Blog Archives

A bird\’s song may teach us about human speech disorders

Can the song of a small bird provide valuable insights into human stuttering and speech-related disorders and conditions, including autism and stroke? New research by UCLA life scientists and colleagues provides reason for optimism. The scientists discovered that some 2,000 genes in a region of the male zebra finch\’s brain known as \”Area X\” are […] … learn more→

Bias in decision-making leads to poor choices and possibly depression

When faced with making a complicated decision, our automatic instinct to avoid misfortune can result in missing out on rewards, and could even contribute to depression, according to new research. The results of a new study, published today in the journal PLoS Computational Biology, suggest that our brains subconsciously use a simplistic strategy in order […] … learn more→

The eruption after tomorrow

Imagine the perfect storm. A series of severe volcanic eruptions engulf the globe, spewing ash and sulphur into the atmosphere, causing widespread chaos on our intricate global economy, impacting our ability to grow food and grounding trans-continental air travel. … learn more→

Ancient \”Graffiti\” unlock the life of the common man

History is often shaped by the stories of kings and religious and military leaders, and much of what we know about the past derives from official sources like military records and governmental decrees. Now an international project is gaining invaluable insights into the history of ancient Israel through the collection and analysis of inscriptions — […] … learn more→

Switch to daylight saving time leads to cyberloafing at the office

The annual shift to daylight saving time and its accompanying loss of sleep cause employees to spend more time than normal surfing the Web for content unrelated to their work, resulting in potentially massive productivity losses, according to researchers. Web searches related to entertainment rise sharply the Monday after the shift to daylight saving time […] … learn more→

Wine experts\’ ratings may be a wash for many consumers

Not all wines are created equal; neither are all wine tasters. A wine expert\’s acute sense of taste may mean that expert ratings and recommendations are irrelevant to wine consumers who were not born with the ability to discern small differences in a broad range of tastes, according to a team of international researchers. \”What […] … learn more→

Can the sea solve the world\’s energy crisis?

As scientists continue the hunt for energy sources that are safer, cleaner alternatives to fossil fuel, an ever-increasing amount of valuable farmland is being used to produce bioethanol, a source of transportation fuel. And while land-bound sources are renewable, economists and ecologists fear that diverting crops to produce fuel will limit food resources and drive […] … learn more→

Researchers challenge study on hydrofracking\’s gas footprint

A Cornell study\’s contention that hydraulic fracturing would be worse for climate change than burning coal is being challenged by another study, also by Cornell researchers. In April 2011, Robert Howarth, the David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and colleagues published a study in Climatic Change Letters concluding that methane leakage from […] … learn more→

Gasoline worse than diesel when it comes to some types of air pollution

The exhaust fumes from gasoline vehicles contribute more to the production of a specific type of air pollution — secondary organic aerosols — than those from diesel vehicles, according to a new study by scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES, NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory […] … learn more→

Chimps show much greater genetic diversity than humans

Groups of chimpanzees within central Africa are more different genetically than humans living on different continents, an Oxford University-led study has found. The study published in the journal PLoS Genetics suggests that genomics can provide a valuable new tool for use in chimpanzee conservation. It has the potential to identify the population of origin of […] … learn more→