Discovery

The 8 Biggest Mysteries of Our Plan...

The 8 Biggest Mysteries of Our Planet

More than 40 years after the first Earth Day, many riddles still remain when it comes to our planet.
Tidal Power: Energizer Bunny of Ren...

Tidal Power: Energizer Bunny of Renewable Energy?

Tidal power can do what wind and solar can?t: provide reliable energy, right when you need it.
Piece of Africa Found Under Alabama

Piece of Africa Found Under Alabama

A quarter of a billion years ago Africa slammed into North America and left a scar that can be seen today with special instruments.
Ancient Plants, Maybe Martian Life,...

Ancient Plants, Maybe Martian Life, Sealed in Meteor Glass

Intense heat during meteor impacts forged tiny bits of glass that trapped fragments of ancient plant life in Argentina. Could the same process have entombed signs of life on Mars? Continue reading ?
Picture This: Scenes From Earth (Ap...

Picture This: Scenes From Earth (April 2014)

To kick off Earth Day, check out a snapshot of remarkable moments from around the world.
'False Springs' May Become Thing of...

'False Springs' May Become Thing of the Past

Chilly interruptions of spring revelry may someday disappear as the planet warms. Continue reading ?

Yahoo Science

Risk of asteroid hitting Earth high...

Risk of asteroid hitting Earth higher than thought, study shows

A local resident shows a fragment thought to be part of a meteorite collected in a snow covered field in the Yetkulski region outside the Urals city of ChelyabinskBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - The chance of a city-killing asteroid striking Earth is higher than scientists previously believed, a non-profit group building an asteroid-hunting telescope said on Tuesday. A global network that listens for nuclear weapons detonations detected 26 asteroids that exploded in Earth's atmosphere from 2000 to 2013, data collected by the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization shows. "There is a popular misconception that asteroid impacts are extraordinarily rare ... that's incorrect," said former astronaut Ed Lu, who now heads the California-based B612 Foundation. The foundation on Tuesday released a video visualization of the asteroid strikes in an attempt to raise public awareness of the threat.

First U.S. drone research center wi...

First U.S. drone research center will focus on soil studies: FAA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The first of six U.S. test sites chosen to perform unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research will start flight operations during the week of May 5, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on Monday. The site in North Dakota will begin using a Draganflyer X4ES small UAS, with the initial goal to agricultural research including checking soil quality and the status of crops. (Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Doina Chiacu)
Meteor lights up night sky in north...

Meteor lights up night sky in northern Russia

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russians with smartphones and dashboard cameras captured footage of a meteor that flashed across the night sky near the Arctic Circle over the weekend. There were no reports of damage but the ball of fire raised eyebrows after a meteorite crashed to Earth near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013, shattering windows, damaging buildings and injuring more than 1,200 people. ...
'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.

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.
The Toy Thing: It Was Never About P...

The Toy Thing: It Was Never About Pink or Blue (Op-Ed)

The Toy Thing: It Was Never About Pink or Blue (Op-Ed)As a science communicator, educator and researcher, I have been following the toy and children's media discussions for a while now, by attending events, reading articles and news stories, and thinking back to my own childhood.

Physorg.com

New alfalfa variety resists ravenou...

New alfalfa variety resists ravenous local pest

(Phys.org) ?Cornell plant breeders have released a new alfalfa variety with some resistance against the alfalfa snout beetle, which has ravaged alfalfa fields in nine northern New York counties and across the St. Lawrence River in Canada.
ESA's weightless plants fly on a Dr...

ESA's weightless plants fly on a Dragon

(Phys.org) ?It is a race against time for ESA's Gravi-2 experiment following launch last Friday on the Dragon space ferry. Stowed in Dragon's cargo are lentil seeds that will be nurtured into life on the International Space Station.
In the 'slime jungle' height matter...

In the 'slime jungle' height matters

(Phys.org) ?In communities of microbes, akin to 'slime jungles', cells evolve not just to grow faster than their rivals but also to push themselves to the surface of colonies where they gain the best access to oxygen, new research shows.
Robot scouts rooms people can't ent...

Robot scouts rooms people can't enter

(Phys.org) ?Firefighters, police officers and military personnel are often required to enter rooms with little information about what dangers might lie behind the door. A group of engineering students at Arizona State University is working on a project that would help alleviate that uncertainty.
Disorder on the nanoscale may be re...

Disorder on the nanoscale may be responsible for solar-cell efficiency

(Phys.org) ?In the past few years, perovskite solar cells have made large leaps forward in efficiency, recently achieving energy conversion with up to 16 percent efficiency. These simple and promising devices are easy enough to make and are made up of earth abundant materials, but little work has been done to explore their atomic makeup.
Material prevents plastic from agei...

Material prevents plastic from ageing, offering environmental and cost savings for the energy industry

(Phys.org) ?When applied to plastic lining this 'botox for plastic' can clean up exhaust gases from power plants much more effectively than existing methods.

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

As Drug War Rages, Tweets Reveal Me...

As Drug War Rages, Tweets Reveal Mexicans? Emotional Numbness

Tweets from citizens on the front lines of the country’s conflicts with drug cartels indicate desensitization to the growing violence -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
Virtual Doctor Visits Gaining Steam...

Virtual Doctor Visits Gaining Steam in ?Geneticist Deserts?

Genetic experts are eyeing computer Webcams and videoconferencing to assess patients in Alaska and other remote places -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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

Newscientist

Virtual Earth plays out fate of lif...

Virtual Earth plays out fate of life on the planet

The first computer model to simulate the interaction of life on Earth allows us to see how an infinite number of ecosystem changes affect the environment
Mini robot doctors that could swim ...

Mini robot doctors that could swim in your bloodstream

Robots that can be operated using magnetic fields could one day be injected into your body with the parts to make therapeutic devices
The coolest biology is under the mi...

The coolest biology is under the microscope

Almost everything important takes place in the microbial world, argues Nicholas Money in his lively but rather disorganised book The Amoeba in the Room
Asteroid strike map built from nucl...

Asteroid strike map built from nuclear watchdog data

The network that monitors for covert nuclear weapons testing helped detect 26 asteroids entering Earth's atmosphere since 2000 – this movie maps them
Helmet to offer tongue-in-cheek gad...

Helmet to offer tongue-in-cheek gadget control

A device that senses tongue pressure through the cheek could allow motorcyclists and skiers to control their personal technology via their helmets
Stealthy surfaces make for psychede...

Stealthy surfaces make for psychedelic laser scanning

Lidar 3D laser scanning sounds ultra-precise ? but real-world noise and confusion turns Berlin's Oberbaum Bridge into an ecstatic vision

NY times.com Science

Well: High Altitudes May Aid Weight...

Well: High Altitudes May Aid Weight Control

A four-year study of overweight military personnel has found that those stationed at high altitudes are less likely to progress to obesity.
Well: The Limits of ?No Pain, No Ga...

Well: The Limits of ?No Pain, No Gain?

A new study helps to explain why exercise makes our muscles ache, and suggests that it?s not always a good idea to ignore fatigue and push on.
With Farm Robotics, the Cows Decide...

With Farm Robotics, the Cows Decide When It?s Milking Time

Farms in upstate New York and elsewhere are using automatic milkers that scan and map the underbellies of cows, extract the milk, and monitor its quality, without the use of human hands.
Claims of Chlorine-Filled Bombs Ove...

Claims of Chlorine-Filled Bombs Overshadow Progress by Syria on Chemical Weapons

The unconfirmed reports of the weapons came as international monitors said that nearly 90 percent of the chemicals in Syria?s arsenal had now been exported.
Lax Oversight Cited as Factor in De...

Lax Oversight Cited as Factor in Deadly Blast at Texas Plant

A preliminary report on a deadly fire and blast in West, Tex., by the Chemical Safety Board notes that there are no regulations for the storage of ammonium nitrate.
Dot Earth Blog: Beneath the Surface...

Dot Earth Blog: Beneath the Surface of China?s Great Urban Rush

Can China?s urbanization push sidestep the Western pattern of pollution and sprawl, and can it consider the rights of displaced citizens?

Science Daily

A new 'APEX' in plant studies aboar...

A new 'APEX' in plant studies aboard the International Space Station

Growing knowledge in a given field takes time, attention, and ... water? It does when you're talking about plant studies aboard the International Space Station (ISS). All of these things and some scientific know-how come into play as astronauts find out just how green their thumbs are while assisting researchers on the ground.
For an immune cell, microgravity mi...

For an immune cell, microgravity mimics aging

Telling someone to "act your age" is another way of asking him or her to behave better. Age, however, does not always bring improvements. Certain cells of the immune system tend to misbehave with age, leaving the elderly more vulnerable to illness. Because these cells are known to misbehave similarly during spaceflight, researchers are studying the effects of microgravity on immune cells to better understand how our immune systems change as we age.
First size-based chromatography tec...

First size-based chromatography technique for the study of livi

Using nanodot technology, researchers demonstrated the first size-based form of chromatography for studying the membranes of living cells. This unique physical approach to probing cellular membrane structures reveals critical information that can't be obtained through conventional microscopy.
Neurotics don't just avoid action: ...

Neurotics don't just avoid action: They dislike it, study finds

Neurotics don't just avoid taking action. By their very nature they dislike it. A study of nearly 4,000 college students in 19 countries has uncovered new details about why neurotic people may avoid making decisions and moving forward with life. Turns out that when they are asked if action is positive, favorable, good, they just don't like it as much as non-neurotics. Framing communication messages that get around this roadblock is a key to success communication with neurotic folks.
Applying math to biology: Software ...

Applying math to biology: Software identifies disease-causing mutations in undiagnosed illnesses

A computational tool has successfully identified diseases with unknown gene mutations in three separate cases. Sequencing the genomes of individuals or small families often produces false predictions of mutations that cause diseases. But this study shows that a new unique approach allows it to identify disease-causing genes more precisely than other computational tools.
Fat metabolism in animals altered t...

Fat metabolism in animals altered to prevent most common type of heart disease

Working with mice and rabbits, scientists have found a way to block abnormal cholesterol production, transport and breakdown, successfully preventing the development of atherosclerosis, the main cause of heart attacks and strokes and the number-one cause of death among humans. The condition develops when fat builds inside blood vessels over time and renders them stiff, narrowed and hardened, greatly reducing their ability to feed oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and the brain.

Eureka Alert

Government and industry leaders her...

Government and industry leaders herald launch of NJIT's New Jersey Innovation Institute

(New Jersey Institute of Technology) Government and industry leaders visited the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) today to join NJIT President Joel S. Bloom for the launch of the New Jersey Innovation Institute, an NJIT corporation that provides a new model for business innovation through the leveraging of industry, government, and higher education assets and investment.
Rotman professor named as a Fellow ...

Rotman professor named as a Fellow of the Regional Science Association International

(University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management) A leading researcher and teacher of urban economics and real estate at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management has been elected a Fellow of the Regional Science Association International in recognition of his lifetime contributions to the scholarship of regional science.
Online retailers have clear advanta...

Online retailers have clear advantage by not collecting sales tax

(Ohio State University) Two independent studies use two very different approaches to reach the same conclusion: some online retailers really do have an advantage over traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
Nanoreporters tell 'sour' oil from ...

Nanoreporters tell 'sour' oil from 'sweet'

(Rice University) Scientists at Rice University have created a nanoscale detector that checks for and reports on the presence and concentration of hydrogen sulfide in crude oil and natural gas while they're still in the ground.
UTSA hosts Open BigCloud Symposium ...

UTSA hosts Open BigCloud Symposium and OCP Workshop May 7-8

(University of Texas at San Antonio) The University of Texas at San Antonio will host the inaugural Open BigCloud Symposium and Open Compute Project Workshop May 7-8 in the HEB University Center Ballroom on the UTSA Main Campus.
New patenting guidelines are needed...

New patenting guidelines are needed for biotechnology

(Rice University) Biotechnology scientists must be aware of the broad patent landscape and push for new patent and licensing guidelines, according to a new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

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

Inventor builds real Spider-Man web...

Inventor builds real Spider-Man webshooter

German hobbyist Patrick Priebe has developed his own version of the superhero's web-slinging device. To celebrate the release of "The Amazing Spider-M...
US and Russian military dolphins to...

US and Russian military dolphins to face off?

Specially trained dolphins could soon clash in an underwater sea battle according to recent reports. Both the US and Ukraine are known to have trained...
Researchers tackle 'SLIders' phenom...

Researchers tackle 'SLIders' phenomenon

Some people seem to have the ability to turn off streetlights simply by walking underneath them. This well established phenomenon has been reported fo...
Are your fingerprints truly unique ...

Are your fingerprints truly unique ?

Fingerprints are often used to identify criminals, but does everyone really have a unique fingerprint ? According to Home Office expert Mike Silverman...
Cosmetics firm in bid to lighten th...

Cosmetics firm in bid to lighten the Moon

The company wants to make the Moon brighter for the purpose of lowering global energy usage. The bizarre concept has been put forward by the Foreo Ins...
What do bunnies have to do with Eas...

What do bunnies have to do with Easter ?

If Easter is all about celebrating the resurrection of Christ then where does the Easter Bunny fit in ? Easter eggs, yellow chicks and the Easter Bunn...

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.

    

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