February 27, 2015

12:23 PM | DNews: A New Reason Why Soda Could Mess with Your Health
Everybody knows soda isn't exactly at the tip-top of a healthy diet, and now a new study finds a particular ingredient in the fizzy drinks has generated evidence of tumors in mice! Is it safe to have our pop?
10:32 AM | Week 39 at the Royal College of Surgeons
After a week off due to moving house I’m back at the College where I’m starting on a new project. This time I will be working with a collection of infant teeth. As with the previous protects I’m creating an inventory of the collection by taking photographs of the specimens and the associated paperwork. This […]
10:00 AM | The story of a rare disease
By Ellen WeissDespite being the product of  two of the authors of this blog – two people skeptical about just how many of the fruits of genetic testing that we've been promised will ever actually materialize  – I have been involved in several genetic studies over the years, hoping to identify the cause of my rare disease.February 28 is Rare Disease Day (well, Feb 29 technically; the last day of February which is, every four years, a rare day itself!); the day on which […]
8:00 AM | Our Pollution Is Creating A New Type Of Rock
Plastics are filling our oceans at an ungodly rate. Incredibly difficult to get rid of, researchers are now finding that Mother Nature is taking some strange steps of her own. In some areas, especially those where plastic pollution is covered by sand and dirt, plastics are undergoing a change in which they are becoming compressed into the rock record, forming a new type of rock that's being called “plastiglomerate." It's not known how long this plastic-rock hybrid will last, but it's […]
6:33 AM | Garden transformation with power tools and elbow grease
I think there’s a part of every gardener that harks back to ‘simpler’ times, when the world was a quieter and greener place. We enjoy doing things by hand, appreciate craftsmanship and work at Nature’s pace. Sort of. The truth is that we all live busy and hectic lives, and there’s never enough time to spend in the garden. When Ryan and I moved into this house last autumn, the back garden looked like this: The shrubs along the fence were taking up some prime […]

February 26, 2015

7:45 PM | 'Big Brain' Gene Found in Humans, Not Chimps
A single gene may have paved the way for the rise of human intelligence by dramatically increasing the number of brain cells found in a key brain region.
4:59 PM | Heads Up! Human Head Transplant in the Works
A human head transplant is within our reach, claims a doctor who's looking to form a team to try it. Continue reading →
4:15 PM | DNews: How Come Humans Don't Just Keep Getting Bigger?
Some of us are tall, some of us short, some just average height. Clearly, save the occasional exception, our species seems to have hit a height, er, ceiling? What keeps us from being fee-fi-fo-fumming giants?
2:11 PM | Sinkhole Swallows South Korean Couple: Video
The sinkhole suddenly opened up at their feet on a paved sidewalk in Seoul. Fortunately they were not seriously hurt.
10:00 AM | Digesting yeast's message
A new paper in Nature by Levy et al. reports on the genomic consequences of large-scale selection experiments in yeast.  Yeast reproduce asexually and clones can be labeled with DNA 'barcode' tags and followed in terms of their relative frequency in a colony over time.  This study was able to deal with very large numbers of yeast cells and because they used barcodes the investigators could practicably follow individual clones without needing to do large-scale genome sequencing. […]
8:00 AM | The Real History Of The Engagement Ring
Ever wonder why a man has to buy not one, but two rings to marry a woman? Wouldn't one ring for one girl make sense? For the longest time, it did make sense. Until corporations decided to take advantage of an obscure law and change tradition itself. In today's day and age, the real reason men buy engagement rings for their future wives is because of a marketing ploy, conceived to double sales and nothing more. The post The Real History Of The Engagement Ring appeared first on KnowledgeNuts.

February 25, 2015

8:00 PM | Food Additives Linked to Weight Gain, Inflammation
Food additives that are commonly used to thicken processed foods may disrupt the bacterial makeup of the gut, causing health problems.
6:51 PM | Is Sadomasochism a Uniquely Human Form of Sexuality?
From an evolutionary point of view, the enjoyment of pain would seem to be maladaptive. Is there an animal analog of finding sexual satisfaction in being whipped, poked with needles, or having hot wax dripped on your skin?
4:36 PM | Using the Dead to Interpret Daily Life in Bronze Age Spain
I am fascinated by the diversity of ways that humans have approached death and dying throughout our history as a species. Since you’re reading this, I’ll assume you are interested […]

López-Costas, O., Müldner, G. & Martínez Cortizas, A. (2015). Diet and lifestyle in Bronze Age Northwest Spain: the collective burial of Cova do Santo, Journal of Archaeological Science, 55 209-218. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2015.01.009

4:00 PM | People in Snowy, Cold States Sleep Longer
Cold and snowy weather make you sleepy? Research shows that's not uncommon.
2:12 PM | DNews: Why Do We Have Sex?
Aside from the pleasurable feelings that come with it, evolutionarily speaking why do humans have to have sex to keep the species going when it doesn't seem the most efficient way to go?
1:00 PM | Ideal Lash Length Follows One-Third Rule
Researchers have discovered the ideal lash length that protects your eyes from dust and damage.
12:00 PM | 'Witchcraft' Used to Fight Sex Trafficking in Africa
An innovative British effort to stem sex trafficking in Africa uses belief in magic and witchcraft to help victims. Continue reading →
10:00 AM | Survival of the safest: Darwinian conservatism, not derring-do
A mantra for many in life science is 'survival of the fittest'.  This phrase, one Darwin liked and used many times after he saw its use by Herbert Spencer, reflects Darwin's view of life as a relentlessly competitive phenomenon.  To Darwin, life was an unending struggle for survival (and reproduction) among individuals in every species all the time.  Natural selection, a relentless force like Newtonian gravity, always identified the 'fittest', weeding out the others.Darwin's […]
9:20 AM | DNews: Kombucha Tea: Cure-All or Useless Brew?
Kombucha tea has been a faddish drink for the health-conscious for decades. Are its touted benefits the real deal or the stuff of rainbows and unicorns?
8:00 AM | The Renaissance May Not Have Advanced Science As Much As We Think
The Renaissance is generally synonymous with progress, and progress is synonymous with science. So it is generally assumed that that era of European history represented a step forward for rationalism, scientific thought, and scientific discovery. But few meaningful discoveries were actually made during the Renaissance. The study of science took a backseat to burgeoning interest in the humanities and the occult, which was fueled by the recent invention of the printing press. The post The […]
6:37 AM | Video: Rose of Jericho resurrection plant
Resurrection plants can survive extreme dehydration, even over months or years. In scientific terms, they are called poikilohydric. This one, the Rose of Jericho (Anastatica hierochuntica), is native to the deserts of North Africa. Not a plant you’re likely to find in a garden, but you may unleash a horde of zombie plants without realising it! This blog posting is © copyright Emma Cooper 2015. Unauthorized duplication and/or republication is not permitted.

February 24, 2015

2:40 PM | Eating Peanuts Early Could Prevent Allergy in Infants
With peanut allergies on the rise worldwide, a study found that contrary to previous advice, feeding foods containing peanuts to babies before 11 months of age may help prevent allergies.
10:00 AM | Causation revisited again
A paper* published recently in The Medical Journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran ("X-ray radiation and the risk of multiple sclerosis: Do the site and dose of exposure matter?" Motamed et al.) explores the possibility that X-rays are a risk factor for multiple sclerosis (MS).  (Do we routinely read this journal?  No.  Ken sent me a pdf of the paper, and when I asked him where he'd gotten it, he said he thought I'd sent it to him.  Which I had not.  On looking […]
8:00 AM | The Strange Story Behind The AirDancers
Ever wonder who invented the air dancer? You know, that floppy tube guy who spends his time dancing in front of used car lots. Well, the story actually involves two respected artists, the Summer Olympics, and possibly a little bit of betrayal, depending whose side you’re on. The post The Strange Story Behind The AirDancers appeared first on KnowledgeNuts.

February 23, 2015

4:44 PM | Saunas May Help You Live Longer
Sweating it out in the sauna is good for your heart, suggests new research, which links saunas to the longer lives, at least among men.
3:00 PM | New vegetable varieties from Marshalls
Marshalls Seeds have sent me a wodge of their new vegetable seed varieties to try this year. None of them fitted into the plans for my garden this season, so I have passed them on to new homes*. My dad has taken two squash (Sweetmax and Spaghetti) varieties, despite once telling me he thought spaghetti squash wasn’t worth eating. Hopefully he’ll feel different when they’re homegrown! He also picked out Brokali Endeavour, a sprouting broccoli, and the two tomatoes (Fenda […]
10:00 AM | When the methodology fails
An op-ed piece by Nina Teicholz in Friday's NYTimes lays it on the line, chastising the government for its regular bulletins on dietary advice that, for 50 or so years have altered what we eat, what we fear to eat, and what the risks are.  Now, new studies tell us that what was bad is good and what was good is bad, and that the prior half-century of studies were wrong.  We've eliminated fats and cholesterol, and replaced them with carbohydrates, but, as Teicholz […]
8:00 AM | Sorry, Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect
It turns out that there are too many different types of practice---and other factors built into the concept of success---for it to be true that practice makes perfect. You've probably heard that 10,000 hours of practicing anything will make anyone an expert. While practice does play a huge part in it, it's how you spend all that time that really makes the difference. There's a big difference between those who spend their time with a professional, getting feedback, and deliberately trying to get […]
5:30 AM | We’re One Step Closer To Understanding Lightning On Earth
The trigger for lightning bolts---especially the fatal cloud-to-ground type---has long been a mystery. However, scientists now believe that the Sun's magnetic field may be one culprit. By twisting and turning the Earth's weaker magnetic field, the rotation of the solar magnetic field permits cosmic rays to enter our atmosphere, creating a path like a thin conducting wire for electrical charges inside storm clouds to strike the ground. The good news is that the Sun's magnetic field is highly […]
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