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  • Scicurious

    For the blind, hearing the way forward can be a tradeoff

    There’s a common notion that people who have deficiencies in one sensory area must have enhancements in others: People with hearing loss have better sight, and people who are blind certainly must have better hearing. That idea even shows up in our superhero stories. Mild-mannered lawyer by day, vigilante by night, Marvel’s Daredevil cannot see...

    04/28/2015 - 07:41 Neuroscience
  • The Science Life

    Brain on display

    Studying the human brain requires grandiose thinking, but rarely do actual theatrical skills come into play. In her latest stint as a video star, MIT neuroscientist Nancy Kanwisher does not buzz saw her skull open to give viewers a glimpse of her brain. But she does perhaps the next best thing: She clips off her shoulder-length gray hair and shaves her head on camera.

    Kanwisher’s smooth...

    04/27/2015 - 16:06 Neuroscience, Science & Society
  • Science Ticker

    Woolly mammoth DNA shows toll of low diversity

    Even before woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) went extinct, signs of decline were written in their DNA, researchers report in the May 18 Current Biology.

    The team sequenced genomes from a 44,800-year-old specimen from Siberia and a 4,300-year old specimen from Wrangel Island...

    04/27/2015 - 13:39 Animals, Genetics
  • News

    Warming’s role in extreme weather quantified

    Scientists have long suspected that some surges in extreme weather — from devastating droughts to thrashing superstorms — are caused by global warming. And now scientists have numbers to support that idea.

    About 75 percent of extreme heat spikes and 18 percent of extreme precipitation over land worldwide can be blamed on this largely human-driven climate change, researchers...

    04/27/2015 - 11:00 Climate
  • News

    'Frankenstein' dinosaur was a mash-up of meat eater and plant eater

    Frankensaurus did exist. But don’t worry — the sharp-clawed creature was a vegetarian.

    Bones found in Chile reveal a bizarre new dinosaur that had a hodgepodge of anatomical features. Based on an ancestry that links it to Tyrannosaurus rex, Chilesaurus diegosuarezi should have been a meat eater, but preferred plants instead,...

    04/27/2015 - 11:00 Paleontology
  • Reviews & Previews

    A chemistry card game forges bonds

    The new strategy-based card game Ion makes a game out of chemistry. It challenges players to group positively and negatively charged ions to form compounds. Players pass around ion and noble gas cards to build the compounds and collect sets of noble gases for points.

    New to chemistry? Never fear. The card game relies on basic arithmetic of positive and negative charges to create neutral...

    04/26/2015 - 08:00 Chemistry, Science & Society
  • News

    Pots from hunter-gatherer site in China tell tale of lifestyle shift

    East Asia’s first farmers didn’t transform ancient foraging cultures as much as researchers have traditionally thought. That’s because roving groups of foragers adopted sedentary living habits first.

    New evidence suggests that hunter-gatherers living on China’s central plain made pottery and formed permanent settlements between 10,500 and 10,000 years ago, hundreds of years before a...

    04/24/2015 - 15:31 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • Science Ticker

    City- and country-dwelling microbes aren’t so different

    Deep breaths of country air might feel fresh and clean compared to the polluted city. But city or country, you’re probably sucking in similar microbes. 

    Citizen scientists in the Wild Life of Our Homes project took 1,200 dust swabs from outdoor doorways and sent them to scientists that the University of Colorado, Boulder. Researchers...

    04/24/2015 - 15:29 Microbes
  • News

    Ritual cannibalism occurred in England 14,700 years ago

    A grisly ritual, at least by modern standards, played out in a British cave about 14,700 years ago.

    Hunter-gatherers took the bodies of at least six of their deceased comrades to what’s now called Gough’s Cave and ate them as part of a burial rite, say biological anthropologist Silvia Bello of the Natural History Museum in London and her colleagues. Microscopic analyses show that these...

    04/24/2015 - 13:39 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • Culture Beaker

    Sometimes it’s best to feed the trolls

    If you’ve been to the Internet, you’ve probably encountered a troll. That’s the nickname given to the people behind nasty or inflammatory posts in online outlets. Trolls seem to revel in sowing discord, provoking and tormenting other readers. “Don’t feed the trolls” is often considered the best response for dealing with such commenters, and data suggest that it’s effective: A recent Pew...

    04/24/2015 - 12:43 Science & Society