers have designed a power-harvesting device with efficiency similar to that of modern solar panels...

7 November 2013

"Freakish" asteroid resembles rotating lawn sprinkler


Using the Hubble space telescope, astronomers have discovered a "weird and freakish object" resembling a rotating lawn sprinkler in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter...

6 November 2013

Pop music boosts solar cell efficiency


The acoustic vibrations from pop and rock music can improve the performance of solar cells by as much as 40 percent, say scientists in the UK...

5 November 2013

A bad boss can cripple your immune system


A stressful workplace can dramatically change gene expression in our immune system and significantly impact our health, say Ohio State University scientists...

4 November 2013

Habitable Earth-like planets? New analysis suggests there are billions


Although NASA's Kepler space telescope is no longer functioning, astronomers examining the data it provided say they now have enough information to answer its main research question: How many of the 200 billion stars in our galaxy have habitable planets?

3 November 2013

Mammals may shrink with warming climate


Mammal body size decreased significantly during two ancient global warming events, say paleontologists from the University of Michigan who believe that similar changes are possible in response to human-caused climate change...

1 November 2013

Synaptic transistor learns while it computes


Harvard scientists say they have created a new type of transistor that mimics the behavior of the human brain's synapses. The device, they believe, could usher in a new kind of artificial intelligence: one embedded not in software, but in the very hardware of the computer itself...

30 October 2013

Boffins say Internet 2.0 doesn't need servers


British computer scientists say their revolutionary new Internet architecture could make the Internet more "social" by eliminating the need to connect to servers and enabling all content to be shared more efficiently...

29 October 2013

Women's gazes as objectifying as men's


Following on from earlier research that showed how people remembered women's body parts better than their entire bodies, the same researchers have now conducted an eye-tracking study that shows women "check out" other women just as much as men do...

28 October 2013

Snakes on a brain: slithery reptiles leave lingering imprint on primate genes


Neuroscientists have shown that specific nerve cells in the brains of captive monkeys - who had never seen snakes previously - respond strongly to images of snakes. The finding appears to confirm another scientist's theory that the evolution of sharp vision in our ancestors was driven by the threat of snakes...

27 October 2013

Brain's processing power vastly under-estimated, suggests new study


In work that could change the way we think about how neural circuitry functions in the brain, scientists have shown that dendrites, long thought to be passive wiring in the brain, actually process information...

24 October 2013

Researchers expose Google's massive network expansion


Google has dramatically increased the number of sites around the world from which it serves client queries, say researchers who accidentally discovered a massive repurposing of existing infrastructure to change the way that Google processes web searches...

23 October 2013

New titleholder for most distant galaxy hints at universe's opaque beginnings


Newly discovered galaxy z8-GND-5296 is providing astronomers with an intriguing glimpse of what the universe was like when it was only about 700 million years old - 13.1 billion years ago...

22 October 2013

Flickr holiday snaps yield tourism data gold


Stanford scientists have been using the vast number of vacation photos on photo-sharing site Flickr to measure where and when people are using natural areas for recreation and tourism...

21 October 2013

Gay insects are just confused, say scientists


Homosexual behaviors in birds and mammals are believed to provide some evolutionary benefits, but scientists trying to find explanations for similar behavior in insects say a different imperative may be at work...

20 October 2013

Ocean currents explain rainfall riddle


Most of the rain on Earth falls in the Northern Hemisphere and scientists have long believed that this was a quirk of the planet's geometry, but a new study shows that the pattern arises from ocean currents originating from the poles...

18 October 2013

Distant galaxy poses astronomical puzzle


Astronomers have found the most distant gravitational lens yet - a galaxy that deflects and intensifies the light of an even more distant object. However, the discovery poses a mystery: lenses of this kind should be exceedingly rare, so astronomers either have been phenomenally lucky, or, a re-think of our models of galactic evolution is required...

17 October 2013

This bird sings Bach


U.S. and German researchers have found striking parallels between the music of Bach and Haydn and the songs of a small brown wren living in the Amazon region...

15 October 2013

Human carriers of mad cow disease double previous estimate


Analyzing thousands of tissue samples from surgical procedures carried out around the United Kingdom, researchers have estimated that the number of people carrying variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob prions to be double previous estimates...

14 October 2013

Vegetable compound protects against lethal radiation


A compound derived from cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli has been found to offer protection from lethal doses of gamma ray radiation...

13 October 2013

Researchers isolate protein that delivers brain benefits of exercise


A protein produced during endurance exercise has been isolated and given to non-exercising mice, where it switched on genes that promote brain health and encouraged the growth of new nerves and synapses involved in learning and memory...

10 October 2013

Water discovered in remnants of destroyed exoplanet


Astrophysicists have found the first evidence of a water-rich rocky planetary body outside our solar system in its shattered remains orbiting a white dwarf 170 light years away...

9 October 2013

Human longevity linked to loss of species


In a fascinating new study, human life expectancy - which is rarely included in analyses of human impacts on the environment - emerged as the key predictor of invasive species and extinctions...

8 October 2013

Scientists link DNA to marital satisfaction


Wedded bliss or a miserable marriage? Researchers say that a gene involved in the regulation of serotonin can predict how much our emotions affect our relationships - and our marital satisfaction...

7 October 2013

Touch-feedback out of thin air


Using focused ultrasound radiation, scientists have created a human-computer interface that provides haptic (touch) feedback above a computer screen without having to touch or hold any device...

7 October 2013

Giant channels discovered under Antarctic ice


Beneath the floating Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in West Antarctica, scientists have discovered huge ice channels that are 800 feet high and stretch for hundreds of miles...

4 October 2013

Brain connectivity may have sparked Einstein's brilliance


A new analysis that compared Albert Einstein's brain to others of the period shows the left and right cerebral hemispheres of the famous scientist's brain were unusually well connected to each other...

2 October 2013

Evidence for sonar contributing to mass whale strandings


For the first time, a mass stranding of marine mammals has been linked to the high-frequency sonar mapping systems used by the petrochemical industry...

1 October 2013

Exoplanet has its clouds mapped


Scientists using data from the Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes have created the first cloud map of a planet beyond our solar system, a Jupiter-like world known as Kepler-7b...

30 September 2013

Mercury levels in herbal teas surprise scientists


A new study suggests that fish accounts for only seven percent of mercury levels in the human body, while herbal teas appear to be a significant, previously unrecognized, contributor...

29 September 2013

Wine drinkers clueless about alcohol servings


Scientists know that environmental cues like plate size can impact eating behaviors, but the effect of environmental factors on wine consumption has, until now, not been studied in detail...

26 September 2013

Tramadol painkiller found in nature


For the first time ever, a synthetic medication produced by the pharmaceutical industry has been discovered in strong concentrations in a natural source...

25 September 2013

Photonic molecules behave like light saber, say scientists


Photons have long been described as massless particles which don't interact with each other, but Harvard and MIT scientists have created molecules made from light that behave as though they have mass...

24 September 2013

My god, it's full of stars. Astronomers discover densest galaxy


Alpha Centauri, our closest neighboring star lies about 4 light years distant; now imagine as many as 10,000 stars crammed into that relatively small space. Astronomers say that's about the density of a newly discovered ultra-compact dwarf galaxy...

23 September 2013

Walk this way: how an upright gait made humans musical


Why don't chimpanzees, our closest primate cousins, have musical ability? Scientists in Sweden hypothesize that our musicality developed only after we had begun to walk upright...

22 September 2013

Pollution changing birdsong


Songbirds are exhibiting inconsistency in their songs and pollution appears to be the culprit, say ornithologists working in a region with high levels of PCB contaminants from decades of electronics manufacturing...

18 September 2013

Effects from Toxoplasma gondii infection appear to be permanent


Surprising new research has revealed the neural effects of toxoplasmosis infection appear to be permanent, persisting long after the parasitic infection is cleared from the body...

17 September 2013

Smartphone microscope can see a single virus


A smartphone-based microscope attachment developed at UCLA is sensitive enough to discern viruses and nanoparticles, allowing sophisticated biomedical testing in places where laboratory facilities are not available...

16 September 2013

TV drug ads mostly false


Analyzing several years' worth of pharmaceutical advertisements, researchers found that 6 out-of 10 claims in prescription drug ads on television were misleading or false and over-the-counter drug ads were even less reliable...

16 September 2013

Painkiller addiction in U.S. an "epidemic," say senior medicos


Over the last ten years, prescriptions for strong opioid medications for non-cancer pain have doubled and public health experts say the rise is almost entirely due to rocketing levels of abuse and addiction...

12 September 2013

Mechanical gears seen in nature for the first time


Gear mechanisms, previously thought to only exist in man-made machines, have also evolved in nature, according to scientists who say they have made the first observation of mechanical gearing in a biological structure...

11 September 2013

Cholesterol metabolism implicated in anorexia


A large DNA-sequencing study of anorexia nervosa sufferers has linked the eating disorder to variants in a gene that regulates cholesterol metabolism, suggesting that anorexia could be caused in part by a disruption in the normal processing of cholesterol...

10 September 2013

Panda poop could be biofuel bonanza


The unusual microbes in panda feces might provide a solution for shifting the production of biofuels away from corn and other food crops, to corn cobs, stalks and other non-food plant material...

9 September 2013

Bacteria modified with squid protein could be a camouflage game-changer for military


What can the military learn from a plate of calamari? A lot about how to hide from enemies, say scientists working on developing active camouflage technologies...

8 September 2013

Inflatable antennae give micro-satellites long-range comms


The shoebox-sized satellites known as CubeSats are making space exploration cheaper and more accessible, but their smaller, less powerful antennae have until now limited their communication range...

5 September 2013

Inner-ear disorders may be key to ADHD


Behavioral abnormalities are traditionally thought to originate in the brain, but researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have found that inner-ear dysfunction can directly cause neurological disorders such as hyperactivity...

4 September 2013

Down syndrome may be reversible


Scientists say they have identified a compound that dramatically bolsters learning and memory when given to mice with a Down syndrome-like condition. Given on the day of birth, the single-dose treatment appears to enable the cerebellum of the rodents' brains to grow to a normal size...

2 September 2013

How generosity leads to evolutionary success


New insights into the classical game theory match-up known as the "Prisoner's Dilemma" help explain the presence of generosity in nature, an inclination that can sometimes seem counter to the Darwinian notion of survival of the fittest...

1 September 2013

Crop pests relentless in their march polewards


A new study has revealed that our warming climate is pushing crop pests such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, insects, and nematodes, towards the North and South Poles at a rate of nearly 3 km a year...

29 August 2013

Massive canyon discovered under Greenland ice sheet


A NASA airborne science mission has found a previously unknown canyon hidden under a mile of Greenland ice. Longer than the Grand Canyon, it has the characteristics of a winding river channel and is up to 2,600 feet deep...

27 August 2013

Researchers demo human brain-to-brain interface


University of Washington researchers say they have created the first non-invasive human-to-human brain interface, with one researcher able to send a brain signal via the Internet to control the hand motions of a fellow researcher...

26 August 2013

Legacy of acid rain threatens water supplies


The ongoing effects of river alkalinization - paradoxically caused by acid rain - are showing up across the East Coast of the U.S. and scientists are unsure how long they will persist...

26 August 2013

Psychiatrists put their profession on the couch


The use of psychotherapy is declining rapidly in America and a wide ranging review has identified big pharma and mental health clinicians themselves as the two main reasons for the disappearing consumers...

22 August 2013

Oz rains soak up sea level rise


Weather patterns that came together over Australia in 2010 and 2011 caused so much rain downunder that the world's ocean levels dropped measurably...

22 August 2013

Immune cells triggering anxiety symptoms?


Researchers have discovered that during prolonged stress, cells from the immune system are recruited to the brain and promote symptoms of anxiety. The findings, from experiments with mice, offer a new explanation of how stress can lead to mood disorders...

20 August 2013

Blood test could identify those at risk of suicide


Indiana University researchers say they have found a series of RNA biomarkers in blood that may help identify who is at risk for committing suicide...

19 August 2013

"Significant association" found between use of psychedelic drugs and better mental health


The use of LSD, magic mushrooms, or peyote does not increase a person's risk of developing mental health problems, say European researchers, who instead found a correlation between the use of psychedelic drugs and fewer mental health problems...

16 August 2013

Novel geometry creates ultralight super-strong components from tiny interlocking 3D printed parts


In what could herald an entirely new approach to manufacturing, MIT researchers have created tiny lightweight building blocks that can be snapped together much like Lego bricks to create structures that are exceptionally strong and light...

15 August 2013

No power source needed for new wireless communications technique


A new wireless communications technique - using what researchers call "ambient backscatter" - allows devices to communicate and exchange information with each other by reflecting (or absorbing) existing radio and television signals...

9 August 2013

Who'd have thunk it? Scientists reveal how overthinking handicaps human performance


A new University of California study reveals why under certain circumstances paying full attention and trying hard can actually impede performance...

6 August 2013

3D images generated from single lens


Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering have developed a way for photographers and microscopists to create a 3D image through a single lens, without moving the camera...

1 August 2013

Surprising longevity boost from Holocaust


Despite psychosocial trauma, torture, famine, and malnutrition, male Holocaust survivors have a longer life expectancy compared to those who didn't experience the Holocaust...

29 July 2013

Faulty eye signaling may be to blame for schizoid hallucinations


A simple experiment has revealed that schizophrenics have an inaccurate visual validation system, likely contributing to psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations...

26 July 2013

Human sleep influenced by Moon


European scientists say they have the first convincing scientific evidence to support the notion that humans have a circalunar clock that is affected by the geophysical rhythms of the moon...

24 July 2013

Magnetic wand provides three dimensions of smartphone interaction


A magnetic wand that makes use of the magnetometers built into most smartphones and tablets adds a third dimension to device interaction, heralding a new generation of innovative games and applications...

22 July 2013

Love-hormone oxytocin also triggers anxiety and fear


It seems that oxytocin is two-faced. The hormone that promotes feelings of love, social bonding, and well-being can also cause emotional pain, an entirely new, darker identity for the hormone...

16 July 2013

New Neptunian moon discovered by Hubble


The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a new moon orbiting the distant blue-green planet Neptune, making a total of 14 that are known to be circling the giant planet...

13 July 2013

Revealing cancer's deep evolutionary roots


A new way to look at cancer - proposed by two astrobiologists - could transform cancer therapy by linking cancer's beginnings to the origin of life and the developmental processes of embryos...

11 July 2013

A blue planet where it rains glass


Astronomers making visible-light observations with the Hubble Space Telescope have deduced the actual color of a planet orbiting another star 63 light-years away...

10 July 2013

Brain mapping gets a reality check


The idea that researchers can unravel different brain functions by performing MRI scans while subjects perform tasks is deeply flawed, say scientists in a scathing critique of recent studies that rely on neuroimaging...

9 July 2013

Brain-training claims questioned


Brain-training companies claim scientific studies back the effectiveness of their programs, but according to a new report, most studies like these have a critical flaw - they do not account for the placebo effect...

8 July 2013

Choir's hearts beat as one


Swedish researchers studying how music affects the human body have found that when people sing in a choir their heartbeats become synchronized and their pulses increase and decrease in unison...

7 July 2013

Brain regions where ideas become contagious identified


How do ideas spread? Why do some videos go viral? UCLA scientists have taken a first step toward answering these questions by identifying the brain regions associated with the successful spread of ideas...

4 July 2013

"Extreme" astrophysical event likely cause of mysterious radio bursts


Mysterious bursts of radio waves originating from billions of light years away may be coming from magnetars, say the scientists who detected them...

4 July 2013

Parrots solve complex mechanical problems


Untrained parrots have been solving complex mechanical problems that involved undoing a series of locks one after another; impressive feats that scientists say reveal new levels of intelligence in birds...

2 July 2013

Oceanic food-chain undergoing dramatic changes


Increasing levels of carbon dioxide appear to be changing the biodiversity of the oceanic ecosystem, most notably the keystone bacterial organisms that form the foundation of the ocean's food-chain...

1 July 2013

Lots more habitable planets out there, thanks to clouds


An intriguing new study that calculates the influence of cloud behavior on climate doubles the number of potentially habitable planets orbiting red dwarfs, the most common type of stars in the universe...

1 July 2013

Global warming getting El Niño all hot and bothered


The climate records from thousands of ancient tree-rings indicate that the El Niño Southern Oscillation is becoming increasingly extreme...

27 June 2013

Cheap and simple desalination unit runs from battery


Using a small electrical field that removes the salts from seawater, German and American scientists have invented a new method for the desalination of seawater that consumes much less energy and is dramatically simpler than conventional desalination techniques...

26 June 2013

Nil by mouth: oral ingestion blamed for rapid rise of antibiotic resistance


The medicos behind a new study into antibiotic resistance have pointed the finger of blame squarely at the oral ingestion of antibiotics, suggesting that intravenous or transdermal delivery of the drugs would slow the spread of resistance...

25 June 2013

Nearby star may have 3 habitable planets


Astronomers have announced that the star Gliese 667C is likely orbited by between five and seven planets and three of these planets are in the so-called habitable zone around the star - the zone where liquid water could exist...

24 June 2013

Eyes used to measure pleasure response


The brain's pleasure response to tasting food can be accurately measured through the eyes using a common, low-cost ophthalmological tool, say researchers who believe the method could be used by both food scientists and clinicians...

23 June 2013

Dramatic images of Singapore haze from orbit


NASA satellites have captured striking images of vast palls of smoke billowing from illegal wildfires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra...

21 June 2013

It's alive! Nutritional value of fresh produce varies with time of day


The fruits and vegetables we buy in the grocery store are actually still alive, leading scientists to conclude that the way we store our produce (as well as the time of the day we cook it) has significant effects on its nutritional value...

20 June 2013

Population growth makes wildlife conservation pointless, concludes new report


"You can do all the conservation in the world that you want, but it's going to be for naught if we don't keep the human population in check," say the scientists behind a new study into the outlook for threatened species...

18 June 2013

New evidence for climate change creating modern humans


Abrupt changes in climate led to the rapid emergence of modern human behaviors, say archaeologists who have linked tool-making and agriculture to changes in rainfall patterns...

18 June 2013

Striking correlation found between infection and mood disorders


Researchers discover that every third person who is diagnosed for the first time with a mood disorder had been admitted to hospital with an infection prior to the diagnosis...

17 June 2013

Robo-cat offers speed and agility for search and rescue


Swiss robotics researchers say the design of their cat-like robot is based on meticulous observations of the feline leg, giving the robot all the speed and stability that real cats have...

14 June 2013

Menopause - it's a guy thing


After decades of trying to shoehorn menopause into a variety of evolutionary contexts that never seemed to add up, a team of Canadian scientists has concluded that what really causes menopause in women is men...

12 June 2013

Novel epigenetic messaging system found in sperm


A dad's exposure to stress leaves a lasting impression on his sperm, say researchers who have been investigating a never-before-seen epigenetic link to diseases such as anxiety and depression that are passed from father to child...

11 June 2013

Plastic could work as shield against space radiation hazards


Experiments carried out aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter indicate that light plastic materials may provide sufficient radiation shielding for astronauts on future missions into deep space...

10 June 2013

Dark matter observations: missed it by that much


A theory which endows dark matter particles with a rare form of electromagnetism has been strengthened by a detailed analysis from Vanderbilt University which indicates that attempted observations of the mysterious substance are falling short by only the tiniest of margins...

9 June 2013

Neanderthal bone reveals modern day affliction


The first-known case of a bone tumor has been discovered in a fragment of the rib of a young Neanderthal who lived about 120,000 years ago in Eastern Europe...

6 June 2013

Comet smash simulations hint at life's cosmic origins


Computationally intensive simulations show that cometary impacts alone could have produced the building blocks of life without the need for "special" conditions, such as the presence of catalysts or UV radiation...

6 June 2013

Kinect-like gesture recognition leveraged from standard WiFi signals


In a clever use of Doppler frequency shifts, computer scientists have shown it's possible to use the existing WiFi signals around us to detect specific movements without needing sensors on the human body or cameras...

5 June 2013

Thought-controlled drone demonstrated


In what they say is the first step toward restoring the autonomy of paralysis sufferers, researchers have demonstrated complex maneuvering by a drone controlled only by the user's thoughts...

3 June 2013

Earth's Milky Way neighborhood gets upsized


Earth resides between two major spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy in what was thought to be a smaller spur structure called the Local Arm. Now, however, new observations indicate that our Local Arm is in fact much more like the adjacent major arms...

2 June 2013

Txting tested for battlefield comms


Radios, gunfire, explosions, vehicles, and live voices all combine during combat to create extreme auditory overload for military personnel, but defense researchers think they may have a solution - the humble text message...

31 May 2013

CO2 not to blame for global warming, claims new study that argues global cooling has already begun


Conventional thinking on climate change holds that human emissions of carbon dioxide have been the major contributor to global warming, but an intriguing new study that examined data going back to the Industrial Revolution indicates that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) conspiring with cosmic rays are the real culprit...

29 May 2013

Mysterious "anti-glitch" observed in neutron star's rotation


Astronomers using NASA's Swift X-ray Telescope have observed a spinning neutron star suddenly slowing down, a never before seen event that is expected to catalyze renewed efforts to better understand the puzzling physics of these bizarre stellar remnants...

28 May 2013

Evidence that probiotics alter brain function


In a discovery that carries significant implications for changing brain function through dietary interventions, UCLA researchers say they now have the first evidence that bacteria ingested in food can affect how the human brain works...

27 May 2013

Honey, I baked the kids


The relaxation of marijuana laws in Colorado has caused a surge in the number of young children being treated for accidentally eating marijuana-laced cookies and candies, say medicos from the University of Colorado...

26 May 2013

Torturous terrain behind human bipedal evolution?


Archaeologists at the University of York say challenging terrain could have been the driving force behind our earliest ancestors leaving the trees and becoming upright bipeds...

23 April 2013

Baits failing as cockroaches adapt to dislike sugar


Sugar is losing its attraction for roaches and making baits less effective, say scientists who have been investigating the genetic adaptations that are causing cockroaches to reject glucose and any baits made with it...

22 May 2013

Physics-defying magnetic field behavior in solar flares explained


When a solar flare filled with charged particles erupts from the Sun, its magnetic lines of force sometimes break apart and then quickly reconnect in a way that has mystified astrophysicists, but an explanation for this flouting of a widely accepted rule of physics may be in the offing...

21 May 2013

The pirate ant: scientists mull bizarre pigmentation of new species


Scientists working in the Philippines have discovered a new enigmatic species of ant with a bizarre pigmentation pattern that has no equivalent anywhere else on the planet...

20 May 2013

Humans, as well as bats, have echolocation skills


Researchers have been investigating how blind and visually impaired people can use echolocation, the navigational sonar used by bats and dolphins, to determine the location of objects...

19 May 2013

Medicinal clays may be new weapon against antibiotic-resistant infections


Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute is trying a new approach to developing effective antibacterial agents - one that draws on a naturally occurring substance recognized since antiquity for its medicinal properties: clay...

16 May 2013

"Flowers" self-assemble from basic chemistry


By simply manipulating chemical gradients in a beaker of fluid, researchers at Harvard have found they can control the growth behavior of crystals to create beautiful, precisely tailored nanostructures...

16 May 2013

Marijuana users have smaller waists, better blood sugar control


Pot smokers have 16 percent lower fasting insulin levels compared to non-users, say researchers examining the relationship between marijuana use and fasting insulin, glucose, and insulin resistance...

15 May 2013

Stunning new species of palm-pitviper discovered


Herpetologists have identified a striking new species of highly dangerous green palm-pitviper that lives within a cloud forest reserve in northern Honduras...

13 May 2013

New technique for finding distant planets makes its first discovery


For the first time, astrophysicists from Tel Aviv University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have discovered an exoplanet using a new technique that relies on Einstein's special theory of relativity...

12 May 2013

Liquid hydrogen fueled drone shatters endurance record


Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have set a new continuous flight record with an electric drone powered by a fuel cell running from liquid hydrogen in cryogenic storage...

9 May 2013

Hubble identifies Earth-like debris in white dwarfs' atmospheres


The Hubble Space Telescope has found the building blocks of Earth-like planets - silicon and carbon - in an unlikely place: the atmospheres of a pair of burnt-out white dwarf stars...

9 May 2013

Pear-shaped atoms may hold clues to unsolved physics


Physicists have found the first direct evidence of exotic pear shaped nuclei in atoms, a discovery that could advance the search for a new fundamental force in nature and explain why the Big Bang created more matter than antimatter...

7 May 2013

Climate change, not humans, wiped out megafauna, claim Aussie scientists


New research challenges the notion that humans were responsible for the demise of the gigantic animals that once roamed Australia, pointing the finger instead at climate change...

7 May 2013

Nocebo effect behind electrosmog illnesses, say European researchers


An investigation into the purported health risks associated with electromagnetic fields has shown that media reports alone may cause suggestible people to develop symptoms of a disease...

5 May 2013

Madagascar's dwarf lemurs shed light on tropical climate hibernation


By comparing the hibernation habits of eastern dwarf lemurs and their western counterparts, researchers hope to better understand what sends animals into hibernation mode...

2 May 2013

Tiny robotic insect makes first controlled flight


Inspired by the biology of a fly, with submillimeter-scale anatomy and two wafer-thin wings that flap 120 times per second, this tiny robotic insect that's half the size of a paperclip represents the cutting edge of micro-manufacturing...

1 May 2013

Scientists merge electronics with bio-printed ear


Using off-the-shelf 3D printing tools, Princeton scientists have built a functional cell-cultured ear that can "hear" radio frequencies...

30 April 2013

Study reveals "staggering" over-diagnosis and over-treatment of depression


Researchers assessing adults with clinician-identified depression found that when evaluated for major depressive episodes using a structured interview, only 38 percent of the subjects met the actual criteria for depression...

29 April 2013

Giant vortex at Saturn's north pole finally revealed


The Cassini spacecraft has provided scientists with the first close-up views of a massive hurricane-like vortex swirling around Saturn's north pole. The vortex - about 20 times larger than the average hurricane on Earth - spins inside a large, mysterious, six-sided weather pattern which astronomers call "the hexagon"...

28 April 2013

Computer scientists mull origins of evolvability


Over time, organisms appear to become increasingly capable of evolving in response to changes in the environment, but computer boffins say the traditional explanation - competition to survive in nature - may not actually be necessary for evolvability to increase...

25 April 2013

Evolution making women taller, thinner


As well as living longer and having fewer children, women are becoming taller and slimmer, but researchers aren't sure why selection has shifted from shorter and stouter women to taller and thinner ones...

24 April 2013

Ecotourism wildcard in African disease cocktail


Somewhat counter-intuitively, protected areas of Africa where numbers of humans are limited appear to also be hotspots for the exchange of fecal matter between animals and humans. The researchers behind the discovery say it could have important implications for antibiotic resistance and the emergence of new diseases...

23 April 2013

Hubble snaps pic of faraway comet ISON


Hubble has given astronomers their clearest view yet of ISON, a newly-discovered sun-grazer comet that could light up the sky later this year...

22 April 2013

Genetic circuit balances individual freedom and collective good


An intriguing investigation of bacterial genetic circuitry indicates that even the simplest creatures can make difficult choices that strike a balance between selflessness and selfishness...

21 April 2013

Rising CO2 giving fish super-hearing


Ocean acidification is known to negatively impact a wide variety of marine animals, but new research indicates that a huge increase in hearing sensitivity for fish could also be one of the effects...

18 April 2013

Ultracheap tactile sensor for robots unveiled


Giving robots a sense of touch has traditionally been an expensive and complex exercise with results that were often less than useful. Now, however, a newly developed tactile sensor using off-the-shelf cell phone components could dramatically change how robots interact with the world around them...

17 April 2013

"Nanosponge" removes toxins from bloodstream


Nanoengineers say they have created a "nanosponge" that is capable of safely removing a broad class of dangerous substances from the bloodstream - including toxins produced by MRSA, E. coli, venomous snakes, and bees...

16 April 2013

Dramatic changes in bacteria following male circumcision could explain HIV protective effect


Removing the foreskin causes significant changes in the bacterial community of the penis, according to a study that also suggests how these changes offer protection from HIV infection...

15 April 2013

Sexual happiness means keeping up with the Joneses


A new analysis of national data suggests that sex is like income: people are generally happy when they keep pace with the Joneses and they're even happier if they get a bit more...

14 April 2013

Successful transplant of bioengineered rat kidney


Bioengineered rat kidneys have successfully produced urine both in a laboratory apparatus and after being transplanted into living animals. The scientists behind the breakthrough believe that with further work, bioengineered kidneys could someday replace donor kidneys...

11 April 2013

This is your brain on iTunes


Researchers have been using an MRI scanner to work out what happens in our brain when we decide to purchase a piece of music after we hear it for the first time. The study pinpoints the specific brain activity that makes new music rewarding and predicts the decision to purchase music...

10 April 2013

Radiation exposure from "dark lightning" quantified


Physicists have developed a new model of how thunderstorms manage to produce high-energy gamma-ray radiation and what the likely risk is for air travelers who happen to be near the lightning strike...

9 April 2013

Rapid evolution tied to environmental change


Environmental change can drive hard-wired evolutionary changes in animal species in a matter of generations, report ecologists from Umeň University and the University of Leeds. The new findings, which overturn the common assumption that evolution occurs slowly, could shed light in areas such as the management of fisheries, where human actions can result in major changes to an entire population's environment...

8 April 2013

Couch potatoes born that way


Research from the University of Missouri indicates certain genetic traits may predispose people to being more or less motivated to exercise and remain active...

7 April 2013

Nose loses monopoly on sense of smell


In a discovery suggesting that odors may have a far more important role in life than previously supposed, scientists have found that heart, blood, lung, and other areas of the body have the same olfactory receptors for sensing odors that exist in the nose...

4 April 2013

Quantum tricks turbocharge magnetic storage


Researchers have found a new way to switch magnetism that is at least 1,000 times faster than current methods used in magnetic memory technologies...

3 April 2013

Ionic thrusters challenge jet engines for efficiency


Largely regarded as a scientific curiosity confined to the realm of hobbyists, a new investigation into electrohydrodynamic thrust has found that "ionic wind" may actually be more efficient than jet propulsion...

2 April 2013

Metallic flowers behind bee decline?


Researchers are investigating evidence that pesticides may be killing off bumblebees, but research at the University of Pittsburgh points toward another potential cause: flowers contaminated with metallic pollution...

2 April 2013

Age-related height loss linked to cognitive health


In the first study of its kind, University of Southern California researchers have identified a number of surprising factors linked to how much we shrink as we grow older...

31 March 2013

Greening of Arctic will be dramatic, say scientists


New computer models based on observations of plant growth in the Arctic suggest that rising temperatures will lead to a massive increase in plant and tree cover over the next few decades...

28 March 2013

Future criminal behavior predicted with brain scan


Researchers say neuroimaging data can predict the likelihood of whether a criminal will reoffend following release from prison...

28 March 2013

Ancient asteroid caused global firestorm on Earth


A new analysis of charcoal sedimentation has revealed that the dino-destroying asteroid that impacted Mexico dumped enough heat in the atmosphere to trigger an infrared "heat pulse" around the entire planet...

26 March 2013

Biofuels could be made directly from excess CO2 in the atmosphere, say scientists


Biotechnologists have modified a microorganism that normally lives in the super-heated ocean waters near geothermal vents so that it can feed on carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and in the process create a range of industrial chemicals...

25 March 2013

Two-headed bull shark discovered


Marine researchers have confirmed that the first-ever, two-headed bull shark to be discovered is a single shark with two heads, rather than conjoined twins...

24 March 2013

New analysis pokes holes in biodiversity's supposed link to human disease


One of the most important ideas in disease ecology - that biodiversity abundance is linked to a reduced disease risk for humans - is likely wrong, according to a new Stanford study...

21 March 2013

Emotional content of books diverging by country, say language sleuths


A computer analysis of more than five million digitized books has revealed a distinct stylistic divergence since the 1960s, with American books becoming decidedly more "emotional"...

20 March 2013

Brain wave trajectories challenge area-specific notion of brain activity


Our understanding of brain activity has traditionally been linked to specific brain areas - an area associated with speech, vision, etc. - but Belgian scientists say this view may be overly rigid. Their experiments reveal waves of activity across the entire cerebral cortex when a given task is initiated...

19 March 2013

Knowledge of sport no advantage in sports gambling


Sports gamblers frequently see themselves as cleverer than other gamblers, believing that their intimate knowledge of player statistics, coaching styles, and other details will give them an edge. But new research shows that neither betting experience nor knowledge of the details of the game is connected to successful sports betting outcomes...

18 March 2013

Natural selection reducing road kill


Urban environments can be evolutionary hotspots, suggests a study that explored why road kill surveys have shown a sharp decline in bird mortality over the last 30 years...

17 March 2013

Overheard cellphone conversations "uniquely intrusive"


Confirming what many of us have long suspected, a new study has found that a one-sided cellphone conversation in the background is much more distracting than overhearing a conversation between two people...

14 March 2013

Stroke diagnosed via txt messaging


Dystextia, the inability to write a coherent text message, may become an important tool in diagnosing a type of crippling stroke that does not affect the patient's speaking ability...

14 March 2013

Self-control makes cockatoos sophisticated traders


The ability to anticipate a delayed gain is considered cognitively challenging since it requires not only the capacity to control a direct impulse, but also to assess the gain's beneficial value relative to the costs associated with having to wait. Until now, such abilities were believed to be restricted to a few large brained animals...

13 March 2013

Pesticides may be source of norovirus in food


Outbreaks of norovirus (also known as the winter vomiting bug) are frequently linked to the consumption of fresh food and a new study indicates that contaminated water used to dilute pesticides may be how the virus enters the food chain...

12 March 2013

Facebook Likes reveal surprisingly accurate intimate personal information


Surprisingly accurate estimates of users' race, age, IQ, sexuality, personality type, substance use and political views can be inferred from automated analysis of only their Facebook Likes - information that is publicly available by default...

10 March 2013

Scientists propose test run for nuking asteroid


After five years of work, a team of scientists from Iowa State University are proposing a $500 million test launch of an asteroid interception system...

7 March 2013

Peptide discovery could lead to happiness pill


The neurochemical changes that underlie human emotions are still largely unknown, but scientists have for the first time identified a specific peptide that is released in large quantities when subjects are happy...

6 March 2013

Sports brain injury may actually be an autoimmune phenomenon


U.S. medicos have proposed a radical new way of thinking about concussions: that the brain degeneration observed among professional football players could result from an out-of-control immune response, similar to that which multiple sclerosis patients experience. If so, they suggest that vaccines or drug therapies could be used to prevent the resultant cognitive degeneration...

5 March 2013

New evidence that comets may have seeded life on Earth


A new experiment simulating conditions in deep space has shown that linked pairs of amino acids - essential building blocks shared by all living things - could have been created on icy interplanetary dust and then carried to Earth...

4 March 2013

Can nicotine transmit disease through multiple generations?


Nicotine creates heritable epigenetic marks on the genome, say U.S. scientists who contend that a grandparent's smoking habits may be responsible for asthma and other respiratory conditions in grandchildren...

3 March 2013

Volcanoes keeping a lid on global warming


Climatologists in the U.S. say that dozens of active volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere have been offsetting about a quarter of the greenhouse warming on Earth over the last decade...

28 February 2013

Conjoined rat brains demonstrate thought transference over the Internet


Duke University researchers have electronically linked the brains of pairs of rats for the first time, enabling the rodents to communicate directly and solve simple behavioral puzzles while the two animals were thousands of miles apart...

27 February 2013

Supermassive black hole spins super-fast


Imagine a sphere more than 2 million miles across spinning so fast that its surface is traveling at nearly the speed of light. Such an object exists: the supermassive black hole at the center of the spiral galaxy NGC 1365...

26 February 2013

Stretchy battery can bend and twist


A team of scientists from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois are the first to demonstrate a stretchable lithium-ion battery - a flexible, wirelessly charged device that could power a range of innovative, stretchable electronic devices...

25 February 2013

First discovery of ET life will likely be around a white dwarf star, say astrophysicists


Detecting extraterrestrial life from tell-tale atmospheric signatures is much easier to do when the planet under observation is orbiting a dying star, say Harvard Smithsonian scientists who believe that white dwarf systems are the best candidates for catching our first glimpse of life outside our solar system...

24 February 2013

Nano-rod solar cell generates hydrogen


A new type of solar collector that uses nano-rods could convert sunlight into energy without many of the problems associated with traditional photovoltaic solar cells...

21 February 2013

Tweet this: human language may have evolved from birdsong


Charles Darwin speculated that language might have had its origins in singing and now linguists from MIT are taking that theory a step further by proposing that human language could be a grafting of two communication forms found in the animal kingdom...

20 February 2013

New imaging device is flexible, flat, transparent, and disposable


An Austrian research team has developed an entirely new way of capturing images based on a flat, flexible, transparent, and potentially disposable polymer sheet...

19 February 2013

Medicos mull possible link between obesity and ADHD


A new U.S. study has established a possible link between high-fat diets and childhood cognitive conditions such as ADHD and memory-dependent learning disabilities...

18 February 2013

Appreciation of musical harmony is nurture, not nature, say Aussie scientists


Our love of music and appreciation of musical harmony is learnt and not based on natural ability, according to Australian researchers at the University of Melbourne...

18 February 2013

Russian scientists locate meteorite fragments


Russia's Ria Novosti news agency has reported that Russian scientists have located fragments from the meteor that broke up dramatically over the Urals region on Friday...

14 February 2013

Flushed pharma fueling fearless fish


Widely prescribed anxiety-moderating drugs such as Serepax are persisting through wastewater treatment plants after being excreted and modifying fish behaviors, making them bolder and avoid other fish...

13 January 2013

Republicans' brains wired for fight-or-flight


Measuring the brain activity of Republicans and Democrats while they played a simple gambling game has revealed striking differences in each group's cognitive functioning...

13 February 2013

Massive depletion of Middle East freshwater reserves


Already strained by water scarcity and political tensions, the arid Middle East along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is losing critical water reserves at a rapid pace, from Turkey upstream to Syria, Iran and Iraq below...

11 February 2013

Bio-computer combines DNA memory and cellular logic gates


MIT scientists have created genetic circuits in bacterial cells that not only perform logic functions, but also remember the results, which are encoded in the cell's DNA and passed on for dozens of generations...

8 February 2013

Gay animals an inconvenient truth for BBC, claims study


A new study criticizes television wildlife documentaries produced by the BBC for ignoring widespread alternative aspects of animal activity such as homosexuality and same-sex parenting...

7 February 2013

Rare strobe-like binary protostar found


The Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes have teamed up to uncover a mysterious infant star that behaves like a strobe light, a phenomenon that astronomers think is caused by periodic interactions between two newly formed stars that are gravitationally bound to each other...

6 February 2013

Earth-like planets may be closer than previously thought


A new analysis of data from NASA's Kepler space telescope indicates that many red dwarf stars have habitable, Earth-sized planets, raising the prospect that the closest Earth-like planet could be just 13 light-years away...

5 February 2013

Significant bacterial populations found in upper atmosphere


Using a DC-8 aircraft to scoop-up air samples from the troposphere, scientists have identified significant numbers of living microorganisms - mostly bacteria - six miles above the Earth's surface...

4 February 2013

TV watching a predictor of sperm count


Healthy young men who watch television for more than 20 hours a week have around half the sperm count of men who watch very little TV, say Harvard researchers...

3 February 2013

Oxycontin overdoses at epidemic levels


While heroin overdoses have declined, overdoses from prescription opioids such as Oxycontin increased seven-fold in New York City over a 16-year period. The researchers behind a new study analyzing this prescription opioid epidemic say it is especially prevalent among higher-income white residents...

31 January 2013

Mystery of extreme head-rotation in owls explained


Anatomical artists and neurological experts have finally unravelled how night-hunting owls can almost fully rotate their heads without damaging the delicate blood vessels in their necks and heads, and without cutting off blood supply to their brains...

30 January 2013

Modified gut flora could end malnutrition


A new study conducted in sub-Saharan Africa found that bacteria living in the intestine are an underlying cause of childhood malnutrition, leading researchers to suggest that many infant deaths in the developing world could be prevented by simply altering microbial communities in the gut...

29 January 2013

Simulation reveals evolutionary origins of modularity


Robotics researchers say they now understand why humans, bacteria and other organisms evolved in a modular fashion, a finding they believe will lead to a deeper understanding of the evolution of complexity...

29 January 2013

Penicillin - not The Pill - drove the sexual revolution, suggests new analysis


The rise in casual sex that marked the swinging '60s actually began a decade earlier, according to a new analysis of the period when penicillin was introduced to treat syphilis...

27 January 2013

Synesthesia traced to childhood toy


Experiencing a color when viewing particular letters or numbers - known as color-grapheme synesthesia - may partly be a learned behavior, say researchers who uncovered startlingly similar color-letter pairings amongst a number of color grapheme synesthetes who played with the same childhood toy...

24 January 2013

Dung beetles' galactic navigation


A beetle with a tiny brain appears to use the Milky Way galaxy for navigation, a feat that has never before been seen in an insect before say the scientists behind the discovery...

23 January 2013

Multitasking: you're bad at it


Most people believe they can multitask effectively, but a new University of Utah study indicates that the people who multitask the most are the people least capable of doing so...

22 January 2013

Car designs may change to protect obese


An analysis of traffic collision fatalities showing that obese drivers are far more likely to die than drivers of normal weight has prompted researchers to suggest that car designs might need to change to better protect obese drivers...

21 January 2013

Aspirin and vision loss: a significant association


In a new study that builds on previous research, regular aspirin use (defined as once or more per week) was shown to be "significantly" associated with a higher risk of macular degeneration...

20 January 2013

Quadruple helix DNA discovered in human cells


Cambridge University researchers have published a paper showing that four-stranded "quadruple helix" DNA structures exist within the human genome and speculate that these structures may provide a target for novel cancer treatments...

17 January 2013

Viagra's surprising weight-loss properties


German scientists investigating why mice given Viagra were resistant to obesity say they have discovered a "quite amazing" anti-obesity effect related to a cell signaling pathway that tells the body how to store fat...

16 January 2013

Parasitic worms could treat obesity disorders


The sugar-based anti-inflammatory molecule that many parasitic worms secrete inside the human body might actually help treat the metabolic disorders associated with obesity...

15 January 2013

Leadership can be an inherited trait, study finds


Using a large twin sample, an international research team found that a quarter of the observed variation in leadership behavior between individuals can be explained by genes passed down from their parents...

14 January 2013

Are close friends on Facebook the enemy?


"Likes" or positive comments from close friends on Facebook appear to inflate users' self-esteem and reduce self-control, resulting in higher body-mass indexes and higher levels of credit-card debt...

13 January 2013

Ancient faces reconstructed


A new DNA system employed to analyze modern forensic samples has also been used to establish facial characteristics from centuries old human remains. A study in the journal Investigative Genetics details how the system was able to reconstruct hair and eye color from teeth up to 800 years old...

10 January 2013

Telling time with matter waves


Berkeley scientists say they have discovered a way to tell time by measuring matter waves, the oscillations of matter whose frequency is 10 billion times higher than that of visible light. Intriguingly, the researchers say the technique can also be reversed, using time to measure mass...

9 January 2013

Asteroid belt spotted around Vega


Astronomers say they have spotted evidence for an asteroid belt encircling Vega, a star 25 lights years from Earth. The discovery hints that Vega could be very similar to our own solar system and may contain Earth-like planets...

8 January 2013

Habitable planets galore, suggests Kepler data-crunching


A detailed analysis of the first three years of data from NASA's Kepler mission, which already has discovered thousands of potential exoplanets, contains good news for those searching for habitable worlds outside our solar system...

7 January 2013

Modern parenting crippling kids' brains, says Notre Dame prof


Social practices and cultural beliefs of modern life are preventing healthy brain and emotional development in children, according to an interdisciplinary body of research presented at a symposium at the University of Notre Dame...

6 January 2013

Fossil analysis indicates dinosaurs used feathers for courtship


Fossilized dinosaur tail bones have provided strong evidence that feathered dinosaurs used tail plumage to attract mates, much like modern-day peacocks...

3 January 2013

Antarctic ice sheet warming much faster than previously thought


Remote monitoring equipment on the western part of the massive West Antarctic Ice Sheet is showing an increase of 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit in average annual temperature since 1958 - around three times faster than the average temperature rise around the globe...

2 January 2013

30ft sea level rise may be unavoidable


Climatologists examining the relationship between sea level and CO2 concentrations over the last 40 million years have found that present day greenhouse gas concentrations have historically been associated with sea levels at least 30 feet above current levels...

1 January 2013

MRI scans reveal fructose's effects on brain's appetite regulators


Scans of the human brain after ingesting fructose have provided insights into how the substance affects brain chemistry and increases food-seeking behavior and food intake...