Latest Blog Posts


Nanobacteria in the Brain?

By Neuroskeptic | June 23, 2019 5:49 am

A paper just out in eccentric medical journal Medical Hypotheses caught my eye yesterday:

Potential role of calcifying nanoparticles in the etiology of multiple sclerosis

Hmm, I thought, this looks interesting. I’d never heard of the idea that nanoparticles could cause neurological illness.

So I read the paper and quickly found myself falling down a (nano)rabbithole into a fascinating and little-known tale of strange science.

It turns out that the ‘calcifying nanoparticles’ ment …


Rocky Planet

Big Blast from Russian Volcano Raikoke

By Erik Klemetti | June 22, 2019 8:43 am

Suomi NPP/VIIRS image of the Raikoke plume, taken June 22, 2019. NASA.

It has been awhile since we’ve had an unexpected eruption, but last night Raikoke in the Kuril Islands off Russia had an impressive explosion. Most people (and volcanologists) are likely unfamiliar with this remote volcano and rightly so — only ~140 people live within 100 kilometers and the last known eruption was in 1924. However, the last two eruptions (1924 and 1778) were both VEI 4 events.

The new eruption sent a  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Eruptions, Science, Science Blogs

The Crux

Meet the Companies Trying to Put Humans Back on the Moon

By Nathaniel Scharping | June 21, 2019 4:44 pm

In May, Jeff Bezos unveiled the lunar lander, dubbed Blue Moon, that his spacecraft company Blue Origin hopes to fly in the coming years. (Credit: Blue Origin)

The rocket’s flare is sudden and brilliant, a blurring horizontal column of whooshing fire. Just as quickly, the bright jet flickers out of existence, the few seconds of burn enough complete the test.

A pause in the control room, then applause ripples around. The group retires to a test cell nearby, where there are speeches and p …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Top Posts


NASA Selects PUNCH, a New Mission to Study the Sun

By Korey Haynes | June 21, 2019 3:45 pm

The PUNCH mission will include four microsatellites that work together to watch the entire heliosphere. (Credit: SwRI)

The sun powers life on Earth and keeps us from freezing to death. It also occasionally sends out bursts of charged particles that can be deadly to astronauts outside Earth’s sheltering atmosphere, and also wreak havoc on electronics both on and above Earth. There’s also a lot researchers still don’t understand about the sun’s behavior, including how its outermost layer get …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts

The Crux

Ancient Campfire Remains Hold Oldest-Known Remains of Humans Cooking Starches

By Sarah Wild | June 21, 2019 3:00 pm

(Credit: Benevolente82/Shutterstock)

More than 100,000 years ago, humans lived in the caves that dot South Africa’s coastline. With the sea on their doorstep and the Cape’s rich diversity of plant life at their backs, these anatomically modern Homo sapiens flourished. Over several millennia, they collected shells that they used as beads, created toolkits to manufacture red pigment, and sculpted tools from bones.

Now some of these caves, along the country’s s …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts


Planting Milkweed Across Major Cities Could Help Save Monarchs

By Sarah White | June 21, 2019 11:15 am

A Monarch butterfly on the flowers of a milkweed plant (Credit: Mark Rogovin/The Field Museum)

In the past two decades, the monarch butterfly population east of the Rocky Mountains has declined by 87 percent. That’s due in part to the fact that the only plant that monarchs lay their eggs on – milkweed – has become scarcer thanks to farmers removing it from their fields. Scientists say that stopping the monarch’s decline will require planting some 1.8 billion stems of milkweed. And, according …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: agriculture, plants

The Crux

AI Could Give Millions Online Legal Help. But What Will the Law Allow?

By Jennifer Walter | June 21, 2019 10:30 am

(Credit: BuffaloBoy/Shutterstock)

So, you just got a parking ticket. Let’s assume it wasn’t the first. And let’s take that a step further and say that you absolutely, positively, do not want to pay it, or think you should, for that matter.

Or let’s say you’re in a more serious situation – you’re planning
to file for divorce. You might not be able to afford an expensive attorney, or
maybe you just flat-out don’t know where to start with the legal process.

Thanks to a s …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts

The Crux

Brain Health Supplements Don't Work, New Study Shows

By Steven DeKosky, University of Florida | June 21, 2019 7:00 am

Older people often take many supplements, including ones purported to help with brain health. A recent study says the supplements do not work. (Credit: Mladen Zivkovic/Shutterstock)

Americans and others around the world have turned increasingly to dietary supplements in order to maintain or preserve their brain health.

A recent study found that a quarter of adults over 50 take a supplement for brain-related health. But that same study, done by experts convened by the AARP …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: personal health


Americans Ignore Experts, Continue To Devour Processed Meats

By Anna Groves | June 20, 2019 11:00 pm

Processed meats remain a major part of the average American’s diet. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Raysonho@ Open Grid Scheduler/Grid Engine)

Well, the results are in. After years and years of nutritionists telling Americans to eat fewer processed meats and more fish, Americans are eating (drumroll please) … exactly the same amounts as they did 18 years ago.

A research team at Tufts University in Boston crunched the numbers, and published their study today in the Journal of the Academy of N …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: nutrition


One Day of Work Per Week is Enough to Get the Mental Health Benefits of Employment

By Lacy Schley | June 20, 2019 6:00 pm

Work, even in small doses, can actually be good for our mental health. (Credit: GaudiLab/Shutterstock)

For most of us, work is, well, work. It can be stressful, and suck up a lot of our time. But despite these negatives, there are work perks other than a paycheck and standard employer benefits. Employment offers structure, social contact, physical and mental activity and it’s often a crucial part of our sense of identity — all of which can be a boon to our mental health.

So in a worl …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: mental health

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