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The Great Pandemic Stress Test

How emergency forces innovation & one Italian scientist advanced our understanding of COVID variants.


Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash  

Biology is a spectrum

Life on Earth is complex and irreducible

The Genetic Lottery is a bust for both genetics and policy

Kathryn Paige Harden’s book tries to demonstrate how genetics can ameliorate societal ills. She falls well, well short


Princeton University Press

Urbanization increases risk for knee osteoarthritis, even in young children

A study shows that rural children tend towards a healthier future for their joints compared to kids in cities

A newly discovered cryosphere-dwelling yeast stays alive by making ethanol

Rhodotorula frigidialcoholis was isolated from 150,000-year-old permafrost in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica

An Arctic Elegy

What happens when the Bering Sea loses its ice?


Via Wikimedia

To find extraterrestrials, we have to think like extraterrestrials

Researchers must ponder what extraterrestrials might know and how they might behave

Produced in partnership with ComSciCon

Researchers can trace the family tree of individual mutations inside our cells

The task is like looking through a book with six billion letters for individual typos


Via Wikimedia

A butterfly's wings are the perfect mold to grow neurons on

Butterfly wings provide the right topography for nerve cells to grow, with an aim towards ameliorating hearing loss


Via Wikimedia

Even cities have their own unique microbiomes

A study of microorganisms collected from public transportation systems shows even cities have microbial signatures


Photo by Euan Cameron on Unsplash

On faster spinning planets, life could be hiding out under the atmosphere

Astrobiologists search for molecular oxygen as an indicator of life on other planets, but finding them isn't that straightforward


Phil Hartmeyer, NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Caffeine keeps your body fat warm, on top of lighting up your brain

Hot take: caffeine triggers brown fat thermogenesis via the brain

To save the reefs, save the trees and the soil they grow in

Soil from the surface can smother reefs. A new study creates a map of corals most susceptible to runoff from land

Animals, plants, and even some bacteria use hypodermic needles

Needles are everywhere in nature, evolving independently many times in a variety of organisms

Artificial light makes it harder for nocturnal pollinators to find flowers and avoid predators

New research demonstrates that artificial light at night interferes with elephant hawkmoths' senses

A failed star known as "The Accident" is changing the way we look at the galaxy

The newly discovered brown dwarf is the first of its kind



Songbirds might hold the key to managing our cholesterol levels

Songbirds have lost "bad" cholesterol and some of its associated proteins over time. This makes for plaque-free finch arteries and a hale and healthy heart


Via Wikimedia

A new drug reduces risk of psychosis relapse in patients with dementia

Pimavanserin has not received approval from the FDA, but study results are encouraging

Research demonstrates speech-in-noise training helps children with auditory processing disorder

Children with APD have difficulty perceiving speech when there is background noise and may have trouble on cognitive tests

There's a connection between fasting, gut microbiota and blood pressure

Fasting reduces high blood pressure in rats by changing the gut microbiota composition. But fasting still shouldn't be a go-to yet


Bonnie Kittle via Unsplash


Via Wikimedia

There's more than one way to discover a new species

Papers published this year demonstrate the different paths to recognition


Villu Soon, Natural History Museum, University of Tartu

Cuttlefish can learn with the brains they keep in their arms

With 500 million neurons dispersed throughout the body, some say they have 9 brains


Via Wikimedia

Deep sea bacteria use selfishness to their advantage

Some bathypelagic bacteria have found a way to maximize their energy intake by taking food into their cells before breaking it down

The Biden administration must restore funding to the Cooperative Extension Services

Extension agents play a key role in assisting farmers and, now, bringing COVID-19 vaccines to rural communities


Photo by James Baltz on Unsplash

The screen you are reading this on is probably emitting volatile organic compounds

A new study demonstrates that, in addition to a variety of other household products, LCD screens also emit these compounds

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 improves mental health

People who received the COVID-19 vaccine experienced less depression and anxiety compared to unvaccinated individuals

How survival of the fittest can look a lot like rock-paper-scissors

Sometimes ancestors are more "fit" than their progeny

Serendipitous data reveals a previously unknown ecosystem under Arctic ice

Fish gas bladders interfere with sonar, and we can use that interference to study Arctic fish stocks


NOAA via Unsplash

Male and female mice form memories of fearful events differently

A drug that blocks memory forming in male mice has a different effect in females

How a tiny pet store fish became the center of neuroscience research

The tropical zebrafish is used extensively in genetics, neuroscience, and development labs worldwide

Cocaine use slices and dices RNA in mouse brain cells

The analysis of epigenetic changes caused by cocaine use adds to the evidence that substance use disorders are rooted in biology

A glowing red springhare

Olson et al 2021 under CC BY 4.0

Meet the springhare: the first glow-in-the-dark African mammal known to science

Researchers discovered the springhare's fluorescent abilities entirely by accident

For the first time ever, researchers have "housebroken" cows

Controlling where cow waste ends up could lead to cleaner air and water and decreased greenhouse gas emissions

White pine blister rust's habitat range is changing with the climate

New study in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks demonstrates the complexity of changing plant-pathogen interactions

Distance and our eyes distort the true colors of stars

New research calculates the colors of stars based on their actual energy distributions

Zebrafish without "love hormone" neurons show no desire to socialize with each other

New research shows the importance of oxytocin for social affiliation and isolation

Wild Goffin's cockatoos can use tools, too

Scientists have observed captive cockatoos making tools before, but this is the first documented instance of tool use in wild cockatoos

Giant clams are growing faster than ever. That's not a good thing

This supercharged growth is likely due to nitrate aerosols in our modern atmosphere

Researchers observe a boar releasing two caged younglings in a impassioned rescue

The act sheds light on the prosocial behavior and empathy of wild boars, thought to be rare among animals

People with sickle cell disease are less likely to get kidney transplants than those without

Sickle cell disease predominantly affects Black populations, and kidney transplants can save their lives

Bacteria can live without food for over 1000 days

Nearly three years without food drives innovative survival strategies

Germ-free mice show how eating common oils affects our microbiomes

New research adds to our knowledge about how the oils we eat affect our bodies

How binary stars' planets are born

A new mathematical simulation shows how gas and dust could swirl into planets in dual-star systems

Can slime molds remember?

Unique signals may propagate through the slime mold's tendrils when they reach food