Like May 2014, June Was Hottest on ...

Like May 2014, June Was Hottest on Record

This June was the hottest on record, continuing a 38-year trend.
Costa Concordia Refloating: Live At...

Costa Concordia Refloating: Live At the Scene

The Costa Concordia is rising higher in the pristine waters around Giglio.
Germans Mine 'Europe's Biggest Hole...

Germans Mine 'Europe's Biggest Hole' Amid Protests

Coal miners have been digging what German environmentalists decry as 'Europe's biggest hole' at Hambach in the Lower Rhine basin. It covers 50 square miles. Continue reading ?
Costa Concordia Refloating: Step by...

Costa Concordia Refloating: Step by Step

Watch step by step photos of the refloating of the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner.
Could 2011 Quake Trigger an Eruptio...

Could 2011 Quake Trigger an Eruption of Mount Fuji?

Japan's devastating 9.0 earthquake in 2011 has dangerously increased the pressure beneath Mount Fuji, an active volcano. Continue reading ?
DNews: What Could Have Made Siberia...

DNews: What Could Have Made Siberia's Mystery Crater?

It's big, it's deep, it's just all-around spooky, and so far no one has a clue how it got there! But the big honkin' crater in Siberia didn't just appear there out of thin air ... er, did it?

Yahoo Science

U.S. CDC says it 'may never know' h...

U.S. CDC says it 'may never know' how bird flu mishap occurred

CDC Director Frieden testifies before a hearing on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "may never know" how a fairly harmless form of bird flu was cross-contaminated with a dangerous bird flu strain before it was sent to a laboratory outside of the CDC, an agency spokesman said on Monday. The CDC disclosed the bird flu incident as part of an internal investigation into the agency's mishandling of live anthrax in June, potentially exposing dozens of its own lab workers to the pathogen. While no humans fell ill as a result of the bird flu breach, CDC Director Dr Thomas Frieden has called it ?the most distressing" in a series of safety breaches at the agency because of the public risk posed by the virus.

Hacking experts build device to pro...

Hacking experts build device to protect cars from cyber attacks

By Jim Finkle BOSTON (Reuters) - Two security experts who a year ago exposed methods for hacking the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape say they have developed technology that would keep automobiles safe from cyber attacks. At last summer's Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, the two researchers, Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller, described ways to launch dangerous attacks, including manipulating the brakes of the moving Prius and the Ford Escape. Valasek told Reuters on Tuesday that he and Miller will show off a prototype vehicle "intrusion prevention device" at next month's Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas.
Schizophrenia has many genetic link...

Schizophrenia has many genetic links, study says

By Andrew M. Seaman NEW YORK - More than 100 locations on the human genome may play a role in a person?s risk of developing schizophrenia, according to a new study. While the results do not have an immediate effect on those living with the psychiatric disorder, one of the study?s authors said they open areas of research that had not seen advances in recent years. "The exciting thing about having little openings is it gives you a place to dig and make big openings,? said Steve McCarroll, director of genetics for the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. McCarroll is part of the Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, which published the study in the journal Nature.
Drugmakers to share neglected compo...

Drugmakers to share neglected compounds with British academia

A group of seven leading drugmakers has agreed to share an array of neglected experimental medicines with British academic researchers in the latest example of the deepening ties between industry and external scientists. British business minister Vince Cable announced the new partnership on Tuesday between the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the companies, under which the researchers will gain access to "deprioritized" pharmaceutical compounds. AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Takeda and UCB have all signed up to the scheme, which builds on the success of an earlier two-way program between AstraZeneca and the MRC.
Forty-five years after Apollo landi...

Forty-five years after Apollo landing, U.S. debates next lunar step

NASA file image shows Neil Armstrong on the moon next to the Lunar Module EagleBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Forty-five years after the first Apollo lunar landing, the United States remains divided about the moon's role in future human space exploration. Ten more U.S. astronauts followed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's July 20, 1969, visit to the moon before the Apollo program was canceled in 1972. Instead, NASA was directed to begin planning for a human expedition to an asteroid. This path, however, is fraught with technological cul-de-sacs that do not directly contribute to radiation protection, landing systems, habitats and other projects needed to build the road to Mars, a National Research Council panel concluded in June.

First Litter of Wild Wolf Pups Born...

First Litter of Wild Wolf Pups Born in Mexico

First Litter of Wild Wolf Pups Born in MexicoFor the first time in more than 30 years, a litter of wolf pups was born in the wild in Mexico, wildlife authorities announced last week. The Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi), also known as the lobo, went extinct in the wild about three decades ago. Mexican authorities have been closely watching one wolf couple released in December 2013 in the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains, and they suspected the female might be pregnant. The signal from her satellite collar was lost for a few days this spring, suggesting she might be inside a burrow or den having pups, officials with Mexico's National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) said.

Apple's fiscal 3Q earnings top anal...

Apple's fiscal 3Q earnings top analyst forecasts

Apple's growth prospects are looking brighter as anticipation builds for the upcoming release of the next iPhone, a model that is expected to cater to consumers yearning for a bigger screen.
Microsoft profit hurt by Nokia, but...

Microsoft profit hurt by Nokia, but revenues jump (Update)

Microsoft said Tuesday profits took a hit from its newly acquired Nokia phone division but that revenues got a strong lift from cloud services.
Grammatical habits in written Engli...

Grammatical habits in written English reveal linguistic features of non-native speakers' languages

Computer scientists at MIT and Israel's Technion have discovered an unexpected source of information about the world's languages: the habits of native speakers of those languages when writing in English.
Alaska frogs reach record lows in e...

Alaska frogs reach record lows in extreme temperature survival

Freezing and thawing might not be good for the average steak, but it seems to help wood frogs each fall as they prepare to survive Alaska's winter cold.
Art of Science 2014: Princeton laun...

Art of Science 2014: Princeton launches online galleries of prize-winning images and video

The exhibit consists of both still images and video of artistic merit created during the course of scientific research. Forty-four still images were chosen from more than 250 submissions from undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff, and alumni representing more than 25 different University departments. Twelve videos were chosen from more than 50 submissions.
Fermi finds a 'transformer' pulsar

Fermi finds a 'transformer' pulsar

( ?In late June 2013, an exceptional binary containing a rapidly spinning neutron star underwent a dramatic change in behavior never before observed. The pulsar's radio beacon vanished, while at the same time the system brightened fivefold in gamma rays, the most powerful form of light, according to measurements by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.


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.
Reconstructing the D-Day Gliders

Reconstructing the D-Day Gliders

The Allies used silent wooden gliders to get behind enemy lines on the morning of D-Day.

Scientific American

Transistor Successor Set to Bring o...

Transistor Successor Set to Bring on "The Machine" Age Soon

A successor to an essential part in today’s computers may arrive in just a few years

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Neal F. Lane: "Investments in Basic...

Neal F. Lane: "Investments in Basic Research Are Just That: Investments"

Written testimony for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing "The Federal Research Portfolio: Capitalizing on Investments in R&D" held on July 17, 2014

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3 Projects Prove Privacy Is Not Dea...

3 Projects Prove Privacy Is Not Dead

Web and mobile phone users willingly share personal data in exchange for free stuff, but not everyone is ready to throw in the towel on privacy

--
Stephen E. Fienberg: "Innovation Is...

Stephen E. Fienberg: "Innovation Is a Process That Itself Requires Investment"

Written testimony for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing "The Federal Research Portfolio: Capitalizing on Investments in R&D" held on July 17, 2014

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Mariette DiChristina: "Science Is a...

Mariette DiChristina: "Science Is an Engine of Human Prosperity"

Written testimony for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing "The Federal Research Portfolio: Capitalizing on Investments in R&D" held on July 17, 2014

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Vinton G. Cerf: "The Value of Inves...

Vinton G. Cerf: "The Value of Investment by the U.S. Government Cannot Be Overstated"

Written testimony for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing "The Federal Research Portfolio: Capitalizing on Investments in R&D" held on July 17, 2014

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We've locked up carbon dioxide by t...

We've locked up carbon dioxide by turning it to stone

How can we get rid of excess CO2? Geologist Juerg Matter knows how to stash it in rock so it can't leak out again ? the next step is to go big (full text available to subscribers)

A bird in the hand: The tale of one...

A bird in the hand: The tale of one woman and her hawk

This pulse-quickening story of a woman's obsession with training a female goshawk makes H is for Hawk a modern classic in a nature-writing renaissance

Alcohol improves your sense of smel...

Alcohol improves your sense of smell - in moderation

Low levels of alcohol can improve your ability to discriminate between different odours, but be warned, the effect is reversed if you drink too much

Today on New Scientist

Today on New Scientist

All the latest on seaweed farms of the future, cyclist in drag act, PTSD for Gaza's children, archaeology of human networks, and more

Latest HIV purge claims prompt call...

Latest HIV purge claims prompt calls for more caution

Bone marrow grafts have helped both patients stay all but virus-free for three years. But the disease has come back before in others, and a simpler treatment is needed

Gaza conflict will traumatise a gen...

Gaza conflict will traumatise a generation of children

Besides the death toll and obvious physical damage, Israel's attacks will leave many of Gaza's surviving children with post-traumatic stress disorder

NY Science

Well: A Sleep Apnea Test Without a ...

Well: A Sleep Apnea Test Without a Night in the Hospital

Take-home sleep tests, self-administered in more realistic settings, without myriad wires and sensors, promise more accurate results for people who may have sleep apnea or other conditions.

Dot Earth Blog: Researchers Questio...

Dot Earth Blog: Researchers Question Expansion of Antarctica?s Fringe of Sea Ice

Antarctic sea ice may not be expanding as much as recent estimates concluded.

The Big Fix: Corralling Carbon Befo...

The Big Fix: Corralling Carbon Before It Belches From Stack

Many scientists say capturing the carbon that spews from power plants and locking it away is necessary to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

Tinderbox Explodes in Wildfires Acr...

Tinderbox Explodes in Wildfires Across Northwest

Dozens of wildfires are burning hundreds of thousands of acres and forcing thousands of residents from their homes.
After the Fact: Light Show That Fiz...

After the Fact: Light Show That Fizzled

Eagerly anticipating a gas cloud?s collision with the Milky Way?s black hole, astronomers instead saw nothing. An intriguing explanation has emerged.

A $650 Million Donation for Psychia...

A $650 Million Donation for Psychiatric Research

As research into mental illness sputters, the father of a man effectively treated for bipolar disorder is donating $650 million to the cause through his foundation.

Science Daily

Vulnerability of sharks as collater...

Vulnerability of sharks as collateral damage in commercial fishing shown by study

A new study that examined the survival rates of 12 different shark species when captured as unintentional bycatch in commercial longline fishing operations found large differences in survival rates across the 12 species, with bigeye thresher, dusky, and scalloped hammerhead being the most vulnerable.
Extra exercise helps depressed smok...

Extra exercise helps depressed smokers kick the habit faster

People diagnosed with depression need to step out for a cigarette twice as often as smokers who are not dealing with a mood disorder. And those who have the hardest time shaking off the habit may have more mental health issues than they are actually aware of, research suggests. While nearly one in five North American adults are regular smokers, a figure that continues to steadily decline, about 40 per cent of depressed people are in need of a regular drag.
Therapeutic bacteria prevent obesit...

Therapeutic bacteria prevent obesity in mice, study finds

A probiotic that prevents obesity could be on the horizon. Bacteria that produce a therapeutic compound in the gut inhibit weight gain, insulin resistance and other adverse effects of a high-fat diet in mice, investigators have discovered. Regulatory issues must be addressed before moving to human studies, but the findings suggest that it may be possible to manipulate the bacterial residents of the gut -- the gut microbiota -- to treat obesity and other chronic diseases.
Preschoolers can reflect on what th...

Preschoolers can reflect on what they don't know

Contrary to previous assumptions, researchers find that preschoolers are able to gauge the strength of their memories and make decisions based on their self-assessments. The findings contribute to research on the reliability of children's eyewitness testimony in a court of law, and they carry important implications for educational practices. "Previous emphasis on the development of metacognition during middle childhood has influenced education practices," says an author. "Now we know that some of these ideas may be adapted to meet preschoolers' learning needs."
Enhanced instrument enables high-sp...

Enhanced instrument enables high-speed chemical imaging of tissues

A research team has demonstrated a dramatically improved technique for analyzing biological cells and tissues based on characteristic molecular vibrations. The new technique is an advanced form of Raman spectroscopy that is fast and accurate enough to create high-resolution images of biological specimens, with detailed spatial information on specific biomolecules, at speeds fast enough to observe changes in living cells.
Vitamin D deficiency raises risk of...

Vitamin D deficiency raises risk of schizophrenia diagnosis

Vitamin D-deficient individuals are twice as likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia as people who have sufficient levels of the vitamin, according to a new study. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and is needed for bone and muscle health. The skin naturally produces this vitamin after exposure to sunlight. People also obtain smaller amounts of the vitamin through foods, such as milk fortified with vitamin D. More than 1 billion people worldwide are estimated to have deficient levels of vitamin D due to limited sunshine exposure.

Eureka Alert

Art of Science 2014

Art of Science 2014

(Princeton University, Engineering School) The Princeton University Art of Science 2014 exhibit galleries of images and video are now online. The galleries feature the top award winners in a juried competition as well as the top 'People's Choice' award.
CEOs who motivate with 'fightin' wo...

CEOs who motivate with 'fightin' words' shoot themselves in the foot

(Brigham Young University) Heading into the war room to fire up the troops? Declaring war on the competition to boost sales? Well, CEO, you might want to tamp down them's fightin' words -- you could be shooting yourself in the foot.A new Brigham Young University business study finds that bosses who try to motivate their employees with violent rhetoric -- think of Steve Jobs declaring "thermonuclear war" on Samsung -- end up motivating rival employees to play dirty.
Preschoolers can reflect on what th...

Preschoolers can reflect on what they don't know

(Association for Psychological Science) Contrary to previous assumptions, researchers find that preschoolers are able to gauge the strength of their memories and make decisions based on their self-assessments. The study findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Avoiding buyer's remorse: Is produc...

Avoiding buyer's remorse: Is product satisfaction higher when consumers are flush?

(University of Chicago Press Journals) According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, consumers are less satisfied with what they have purchased with their bottom dollar compared to when they have money in the bank.
Retail pricing strategies: Do consu...

Retail pricing strategies: Do consumers prefer deep discounts or everyday low prices?

(University of Chicago Press Journals) Sometimes finding the best bang for your buck feels like a wild goose chase. It's hard to know which stores offer the best prices at any given time. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, when trying to maximize savings, consumers will choose retailers they believe offer the lowest prices the majority of the time.
I'll have what he's having? How con...

I'll have what he's having? How consumers make choices about new products

(University of Chicago Press Journals) Have you found yourself at a fancy restaurant trying to impress new friends or in a foreign country and unsure of what to order? Not wanting to appear foolish, you just go along with everyone else. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, we're more likely to copy other people's choices when we lack social acceptance or enough information to make an informed decision.


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
Fri 11 July 2014 - Daily round-up o...

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

Call-up for 14,000 dead men, shortbread thieves scuppered, petanque death threats, incredibly nice pilot buys pizzas for planeload of stranded passengers
Wed 9 July 2014 - Daily round-up of...

Wed 9 July 2014 - Daily round-up of the world's weird news

Policeman shoots "aggressive" tortoise, chef finds God in an aubergine, Cretan croc on the loose, Amazonian earthworks predate the rainforest
Mon 7 July 2014 - Daily round-up of...

Mon 7 July 2014 - Daily round-up of the world's weird news

Mermaids filmed off California coast, Elvis scarecrow stolen, China's Roast Duck Museum, dead grandma snaps selfie


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.


Exoplanet with longest year discove...

Exoplanet with longest year discovered

Astronomers have identified an extrasolar planet that takes 708 days to complete one orbit of its star. Named Kepler421-b, the distant world is locate...
Mystery crop formation appears in R...

Mystery crop formation appears in Russia

A series of strange markings appeared in a sunflower field in the Krasnodar region last Thursday. According to local news site Svet Mayakov, the forma...
Black holes may bounce back as whit...

Black holes may bounce back as white holes

Black holes may eventually turn in to their opposite and spew out everything that they ever swallowed. One of the most mysterious and destructive phen...
Are oceans mandatory for life to de...

Are oceans mandatory for life to develop ?

A new study has concluded that an exoplanet requires a liquid water ocean in order to sustain life. While Earth's oceans have long been recognized as ...
US planned to build spy base on the...

US planned to build spy base on the moon

Newly declassified documents have revealed a plan from 1959 to build a lunar surveillance station. Known as "Project Horizon", the ambitious endeavor ...
Mystery surrounds man who woke up o...

Mystery surrounds man who woke up on fire

Police officers are investigating an alleged case of spontaneous human combustion in Edmonton. The unnamed man, who is believed to be around 20 years ...


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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