Your immune system has two approaches: the first wave is a bunch of attacks that make your body less hospitable to germs, like a fever, mucous, and achy lethargy (which keeps you at home, away from opportunistic infectious agents); the second is a tailored antibody attack that kicks in about ten days later. Read the rest
It's true that your gut biome is awesome, complicated, poorly understood and crucial to your body's normal functioning. Read the rest
69% of the alcohol sold in the UK is sold to "harmful," "hazardous" or "increasing risk" drinkers, accounting for more than 60% of the industry's revenues. The number of alcohol-related hospitalisations in the UK has doubled in the past ten years, to more than 1m/year. Read the rest
Every year, like clockwork, longstanding Oklahoma legislators in the state's house and senate introduce bills that try to find a way around the prohibition on teaching Biblical Creationism in American public schools. Read the rest
Chris from Sense About Science writes, "Had trouble sleeping recently? This week Ask for Evidence is turning its attention to the multitude of claims about sleep -- how you should be doing it, what you should be wearing for it, what you should be doing it on. First up is Ben, who got the NHS to change the advice on its website after asking them for evidence about claims that not getting enough sleep could make you obese. (It turns out it's a little more nuanced than they first suggested)." Read the rest
Geoff sends us a post about "the 'strange phenomenon' of naturally-occurring 'forest rings,' or circles up to 2km in diameter only visible from the air, in northern Ontario. The rings are at least partially caused by electrochemical effects in the soil -- which are apparently strong enough to affect the local water table, such that 'the water is being held up against gravity,' as geochemist Stewart Hamilton discovered. This is 'beyond science fiction,' he gushed." Read the rest
Shenova's science-themed dresses are beautifully cut and come in prints that celebrate the Fibonacci sequence, the DNA double-helix, printed circuit boards, retinal cells, the periodic table, aerospace engineering, and space-time warps (my favorite!). Read the rest
Chris from Sense About Science sez, "Thundersnow, willy-willys and the hottest/coldest seasons on record, there's certainly no shortage of headlines about the weather. But many meteorological terms we hear are misused, say early career researchers." Read the rest
The University of Maryland's Maryland Industrial Partnerships program hooks up researchers with businesses: just before Christmas, MIPS sent out a press-release claiming that a local brand of chocolate milk aided in recovery from concussions sustained playing high school football. Read the rest
The gold standard for researching the effects of diet on health is the self-reported food-diary, which is prone to lots of error, underreporting of "bad" food, and changes in diet that result from simply keeping track of what you're eating. The standard tool for correcting these errors comparisons with more self-reported tests. Read the rest
We've posted previously about Steve Erenbgerg (Radio Guy)'s online collection of wonderful and strange antique scientific instruments, medical devices, anatomical models, and, of course, radios. SciFri took a video tour, above, of Erenberg's delightful real world cabinet of curiosities!
"Things of Beauty: Scientific Instruments of Yore" (YouTube)
Now that the International Union of Applied Chemistry has recognised four new elements, the race is on to decide what to call them. Read the rest
Babypod is a wireless speaker designed to be worn by pregnant women in their vaginas so as to bombard their foetuses with music with minimal distortion. Read the rest
It is time once again for the Edge Annual Question, a mind-bending and boundary-busting online convening of scientists, technologists, and other big thinkers all responding to a single question at the intersection of science and culture. From physicists to artists, cognitive psychologists to journalists, evolutionary biologists to maverick anthropologists, these are people who Edge founder, famed literary agent, and BB pal John Brockman describes as the "third culture (consisting) of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are."
This year, John asked: What do you consider the most interesting (scientific) news? What makes it important?" Nearly two hundred really smart people responded, including Steven Pinker, Nina Jablonski, Freeman Dyson, Stewart Brand, Marti Hearst, Philip Tetlock, Kevin Kelly, Lisa Feldman Barrett, Douglas Rushkoff, Lisa Randall, Alan Alda, Jared Diamond, Pamela McCorduck, and on and on.
"Science is the only news," writes Stewart Brand in the introduction. "When you scan through a newspaper or magazine, all the human interest stuff is the same old he-said-she-said, the politics and economics the same sorry cyclic dramas, the fashions a pathetic illusion of newness, and even the technology is predictable if you know the science. Human nature doesn't change much; science does, and the change accrues, altering the world irreversibly.' We now live in a world in which the rate of change is the biggest change." Science has thus become a big story, if not the big story: news that will stay news."
The nascent science of hangovers -- launched in earnest in 2009 with the Alcohol Hangover Research Group -- has ruled out all the traditional culprits for your misery. A promising new culprit is inflammatory response to elevated levels of cytokines, molecules that transmit messages through the immune system. Read the rest