JAROSLAV FLEGR found out in 1990 that he was infected with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that typically lives (and reproduces) in cats. The Czech evolutionary biologist learned that the parasite often jumps from cat to human via litter boxes or contaminated water, but what truly fascinated him was how it jumps from cat to cat: It uses rats. When “toxo” infects a rat, it hijacks its brain, making the rat more active, less risk averse, even sexually attracted to the scent of cat urine—in sum, more likely to get eaten. This knowledge gave Flegr a radical idea he decided to explore: Maybe toxo was controlling his brain too. Colleagues told him he was crazy. As it turns out, his hunch was right...read more
In January 2004, Mathew Jones was processing the bycatch from New Zealand lobster stock assessment. Six fish including a silverside, Bollons’ rattail, jock stewart, dark ghost shark, javelin fish, and a oliver’s rattail yielded a shocking surprise. The finding was all the more fascinating given that these fish were all taken from deep sea at near 400 meters (~1300 feet)
In the guts of these 6 fish were insects. Four fish had consumed beetles and two consumed weevils. In case your wondering…no there are no deep-sea beetles or weevils. And no…deep-sea fish don’t often walk on land to forage for insects...read more
Gloriously grand, gnarly and twisted, big old trees are the kings of the forest, providing food and shelter for humans and animals since the dawn of time.
And they make pretty nifty places to build treehouses too!
But now scientists say these ancient giants are under threat. According to a report published recently in the journal Science, death rates have increased alarmingly among trees between 100 and 300 years old...read more
The origins of the mysterious package that showed up Wednesday at the University of Chicago admissions office addressed to Henry Jones Jr. (a.k.a. Indiana Jones) has been solved.
In the end, it wasn’t a prank or a promotional stunt on the part of Lucasfilm or even a bizarre trans-dimensional crack in the line between reality and fiction.
It was a simple accident...read more
Vitamin D appears to slow down the production of a protein that drives cell division and that is active at elevated levels in more than half of all cancers.
The active form of vitamin D acts by several mechanisms to inhibit both the production and function of the protein cMYC, according to a study published in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“For years, my lab has been dedicated to studying the molecular mechanisms of vitamin D in human cancer cells, particularly its role in stopping their proliferation,” says John White, a professor in McGill University’s physiology department. “We discovered that vitamin D controls both the rate of production and the degradation of cMYC...read more
“We reap what we sow. We are the makers of our own fate.
The wind is blowing; those vessels whose sails are unfurled
catch it, and go forward on their way, but those which have
their sails furled do not catch the wind. Is that the fault of
the wind?... We make our own destiny."
Australia announced plans to drill a 2,000 year-old ice core in the heart of Antarctica in a bid to retrieve a frozen record of how the planet has evolved and what might be in store.
The Aurora Basin North project involves scientists from Australia, France, Denmark and the United States who hope it will also advance the search for the scientific "holy grail" of the million-year-old ice core...read more
Bees. Specifically African bees are probably not the first, or even fifth idea, that comes to mind when you think of alleviating poverty. Yet these little insects are causing a buzz by helping thousands of rural farmers in East Africa.
For the past twelve years, Kenyan social business Honey Care Africa has developed its innovative ‘Business in a Beehive’ model that has allowed low-income farmers to easily earn more money by producing honey...read more
The tragic Connecticut shooting has left us all in sorrow and in search of answers.The media world reacted to it by pulling out some of their shows which they probably thought were insensitive and inappropriate. Tom Cruise's new film premier was also postponed.
"The shooting massacre in Connecticut prompted FOX to pull this upcoming Sunday, December 16 episodes of "Family Guy"and "American Dad!". The network did not give a reason but it's most likely they want to avoid airing any insensitive content following the Friday incident at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT." read more
Want to be more creative? Drop that iPad and head to the great outdoors.
That's the word from David Strayer, a cognitive neuroscientist in Utah who studies multitasking. He knew that every time he went into the southern Utah desert, far from cellular service, he started to think more clearly.
But he wanted to know if others had the same experience... read more