Newborns exposed to dirt, dander, germs may have lower allergy, asthma risk

Infants exposed to more “real” conditions tend to be healthier than those overly protected. A new study has shown that newborns exposed to rodent and pet dander, roach allergens and a wide variety of household bacteria in the first year of life appear less likely to suffer from allergies, wheezing and asthma. If the child has his/her first encounter with

Rats show regret after wrong choices, study shows

A new research has shown that rats exhibit behaviors consistent with regret, a feeling once thought to be unique to humans. To measure the cognitive measure of regret, scientists developed a task that asked rats how long they were willing to wait for certain foods. Basically, they made them decide if they want to wait more for food they like

Earth’s most abundant mineral finally gets a name

What’s the most common mineral on Earth? Is it quartz, limestone? Maybe olivine? Well, if you take into consideration the entire planet, the most common mineral would be something known as silicate-perovskite – but now, that mineral finally has a name. On June 2, bridgmanite was approved as the formal name for silicate-perovskite – possibly of the Earth’s most plentiful yet elusive mineral known to

Robot passes the Turing Test for the first time in history

The 65 year-old iconic Turing Test was passed for the very first time by a supercomputer program named Eugene Goostman. Eugene managed to convince 33% of the human judges that it too was human. The Turing Test The Turing test is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human (via

Parking lots charged by solar forest

Electric vehicles started to rise in popularity, but we’re clearly not ready to make such a huge change at once, especially concerning the steady supply of energy that would have to come along with introducing them into massive production and consumption. Scientist Neville Mars has come with a great EV charging station which takes the form of an evergreen glade of

The Rosetta spacecraft is about to orbit a comet and send a lander on its surface

A spacecraft from Earth is about to do something no other spacecraft has done before: take off, orbit a comet, and send a lander to it. The European Space Agency (ESA), NASA’s European counterpart has developed the Rosetta probe to hurl towards Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The mission is simple in principle, but the work behind it is gargantuan: study the comet at close-range,

Scientists identify new type of procrastination: Sleep Procrastination

We’ve probably all experimented it: you don’t have anything useful or even fun to do, but you don’t want to go to bed just yet – so you just browse your computer or tablet for a few minutes… or hours. Now, researchers from the University of Utrech have come up with a scientific explanation for that: it’s sleep procrastination. Sleep

Three parent babies: possible in two years

Every baby has a mother and a father, right? As in one of each. Well, that may change soon, according to a new UK report. In February, the FDA announced it was considering 3-parent embryos; while this would be an excellent way to stop some deadly diseases, it also raises many ethical questions, and the reaction (as usually) was mixed. The procedure is

Hubble captures most comprehensive picture ever of the Universe

Astronomers operating the Hubble telescope have captured the most comprehensive (and most colorful) picture ever assembled of the evolving Universe. This was part of a study called the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (UVUDF) project. Prior to this study, there was a significant lack of data for astronomers. They knew a lot about the galaxies which are close to

New study shows why Koalas hug trees

A new study conducted by Dr Michael Kearney from the University of Melbourne explains that koalas actually hug trees to regulate their body temperature. This cute behaviour isn’t just a stage act, it’s quite important for koalas. In this study published in the  Royal Society journal Biology Letters showed that when it gets really hot, the animals go to the lower, cooler

The first Thorne-Zytkow object, a bizarre type of hybrid star, discovered by astronomers

Physicist Kip Thorne and astronomer Anna Zytkow proposed a new theoretical class of stars back in 1975, but it was only very recently that such an example of hybrid star was identified in the universe. The Thorne-Zytkow Objects (TZOs) are a combination between red supergiant and neutron stars, superficially looking like normal red supergiants, for example Betelgeuse in the Orion

Oldest known potentially habitable exoplanet discovered just 13 lightyears away

An international team of astronomers reported the discovery of two new planets orbiting a very old and nearby star to the Sun named Kapteyn’s star; one of the planets, Kapteyn b, is potentially habitable – it has the right size, and is at the right distance from its start to host liquid water. What makes it even more interesting is that at

Marijuana use is associated with impaired sleep quality

We’ve written quite a lot lately about the potential benefits of marijuana (and there are quite a lot), but we shouldn’t idealize it and ignore the downsides: a recent study has shown that marijuana use is associated with impaired sleep quality. It’s not the first time marijuana has been associated with lack of sleep quality. In the 1970s, two studies were

A new kind of planet found – the mega-Earth – suggest higher possibilities of locating habitable worlds

A rocky world weighing 17 more than the Earth was discovered, and because it’s not only way much bigger than the previously discovered ‘super-Earths’, but also all solids, the scientists called it ‘mega-Earth’. Until this recent discovery, scientists believed that a world of such dimensions would be physically impossible to form, because of the thickness that would absorb the hydrogen

Bees build mental maps to get home

When I was a kid, I asked, like many others, how do bees know how to make their way back to the hive – and I was told they use the Sun for guidance. But I was lied! A new study has now finally solved my childhoold dilemma: while they do use the Sun as a compass, bees also make

Parasitic vines may serve as lightning rods

The tropical rainforests of Central and South America aren’t threatened only by deforestation – they are also overrun by lianas, parasitic woody vines that clamber up trees and smother the forest canopy as they reach for sunlight. But the vines may actually help the trees in a way – scientists suspect they may in fact act as lightning rods. Understanding how this

Cynics are thrice as likely to develop dementia

Optimists make the most of life? A new study has shown that cynics are much more likely to develop dementia in later stages of life. Cynicism is an attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others. Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio have conducted a study on 1,449 individuals aged 71

Scientists erase memory (and then reactivate it) in rats

Researchers have erased and then reactivated memories in rats, profoundly impacting the animals’ reaction to past events. This is the first study ever to demonstrate the ability to selectively erase and then reactivate a memory by stimulating nerves in the brain at frequencies that strengthen synapses, the connection between neurons. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Quite possibly Jim Carrey’s

Five or more blistering sunburns before the age of 20 increase melanoma risk by 80 percent

The risk of possibly the most dangerous type of cancer out there, melanoma, is greatly increased by exposure to sun in early adulthood. According to a new study conducted on Caucasian women, five or more blistering sun burns may increase the risk of melanoma by 80 percent. “Our results suggest that sun exposures in both early life and adulthood were

NASA using pufferfish-inspired technology to carry large payloads to Mars

A brilliant technology reaching its limits Carrying heavier spacecraft to Mars and then safely landing it at supersonic speeds in the Martian atmosphere is no easy feat – and NASA could use any bit of help they can get. NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility is playing an integral role in solving those problems with the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator mission, or LDSD –