Discovery

Balloon Test Flights to Loft Experi...

Balloon Test Flights to Loft Experiments This Year

A near-space balloon company is about to take its fledgling test campaign to the next level.
Could California Go All in On Renew...

Could California Go All in On Renewable Energy?

California could be completely powered by renewable energy, according to a plan that uses available technology. Continue reading ?
Another Massive Hole Appears in Sib...

Another Massive Hole Appears in Siberia: Photos

A second massive crater has appeared in a remote part of Siberia. It's uncertain yet what's caused the sinkholes, but experts have suggested global warming may play a part.
Earth Shots: Must-See Planet Pics (...

Earth Shots: Must-See Planet Pics (July 28)

Here are some recent striking images of our planet from the Web.
How to Avoid Being Hit By Lightning

How to Avoid Being Hit By Lightning

Sunday's fatal lightning strike at Venice Beach is a tragic reminder of how important it is to be safe during a thunderstorm. Continue reading ?
River in China Turns Red in an Hour

River in China Turns Red in an Hour

A river in China that's normally unpolluted suddenly turned blood red one morning last week.

Yahoo Science

Researchers practice living on Mars...

Researchers practice living on Mars - without leaving Earth

NASA Hubble Space Telescope picture of MarsFor the most part, expedition leader Casey Stedman and his five crewmates have stayed inside their 1,000-square foot (93-square meter) solar-powered dome, venturing out only for simulated spacewalks and doing so only when fully attired in mock spacesuits. "I haven?t seen a tree, smelled the rain, heard a bird, or felt wind on my skin in four months,? Stedman wrote in a blog on Instagram. Stedman is a U.S. Air Force Reserve officer, graduate student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide. ?We are simulating a long-duration mission on Mars, with a focus on crew psychology in isolation,? the crew said during an online interview with Reddit on Sunday.

Rocket blasts off with U.S. ?neighb...

Rocket blasts off with U.S. ?neighborhood watch? spy satellites

America's Largest Rocket Launches Top-Secret Spy SatelliteAn unmanned Delta 4 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Monday with a pair of U.S. military satellites designed to keep watch on other countries? spacecraft. The 206-foot (63-meter) tall rocket, built by United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, lifted off at 7:28 p.m. EDT and blazed through partly cloudy skies as it headed into orbit, a United Launch Alliance live webcast showed. Launch of two satellites for the U.S. Air Force?s recently declassified Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program, or GSSAP, had been slated for July 23, but was delayed one day to resolve a technical issue with ground support equipment and then three more times by poor weather. Once in orbit, the GSSAP satellites, built by Orbital Sciences Corp, will drift above and below a 22,300-mile (35,970-km) high zone that houses most of the world's communications satellites and other spacecraft.

Evidence suggests babies in womb st...

Evidence suggests babies in womb start learning earlier than thought: study

A pregnant woman touches her stomach as people practice yoga on the morning of the summer solstice in New York's Times Square"It really pushed the envelope" in terms of how early babies begin to learn, lead researcher Charlene Krueger, associate professor at the University of Florida's College of Nursing, said on Thursday. Krueger had the women repeat three times out loud a set 15-second nursery rhyme, and do it twice a day for six weeks. The fetuses? heart rates were monitored at 32, 33 and 34 weeks as they listened to a recording of a female stranger recite the rhyme. By the 34th week, Krueger said, the heart rates of the tested fetuses showed an overall slight decline while listening to the recording, compared with a control group of fetuses whose heart rates slightly accelerated while listening to a recording of a new nursery rhyme.

Bayer says Nexavar fails in breast ...

Bayer says Nexavar fails in breast cancer study

The logo of Germany's largest drugmaker Bayer is pictured in LeverkusenFRANKFURT (Reuters) - German drugmaker Bayer said a Phase III trial of cancer drug Nexavar in patients with advanced breast cancer did not meet its primary endpoint of delaying the progression of the disease. The study, called Resilience, evaluated Nexavar in combination with chemotherapeutic agent capecitabine, in women with HER2-negative breast cancer. Oral drug Nexavar, which Bayer is developing jointly with Amgen, is approved for use against certain types of liver, kidney and thyroid cancer. Study details are expected to be presented at an upcoming scientific conference. ...

Scientists to excavate Wyoming cave...

Scientists to excavate Wyoming cave with trove of Ice Age fossils

Scientists will begin excavation early next week of an ancient Wyoming sinkhole containing a rare bounty of fossil remains of prehistoric animals, such as mammoths and dire wolves, preserved in unusually good condition, researchers said on Thursday.    The two-week dig, set to begin next Monday under the direction of Des Moines University paleontologist Julie Meachen, marks the first exploration of Natural Trap Cave in north-central Wyoming since its initial discovery in the 1970s.
Stopping Deadly Ebola Outbreak Will...

Stopping Deadly Ebola Outbreak Will Be a 'Marathon,' CDC Says

The deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa is not showing any signs of slowing down, prompting U.S. health officials to issue more warnings for their staff in the region, encourage U.S. doctors to collect information about sick patients' travel histories and take more actions in the affected countries to bring the virus under control before it spreads to other regions.

Physorg.com

Silk leaf maker says material could...

Silk leaf maker says material could aid space journeys (w/ Video)

A graduate of the Royal College of Art has developed a synthetic biological leaf. Potential applications range from the material being used on buildings' facades, or even for support on space journeys for oxygen.
Nintendo reports loss on shaky Wii ...

Nintendo reports loss on shaky Wii U sales

(AP)?Nintendo Co. sank to a worse-than-expected loss for the fiscal first quarter on lagging Wii U video-game machine sales.
Microsoft spreads Cortana abroad in...

Microsoft spreads Cortana abroad in Windows Phone

(AP)?Microsoft is spreading its Cortana digital assistant abroad, starting with China and the U.K.
Europe launches last resupply ship ...

Europe launches last resupply ship to space station

An Ariane 5 ES heavy rocket lifted off from South America bearing Europe's fifth and final robot supply ship for the International Space Station (ISS), mission control said.
Amazon plays to book buyer wallets ...

Amazon plays to book buyer wallets in Hachette battle

Amazon on Tuesday suggested its battle with publishing giant Hachette is about making sure book lovers' on a budget pay less for digital titles.
Revolutionary microshutter technolo...

Revolutionary microshutter technology hurdles significant challenges

NASA technologists have hurdled a number of significant technological challenges in their quest to improve an already revolutionary observing technology originally created for the James Webb Space Telescope.

PBS

Patterns in Nature?s Networks

Patterns in Nature?s Networks

Science shows it's a small world after all?and nature's networks follow a similar pattern.
Vaccines?Calling the Shots

Vaccines?Calling the Shots

Examine the science behind vaccinations, the return of preventable diseases, and the risks of opting out.
Knotty Thrills

Knotty Thrills

Three physicists untie a 150-year-old tangle of a puzzle.
Sculpting a Young Artist

Sculpting a Young Artist

A city-wide competition shaped the career of the architect behind Florence's famous dome.
Autopsying a Roman Catacomb

Autopsying a Roman Catacomb

Did a lethal plague kill thousands in ancient Rome? Centuries-old DNA may hold the answer.
A Clever Colditz Escape

A Clever Colditz Escape

A chance discover during a game of rugby led Dutch POWs to an ingenious WWII jailbreak.

Scientific American

Passengers Screenwriter Ta...

Passengers Screenwriter Talks about Time Dilation and a Story's Inner Truth

Hollywood's go-to hard science fiction and space epics writer Jon Spaihts says drama takes precedence but he also tries to write scripts that teach no harmful fallacies -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
Dark Matter Search Enters Round 2

Dark Matter Search Enters Round 2

Three experiments will begin upgrades that could help them corner the particles responsible for the universe’s missing mass   -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
First Winners of Largest Prize for ...

First Winners of Largest Prize for Young Scientists Announced

New prize favors boldness and promise -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
250-Year-Old Eyewitness Accounts of...

250-Year-Old Eyewitness Accounts of Icier Arctic Attest to Loss of Sea Ice

Centuries-old ships’ logs reveal clues to Arctic warming -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
Heparin Does Not Reduce Pregnancy C...

Heparin Does Not Reduce Pregnancy Complications, and May Create Some

A commonly used blood thinner does not appear to lower the risk of blood clots or miscarriage during pregnancy -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
Hit by Climate Change, Dwindling An...

Hit by Climate Change, Dwindling Antarctic Seal Population Grows More Diverse

As sea waters in the South Atlantic warm, the amount of krill available for seals drops, leading to a smaller yet more genetically varied population -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Newscientist

My genes could help cure childhood ...

My genes could help cure childhood diseases

Juhan Sonin is donating his DNA to the hunt for medical breakthroughs. He explains why he decided to share his genome, and why you might want to do the same
7 rogue wave disasters, from Columb...

7 rogue wave disasters, from Columbus to cruise ships

Huge waves out of nowhere were dismissed as legends of the deep, but they may have caused many grisly shipwrecks from seafaring history
Genetic superheroes wanted to fight...

Genetic superheroes wanted to fight childhood diseases

Biologist Stephen Friend is searching for exceptional people who carry genes for serious childhood disease but have never got sick ? are you one of them? (full text available to subscribers)
UK's national parks may not be safe...

UK's national parks may not be safe from fracking

The UK government has almost ruled out fracking in beauty spots, many of which conceal shale oil and gas reserves, but it has left the door ajar
Today on New Scientist

Today on New Scientist

All the latest on newscientist.com: rogue monster waves, how to read a baby's mind, Shakespeare and autism, ebola briefing, psychedelic cells and more
Art in science: Watermarks, whirls ...

Art in science: Watermarks, whirls and spherulites

Is there an art to science? Images submitted to a Princeton University competition reveal the beauty underlying some current student research

NY times.com Science

World Briefing: Sierra Leone: Leadi...

World Briefing: Sierra Leone: Leading Doctor Dies of Ebola

The doctor leading Sierra Leone?s fight against the worst Ebola outbreak on record died from the virus on Tuesday, the country?s chief medical officer said.
Surgeon General Calls for Action to...

Surgeon General Calls for Action to Reduce Skin Cancer Rate

In a report released Tuesday, Dr. Boris D. Lushniak, the acting surgeon general, said action needed to be taken to slow the incidence of skin cancer, the most diagnosed form of cancer nationwide.
Well: Rustle, Tingle, Relax: The Co...

Well: Rustle, Tingle, Relax: The Compelling World of A.S.M.R.

Videos that evoke the tingling sensation of the ?autonomous sensory meridian response? are popular on the Web, but scientists are only beginning to understand what might be involved.
White House Pushes Financial Case f...

White House Pushes Financial Case for Carbon Rule

Failing to reduce carbon pollution could cost the United States economy $150 billion a year, the Council of Economic Advisers said.
Short Staff Tries to Cope With Ebol...

Short Staff Tries to Cope With Ebola

As an outbreak worsened, a pay dispute with nurses left a short staff able to care primarily for just the sickest patients who had a chance of surviving.
The Scan: Into the Abyss, Music to ...

The Scan: Into the Abyss, Music to Remember, Burning Man Planetarium, Intricate Insects

August events at the intersection of science and culture.

Science Daily

Revolutionary microshutter technolo...

Revolutionary microshutter technology hurdles significant challenges

NASA technologists have hurdled a number of significant technological challenges in their quest to improve an already revolutionary observing technology originally created for the James Webb Space Telescope.
NASA-funded X-ray instrument settle...

NASA-funded X-ray instrument settles interstellar debate

New findings from a NASA-funded instrument have resolved a decades-old puzzle about a fog of low-energy X-rays observed over the entire sky. Thanks to refurbished detectors first flown on a NASA sounding rocket in the 1970s, astronomers have now confirmed the long-held suspicion that much of this glow stems from a region of million-degree interstellar plasma known as the local hot bubble, or LHB.
Weighing the Milky Way: Researchers...

Weighing the Milky Way: Researchers devise precise method for calculating the mass of galaxies

Does the Milky Way look fat in this picture? Has Andromeda been taking skinny selfies? Using a new, more accurate method for measuring the mass of galaxies, and international group of researchers has shown that the Milky Way has half the Mass of the Andromeda Galaxy.
Prehistoric dairy farming at the ex...

Prehistoric dairy farming at the extremes

Finland's love of milk has been traced back to 2500 BC, thanks to high-tech techniques to analyze residues preserved in fragments of ancient pots.
World's smallest propeller could be...

World's smallest propeller could be used for microscopic medicine

Scientists have created robots that are only nanometers in length, small enough to maneuver inside the human body and possibly inside human cells.
Vision-correcting display makes rea...

Vision-correcting display makes reading glasses so yesterday

Researchers are developing vision-correcting displays that can compensate for a viewer's visual impairments to create sharp images without the need for glasses or contact lenses. The technology could potentially help those who currently need corrective lenses to use their smartphones, tablets and computers, and could one day aid people with more complex visual problems.

Eureka Alert

Informal child care significantly i...

Informal child care significantly impacts rural economies, MU study finds

(University of Missouri-Columbia) University of Missouri researchers have studied the child care sector in Kansas, particularly in rural areas, and have found that informal child care services create a large economic impact in the state.
Short sellers not to blame for 2008...

Short sellers not to blame for 2008 financial crisis, study finds

(University at Buffalo) Contrary to widespread media reports, the collapse of several financial firms during the 2008 economic crisis was not triggered by unsettled stock trades, according to new research from the University at Buffalo School of Management.
Caring for donors

Caring for donors

(University of California - San Francisco) To make follow-up care more accessible, UC San Francisco and Walgreens are collaborating to launch the first program in the country that provides blood pressure testing at no charge to living kidney donors.
$15 billion annual public funding s...

$15 billion annual public funding system for doctor training needs overhaul, says IOM

(National Academy of Sciences) The US should significantly reform the federal system for financing physician training and residency programs to ensure that the public's $15 billion annual investment is producing the doctors that the nation needs, says a new report by the Institute of Medicine.
Prestigious Crohn's and Colitis Can...

Prestigious Crohn's and Colitis Canada grants fund promising Canadian research

(Crohn's and Colitis Canada) Crohn's and Colitis Canada funds progressive and innovative projects that bring together the finest scientific minds to find new approaches and treatments for Crohn's and colitis, known collectively as inflammatory bowel disease. Their highly competitive granting process assigns funding applications to an independent peer review panel of scientific experts and lay reviewers, evaluating applications on scientific merit, relevancy and potential impact for Crohn's and colitis patients.
Major turtle nesting beaches protec...

Major turtle nesting beaches protected in 1 of the UK's far flung overseas territories

(University of Exeter) Sea turtles are not a species one would normally associate with the United Kingdom. But on the remote UK overseas territory of Ascension Island, one of the world's largest green turtle populations is undergoing something of a renaissance.

Forteantimes

Tue 29 July 2014 - Daily round-up o...

Tue 29 July 2014 - Daily round-up of the world's weird news

Demon sends texts to exorcist, giant fart machine aimed at France, lucky koala on 55-mile ride and Indian professor menaced by semen-sucking spirits
Fri 25 July 2014 - Daily round-up o...

Fri 25 July 2014 - Daily round-up of the world's weird news

Police investigate creepy doorstep dolls, doctors remove 232 teeth from boy's mouth, Jesus takes the wheel and runs over motorcyclist
Wed 23 July 2014 - Daily round-up o...

Wed 23 July 2014 - Daily round-up of the world's weird news

George Harrison memorial tree killed by beetles, Cornwall struck by Cornwall-shaped lightning, worshipper plucks out eyes during mass, New Age guru's racist rant
Mon 21 July 2014 - Daily round-up o...

Mon 21 July 2014 - Daily round-up of the world's weird news

Jeans designed by lions and tigers, body mistaken for mannequin, "Intersex" fish found in Delaware River, Russians attack Marvel's Avengers for "inciting violence and cruelty"
Fri 18 July 2014 - Daily round-up o...

Fri 18 July 2014 - Daily round-up of the world's weird news

Siberia's mystery crater, world's oldest cat, electron-eating bacteria, thieves steal railway, man stabs watermelon "in passive-aggressive manner"
Tue 15 July 2014 - Daily round-up o...

Tue 15 July 2014 - Daily round-up of the world's weird news

Year's first crop circles, world's oldest ham, 67 giant snails seized at airport, wife stabs husband with squirrel and health benefits of smelly farts

Howstuffworks

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.

Unexplained-mysteries

Menace of seagulls drunk on flying ...

Menace of seagulls drunk on flying ants

Hostile seagulls fuelled by an intoxicating diet of flying ants have been causing a nuisance in the UK. Seagulls in Britain's towns and cities have al...
More mysterious holes appear in Sib...

More mysterious holes appear in Siberia

Two new unexplained craters have now been discovered in the permafrost of Russia's far north. The mystery surrounding Siberia's anomalous craters seem...
Moving chair filmed in haunted thea...

Moving chair filmed in haunted theatre

CCTV footage shows a chair seemingly moving by itself at the Brookside Theatre in Romford, Essex. The video, which was recorded overlooking the seatin...
Ancient astronomy lab discovered in...

Ancient astronomy lab discovered in Peru

Archaeologists have uncovered where Peru's ancient ancestors would have observed the heavens. Some early civilizations are thought to have watched the...
Police called out over Toronto UFO ...

Police called out over Toronto UFO sightings

Several people witnessed a series of strange lights in the skies over the Canadian city this week. 36-year-old Sarah Chun had been sitting at her dini...
Did 'bad luck' wipe out the dinosau...

Did 'bad luck' wipe out the dinosaurs ?

Scottish scientists believe that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a series of consecutive disasters. While there is little doubt that a huge asteroid i...

PopSci

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

Narwhals
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

Sleepy
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
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.

    

Science News.org

Cancer variants found in 'neglected...

Cancer variants found in 'neglected' region of genome

Mutations outside of genes associated with disease
Thwarting a timekeeping hormone mak...

Thwarting a timekeeping hormone makes mice resistant to prolonged jet lag

Brain molecule steadies beat of circadian clock
News in Brief: Reading high-brow li...

News in Brief: Reading high-brow literature may aid in reading minds

Immersion in fiction boosts social insights
News in Brief: Altered wine chemica...

News in Brief: Altered wine chemical helps kill cancer

Molecule brings its parent, resveratrol, into cells
Supervolcanoes once erupted on Mars

Supervolcanoes once erupted on Mars

Giant eruptions billions of years ago left behind huge craters
Some grape-scented compounds repel ...

Some grape-scented compounds repel mosquitoes

Molecules drive bugs away as well as DEET does

Sciencenewsforkids.org

Bug-killer linked to decline in bir...

Bug-killer linked to decline in birds

One of the most popular chemicals used to protect crops from bugs may also take a toll on birds, a Dutch study finds. U.S. farmers also rely on these insecticides, a second study finds.
The Bahamas? African roots

The Bahamas? African roots

Ocean bacteria may have built the Bahama islands, fed by dust blown across the Atlantic from the Sahara Desert.
High-altitude help from extinct anc...

High-altitude help from extinct ancestors

The Tibetan plateau is high in altitude but low in oxygen. An unusual version of one gene in Tibetans' DNA helps them survive this environment. And that gene appears to have been passed along from Denisovans, a Neandertal-like ancestor.
Some Arctic dinos lived in herds

Some Arctic dinos lived in herds

Fossil footprints retrieved from Alaska indicate that plant-eating duckbill dinos not only traveled as extended families but also spent their entire lives in the Arctic.
Questions for Some Arctic dinos liv...

Questions for Some Arctic dinos lived in herds

SCIENCEBefore reading1.    When you walk barefoot on the sand, you leave behind footprints. If someone saw only those footprints, what might they be able to learn about you?2.    What might you be able to learn about a dinosaur from its footprint?During reading1.    Give three examples of creatures that a vertebrate paleontologist might study.2.    What did the new study confirm about duckbill dinosaurs?3.    What other two creatures, besides the hadrosaurs, left footprints at the Denali site?4.    What are trace fossils?5.    What were the four age groups of dinosaurs that probably lived at the Denali site?6.    What is an ichnologist?
Choosing shocks over contemplation

Choosing shocks over contemplation

Some people think being alone is unpleasant. In one new study, some found choosing to get a painful shock helped them endure being alone for 15 minutes.
Jul 30      Hits : 21178
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