Worker ants doubled in size by scientists to demonstrate epigenetics

Florida worker ants doubled in size after scientists performed chemical changes to their DNA. The ants were not genetically modified per se, not in the conventional sense that implies altering their code. Essentially, the ants were exposed to a chemical, environmental changes that mimicked those found in their colony and which lead to ants of various sizes and behaviors despite sharing the same genes – a perfect example of epigenetics.

Milky Way Galaxy May be Way Larger Than Previously Thought

It is generally accepted that our galaxy has a diameter of nearly 100,000 light-years. However, findings of a new research, published in the Astrophysical Journal, suggest that the Milky Way may actually be 50% larger than previously thought. The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy containing our solar system. From Earth, the Milky Way appears as a band because its disk-shaped structure

Neanderthal jewelry was much more sophisticated than previously believed

Recent archaeological and anthropological research showed that Neanderthals weren’t the mindless brutes we once thought they were – they were smart, organized, they had their own speech and interbred with early humans. Now, a new study has found evidence that 130,000 years ago, Neanderthals also designed elaborate jewelry, a degree of sophistication never seen before for that time.

Norwegian Researchers Are Crowdfunding to Make Psychedelics and MDMA Free for Global Medical Use Share Tweet

As more and more researchers are starting to highlight the potential benefits of Psychedelic substances, one recent Norwegian campaign is aiming high: they’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to make psychedelics and MDMA legal for research and global medical use. In the past years, we’ve written about several studies documenting the positive effects that psychedelics may have, in a controlled environment and

Artificial leaf breakthrough makes solar fuels one step closer

A team at Caltech has devised a new film coating that facilitates catalysis and electron transfer in a solar powered system that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, which can be used as fuels. Such a system is also called an artificial leaf or solar-fuel generator because in many ways it mimics the process which plants use to convert sunlight and CO2 into oxygen and fuel (sugars, carbohydrates). The researchers make note, however, that they’re still a long way from making it commercial viable, but these sort of updates are inspiring.

Underwater Volcano Eruption Creates New Island in the Pacific Ocean

An eruption from an underwater volcano in the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ caused a 1-km wide island to form.

Scientists prepare to re-open the LHC after increasing its energy output by 62.5%

It may be the dawn of a new age for particle physics – scientists and engineers are working together to restart the Large Hadron Collider. Upon reactivation, the LHC will be capable of energies never before achieved, potentially unveiling novel particles, confirming the Standard Model and revealing some of the Universe’s biggest mysteries.

Autism genes predict higher intelligence – if you’re not autistic in the first place

A link between heightened intelligence and autism has been suspected by scientists based on empirical evidence, and now genetic screening seems to confirm this assumption. It seems people carrying genes that put people at risk of developing autism scored higher on intelligence scores than those who lacked the genes. This held true, however, for people carrying the genes but who didn’t develop autism.

At least 81% of China’s coastline is heavily polluted

It’s not just Chinese air that’s dirty and polluted, it’s the coastline too.

The future is now: Scientists develop bionic heart

Scientists in Australia have developed a groundbreaking bionic heart that works without having a pulse. The device, which was successfully tested on a sheep, is set to start clinical trials within three years.

Electric cars could cut oil imports 40% by 2030, says study

Switching massively to electric cars could save UK drivers up to £1,000 a year on fuel costs, reducing oil imports by almost half by 2030; a similar trend could be replicated in other countries in Western Europe or in the US.

Homeopathy doesn’t treat any health condition, most comprehensive study to date finds

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia’s top medical research body, found that homeopathy does improve or alleviate any medical condition after systematically studying 225 research papers on homeopathy. While it’s true some people might feel better after a so-called homeopathic treatment, the researchers conclude that these benefits are no better than ingesting a sugar pill – a placebo.

How Antarctic octopuses survive in freezing waters

Octopus species that live in ice-cold Antarctic waters employ an unique strategy to transport oxygen to its tissue and survive, according to German researchers. The study suggests the octopuses’ specialized pigments, analogous to hemoglobin in vertebrates, are in higher concentration in the Antarctic region than in warmer waters. This would help to explain why octopuses are more adapted to climate change and warming waters

Why Van Gogh’s paintings are fading to white

Belgian scientists have revealed a refined explanation for the chemical process that’s currently degrading Vincent van Gogh’s famous paintings, which are losing their bright red. Like other old paintings, van Gogh’s works are losing their saturated hue because of the interaction between red led and light. Using sophisticated X-ray crystallographic methods, the researchers identified a key carbon mineral called plumbonacrite in one of his paintings, which explains the process even better.

Here’s how Venus would look like without its thick clouds

Using high sensitivity radar telescopes, astronomers have managed to take a glimpse at the surface of Venus, piercing through its thick clouds.

Cockroaches have different personalities and characters, study finds

The cockroach – one of the nature’s great survivors, hated by building residents throughout the entire world, just got more interesting. According to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, cockroaches have individual and even group personalities; in other words, cockroaches do have a character.

Gamma Ray Signal Might Help Scientists Zoom in on Dark Matter

At the core of a newly found dwarf galaxy, astronomers discovered a mysterious source of gamma rays that may signal the presence of the mysterious dark matter. If this is confirmed, then it would be the first time we see dark matter through anything else than its gravitational pull.

The LED sun: artificial light completely mimics properties of natural sunlight

In many ways, society was transformed by the advent of the light bulb. Suddenly, people could now stay up late, work, study or party without being at the mercy of the sun. A side effect, however, is that our bodies natural wake/sleep patterns have been considerably altered and artificial light is nothing like the real deal – the sun’s life nurturing rays, so essential to our health. In an effort to help people who spend long hours in poorly lit offices or live in areas with little sunlight (Beijing, anyone?), a team of Italian engineers have developed a remarkable LED-based lighting system which mimics natural sunlight. Yes, this is a low-input LED sun!

How chameleons change color: by changing nanocrystal patterns inside the skin

The chameleon is one of the most remarkable, but also iconic creatures in the animal kingdom. It’s color shifting traits has made it the subject of metaphors. A person who is a master of disguise is rightfully labeled a chameleon. But how does the elusive lizard work its magic? After years of observation and rigorous study, scientists have finally uncovered how they do it. Beneath the outer layer of skin, chameleons have special nanocrystals that are evenly spaced. These reflect light and changing the spacing between the crystals also changes what kind of light gets reflected and eventually hits our eyes. Ultimately, this is how the chameleon turns green from red only a few minutes ago, or vice versa.

Doctors perform eye surgery on a goldfish

People generally love their pets, but we’d be lying to say there isn’t an inter-species discrimination. How many fish owners do you know who’ve been with their goldfish to a veterinarian? Not that many, I presume. Certainly, number-wise it pales in comparison to dogs or cats. The story of a Scottish goldfish named Star which had its cancerous eye removed by doctors thus serves as a noble example of respect and responsibility that all pet owners should bear.