Mountainous Fib: Andes Lie About Th...

Mountainous Fib: Andes Lie About Their Age

New research into the height of a very remote Andean plateau reveals just the latest surprise from the Earth's second-greatest mountain belt.
$1.5 Mln World Record Gold Crystal ...

$1.5 Mln World Record Gold Crystal Verified

The 217.78 gram (7.68 oz.) nugget is a single, intact gold crystal.
Deep-Sea Rocks May Make Smartphones

Deep-Sea Rocks May Make Smartphones

A new method extracts high-tech metals from common seafloor ores.
Frogs Shrinking and Squeaking as Cl...

Frogs Shrinking and Squeaking as Climate Warms

The tweets of Puerto Rico's unofficial mascot, the common coqui frog, became higher pitched during the past two decades, while the animals grew shorter. Continue reading ?
Rivers and Mountains Directly Shape...

Rivers and Mountains Directly Shape Languages

Geographic features responsible for biodiversity also shape human languages.
Wells Spew Greenhouse Gas During Pr...

Wells Spew Greenhouse Gas During Pre-Fracking Drilling

The potent greenhouse gas methane is spewing from Pennsylvanian natural gas wells during the drilling that precedes fracking.

Yahoo Science

In weird Brazilian cave insects, ma...

In weird Brazilian cave insects, male-female sex organs reversed

The female penis of the Neotrogla aurora insect species is seen in an undated handout photoBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - This may be the role reversal to end all role reversals. That's why I was really surprised to see the structure," entomologist Kazunori Yoshizawa of Japan's Hokkaido University said by email. Yoshizawa said that although sex-role reversal has been documented in several different types of animals, these insects are the sole example in which the "intromittent organ" - the male sex organ - is reversed, Yoshizawa said. Yoshizawa said the females of Neotrogla can hold male mates coercively using their gynosome.

In a cloning first, scientists crea...

In a cloning first, scientists create stem cells from adults

By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - Scientists have moved a step closer to the goal of creating stem cells perfectly matched to a patient's DNA in order to treat diseases, they announced on Thursday, creating patient-specific cell lines out of the skin cells of two adult men. The advance, described online in the journal Cell Stem Cell, is the first time researchers have achieved "therapeutic cloning" of adults. Technically called somatic-cell nuclear transfer, therapeutic cloning means producing embryonic cells genetically identical to a donor, usually for the purpose of using those cells to treat disease. But nuclear transfer is also the first step in reproductive cloning, or producing a genetic duplicate of someone - a technique that has sparked controversy since the 1997 announcement that it was used to create Dolly, the clone of a ewe.
Oh baby: Scientists find protein th...

Oh baby: Scientists find protein that lets egg and sperm hook up

Doctor Katarzyna Koziol injects sperm directly into an egg during IVF procedure called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection at Novum clinic in WarsawIf you really want to learn how babies are made, you need to know about Juno and Izumo. Fertilization takes place when an egg cell and a sperm cell recognize one another and fuse to form an embryo. Researchers said on Wednesday they have identified a protein on the egg cell's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of a sperm cell, allowing the two cells to join. This protein, dubbed Juno in honor of the ancient Roman goddess of fertility and marriage, and its counterpart in sperm, named Izumo after a Japanese marriage shrine, are essential for reproduction in mammals including people, they said.

Jaws, the prequel: Scientists find ...

Jaws, the prequel: Scientists find the 'Model T Ford' of sharks

A Chinese tourist takes a photograph of a shark swimming towards him at the Sydney AquariumBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - You've heard of the Model T Ford, the famed early 20th-century automobile that was the forerunner of the modern car. Scientists on Wednesday announced the discovery of the impeccably preserved fossilized remains of a shark that lived 325 million years ago in what is now Arkansas, complete with a series of cartilage arches that supported its gills and jaws. Because shark skeletons are made of soft cartilage, not hard bone, finding anything more than scrappy fossilized remains of teeth and vertebrae is rare. Finding a fossil shark in an almost three-dimensional state of preservation, boasting important skeletal structures, is exceptional.

U.S. agencies back DigitalGlobe bid...

U.S. agencies back DigitalGlobe bid to sell sharper images

DigitalGlobe Satellite image shows a tank on 6th Rishreen road in Qabun neighborhood in Damascus, SyriaBy Warren Strobel and Andrea Shalal TAMPA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. intelligence community has thrown its support behind a bid by commercial space imagery provider DigitalGlobe Inc to sell higher resolution images from its satellites, the leading U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday. DigitalGlobe has pressed the government for years to allow it to sell such imagery but U.S. government agencies worried that giving public access to them could undermine the intelligence advantage they have from even higher resolution satellite images. The green light from the U.S. intelligence community follows rapid advances by non-U.S. space imagery companies that have raised concerns DigitalGlobe could lose market share if it is not allowed to compete on high resolution images. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told an industry conference that U.S. intelligence agencies had agreed to allow commercial providers to sell higher resolution imagery but that the decision still needed approval by other agencies.

Female Penis, Male Vagina: First Ca...

Female Penis, Male Vagina: First Case of Genital Reversal in Nature Reported

Female Penis, Male Vagina: First Case of Genital Reversal in Nature ReportedFemales with penislike genitals and males with vaginalike organs are cases of a new extreme reversal of sex roles researchers have discovered in little-known cave insects. These are the first examples of animals with genitalia that reverse the traditional sex roles, and the discovery could shed light on the conflict between the sexes in the animal kingdom, investigators said. Scientists analyzed four species of insects from extremely dry caves in Brazil. "Neotrogla species constitute the first cases in nature in which genitalia are reversed," said study co-author Rodrigo Ferreira, a cave biologist at the Federal University of Lavras in Brazil.

Field study suggests islands and fo...

Field study suggests islands and forest fragments are not as alike as thought

An international team of biogeographers has found that assumptions about similarities between biodiversity in forest fragments and true islands are not as clear-cut as has been assumed. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team reports on the results of a field study they conducted along with a comparative analysis of data from a much wider source.
Changing dinosaur tracks spurs nove...

Changing dinosaur tracks spurs novel approach

Paleontologists are using a range of old and new techniques to map the Broome Sandstone dinosaur trackways.
Astronauts to reveal sobering data ...

Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts

This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought? three to ten times more, in fact. A new visualization of data from a nuclear weapons warning network, to be unveiled by B612 Foundation CEO Ed Lu during the evening event at Seattle's Museum of Flight, shows that "the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a 'city-killer' sized asteroid is blind luck."
Patented research remotely detects ...

Patented research remotely detects nitrogen-rich explosives

A Kansas State University engineer has developed a patented technique that improves military security and remotely detects improvised explosive devices. The same technique could help police during drug searches.
For resetting circadian rhythms, ne...

For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key

Fruit flies are pretty predictable when it comes to scheduling their days, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk and rest times in between. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on April 17th have found that the clusters of brain cells responsible for each of those activity peaks?known as the morning and evening oscillators, respectively?don't work alone. For flies' internal clocks to follow the sun, cooperation is key.
Hand out money with my mobile? I th...

Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

A service is soon to launch in the UK that will enable us to transfer money to other people using just their name and mobile number. Paym is being hailed as a revolution in banking because you can pay people without needing to know their account number or sort code.


Nature's Time Capsules

Nature's Time Capsules

By studying bogs, scientists can uncover thousands of years of Earth's history.
The Mysteries of Optic Flow

The Mysteries of Optic Flow

Birds use a trick of the eye called "optic flow" to zip through forests without colliding.
Five Dogs with Crazy Résumés

Five Dogs with Crazy Résumés

Learn about the traits we most prize in dogs, and the bizarre jobs they were bred for.
Escape from Nazi Alcatraz

Escape from Nazi Alcatraz

A crack team rebuilds a glider that POWs hoped to catapult off the top of Colditz Castle.
D-Day's Sunken Secrets

D-Day's Sunken Secrets

Dive teams, submersibles, and robots explore a massive underwater WWII archeological site.
Why Sharks Attack

Why Sharks Attack

Will analyzing the hunting instincts of this endangered predator reduce deadly attacks?

Scientific American

Cull Kill Includes Small Tiger Shar...

Cull Kill Includes Small Tiger Sharks along with Intended Victims [Video]

Photos from Australia's controversial shark extermination show that released tiger sharks are also dying—both from the stress of capture and improper handling -- Read more on
Animals with Human Rights Will Be M...

Animals with Human Rights Will Be More Than a Pet Peeve for Researchers

Legally, dogs and cats are moving closer to personhood. A new book says this poses problems for biomedical researchers and veterinarians -- Read more on
Could an Oral Measles Drug Help the...

Could an Oral Measles Drug Help the Unvaccinated?

A medication designed to inhibit measleslike virus in infected ferrets shows promise -- Read more on
Heartbleed Software Snafu: The Good...

Heartbleed Software Snafu: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The ramifications from the years-long security hole are both better and worse than we initially thought -- Read more on
Bloody Moon and Planet Align: Photo...

Bloody Moon and Planet Align: Photos from Readers

A total lunar eclipse on April 15, 2014, was captured by Scientific American readers around the globe -- Read more on
The Overlooked Influence of Kathlee...

The Overlooked Influence of Kathleen Sebelius

The head of Health and Human Services oversaw a pandemic flu response, the expansion of Medicaid—and, yes, the flubbed Obamacare Web site rollout -- Read more on


EU hatches legal plan to fight inva...

EU hatches legal plan to fight invasive species

Alien invaders in the EU cause damage to the tune of ?12 billion a year – a new law will strengthen and coordinate efforts to keep the worst at bay
Threatwatch: Is the MERS virus spre...

Threatwatch: Is the MERS virus spreading its wings?

The Philippines and Malaysia have identified their first-ever MERS cases, while infections in Saudi Arabia surge, particularly among health workers
Flesh-eating sponges are beautiful ...

Flesh-eating sponges are beautiful but deadly

Four new species of carnivorous sponge discovered on the deep sea floor along the west coast of North America prefer scampi to fries, or other vegetables
Zoologger: Gender-bending cave inse...

Zoologger: Gender-bending cave insects found in Brazil

Newly discovered insects called Neotrogla are anatomically reversed: males have a vagina and the females a penis
Win a VIP trip to the Science Museu...

Win a VIP trip to the Science Museum in London

Enter our competition to get a chance to enjoy a private tour of the Unlocking Lovelock exhibition and a stay at a the four-star Hilton London Hyde Park
The story of climate change gets st...

The story of climate change gets star treatment

To engage the public, Years of Living Dangerously and Sand Wars take different approaches, one is a Hollywood behemoth, the other is shrewd and assailing

NY Science

Matter: Plants That Practice Geneti...

Matter: Plants That Practice Genetic Engineering

Long ago, a new paper suggests, a fern took a useful gene from a neighboring hornwort, an acquisition that allowed ferns to thrive in shade.
Well: The Antidepressant Generation

Well: The Antidepressant Generation

A growing number of young adults are taking psychiatric medicines for longer and longer periods, at the very age when they are also consolidating their identities, making plans for the future and navigating adult relationships.
For Diabetics, Health Risks Fall Sh...

For Diabetics, Health Risks Fall Sharply

Rates of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and amputations dropped over the past two decades, federal researchers said.
Devices Like Fitbit and Up24 Being ...

Devices Like Fitbit and Up24 Being Used by Gyms to Track Clients? Activity

Tracking devices like Fitbit and Up24 are increasingly being used by gyms to monitor clients? activity.
Well: An Easier Way to Delay Cuttin...

Well: An Easier Way to Delay Cutting the Cord

An awkward maneuver in the delivery room may be unnecessary.
Dot Earth Blog: A Risk Analyst Expl...

Dot Earth Blog: A Risk Analyst Explains Why Climate Change Risk Misperception Doesn?t Necessarily Matter

A longtime analyst of risk misperception says leaders can?t wait for the public to ?get? global warming.

Science Daily

Fighting malaria drug resistance: S...

Fighting malaria drug resistance: Scientists find new way

An anti-malarial treatment that lost its status as the leading weapon against the deadly disease could be given a new lease of life, with new research indicating it simply needs to be administered differently. The findings could revive the use of the cheap anti-malarial drug chloroquine in treating and preventing the mosquito-bourne disease, which claims the lives of more than half a million people each year around the world.
Some immune cells defend only one o...

Some immune cells defend only one organ

Some organs have the immunological equivalent of 'neighborhood police' -- specialized squads of defenders that patrol only one area, a single organ, instead of an entire city, the body, scientists have discovered. The liver, skin and uterus each has dedicated immune cells, which the researchers call tissue-resident natural killer cells. Other organs may have similar arrangements.
Biologists help solve fungal myster...

Biologists help solve fungal mysteries, inform studies on climate change

A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate change. Huge populations of fungi are churning away in the soil in pine forests, decomposing organic matter and releasing carbon into the atmosphere.
Radiation therapy for cervical canc...

Radiation therapy for cervical cancer increases risk for colorectal cancer

Young women treated with radiation for cervical cancer should begin colorectal cancer screening earlier than traditionally recommended, researchers are recommending for the first time. After finding a high incidence of secondary colorectal cancers among cervical cancer survivors treated with radiation, these researchers off new recommendations that the younger women in this group begin colorectal cancer screening about eight years after their initial cervical cancer diagnosis.
More effective kidney stone treatme...

More effective kidney stone treatment, from macroscopic to nanoscale

Researchers have hit on a novel method to help kidney stone sufferers ensure they receive the correct and most effective treatment possible. Kidney stones represent a major medical problem in the western and developing world. If left untreated, apart from being particularly painful, they can lead to renal failure and other complications. In many patients treated successfully, stone recurrence is also a major problem. Clearly a more effective pathological approach to diagnosis and treatment needs to be identified to ensure successful eradication of stones.
Newlyweds, be careful what you wish...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift 'fulfillments' at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the happy couple. The study suggests that most people hope to garner social benefits of buying an expensive gift that somehow enhances their relationship with the newlyweds while at the same time they wish to limit monetary cost and save money.

Eureka Alert

Surprising material could play role...

Surprising material could play role in saving energy

(Northwestern University) One strategy for addressing the world's energy crisis is to stop wasting so much energy when producing and using it, such as in coal-fired power plants or transportation. Nearly two-thirds of energy input is lost as waste heat. Now Northwestern University scientists have discovered a surprising material that is the best in the world at converting waste heat to useful electricity. This outstanding property could be exploited in solid-state thermoelectric devices, with potentially enormous energy savings.
Classifying cognitive styles across...

Classifying cognitive styles across disciplines

(Association for Psychological Science) Various fields have developed diverse approaches to understanding the way people process information. A new report from psychological scientists aims to integrate these approaches by offering a new, integrated framework of cognitive styles that bridges different terminologies, concepts, and approaches.
Wireless power transfer achieved at...

Wireless power transfer achieved at 5-meter distance

(The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)) Chun T. Rim, a professor of Nuclear & Quantum Engineering at KAIST, and his team showcased, on April 16, 2014 at the KAIST campus, Daejeon, Republic of Korea, a great improvement in the distance that electric power can travel wirelessly. They developed the 'Dipole Coil Resonant System' for an extended range of inductive power transfer, up to 5 meters between transmitter and receiver coils.
New evidence of suicide epidemic am...

New evidence of suicide epidemic among India's 'marginalized' farmers

(University of Cambridge) Latest statistical research finds strong causal links between areas with the most suicides and areas where impoverished farmers are trying to grow crops that suffer from wild price fluctuations due to India's relatively recent shift to free market economics.
Newlyweds, be careful what you wish...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

(Inderscience Publishers) A statistical analysis of the gift 'fulfillments' at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the happy couple.
Radiation therapy for cervical canc...

Radiation therapy for cervical cancer increases risk for colorectal cancer

(University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston) Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are the first to recommend that young women treated with radiation for cervical cancer should begin colorectal cancer screening earlier than traditionally recommended. The UTMB researchers, finding a high incidence of secondary colorectal cancers among cervical cancer survivors treated with radiation, offer new recommendations that the younger women in this group begin colorectal cancer screening about eight years after their initial cervical cancer diagnosis.


Wed 16 Apr 2014 - Daily round-up of...

Wed 16 Apr 2014 - Daily round-up of the world's weird news

The mysterious black ring of Leamington Spa, ghost-hunters raise Richard III, conjoined twins worshipped, God denied car loan
Mon 14 Apr 2014 - Daily round-up of...

Mon 14 Apr 2014 - Daily round-up of the world's weird news

Chicken starts talking before being slaughtered, mass hysteria at school porno party, cherry tree from space and cod swallows dildo
Fri 11 Apr 2014 - Daily round-up of...

Fri 11 Apr 2014 - Daily round-up of the world's weird news

Deer has close encounter, wife orders man to sell 65ft dragon, hooker grows penis after being attacked by the Devil
Tues 8 Apr 2014 - Daily round-up of...

Tues 8 Apr 2014 - Daily round-up of the world's weird news

Woman fills rival's house with rats, Dracula ants discovered, killer croc caught and Lucifer invades London church
Fri 4 Apr 2014 - Daily round-up of ...

Fri 4 Apr 2014 - Daily round-up of the world's weird news

Photographing fairies, live chupacabras, Clinton's aliens, eight-year-old miracle healer and Yakuza get theme tune
Thur 3 Apr 2014 - Daily round-up of...

Thur 3 Apr 2014 - Daily round-up of the world's weird news

Man lets hyena eat his genitals in hope of getting rich, plus Cambridgeshire clown, bigfoot scam, baptismal disaster and bleeding road


The Most Embarrassing Moments in th...

The Most Embarrassing Moments in the History of Science

What? Scientists get things wrong? We know. It?s shocking to hear, but science isn?t always an exact science. Mistakes do happen -- and they often lead to great scientific discoveries. So, grab your safety glasses and see if you can identify the most embarrassing scientific moments ever.
10 Completely False ?Facts? Everyon...

10 Completely False ?Facts? Everyone Knows

The blood in your veins is blue. Glass is a slow-moving liquid. If you touch a baby bird, its mother will abandon it. Not so fast ?- if you learned any of those "facts" in school, what you learned was wrong.
Flight Pictures

Flight Pictures

Flight pictures show photos from aviation history. Take a look at pictures of the most important aircraft in history.
How the Electoral College Works

How the Electoral College Works

The Electoral College is not an Ivy League school. Rather, it's a process for selecting the next U.S. president that actually carries more weight than the popular vote. Why is it there and should it be continued?
What is a Nor'easter?

What is a Nor'easter?

Nor'easters typically affect the east coast of the United States during the winter season. What exactly are Nor'easters, though, and how do they form. Find out the answer to this question in this article from HowStuffWorks.


Lab loses 2,000 vials of deadly SAR...

Lab loses 2,000 vials of deadly SARS virus

France's Pasteur Institute revealed the blunder after it discovered that the vials had gone missing. Authorities are now conducting a thorough investi...
Burning orange light baffles Rudloe...

Burning orange light baffles Rudloe residents

Several witnesses observed the phenomenon in the sky over a rural part of England. The North Wiltshire village became the center of an aerial mystery ...
World's most haunted island goes on...

World's most haunted island goes on sale

The Venetian island of Poveglia is considered to be one of the most haunted locations on the planet. In the 18th century the island was used as a quar...
Why do animals sometimes rain from ...

Why do animals sometimes rain from the sky ?

Stories of frogs, fish and other creatures falling from the sky like rain have been told for centuries. One of the earliest recorded examples of this ...
Does Pluto have a subterranean ocea...

Does Pluto have a subterranean ocean ?

A new theory suggests that Pluto, like Europa and Enceladus, may be home to a liquid water ocean. Its small, its distant and we don't know a whole lot...
New twin experiment to test effects...

New twin experiment to test effects of space

NASA is set to conduct an unprecedented new study in to the way space can affect the human body. It has long been established that spending time in sp...


Kickstart A Sci-Fi Theater Festival

Kickstart A Sci-Fi Theater Festival

Sci-Fest poster: Image of robot hand holding robot head
Alas, Poor Yorickbot
Sci-Fest hopes to bring original science fiction one-act plays to the Los Angeles stage.
Courtesy David Dean Bottrell

Science fiction is defined by pushing boundaries--of inner and outer space, as well as time and imagination?which is what makes it great for the theater, according to actor David Dean Bottrell. ?Stage is such a unique medium,? he states in email, ?because the audience is a participant in the proceedings.?

Bottrell aims to bring several fantastic stories to a real-time audience this spring in Los Angeles, at a festival of science fiction one-act plays called Sci-Fest.

Hundreds of supporters have pledged $72,895 (at this writing) toward Sci-Fest's ultimate goal of raising $80,000 on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.

By professional theatrical standards it's a modest budget, with most of the money allocated to renting a theater and creating the sets, lighting, special effects, and costumes. ?To our knowledge, a sci-fi short play festival has never been done before,? states Bottrell. ?It just seemed like a challenge worth taking.?

In response to online calls for entries, the fest received over 400 submissions from playwrights around the world, according to Bottrell. The final line-up includes seven original scripts, plus an adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin's short fiction ?The Wife's Story,? and a revival of Ray Bradbury's ?Kaleidoscope,? about a routine mission gone very wrong for seven astronauts stranded in space. Bottrell notes that Bradbury got there about 50 years before 2013's Oscar-nominated ?Gravity.?

According to Sci-Fest's online materials, over a dozen actors with credits from science fiction and horror TV shows will appear in the productions. L. Scott Caldwell, a Tony-award winning actor best known to genre fans as Rose from ?Lost,? will take the lead in the Le Guin play. Others include Julie McNiven, who played Anna in ?Supernatural?; and Armin Shimerman, who played Quark in ?Star Trek: Deep Space Nine? and Principal Snyder in ?Buffy the Vampire Slayer.? So will Dean Haglund, an actor best known as conspiracy theory enthusiast Langly in "The X-Files,? who is also listed on the fest's advisory board, along with genre icons like Nichelle Nichols and Wil Wheaton, and Jason Weisberger, the publisher of mega-blog BoingBoing.

Science fiction on stage isn't actually such a crazy undertaking: TV and movie classics like ?The Twilight Zone,? ?The X-Files,? and ?Rosemary's Baby,? grab and hold our attention (sometimes over decades of re-viewing) thanks to their big ideas and great characters, realized via good writing, directing, and acting, and less because of flashy special effects. So do recent cult science fiction film hits like ?Pi,? ?Primer,? and ?Moon.?

More pragmatically, with thousands of people turning out for the annual ComicCon geekfests around the country, including many in the costumes of their favorite science fiction, fantasy, horror, anime, and video game characters, it's possible that Sci-Fest is catching a wave. ?We think the growth potential for this festival is huge,? says Bottrell. ?We hope that this is the first of many Sci-Fests to come.?

The fest's Kickstarter campaign ends this Friday, February 28.

Busted: International Narwhal Tusk ...

Busted: International Narwhal Tusk Smuggling Ring

Wikimedia Commons, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Narwhals are just a bit safer today. A multiyear investigation has resulted in arrests connected with illegal transporting of the whale tusks across international borders. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration?s Office of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Environment Canada worked together to bring down the smuggling ring.

The male narwhal's iconic tusk, which is a canine tooth that extends from the left side of the upper jaw and through the lip, makes the species a target of ivory hunters. On the black market, narwhal tusks can be worth thousands of dollars each, depending on size and quality. The narwhal population is near threatened status due to the whales' inability to respond quickly to changing environments and continued hunting. 

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, dealer Gregory Logan of Alberta, Canada, sold more than 400 narwhal tusks to buyers across the U.S. between 2003 and 2010. He has active arrest warrants in the United States in connection with the case, which has so far seen the arrests of three people accused of illegal trafficking of tusks from Canada to the United States. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, it is illegal to transport, purchase, sell, or export (or offer to do so) any marine mammal or marine mammal product, unless the intention is public display, scientific research, or enhancing the survival of a species.

[NOAA Fisheries

Rising Home Prices Linked To More B...

Rising Home Prices Linked To More Babies

Gregoryj77 via Wikimedia Commons

As housing prices rise, non-owners (e.g. renters) tend to have fewer kids. A new study found that for every $10,000 rise in house prices, the fertility rate of non-owners subsequently drops by 2.4 percent on average, in urban areas throughout the U.S. (Now I have an excuse the next time my parents make insinuations about "grandkids.")

Perhaps unexpectedly, though, the opposite was seen with homeowners, whose fertility goes up with home prices. For every $10,000 increase in housing prices from 1997 to 2006, owners' fertility rates rose on average 5 percent. This is partially explained by the rising equity of the home; though home equity is basically illiquid, one can extract equity from it via loans, like a second mortgage, to help pay for raising a child, the authors write.

The study suggests that "house prices are a relevant factor in a couple's decision to have a baby," which is relatively intuitive, but doesn't appear to have been shown this clearly before. While much more research has examined the link between employment rate and fertility, this research shows there is an even stronger correlation between housing prices and fertility. 

"Rising home values have a negative impact on [non-owner's] birth rates because they represent, on average, the largest component of the cost of raising a child: larger than food, child care, or education," writes Laurent Belsie at the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study was published this month in the Journal of Public Economics. 

The Strange Beauty Of Bioluminescen...

The Strange Beauty Of Bioluminescent Fish

Lantern-mouth Angler
Henry Compton

David McKee, a retired biology professor from Texas A&M University, never got the chance to talk to Henry Compton about his art. Compton, an eccentric marine biologist and local fishing pier manager, passed away the week the two men were supposed to meet. After Compton's death, two cardboard boxes of his belongings ended up in the garage of his sister-in-law, Helen Compton, where they sat for about six months until she gave McKee a call?Helen had organized the unsuccessful meeting, and knew of McKee's interest in Compton's art. 

Those cardboard boxes contained paintings, slides, and texts about bioluminescent fish, which became the focus of McKee's new book, Fire in the Sea. 

"My first impression was 'wow,'" McKee says. "I was already familiar with Compton, and I was thinking, 'here we go again.'" 

The book will be published February 26, 2014.
Fire in the Sea, published by Texas A&M University Press

In his earlier years, Compton worked for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, where he went on some of the first Gulf of Mexico cruises to collect deep sea life from Texas waters. From there, Compton would photograph the specimens, and then paint them into life-like environments. He wrote taxonomical descriptions as well as fanciful and strange narratives to accompany each painting.

"Back in the 1960s, we knew very little about what was in the Gulf of Mexico down at that depth, about a mile below the surface," McKee says. "In addition to the mythical types of stories he tells about the fish, there's the science story, about early deep sea research that was going on."

These paintings and texts eventually ended up in the two boxes that made their way to McKee. Though Compton was a self-taught artist, and perhaps never realized his own artistic talent as such, McKee saw his careful preservation and organization of the art and texts as a clue that he hoped one day to publish the collection.

"I feel like I've given birth, here," Mckee says. "Hank Compton was a borderline genius, and a termendous artist." 

The book, which will be released on Wednesday, includes 59 of these paintings as well as the taxonomy, narratives, and background on the deep sea environment and Compton himself. You can see a sample of these here

Nighttime Smartphone Use Can Sap Ne...

Nighttime Smartphone Use Can Sap Next Day's Energy

Charidy / YouTube

Using your smartphone at night might not be the smartest plan. A pair of studies found that people who used the devices after 9 p.m. were more tired and less engaged at work the next day, even when compared to people who looked at other light-emitting screens like TVs and tablets. People who used their phones got less sleep, in part because becoming re-engaged in work used up time that could have been spent sleeping and also made it more difficult to fall asleep, the studies noted. 

The two studies are published in the May issue of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. They surveyed people from a variety of professions, as noted by Futurity

For the first study, the researchers had 82 upper-level managers complete multiple surveys every day for two weeks. The second study surveyed 161 employees daily in a variety of occupations, including nursing, manufacturing, accounting, and dentistry.

In both cases, those who used smartphones reported feeling less focused and motivated the next day. The results further the "ego-depletion theory" that people have finite levels of self-control to draw from. "The benefit of smartphone use may? be offset by the inability of employees to fully recover from work activities while away from the office,? the scientists wrote. 

There are some ways to minimize problems created by too little sleep, according to the study: "Recent research suggests that the negative effects of insufficient sleep may be mitigated by the strategic use of naps, stimulants (e.g., caffeine), reshuffling important tasks to other people, scheduling breaks, and working in teams."  

Or, just don't look at your phone late at night. Although that's easier said than done.

For more about the latest advances in sleep science and how to get better zzz's, check out Popular Science's March 2014 issue on sleep. 

Scientists Make Largest Quark, Solv...

Scientists Make Largest Quark, Solving A 20-Year Mystery

Fermilab, Reidar Hahn

Top quarks are the heaviest of subatomic particles, and are prime components of all matter--everything from mayonnaise to your big toe. But while they are in virtually everything, they are impossible to isolate from matter under ordinary circumstances. To study them, you need to "make" them by running particles into each other at ultra-high speeds, billions or trillions of times. 

After working at it for nearly 20 years, scientists at the Tevatron particle accelerator at Fermilab have discovered the last as-yet-unproven way of making this quark--and it only took 500 trillion particle collisions to do it. "It's a very rare process... and it's very exciting" to finally witness it, Fermilab physicist Dmitri Denisov told Popular Science.

Under the Standard Model, the theory by which these particles are understood, there should be three ways of producing quarks. The first two had been shown in 1995 and 2008. In the first instance, top quarks were produced by strong nuclear force, by slamming a proton and anti-proton into each other. But in the 2008, and now the 2014 discovery, top quarks were produced in a rare event, via weak nuclear force. The finding helps reinforce the Standard Model, which predicts that quarks can be made by exploiting both types of forces, Denisov said. "It's important that all forces in nature, strong and weak, equally produce the top quark." 

"My prediction is that at some point, knowing how to make this particle will also be useful for something 'next step,' " like perhaps energy production, Denisov speculated. 

The actual particle collisions that made the quark took place prior to Tevatron's closure in 2011, but were only uncovered and announced in a statement today (Feb. 24) after years of analyzing massive amounts of data produced by the accelerator.



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