Ocean microorganisms can ‘seed’ clouds, research finds

Researchers have known for quite a while that microorganisms in the ocean can significantly affect the weather and climate, but now, a new connection has been found between phytoplankton and cloud formation.

Over 200 Zoos and Aquariums make pact to save vulnerable animals

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which includes 229 organizations worldwide, has launched an ambitious plan to save some of the most vulnerable species from extinction. The project (SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction) will build on already existing efforts, deepening the conservation work done at the accredited zoos and aquariums. To mark this decision, today, 15 May, all the zoos and aquariums

Urban Algae Canopy Produces Huge Quantity of Oxygen

It generates as much oxygen as 400,000 square feet of natural woodland, it looks nice, and it can produce lots of biomass – the Urban Algae Canopy is a concept we should probably pay more attention to. It combines biology, modern architecture and electronics, creating a structure that not only generates energy, but also adapts and responds to the environment it

Dozens of endangered cockatoos trafficked in small plastic bottles

At least 21 cockatoos have been discovered and saved from illegal trafficking; they were recovered at an Indonesian port during an anti-smuggling operation, crammed in 1500 ml bottles. Unfortunately, seven of them didn’t survive.

The white thing that sometime appears on chocolate? Scientists studied it with X-Rays

Chocolate is the favorite food of many people throughout the world, bringing joy and happiness into our mouths, one square at a time. But when a whitish coating appears on its surface, most people would think twice before eating. That coating, called chocolate bloom, is actually harmless, but it drastically reduces the visual appeal of the chocolate. Now, researchers from

Pollen may actually influence weather

Spring – for some people it’s the most beautiful time of the year, when the snows melt, the sun shines brighter and hotter and everything turns green, while for others, it’s hell on Earth. For people with allergies, especially pollen allergies, spring is sneeze season. But as some researchers found, pollen does more than trigger a nasty allergy – it can actually influence the weather.

Experimental program saves $384 million in Medicare, without compromising benefits

A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association reports the findings of a pilot program that was run between 2012 and 2013 aimed at cutting Medicare spending. As part of the program, hospitals and doctors were offered guidelines that cut wasteful spending and improve management for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes. During the two-year program, some $384 million were saved and returned back to hospitals, all without limiting coverage or benefits. In light of these findings, it’s likely that the program will expand to other parts of Medicare.

60% of large herbivores on the verge of extinction, bleak study finds

The 74 largest terrestrial herbivores are on the verge of extinction, a new worrying study has found. All in all, over half of all large terrestrial herbivores are on the verge of extinction – and we’re to blame.

Scans reveal what happens in your brain during an out-of-body experience

Neuroscientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have created an out-of-body illusion in participants placed inside a brain scanner to see what happens in the brain during this time.

Beautiful winged insects built from computer and video game components

I just love it when stuff that’s thrown away becomes a part of something new and valuable – upcycling, as many people call it. For UK-based artist Julie Alice Chappell (Facebook), it’s about turning technology into art. She takes thrown away computer and video game parts and assembles them into pieces of art, which she then sells on Etsy. “The recycled bits

This beautiful stained glass window doubles as a solar panel

We’ve written several times that scientists have managed to develop colored glass usable as a solar panel; of course, the glass won’t absorb as much energy as traditional, black panels, but it’s still something – and it’s pleasant to the eye as well. Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel had an interesting take on how to use the technology, developing this beautiful stained glass window which generates electrical current by absorbing sunlight.

Watch: This woman controls a man’s arm with her brain

Greg Gage is on a mission to make brain science accessible to all, and he does a great job of showcasing what he can do in this extremely exciting and a bit creepy TED video: What’s really awesome is that he made all this with an inexpensive kit that you can almost DIY at home. A bit of background on

Smiley face labels can encourage kids to eat healthier food

An innovative study suggests that something as small as labeling healthy foods with a small smiley face can make kids more interested in buying and consuming healthy food.

Psychedelic tea might help with depression

Hallucinogenic tea brewed from South American plants might treat depression, according to a new study – but don’t start your homebrewing just yet; it’s a small study, and there are still unclear aspects about it.

Icelandic DNA mapping might lead to the future of medicine

Scientists are working to gather more and more details about Icelandic DNA, in an attempt to design better drugs and understand how drugs react to genetic variation. So far, the DNA of over 1% of all Icelanders has been sequenced and more will likely follow. This operation is conducted by Amgen’s DeCode Genetics. The team now claims that they can identify every woman at high-risk of breast cancer “at the touch of a button” and it would be “criminal” not to use the information.

Scientists find “punk” shape shifting frog

For the first time, researchers have discovered a vertebrate able to change the texture of its skin from smooth to spiny. The new frog species was found in Ecuador in the plentiful moss surrounding the native forest.

Chinese Park Ranger Finds Rare, Giant Salamander

A park ranger in south China was surprised to find a giant salamander while he was out picking winkles. The giant amphibian measures 83 cm in length (2.5 feet) and weighs 5.5 kg (12 pounds). This amazing creature has remained relatively unchanged since the Jurassic and is widely regarded as a living fossil, but at the moment it is critically endangered. After

Today’s marijuana is more potent than it used to be, study finds

With the increasing attention marijuana has been receiving lately, especially with the legalization in states like Colorado and Washington, it’s high time (heh) someone took a look at how marijuana has actually changed along the years . Now, a study conducted by Charas Scientific, one of a handful of labs certified to test the potency of marijuana in Colorado, we know that weed today is much stronger than it used to be.

Stunning video shows lava in all its might

Even as a geologist, I can’t help myself from looking at lava with an almost childish fascination – it’s something from the depths of the Earth (literally), with the potential to destroy everything and anything in its path, and also to create new landscapes, drastically changing the surface of the Earth. In the short film above, Lance Page managed to capture the sheer force

Book review: ‘Ada’s Algorithm’

Learn about the life and tales of Ada Lovelace, the women who wrote the very first computer program in the IXXth century.