Discovery

Food Wars Could Rage by 2050

Food Wars Could Rage by 2050

Within a few more decades, dire food shortages may lead to global-scale conflict, warns a top plant scientist.
DNews: How To Start Your Own Compos...

DNews: How To Start Your Own Compost

Want to help eliminate waste from landfills? Tara explains how you can make your own compost bin right in your backyard.
Western Wildfires Getting Wilder Ev...

Western Wildfires Getting Wilder Every Year

Climate change and past forest management methods may be to blame for bigger and more frequent flames.
Makings of the Deadly Everest Ice A...

Makings of the Deadly Everest Ice Avalanche

The Khumbu Icefall is a chaotic jumble of house-sized ice boulders set with a hair trigger that must be traversed to climb the world's highest mountain.
Mountainous Fib: Andes Lie About Th...

Mountainous Fib: Andes Lie About Their Age

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

$1.5 Mln World Record Gold Crystal Verified

The 217.78 gram (7.68 oz.) nugget is a single, intact gold crystal.

Yahoo Science

'Easter Dragon' makes delivery to I...

'Easter Dragon' makes delivery to International Space Station

Backdropped by the blackness of space, the International Space Station is seen in this image taken by a crew member aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis.By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A cargo ship owned by Space Exploration Technologies arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday, with a delivery of supplies and science experiments for the crew and a pair of legs for the experimental humanoid robot aboard that one day may be used in a spacewalk. Station commander Koichi Wakata used the outpost's 58-foot (18-meter) robotic crane to snare the Dragon capsule from orbit at 7:14 a.m. (1114 GMT), ending its 36-hour journey. "The Easter Dragon is knocking at the door," astronaut Randy Bresnik radioed to the crew from Mission Control in Houston. Space Exploration, known as SpaceX, had planned to launch its Dragon cargo ship in March, but was delayed by technical problems, including a two-week hold to replace a damaged U.S. Air Force radar tracking system.

In weird Brazilian cave insects, ma...

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

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

NASA robotic spacecraft ends missio...

NASA robotic spacecraft ends mission with crash into the moon

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A robotic U.S. spacecraft ended a pioneering mission to map dust and gases around the moon with a planned, kamikaze crash into the lunar surface early on Friday, NASA officials said. The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE, had been flying at increasingly lower altitudes to study how dust is lifted off the lunar surface and what gases comprise the moon's so-called exosphere - the region of space surrounding the airless moon. NASA officials had planned to crash the spacecraft into the moon, after it transmitted its final batch of data. Before hitting the lunar surface, LADEE was traveling at 3,600 mph, three times faster than a high-powered rifle bullet, so the spacecraft not only broke apart upon impact, but pieces of it likely vaporized.
In a cloning first, scientists crea...

In a cloning first, scientists create stem cells from adults

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

Scientists find Earth-sized world i...

Scientists find Earth-sized world in orbit friendly to life

Kepler-186f planet seen in NASA artist's conceptThe discovery, announced on Thursday, is the closest scientists have come so far to finding a true Earth twin. The star's outermost planet, designated Kepler-186f, receives about one-third the radiation from its parent star as Earth gets from the sun, meaning that high noon on this world would be roughly akin to Earth an hour before sunset, said astronomer Thomas Barclay, with NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. "This planet is an Earth cousin, not an Earth twin," said Barclay, who is among a team of scientists reporting on the discovery in the journal Science this week. NASA launched its Kepler space telescope in 2009 to search about 150,000 target stars for signs of any planets passing by, or transiting, relative to the telescope's point of view.

Vitamins from Space! B3 Found in Me...

Vitamins from Space! B3 Found in Meteorites

Vitamins from Space! B3 Found in MeteoritesWhile scientists aren't yet sure of the exact recipe, they think radiation-blasted ice powered the chemical reactions that produced vitamin B3, or niacin, early in the solar system's history. "Vitamin B3 is essential to metabolism and likely very ancient in origin," lead study author Karen Smith of Pennsylvania State University said in a statement. The meteorite's vitamin B3 levels ranged from 30 to 600 parts per billion, the study reports. The amount of vitamin B3 in the meteorites was linked to how much their parent asteroids were altered by water, Smith said.

Physorg.com

Study casts doubt on climate benefi...

Study casts doubt on climate benefit of biofuels from corn residue

Using corn crop residue to make ethanol and other biofuels reduces soil carbon and can generate more greenhouse gases than gasoline, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Bulletproof nuclei? Stem cells exhi...

Bulletproof nuclei? Stem cells exhibit unusual absorption property

Stem cells ? the body's master cells ? demonstrate a bizarre property never before seen at a cellular level, according to a study published today from scientists at the University of Cambridge. The property ? known as auxeticity ? is one which may have application as wide-ranging as soundproofing, super-absorbent sponges and bulletproof vests.
Computational method dramatically s...

Computational method dramatically speeds up estimates of gene expression

With gene expression analysis growing in importance for both basic researchers and medical practitioners, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland have developed a new computational method that dramatically speeds up estimates of gene activity from RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data.
Hackers of Oman news agency target ...

Hackers of Oman news agency target Bouteflika

Hackers on Sunday targeted the website of Oman's official news agency, singling out and mocking Algeria's newly re-elected president Abdelaziz Bouteflika as a handicapped "dictator".
Easter morning delivery for space s...

Easter morning delivery for space station

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.
Nintendo's trailblazing Game Boy ma...

Nintendo's trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary

Nintendo's trailblazing Game Boy marks its 25th anniversary on Monday with the portable device's legacy living on in cutting-edge smartphone games and among legions of nostalgic fans.

PBS

Nature's Time Capsules

Nature's Time Capsules

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

The Mysteries of Optic Flow

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

Five Dogs with Crazy Résumés

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

Escape from Nazi Alcatraz

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

D-Day's Sunken Secrets

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

Why Sharks Attack

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

Scientific American

Cull Kill Includes Small Tiger Shar...

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

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

Animals with Human Rights Make Researchers Run Scared

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

Could an Oral Measles Drug Help the Unvaccinated?

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

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

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

Bloody Moon and Planet Align: Photos from Readers

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

The Overlooked Influence of Kathleen Sebelius

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

Newscientist

Mississippi dams aren't to blame fo...

Mississippi dams aren't to blame for flood risks

Dams on the Mississippi river aren't swallowing the sandy sediment needed to build up the river's delta and protect nearby cities from flooding
Make graphene in your kitchen with ...

Make graphene in your kitchen with soap and a blender

A method for making large amounts of the wonder material graphene is so simple that it can be done with kitchen appliances and Fairy Liquid
When the internet dies, meet the me...

When the internet dies, meet the meshnet that survives

If a crisis throws everyone offline, getting reconnected can be tougher than it looks, finds Hal Hodson
Shakespeare: The godfather of moder...

Shakespeare: The godfather of modern medicine

Epilepsy, psychiatric breakdown, sleep disorders – for all the crudity of 16th-century healthcare, Shakespeare's observations still inspire doctors today (full text available to subscribers)
Red lettuce and dinosaur germs head...

Red lettuce and dinosaur germs head to space station

SpaceX has launched its third cargo mission to the ISS, carrying gear that includes robot legs, a collapsible garden and a microbes from a dino fossil
Shakespeare: Did radical astronomy ...

Shakespeare: Did radical astronomy inspire Hamlet?

From a supernova in 1572 to the discovery of Jupiter's four biggest moons – astronomical discoveries of Shakespeare's time may pop up in his work (full text available to subscribers)

NY times.com Science

U.N. Struggles to Stem Haiti Choler...

U.N. Struggles to Stem Haiti Cholera Epidemic

The United Nations, facing a shortage of supplies to handle the epidemic, refuses to address whether its peacekeepers brought a deadly strain of the disease into the country.
Economic View: When Diamonds Are Di...

Economic View: When Diamonds Are Dirt Cheap, Will They Still Dazzle?

Technology has the potential to affect the value of items that are now rare and expensive, everything from diamonds to paintings and autographs.
House Calls Are Making a Comeback

House Calls Are Making a Comeback

Visits by palliative care specialists let medical professionals monitor patients? physical and emotional health and arrange help with needed tasks.
Democrats Confront Vexing Politics ...

Democrats Confront Vexing Politics Over the Health Care Law

Democrats may ultimately see political benefit from the law. But people helped by it are among the least likely to vote.
Poison Pen: The Trouble With Rice

Poison Pen: The Trouble With Rice

The rice plant is one of nature?s great metal scavengers, with potential health consequences for consumers.
Vocations: The Planetarium Worker: ...

Vocations: The Planetarium Worker: Inspired by an Eclipse

Rubina Isaac, who works at Adler Planetarium in Chicago, says a solar eclipse she saw as a girl in India inspired her interest in astronomy.

Science Daily

NASA completes LADEE mission with p...

NASA completes LADEE mission with planned impact on moon's surface

Ground controllers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m. PDT Thursday, April 17.
Immune cells to be tested on the In...

Immune cells to be tested on the International Space Station

The human body is fine-tuned to Earth's gravity. Scientists are now conducting an experiment on the International Space Station (ISS) to study whether this also applies to human cells. We know the effect of gravity on muscles, bones and joints inside out; it has been studied extensively in medicine for centuries. For a long time, however, exactly how gravity affects the cells remained a mystery.
SpaceX-3 launches science cargo to ...

SpaceX-3 launches science cargo to International Space Station

A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft full of NASA cargo, experiments and equipment blazed into orbit Friday, April 18, aboard the company's Falcon 9 rocket. The astronauts aboard the International Space Station will unload the supplies after the Dragon arrives at the orbiting research laboratory.
Counterfeit contraceptives found in...

Counterfeit contraceptives found in South America

A survey of emergency contraceptive pills in Peru found that 28 percent of the batches studied were either of substandard quality or falsified. Many pills released the active ingredient too slowly. Others had the wrong active ingredient. One batch had no active ingredient at all.
Treating depression in Parkinson's ...

Treating depression in Parkinson's Disease patients: New research

Interesting new information has been found from a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's disease. The study, which assessed cognitive function in depressed and non-depressed patients with PD, found that the dopamine replacement therapy commonly used to treat motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease was associated with a decline in cognitive performance among depressed Parkinson patients.
Researchers rethink 'natural' habit...

Researchers rethink 'natural' habitat for wildlife

Protecting wildlife while feeding a world population predicted to reach nine billion by 2050 will require a holistic approach to conservation that considers human-altered landscapes such as farmland, according to researchers. A new study finds that a long-accepted theory used to estimate extinction rates, predict ecological risk and make conservation policy recommendations is overly pessimistic. The researchers point to an alternative framework that promises a more effective way of accounting for human-altered landscapes and assessing ecological risks.

Eureka Alert

Study recalculates costs of combina...

Study recalculates costs of combination vaccines

(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) One of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice. And doctors may be overlooking some cost factors when choosing vaccines, driving the market toward what is actually a more expensive option, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers.
AltaSim Technologies wins DOE grant...

AltaSim Technologies wins DOE grant for additive manufacturing

(Ohio Supercomputer Center) AltaSim Technologies will further develop the technologies that drive additive manufacturing -- adding momentum to AweSim, a public-private initiative led by the Ohio Supercomputer Center to boost industrial use of modeling and simulation. Through an award of nearly $150,000 from the US Department of Energy, Columbus, Ohio-based AltaSim plans to create a manufacturing app that will feature the use of 3-D printing to make a solid, three-dimensional object from a digital model.
Kessler Foundation awarded Departme...

Kessler Foundation awarded Department of Defense grant for spinal cord injury research

(Kessler Foundation) Kessler Foundation named awardee of a three-year grant for $1.8 million from Department of Defense Spinal Cord Injury Research Program. Gail Forrest, P.T., Ph.D., is principal investigator for randomized, double-blinded, controlled, multi-site clinical trial, which will test strategies to improve bone and muscle strength after spinal cord injury. Dr. Forrest is assistant director of Human Performance & Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation. Additional sites: University of Louisville-Frazier Rehab and James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Bronx, N.Y.
Re-emergence of Ebola focuses need ...

Re-emergence of Ebola focuses need for global surveillance strategies

(EcoHealth Alliance) EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that focuses on conservation and global public health issues, published a comprehensive review today examining the current state of knowledge of the deadly Ebola and Marburg virus.
Surprising material could play role...

Surprising material could play role in saving energy

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

Classifying cognitive styles across disciplines

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

Forteantimes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Earth struck by big asteroids 'all ...

Earth struck by big asteroids 'all the time'

Three former NASA astronauts are set to reveal some unsettling data on how vulnerable our planet is. The claim is based on data recorded by a nuclear ...
Ancient wrestling match was fixed

Ancient wrestling match was fixed

Wrestling events in the ancient world appear to have been plagued by bribes and match fixing. A recently deciphered Greek document dating back to AD 2...
Family's car catches fire in lion e...

Family's car catches fire in lion enclosure

A day out at the safari park for Helen Clements and her family turned in to something of a nightmare. Clements and her two children had been driving t...
'Loch Ness Monster' found on mobile...

'Loch Ness Monster' found on mobile map app

The form of what looks like a huge creature in Loch Ness has been spotted on Apple's satellite maps app. It's been a while since there have been any r...
Can dreams solve other people's pro...

Can dreams solve other people's problems ?

A new study has suggested that it may be possible to learn about someone else's problems while asleep. The claim is based on research by distinguished...
New killer sea sponges discovered

New killer sea sponges discovered

Four new species of carnivorous sponge have been identified in the depths off the coast of California. There are several thousand known species of sea...

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

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