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Watch: Not just one but TWO hurricane-force storms swirling in the North Atlantic Ocean

Posted: February 23, 2018, 2:51 am |
In recent days, two powerful storms packing hurricane-force winds have spun up in the North Atlantic. You can watch them in the animation above of GOES-16 satellite imagery. It was posted to the awesome GOES-16 Loop of the Day website.

The storm closer to North America was so strong that it churned the waters up into stupendous waves higher than 60 feet tall:


That would be almost high enough to inundate the White House.


A Drone Crashed into Apple Park … Oops

Posted: February 22, 2018, 9:47 pm |
It turns out more than just Apple employees are crashing into the Apple campus. (Seriously, they’re running into its glass walls)

A drone pilot recently crashed a drone at Apple Park — Apple’s spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino, California. Unfortunately, the pilot didn’t know where the precious drone crash-landed, so he recruited a fellow drone operator to help. Matthew Roberts, known for his drone videos documenting the development of Apple Park, and his DJI Phantom 4 Pro came to

First Video of DNA Organization Settles Scientific Debate

Posted: February 22, 2018, 7:52 pm |
For all its precise helical structure, the DNA inside our cells is a mess.

When a cell isn’t preparing for the process of splitting itself in two, our DNA lies in a massive tangle inside the cell nucleus; a strand more than six feet in length jumbled like an earbud cord. But when it comes time to undergo cellular division, this disorderly strand must be packaged neatly into chromosomes to be passed onto daughter cells — stuffed into a space much tighter than before.
Around and Around

Grocers Get Robotic Help to Compete Against Amazon

Posted: February 22, 2018, 5:54 am |
“What happens if grocery retailers can help you put a fresh dinner on the table faster than pizza delivery and cheaper than restaurant delivery?” That vision comes from CommonSense Robotics, an Israeli startup with plans to open its first AI-run fulfillment centers staffed by both robots and human workers in Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom before the end of 2018. Such a service could help local grocery stores survive the coming onslaught from Amazon’s aggressive expansion i

Human Chains: “Prayer Camp” Psychiatry Study Raises Ethical Questions

Posted: February 21, 2018, 9:12 pm |
A new medical paper raises complex questions over ethics and human rights, as it reports on a study that took place in a religious camp where mentally ill patients were chained up for long periods.

The paper’s called Joining psychiatric care and faith healing in a prayer camp in Ghana and it’s out now in the British Journal of Psychiatry. The authors are a Ghanian-British-American team led by Dr Angela Ofori-Atta.

In Ghana, the authors explain, there are just 25 psychiatrists to cater

Is It Possible to Forecast Evolution?

Posted: February 21, 2018, 7:37 pm |
Can we predict the course evolution will take?

That’s the question an international team of researchers decided to tackle, using a quarter-century of stick insect observations. Comparing the first half of the data set to the latter half, they set out to see if they could forecast the path of natural selection.
Take A Guess
As it turns out, it’s really hard. The researchers were able to predict some simple evolutionary changes, but the rest were subject to forces they couldn’t account fo

Study Adds Weight to Benefits of Genetically Engineered Crops

Posted: February 21, 2018, 6:10 pm |
A review of the research on genetically engineered corn concludes that the benefits appear to outweigh the drawbacks.

In a meta-analysis, where researchers synthesize the findings of many studies, researchers from the University of Pisa and the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies look at papers on genetically engineered (GE) corn from between 1996 and 2016. They were looking for research on crop yields, grain quality, impacts on other organisms and how well the corn degraded in fields af

Red Wine Could Yield a Better Toothpaste

Posted: February 21, 2018, 5:34 pm |
Red wine colors your tongue, but your teeth may not mind a little juice of the vine.

Sipping moderate—keyword, moderate—amounts of wine on a regular basis can be good for your colon, heart, immune system and mental health. Wine, after all, was at the core of the so-called “French paradox,” or the observation in 1980 that cardiovascular disease was far less prevalent among the French, despite their penchant for saturated fats, low activity levels and cigarettes. The outlier: The French als

Why Partisanship Is Such a Worthy Foe of Objective Truth

Posted: February 20, 2018, 10:18 pm |
The truth is out there, but if it doesn’t come from “my side” who cares?

In an era of “fake news” our relationship status with factual knowledge, and a shared reality, has changed to “it’s complicated”. Democracies depend on informed populations, but objective truth has of late taken a back seat to partisanship. In an essay published in Cell Press Reviews, New York University psychologists Jay Van Bavel and Andrea Pereira attempt to demystify how partisan bias has skewed the pursuit of tr

Mr. Steven, a Netted Claw-Boat, Could Save SpaceX Millions

Posted: February 20, 2018, 9:06 pm |
Mr. Steven is expected to save SpaceX millions of dollars. Mr. Steven, by the way, is a giant boat with a net.

Building and launching reliable rockets into space is a costly endeavor, and SpaceX has been hellbent on bringing those costs down since the rocket company…launched. Until recently, spent rockets could only be used once. But Elon Musk, CEO and founder of SpaceX, has proven rockets are reusable, and can coordinate a simultaneous landing. But the cost-cutting can go even further.

An Adorable Dumbo Octopus Stretches Its ‘Wings’

Posted: February 20, 2018, 6:37 pm |
See this little guy? He’s just emerged into the world, but the appropriately-named Dumbo octopus is already taking his first flaps.

Resemblance to a certain flying elephant notwithstanding, Dumbo octopuses actually live far below the ocean’s surface. They’re some of the deepest-living octopuses, and are so rare that this is the first hatchling that was caught on camera. The “ears” are actually fins that help them to swan about the seafloor.
Stretch Your Wings
They belong to a sub-order

Jellyfish Chips: A Delicious Oxymoron

Posted: February 20, 2018, 1:00 pm |
Ah, nothing beats the crispy crunch of a jellyfish chip. Wait, what?

Forget “Lady Doritos,” jellyfish chips are a future snack for the masses. It turns out that the swimming gelatinous invertebrates can be leached of water to leave behind a thin, crispy wafer. It tastes of sea salt, apparently.
Crispy, Crunchy
News of the delicacy first appeared last summer, when Mie Pedersen, a gastrophysicist from the University of Southern Denmark announced that she and her team had found a new way

So Unfair! How the Brain Responds to Injustice

Posted: February 19, 2018, 7:10 pm |
In this cruel world, it’s impossible to navigate from cradle to grave without experiencing the bitter fruits of injustice. But bitter fruits, it turns out, are better shared. According to findings from a study published Monday in the journal JNeurosci, punishing the wrongdoer seems to be more rewarding than helping out the victim.

The participants, 53 males (a bit skewed, I’d say), all played a two-player game designed to analyze how people perceive and respond to a thief. Each player — t

10 Ways Space Changes the Body

Posted: February 19, 2018, 6:18 pm |
Scott and Mark Kelly are identical twin brothers. Though that alone does not make them unique, what does is the fact that they are also both astronauts. In order to take advantage of the Kellys’ unique situation, NASA scientists decided to conduct a detailed study on the twins, aimed at unraveling how nature versus nurture plays out in space.

As part of NASA’s Twins Study, researchers collected biological samples from each of the Kellys before sending Scott to the International Space Stat

Let’s End the Debate About Video Games and Violence

Posted: February 19, 2018, 5:03 pm |
In the wake of the Valentine’s Day shooting at a Broward County, Florida high school, a familiar trope has reemerged: Often, when a young man is the shooter, people try to blame the tragedy on violent video games and other forms of media. Florida lawmaker Jared Moskowitz made the connection the day after the shooting, saying the gunman “was prepared to pick off students like it’s a video game.”

In January, after two students were killed and many others wounded by a 15-year-old shooter in

Rather than growing like it should in winter, sea ice off Alaska has been shrinking dramatically

Posted: February 18, 2018, 9:07 pm |
Meanwhile, ice losses elsewhere allowed a Russian tanker to make the first ever independent winter crossing of the Arctic

The Bering Sea off Alaska’s west coast has just experienced a shocking loss of ice over a 10-day period — in winter.

See the graph below for the details. To my eye it looks like sea ice extent declined from about 420,000 square kilometers on Feb. 6 to about 260,000 square kilometers on the 16th.

That’s a drop of 38 percent (and an area of lost ice a little smal

Disability Bias in Peer Review?

Posted: February 18, 2018, 3:05 pm |
Writing in the journal Medical Care, researcher Lisa I. Iezzoni says that a peer reviewer on a paper she previously submitted to that journal displayed “explicitly disparaging language and erroneous derogatory assumptions” about disabled people.

Iezzoni’s paper, which was eventually rejected, was about a survey of Massachusetts Medicaid recipients with either serious mental illness or significant physical disability. The survey involved a questionnaire asking about their experiences w

How Did Hurricane Maria Affect Wildlife? Just Listen

Posted: February 16, 2018, 10:36 pm |
Hurricane Maria, it’s safe to say, was devastating to Puerto Rico. More than five months ago, on September 20th, the Category 4 storm ravaged the U.S. territory, causing $90 billion worth of damage in some estimates and scores of deaths. Much of the island is still without power. As someone born and raised on the island (despite my gringo name), it’s been hard to watch, and keeping in touch with family still there has been difficult, especially right after the storm.

But part of what make

So That’s Why the Gate to Hell Is So Deadly

Posted: February 16, 2018, 10:05 pm |
If there’s a highway to hell, there’s probably a gate to hell—well, there is. It’s located in what was the ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis, which is now in modern-day Turkey.

Called Plutonium after Pluto, the gate was thought to be an opening to the underworld. It was first described by the ancient Greek geographer Strabo and Roman author Plinius. When Strabo visited, he described a thick vapor that would overtake the gate. During religious ceremonies, the castrated priests who ent

Your Weekly Attenborough: Materpiscis attenboroughi

Posted: February 16, 2018, 9:48 pm |
I mean, really. No matter how you feel about the man, surely his mother is off-limits? Translated from the Latin, the full name of this species comes out to be “Attenborough’s mother fish.” Attenborough’s mother — a fish! Where I come from, them’s fightin’ words.

But the name is quite accurate. Hot takes aside, the fossil of Materpiscis attenboroughi actually turns out to contain the oldest vertebrate pregnancy we’ve ever found. It sets in stone the ancient roots of live birth, and the “m