John Oliver discusses scientific studies

I’m really happy the media is starting to highlight the importance of science and studies, and how the media is often misrepresenting research. Whether you like his style or not, John Oliver brings some solid points to the table, points which we don’t consider nearly enough. Most science reporting is shallow at the very least, and this is one of

Love really does ease the pain

A nurse’s tender loving really does ease the pain during a medical procedure, and grandma’s cookies really do taste better when they’re made with love. This new study conducted by researchers from the University of Maryland might have numerous real-world applications, from medicine to parenting and business. “The way we read another persons intentions changes our physical experience of the

Giving Primates a Third Arm (and Why it Matters)

When you first hear of the work done by Miguel Nicolelis and his team, though the “cool factor” is high, you might wonder as to the practical application. Miguel has spent the last number of years (and, in fact, most of his career) working to gives our primate cousins a third (robotic) arm. In his new book, Beyond Boundaries, he

Viagra to be used for children with lung condition

Viagra isn’t just for grown ups, not anymore. As a matter of fact, few people know that at first, viagra was used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), and treating erectile dysfunction was just a bonus; of course, the huge advantages that the ‘bonus’ provided made it into the most effective and sold medicine out there, for men with problems

Shorties: garlic as a guilty pleasure

Garlic is one of those things you can’t be indifferent about. You either love it, hate it, or love and hate it. This is exactly the reason why 100 Helsinki shoppers were interviewed and asked what they think abut garlic, and how much they are annoyed by it, compared to other social odors. The most common belief was that garlic

LHC – we have a collision !

“It’s a great day to be a particle physicist,” said CERN director general Rolf Heuer. “A lot of people have waited a long time for this moment.” The LHC had been going on a promising streak for quite a while now; however, the encountered problems (mostly engineering, but also physics) were huge. Imagine firing arrows on the face of the

Could life exist in a different Universe than ours ?

Whether intelligent life exists in our universe is a long debated problem. But for some scientists, there’s something even more interesting than that: is there life in another universe? A definite answer is impossible, especially since it’s not even clear if such a universe exists, though researchers have speculated such an existence for more than a decade. However, if such

Stunning variety of sea life found in Antarctica

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) published some quite awesome pictures showing that Antarctica isn’t the lifeless frozen wasteland most people believe it to be; ice fish, octopus, sea pigs, giant sea spiders, rare rays and gorgeous basket stars all thrive in the extreme temperatures in Antarctica’s waters. Well, thrive is perhaps a too strong word, but they’re doing just fine

Obesity is just as bad for you as smoking

Obesity is a problem that’s taking bigger and bigger proportions (especially in the US), due mostly to fast food and lack of physical activity, and it seems that most people still fail to understand the major bad impact it has on one’s health. However, thanks to a recent study published in the February 2010 issue of the American Journal of

Scientists create the first molecular transistor

Researchers from Yale University succeeded in what seemed to be an impossible task: they’ve created a transistor from a single molecule. In case you don’t know, a transistor is a “semiconductor device commonly used to amplify or switch electronic signals” (via wikipedia). The team showed that using a single benzene molecule attached to gold contacts is just as good as

Lifeless prions are capable of evolution

Researchers from the Scripps Research Institute have determined for the first time that prions, which are just bits of infectious protein without any DNA or RNA that can cause fatal degenerative diseases are capable of Darwinian evolution. This study shows that prions do develop significant large numbers of mutations at a protein level as a response to external influences, and

Melt rises up 25 times faster than previously believed

Scientists have for the first time determined the actual permeability of the asthenosphere in Earth’s upper mantle, which is basically responsible for how fast the melt rises towards the surface of the earth, and the results were surprising to say the least. Researchers found that it actually moves 25 times faster than previously assumed, which forces us to reconsider every

Captain obvious presents his 5 favorite studies from 2009

It’s been a busy year indeed, especially with the LHC doing it’s thing again, Hubble was repaired and there was a lot of medical research being done, even with more money being invested in advertising than research. However, last year was also remarkable for the… not so remarkable studies, to say the least. In that line, here are the best

Taking a look at the ‘little ice age’ of 1810

Global warming is one of the main concerns on everybody’s lips, causing more and more damage to the environment every year, sometimes in ways that seem hard to believe; everyday there seems to be a new report about something that went, is going, or will be going terribly wrong. However, in the early 1800s, the situation was in diametric contradiction with

Blue whales singing lower every year, baffled scientists say

Blue whales are not only the biggest living creatures in the world right now, but the biggest ever to have ‘walked’ the face of the earth; they’re also the loudest for that matter. After recovering from near extinction in the beginning of the 20th century, blue whales are finally getting a part of the respect they deserve. However, researchers cannot

The swine flu paaanic [pics, slightly NSFW]

Swine flu has been officially declared a pandemic, and although it’s not one of the deadliest by any standards, it can be deadly (just like the average flu can). However, despite the fact that the deaths/infected ratio is around 0.1%, people are going absolutely crazy about it, blowing everything out of proportions. Here are some examples of swine flu related

“No small matter: Science on the nanoscale” review

Nanotechnology is perhaps the field with the most spectacular development over the past years, but it can be really hard to understand what’s going on at that scale, mostly because we can’t see it (doh!), but also because the laws that apply there are slightly different. No small matter:  Science on the nanoscale is the work of George M. Whitesides,

Rift in African desert will become ocean

In 2005, a huge 35 mile rift broke the Ethiopian desert apart and immediately led to geological claims that a new ocean was appearing there because two parts of the African continent were being pulled apart. However, the claims were quickly dismissed as being too controversial. However, a new study published in the latest issue of Geophysical Research Letters comes

3D structure of humans finally decoded

It’s quite obvious that genetics is the most important step in our evolution that we have to take and although the molecular structure of DNA has been discovered more than half a century ago, its three dimensional structure remained a mystery. However, recently a team led by researchers from Harvard University, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and the

Electricity from trees

Researchers have figured out a way to ‘plug’ into electrical power generated by trees. It has been a well known fact for years that plants can conduct electricity (humans can too, take care kids), and now scientists from MIT found out just how much they can pack up: 200 millivolts of electrical power (=0.2 volts). The lemon and potato battery