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New to nature No 133: Aulacoseira coroniformis

This single-celled alga known as a diatom helps tell the tale of a Florida ecosystem's evolution<p>Diatoms – single-celled algae – are abundant in both fresh and salt waters and are among the most common types of phytoplankton. By some estimates diatoms are responsible for one-fifth of the …

Body upgrades may be nearing reality, but only for the rich

Homo sapiens were not always so special. In the ancient past, other human forms lived beside us. The Neanderthals in Eurasia. Small, hobbit-like humans in Indonesia. The mysterious Denisovans in the Ural mountains.<p>But our time alone may be nearing its end. Through the power of technology, humans …

Nighttime Lights Reset Birds' Internal Clocks, Threatening Dawn's Chorus

Brighter nights shift hormones and other biological cues for mating, singing, and finding food.<p>Streetlights and the light from shopping centers, stadiums, and houses turn night into day, a "loss of night" that is shifting the internal clocks of birds worldwide. Now, scientists are trying to …

Mind Reading? Brain-to-Brain Message Sent From India to Paris

In an experiment that sounds more like science fiction than reality, two humans were able to send greetings to each other using only a digital connection linking their brains.<p>Using noninvasive means, researchers made brain recordings of a person in India thinking the words "hola" and "ciao," and …

The Brain

Blue whales of California are back to historical levels, study finds

Good news, whale lovers: A new analysis suggests that there are as many blue whales living off the coast of California as there were before humans started hunting them to near extinction 110 years ago.<p>Today, there are roughly 2,200 blue whales who range from Mexico in the south to Alaska in the …

Plastic Microparticles Found In Beers

Pollution shows up at the pub.<p>Beer lovers: there may be more to your brew than dazzling citrus overtones or a subtle chocolatey aroma.<p>The authors of a new study went to a local supermarket in Germany and picked up 24 brands of beer, including the 10 most popular in the country. In the lab, they …

New Galaxy Map Relocates The Milky Way To A Ginormous Supercluster Called Laniakea

Astronomers have long had a sense of where the Milky Way is in relation to other galaxies, but a new three-dimensional star map gives us a more nuanced look at our cosmic neighborhood.<p>Until now, the Milky Way was believed to be one galaxy in the 2,000 that make up what's known as the Virgo …

Prostate Cancer 'Organoids' Could Help Personalize Treatment

It's a miniature version of cancer -- but it's working for us.<p>When it comes to treating cancer, all tumors are not created equal. Within every cancer type – whether it be in the bone or the breast – each patient has a unique set of mutations that cause their cells to be cancerous. That means …

Cancer

All you need to know: September equinox

2018’s September equinox arrives in a few days. Happy autumn (or spring)!<p>The September equinox arrives on September 23, 2018 at 1:54 UTC. Although …

What Happens To Your Body When You Get Drunk And Stoned At The Same Time?

The science of the spins<p>The intoxicating effects of alcohol and of marijuana have been widely studied, but their combined effect—getting "cross-faded"—is woefully underexplored scientific territory. Here's a look at what we know about how pot and booze together affect the brain.<p>First, the basics: …

The Most Massive Dinosaur, and Are Earthquakes Contagious?

Wrap Your Head Around This One: Potentially Immortal Bacteria That Eat Electricity and Could Become Living Batteries

One of the stranger (and little known) facts of nature is that our living cells are electric, or can carry electricity. Every thought, feeling and …

Clean Energy

What a Study Found About the State of Mental, Physical Disabilities in American Children

CHICAGO (AP) — Disabilities among U.S. children have increased slightly, with a bigger rise in mental and developmental problems in those from wealthier families, a 10-year analysis found.<p>Photo credit: Shutterstock<p>Disadvantaged kids still bear a disproportionate burden.<p>The increases may partly …

The Effect of Ibuprofen That Has Nothing to Do With Physical Pain Relief (and It’s Different for Men and Women)

Ibuprofen is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve aches and pains, but it apparently can ease some emotional anguish as well.<p>Ibuprofen can do more than just ease physical pain in women, according to a new study. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)<p>Research from the University …

Disney Conquers Physics, Uses 3D Printing To Create Impossible Spinning Tops

Have you ever been sitting around bored and found yourself trying to get some random household object — a battery, a pen, whatever — to spin around like a top?<p>Disney has taken that idea to a pretty grand extreme. Combining the power of 3D printing and some damned clever physics work, they’ve worked …

The Physics of Great White Sharks Leaping Out of the Water to Catch Seals

Do you know what is indisputably awesome, even for those language-sticklers who claim you can only use awesome "in its original sense"? Great white sharks jumping out of the water to eat seals.<p>While you or I might have been content to just watch the Planet Earth episode about this phenomenon, …

Naïve Realism, Or the Strange Case of Physics and Fake Philosophers

By Deepak Chopra, MD<p>In a most unexpected way, physics has started to criticize its own sense of reality. Noted figures are speaking out against other noted figures, and heads are being knocked. A prime example: In the blog section of Scientific American, the highly respected South African physicist …

10 Examples of Physical Changes

Physical changes involve states of matter and energy. No new substance is created during a physical change, although the matter takes a different …

Has Physics Made Philosophy and Religion Obsolete?

"I think at some point you need to provoke people. Science is meant to make people uncomfortable."<p>It is hard to know how our future descendants will regard the little sliver of history that we live in. It is hard to know what events will seem important to them, what the narrative of now will look …

Impoverished Individuals Defy The Laws Of Physics To Survive

In 3rd world countries around the world, transporting goods via freight just isn't an option or a luxury the vast majority of traders can afford.<p>Many …

If You Can Get Physically Fit, You Can Get Financially Fit

Amy Clover, the founder of the self-help site Strong Inside Out, is a friend of mine who knows all about physical fitness. Amy overcame her debilitating clinical depression and obsessive compulsive disorder through exercise. Her mission is now to help other people discover their inner …

The physics of proton therapy | Jon Butterworth | Life & Physics

A brief explanation of the physics behind the treatment that Ashya King’s parents wanted for their son’s cancer<p>The story of Ashya King and his parents is desperately sad. One feature is that his family want him to receive proton therapy. This is not a “magic bullet” treatment and without knowing …

Quantum Physics Enables a New 'Telepathic' Photography Technique

Seeing without actually seeing is a real thing.<p>We can't very well see with our eyes closed or otherwise covered, and that seems more or less fundamental. But what if it were possible to see without that usual interaction between matter, light, and photosensitive surface? According to new research …

Quantum Physics

Freaky Physics Experiment May Prove Our Universe Is A Two-Dimensional Hologram

Everyone knows the universe exists in three dimensions, right? Maybe not. For some time now serious physicists have been pondering the seemingly absurd possibility that three-dimensional space is merely an illusion--and that we actually live in a two-dimensional "hologram."<p>And now scientists at the …