Step right up to the smorgasbord of science!
- What once was old is new again. That picture above? You might think it’s a blueprint for NASA’s Curiosity rover, but it’s actually the blueprint for their next-generation Mars-roving robot, slated for launch in 2020.
- Speaking of Mars rovers, this past Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of rover Opportunity’s arrival on the Martian surface.
- It could be a big — albeit very cold — party down in Lake Vostok, a huge lake in Antarctica buried under more than three kilometers of ice. Russian scientists recently drilled through the ice cap and sampled Vostok’s waters, and early DNA and RNA sequencing data from those water samples suggests that, in addition extremophile bacteria and other microbes, there may be animals living down there.
- Believe it or not, scientists are still debating how the moon formed.
- Thresher sharks don’t just go om-nom-noming after prey like a great white. They stun their prey first using their ginormous tails. Check it out in this video clip:
- They say an elephant never forgets. Well, neither does a flatworm, even if you cut it’s head off. ‘Cause the head will grow back, and the new head sometimes retains the memories in the old one.
- By studying myoglobin — the oxygen-holding protein that gives muscles their red color — and how it differs between diving mammals, scientists have worked out not just how myoglobin contributed to the evolution of diving mammals like whales, but also estimate the max diving time of many current and ancestral mammalian divers. Like the sperm whale (almost two hours).
- The cicadas are gone. Now come the cicada killers.
- Researchers now have a better idea of which anxiety-reducing brain pathways get activated by exercise…in mice.
- If you want to sing out, sing out, Cat Stevens says. But do it in a choir, because choral singing may be good for your heart.
- If you’re going to have a baby, don’t make it in spring. A new study finds that babies conceived between January and May are born, on average, a week earlier than those conceived during the rest of the year. And the flu may have something to do with it. (Hat tip to reader Brian B. for sending this in.)
- I admit, this kinda gave me the skeevies: “First baby born after full genetic screening of embryos.”
- A new study suggests that obstetricians shouldn’t be so quick with the clamps when a baby is born. Waiting a minute or two before cutting the umbilical cord may have long term benefits for the baby with affecting Mom.
- “Extroverts are happier and healthier later in life.” Or, to put it another way, “Introverts are screwed.”
- A rare gene mutation that knocks levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol to the floor has sparked a frantic hunt for drugs that can mimic the mutation’s effects. But the search is raising a question: how little LDL is too little?
- Ok, deep breath…here we go: “What if your gluten intolerance is all in your head?” (ducks for cover)
- The frequent problem with brain training studies — the ones that say if you play certain kinds of video games, for instance, your memory or visual processing — is that study subjects now expect that such games will have those effects. And cue the placebo effect.
- Your gut microbes may as one be producing a cocktail of factors that together help keep the immune system from sparking autoimmune disease. But only if they work together.