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Sky’s brilliant hues may help bodies keep time

sunset

Our bodies’ internal clocks may interpret twilight’s bluish hue as a signal to get some rest.

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Our circadian clocks may keep time with the help of the sky’s brilliant colors. Nerve cells associated with internal clocks in mice appear to be more sensitive to changes in yellows and blues than to changes in the brightness of their environment, researchers report online April 17 in PLOS Biology.

Humans’ circadian clocks may work in a similar way. Manipulating the human clock with colored light could help shift workers and jet-setters keep better time with their bodies, the scientists suggest.

Toxicology

Low levels of lead linked to lower test scores in children

By Beth Mole 12:00pm, April 17, 2015
A large study in grade-school children finds that even low blood levels of lead may be associated with poor school performance.
Planetary Science,, Earth

The moon is about as old as we thought it was

By Helen Thompson 6:00am, April 17, 2015
Meteorite heat signatures pinpoint the age of the collision that created the moon — confirming many previous lunar age estimates.
Astronomy,, Cosmology

Map pinpoints location of invisible dark matter

By Andrew Grant 3:05pm, April 14, 2015
A new map shows that dark matter is concentrated in regions that contain a lot of ordinary matter in the form of galaxy clusters.
Planetary Science

Atmospheric water may be giving Saturn its spots

By Helen Thompson 10:57am, April 14, 2015
Planetary scientists think that water in Saturn’s atmosphere could be driving the massive storms that appear every few decades in the ringed planet’s atmosphere.
Plants,, Science & Society

Plants suck in nicotine from nearby smokers

By Susan Milius 12:27pm, April 13, 2015
Peppermint plants can build up nicotine from tobacco dropped on their soil or smoked indoors.
Psychology

Saying ‘I’ and ‘me’ all the time doesn’t make you a narcissist

By Bruce Bower 4:15pm, April 10, 2015
People who utter lots of first-person singular pronouns such as "I" and "me" score no higher on narcissism questionnaires than peers who engage in little "I"-talk.
Genetics,, Evolution

Mountain gorilla genome reveals inbreeding

By Tina Hesman Saey 5:26pm, April 9, 2015
Mountain gorillas are highly inbred, with good and bad consequences.
Paleontology,, Ecology

Tyrannosaurs fought and ate each other

By Helen Thompson 3:23pm, April 9, 2015
Evidence from a tyrannosaur skull and jaw fossils add to the argument that the ancient reptiles fought and weren’t above scavenging their own.
Genetics,, Microbiology,, Anthropology

Mummies tell tuberculosis tales from the crypt

By Helen Thompson 4:51pm, April 8, 2015
Hungarian mummies contracted multiple strains of tuberculosis at the same time, researchers find.
Human Evolution,, Health

Natural selection may be growing taller Dutch people

By Helen Thompson 7:23pm, April 7, 2015
Over the past 200 years, natural selection may have driven the evolution of taller Dutch people, researchers posit.
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