Resetting Our Clocks: New Details About How the Body Tells Time
Published Mar 7, 2014 - 8:44:35 AM
Springing clocks forward by an hour this Sunday, traveling across time zones, staring at a computer screen late at night or working the third shift are just a few examples of activities that can disrupt our daily, or circadian, rhythms. These roughly 24-hour cycles influence our physiology and behavior, and they're driven by our body's network of tiny timekeepers. If our daily routines fall out of sync with our body clocks, sleep, metabolic and other disorders can result.
Traffic-related air pollution associated with changes in right ventricular structure and function
Published Mar 7, 2014 - 8:44:01 AM
Exposure to high levels of traffic-related air pollution is associated with changes in the right ventricle of the heart that may contribute to the known connection between air pollution exposure and heart disease, according to a new study.
50% chance of El Niño developing during the summer or fall
Published Mar 6, 2014 - 1:32:32 PM
ENSO-neutral is expected to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014, with about a 50% chance of El Niño developing during the summer or fall.
Preschoolers outsmart college students at figuring out gizmos
Published Mar 6, 2014 - 1:08:02 PM
Preschoolers can be smarter than college students at figuring out how unusual toys and gadgets work because they're more flexible and less biased than adults in their ideas about cause and effect, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Edinburgh.
NASA: Warm Rivers Play Role in Arctic Sea Ice Melt
Published Mar 6, 2014 - 9:07:09 AM
The heat from warm river waters draining into the Arctic Ocean is contributing to the melting of Arctic sea ice each summer, a new NASA study finds.
Drought 'makes Amazonia emit carbon'
Published Mar 6, 2014 - 8:22:38 AM
Scientists think there is growing evidence to show that the Amazon forest is less effective at absorbing carbon dioxide than previously thought. Instead, they say, it may often be releasing huge quantities of CO2 to the atmosphere, acting not as a carbon sink but as a source.
Just in Time for Pi Day...
Published Mar 6, 2014 - 8:11:06 AM
According to David H. Bailey and Jonathan Borwein, the number pi stands apart. Unique among mathematical constants, it captures the fascination of both professional mathematicians and the public. Pi is also, they argue, the only mathematical topic from antiquity still being researched today.
Hubble witnesses an asteroid mysteriously disintegrating
Published Mar 6, 2014 - 8:07:53 AM
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the never-before-seen break-up of an asteroid, which has fragmented into as many as ten smaller pieces. Although fragile comet nuclei have been seen to fall apart as they approach the Sun, nothing like the breakup of this asteroid, P/2013 R3, has ever been observed before in the asteroid belt.
Increasing homogeneity of world food supplies warns of serious implications for farming and nutrition
Published Mar 5, 2014 - 4:04:10 PM
A comprehensive new study of global food supplies confirms and thoroughly documents for the first time what experts have long suspected: over the last five decades, human diets around the world have grown ever more similar—by a global average of 36 percent—and the trend shows no signs of slowing, with major consequences for human nutrition and global food security.
High plasticizer levels in males linked to delayed pregnancy for female partners
Published Mar 5, 2014 - 7:14:33 AM
Women whose male partners have high concentrations of three common forms of phthalates, chemicals found in a wide range of consumer products, take longer to become pregnant than women in couples in which the male does not have high concentrations of the chemicals, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.
30,000 year-old giant virus found in Siberia
Published Mar 4, 2014 - 11:32:48 AM
A new type of giant virus called "Pithovirus" has been discovered in the frozen ground of extreme north-eastern Siberia by researchers from the Information Génomique et Structurale laboratory (CNRS/AMU), in association with teams from the Biologie à Grande Echelle laboratory (CEA/INSERM/Université Joseph Fourier), Génoscope (CEA/CNRS) and the Russian Academy of Sciences. Buried underground, this giant virus, which is harmless to humans and animals, has survived being frozen for more than 30,000 years. Although its size and amphora shape are reminiscent of Pandoravirus, analysis of its genome and replication mechanism proves that Pithovirus is very different. This work brings to three the number of distinct families of giant viruses. It is published on the website of the journal PNAS in the week of March 3, 2014.
Humans Responsible for 62% of Cougar Deaths in Re-established Populations
Published Mar 3, 2014 - 7:19:17 AM
The reintroduction of mountain lions across the mid-western United States has made species management an urgent area of research for conservationists. A report in the Wildlife Society Bulletin explores the fatal cost of human interaction with cougars and asks what state agencies can do to protect both species.
NASA Scientists Find Evidence of Water in Meteorite, Reviving Debate Over Life on Mars
Published Feb 28, 2014 - 8:37:30 AM
A team of scientists at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., has found evidence of past water movement throughout a Martian meteorite, reviving debate in the scientific community over life on Mars.
Household Wealth Still Down 14 Percent Since Recession
Published Feb 28, 2014 - 8:01:50 AM
Household wealth for Americans still has not recovered from the recession, despite last summer's optimistic report from the U.S. Federal Reserve, a new study suggests.
In One Ear and Out the Other
Published Feb 27, 2014 - 7:11:07 AM
Remember that sound bite you heard on the radio this morning? The grocery items your spouse asked you to pick up? Chances are, you won't.
Researchers at the University of Iowa have found that when it comes to memory, we don't remember things we hear nearly as well as things we see or touch.
NASA's Kepler Mission Announces a Planet Bonanza, 715 New Worlds
Published Feb 27, 2014 - 7:07:36 AM
NASA's Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly-verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system.
How Small Cosmic Seeds Grow Into Big Stars
Published Feb 26, 2014 - 7:58:27 AM
New images from the Smithsonian's Submillimeter Array (SMA) telescope provide the most detailed view yet of stellar nurseries within the Snake nebula. These images offer new insights into how cosmic seeds can grow into massive stars.
It's all water over the dam - but how and when it falls has huge impact on salmon
Published Feb 25, 2014 - 6:58:11 AM
By adjusting water discharges in ways designed to boost salmon productivity, officials at a dam in central Washington were able to more than triple the numbers of juvenile salmon downstream of the dam over a 30-year period, according to a study published Feb. 25 in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.
Radioactive Ocean Website Garners Public Support
Published Feb 25, 2014 - 6:54:23 AM
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has teamed up with the public to build the most comprehensive and up-to-date dataset on marine radiation levels in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster. With no U.S. government or international plan to monitor the radiation levels in the ocean since the disaster, WHOI marine chemist Ken Buesseler launched a crowdsourcing campaign and citizen science website to include and empower the public. He is posting all of the current radiation level data online.
Oldest bit of crust firms up idea of a cool early Earth
Published Feb 24, 2014 - 7:16:44 AM
With the help of a tiny fragment of zircon extracted from a remote rock outcrop in Australia, the picture of how our planet became habitable to life about 4.4 billion years ago is coming into sharper focus.
New insights into the origin of birds
Published Feb 24, 2014 - 7:14:32 AM
Mark Puttick and colleagues investigated the rates of evolution of the two key characteristics that preceded flight: body size and forelimb length. In order to fly, hulking meat-eating dinosaurs had to shrink in size and grow much longer arms to support their feathered wings.
What has happened to the tsunami debris from Japan?
Published Feb 21, 2014 - 8:54:45 AM
The amount of debris in the ocean is growing exponentially, becoming more and more hazardous and harmful to marine life and therefore also to our ocean food source. Measuring and tracking the movements of such debris are still in their infancy. The driftage generated by the tragic 2011 tsunami in Japan gave scientists Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner a unique chance to learn about the effects of the ocean and wind on floating materials as they move across the North Pacific Ocean.
"Gravity"-style space debris threat from giant satellite explored in student paper
Published Feb 19, 2014 - 9:28:09 AM
Physics students at the University of Leicester have pointed out that the huge observational satellite Envisat – which lost contact with Earth in 2012 – could potentially pose a threat similar to the events which plague Sandra Bullock in the Oscar-nominated sci-fi thriller Gravity.
Diamonds in the tail of the scorpion
Published Feb 19, 2014 - 8:04:23 AM
Messier 7, also known as NGC 6475, is a brilliant cluster of about 100 stars located some 800 light-years from Earth. In this new picture from the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope it stands out against a very rich background of hundreds of thousands of fainter stars, in the direction of the centre of the Milky Way.
Volcanoes, including Mt. Hood, can go from dormant to active quickly
Published Feb 17, 2014 - 8:43:06 AM
A new study suggests that the magma sitting 4-5 kilometers beneath the surface of Oregon's Mount Hood has been stored in near-solid conditions for thousands of years, but that the time it takes to liquefy and potentially erupt is surprisingly short – perhaps as little as a couple of months.
Why does the brain remember dreams?
Published Feb 17, 2014 - 8:41:03 AM
Some people recall a dream every morning, whereas others rarely recall one. A team led by Perrine Ruby, an Inserm Research Fellow at the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center (Inserm/CNRS/Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1), has studied the brain activity of these two types of dreamers in order to understand the differences between them. In a study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, the researchers show that the temporo-parietal junction, an information-processing hub in the brain, is more active in high dream recallers. Increased activity in this brain region might facilitate attention orienting toward external stimuli and promote intrasleep wakefulness, thereby facilitating the encoding of dreams in memory.
New study shows growing opposition to animal tests
Published Feb 17, 2014 - 8:40:14 AM
Americans' moral opposition to animal testing has grown significantly since 2001, according to a new study presented today at the annual meeting of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago.
Loneliness is a major health risk for older adults
Published Feb 17, 2014 - 8:25:59 AM
Feeling extreme loneliness can increase an older person's chances of premature death by 14 percent, according to research by John Cacioppo, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago.
LGB individuals living in anti-gay communities die early
Published Feb 17, 2014 - 8:02:18 AM
In the first study to look at the consequences of anti-gay prejudice for mortality, researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals who lived in communities with high levels of anti-gay prejudice have a shorter life expectancy of 12 years on average compared with their peers in the least prejudiced communities. "The results of this study suggest a broadening of the consequences of prejudice to include premature death," noted the study's lead author, Mark Hatzenbuehler, PhD, assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences. The study is online in the journal Social Science & Medicine.
Beat-keeping sea lion shows surprising rhythmic ability
Published Feb 17, 2014 - 8:00:28 AM
Ronan, a California sea lion at Long Marine Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz, became an Internet sensation last year when UCSC scientists published a paper describing her ability to bob her head in time with rhythmic sounds and music in a variety of tempos (see video).