Follow World Science On Twitter!

E‑newsletter:   subscribecancel


"Long before it's in the papers"
January 29, 2015



Smarter mice with a “humanized” gene?
In­tro­duc­ing a “hu­man­ized” ver­sion of a lan­guage-linked gene in­to mice ac­cel­er­ates their learn­ing, ac­cord­ing to a stu­dy.

At least one in 25 death-sentenced people are innocent, study claims
In new work, re­search­ers argue that the false-con­vic­tion rate is not every­where as un­know­able as is some­times said.

Scientists take step toward usable fusion energy
Sci­en­tists are clos­er than ever to us­ing the pro­cess that pow­ers the Sun to pro­duce en­er­gy, says a re­port to ap­pear in the re­search jour­nal Na­ture.

An evolutionary role for “Jackass”-like stunts?
Risk-prone people are per­ceived as larg­er and strong­er, new re­search finds.


DNA “markings” may transmit learned experiences
So-called epige­net­ic changes have gar­nered in­creas­ing at­tent­ion as a route by which na­ture trans­mits traits across gen­er­a­tions.

Love your enemy? Hormone spray may help with that, too
Inhaling the hor­mone oxy­to­cin may make peo­ple em­pa­thize more with out­siders, a stu­dy sug­gests.


Scientists probe how Inca kids were drugged for sacrifice
Chil­dren of the an­cient In­ca Em­pire may have con­sumed in­ten­si­fying doses of al­co­hol and co­ca leaf for as long as a year be­fore a ri­tual slaugh­ter.

A reputation sealed? Finding suggests T. rex hunted for real
A toothy dis­cov­ery sug­gests the icon­ic di­no­saur Ty­ran­no­saur­us rex was a real hunt­er af­ter all—not a mere scav­en­ger.


Study explores how power gets to the brain
Pow­er may or may not cor­rupt, but it does change you. New re­search ex­plores what hap­pens in the brain as that takes place.

Studies may have overestimated our generosity
Scientists recre­ated a game of­ten used to as­sess peo­ple’s al­tru­ism—but this time there was a twist, and a darker re­sult.


Already-approved drug tied to longer, healthy lives in mice
The first drug to suc­cess­fully ex­tend the life­span of nor­mal lab mice al­so does so in a way that pro­longs their healthy ex­ist­ence, a stu­dy sug­gests.

Men want status from romantic relationships, research finds
A set of surveys suggests men and women get self-es­teem from rela­t­ion­ships in dif­fer­ent ways.


Killed twice in 1600s, hoax “dragon” slain again—in creationism dispute
Scient­ists say they’ve proven what some suspected three centuries ago: the swamp dra­gon from Rome was a hoax. And maybe now it mat­ters more.

Yes, gentlemen, size matters—but something else matters more, study finds
Scientists as­sessed how pe­nis size, body height and body shape inter­act to in­flu­ence fe­male rank­ings of male al­lure.


Babies may be drawn to those who mistreat the “different”
Re­searchers report new evi­dence that hard-to-eradi­cate bia­ses based on race, sex and other diff­er­ences take root early in life.

Your brain cells may be capable of outliving you—by a lot
New findings make scient­ists hope­ful that if hu­man life­span is increased, brain cells will coop­erate by liv­ing long­er accord­ing­ly.


Chimps found to play fairness game like people
In some im­por­tant ways, chimps may have more hu­man-like con­cepts of fair­ness than pre­vi­ously rec­og­nized, bi­ol­o­gists say.

For signs of life, some strange planetary systems may be most promising
Atmos­pheric chem­icals be­tray­ing the pre­sence of alien life might be de­tect­able around white dwarf stars, a study says.

Did some Neanderthals learn advanced skills from “moderns”?
Sur­pris­ing­ly, some Ne­an­der­thal peo­ple seem to have made body or­na­ments and soph­is­t­icated tools, a study re­ports.

Theory that cooking gave us big brains gains support
New research backs up a the­o­ry that the ad­vent of cook­ing al­most two mill­ion years ago en­abled hu­mans to get smart­er.

Friendliness to minorities may often be a performance—a fragile one
Many whites be­have ex­tra nicely to mi­nor­i­ties, but it’s often an act that ar­ises from a sense of obli­ga­t­ion, new re­search sug­gests.


Gospel of Matthew linked to trail of bizarre self-mutilations
A particu­lar set of verses from a book in the Bi­ble has crea­ted con­stern­ation among some med­i­cal pro­fes­sionals.

“Racial purity” DNA testing slammed as perversion, but halting practice might not be easy
A pol­i­ti­cian has sparked out­rage af­ter re­port­ed­ly tak­ing a DNA test for a shock­ing pur­pose. But just where the red line lies is not wide­ly agreed up­on.

Moral “taint” still seeps along familial lines
We are still blamed to some de­gree for the mis­deeds of our rel­a­tives, ac­cord­ing to a set of newly re­ported sur­veys.

American heads have been changing shape, but why?
White people’s heads in the Unit­ed States have got­ten taller and nar­row­er since the days the steam­ship was king, re­search indi­cates.

Cold case solved? Study probes riddle of sinking beer bubbles
Bub­bles in dark beer are seen to slide down­ward, iron­ic­ally, be­cause they’re trying to head up­ward, a study re­ports.

Move elephants into Australia, scientist proposes
Does the Land Down Under need an in­fu­sion of large mam­mals to solve its ec­o­log­i­cal and wild­fire prob­lems?

Was blackmail essential for marriage to evolve?
A study takes a cold new look at a cus­tom as ancient and firmly estab­lished as it is sa­cred to mil­lions.

A human bias against creativity is hindering science, research claims
Most of us love crea­ti­vi­ty—until it ac­tually comes knock­ing, some psy­cho­lo­gists say.

Pluto has even colder “twin” of similar size, studies find
A “d­warf plan­et” or­bit­ing our sun three times fur­ther away than Plu­to is about the size of that better-known, frig­id world, as­tro­no­mers say.


Could simple anger have taught people to cooperate?
A new study chal­lenges one of the lead­ing the­o­ries as a sol­u­tion for an evo­lu­tion­ary puz­zle.


* * * LATEST * * *


New find spotlights super-long-necked dinos
An unusual dino­saur lin­eage known as ma­men­chi­saur­ids may be more di­verse than pre­viously realized.

Study: war-for-oil “conspiracy theorists” are often right
While many claims are simp­lis­tic, research­ers say, sta­tis­tics show oil does mo­ti­vate coun­tries to inter­fere in conflicts.


Star found to have little planets over twice as old as our own
Find­ings raise the poss­i­bil­ity of life far more ancient than Earth it­self, scientists say.

“Kindness curriculum” may boost success in preschoolers
An experimental pro­gram was de­signed to cul­ti­vate “mind­ful­ness” and com­pas­sion in 4-to-6-year olds.


Craft closes in on dwarf planet, takes pictures
NASA is pre­par­ing for what would be a space­craft’s first visit to a dwarf plan­et.

Jellyfish not just drifters, study finds
At least some jel­ly­fish can swim strong­ly ag­ainst a cur­rent, researchers re­port.

Could our galaxy be a wormhole?
It could conceiv­ably be a short­cut through space­time, a study con­cludes, though that path may or may not be nav­i­ga­ble.


Brain wiring may reflect gender identity
A study ex­am­ined our self-per­cep­tions as male or fema­les, as dis­tinct from our phys­i­cal form.

Top U.S. research institute accused of coverup
A professor's law­suit claims Cal­tech pro­tected an aca­demic sus­pected of ille­gally shar­ing U.S. Defense De­part­ment-funded tech­nol­ogy.

Ocean wildlife may collapse soon, study warns
The same pat­tern of events that led to the col­lapse of wild­life popula­t­ions on land is now hap­pen­ing in the sea, a report says.


Study links lifespan, solar activity
Talk about a rough start in life. Be­ing born when the sun is stormy might cut your lifespan, research says.

Study: a computer can figure you out as well as your spouse
A com­put­er can read your per­son­al­ity as well as your spouse if you give it 300 Face­book “Likes” to an­a­lyze, a study has found.

Part of our reactions to music may be “universal”
Wheth­er you’re from the Con­go­lese rain­for­est or a big city, some as­pects of mu­sic will tou­ch you in the same ways, a study sug­gests.


Scientists study whale that lives 200 years for clues
Changes in genes linked to cell di­vi­sion, DNA re­pair and more may help the bow­head live long, researchers say.

Is warfare linked to evolution?
In one farming society, males who par­ti­ci­pate in live­stock raids also may have more wives and child­ren, a study finds.


Study finds police body-cameras can prevent violence
Research­ers are work­ing to re­peat the stu­dy with 30 po­lice forc­es across the globe.

Light human skeleton may have come after agriculture
The rel­a­tively light skele­tons of mod­ern hu­mans arose late in our ev­o­lu­tion­ary his­to­ry, re­search­ers re­port.


Crows found able to reason by “analogy”
Crows in a study were said to re­cog­nize how dif­fer­ent pairs of ob­jects have si­m­i­lar rela­t­ion­ships.

Quantum physics may have just gotten simpler
New research claims to un­ite two strange fea­tures of the quan­tum world, or na­ture at the small­est scales.

Impact that killed dinos may have nearly snuffed mammals too
The di­no­saurs’ extinction 66 mil­lion years ago is thought to have opened the way for mam­mals to dom­i­nate the land.


Mars crater may be belching organic gas; biological origin not ruled out
Lev­els of meth­ane are per­i­od­ic­ally spik­ing at the Gale Crat­er on Mars, NASA sci­ent­ists say.

Herd mentality: Are we programmed to make bad decisions?
A de­sire to be part of the “in crowd” is a result of our evo­lu­tion but can de­grade our de­ci­sion­mak­ing abil­ity, a study has found.


Probe of comet’s water yields surprises
New da­ta from the Ro­set­ta space­craft sug­gest most of Earth’s wa­ter came from as­ter­oids, not com­ets.

Birds diversified in “big bang” after dinosaurs died out
A ma­jor new study looks at how and when birds evolved and gained fea­tures such as feath­ers, flight and song.


Hummingbird’s hover surprisingly easy to “hack”
Hum­ming­birds’ re­mark­a­ble abil­ity to hov­er in place de­pends on a mo­tion­less field of view, a study finds.

Punishing kids for lying doesn’t work, study suggests
In an experiment, pos­i­tive en­cour­age­ments led many fewer children to lie than the threat of being “in trou­ble.”


Two giant stars seen starting to merge
The­o­ret­i­cal mod­els pre­dict that the big­gest stars form through mergers.

Human reasoning attributed to special brain network
New find­ings focus on brain ar­eas known the front­al and pa­ri­e­tal lobes.


Men’s “Y chromosome” may be a vulnerability
A DNA struc­ture that only males have may be the un­doing of some, es­pe­cially smo­kers, re­search sug­gests.


Mars rock called possible evidence of biological activity
Did Mars ev­er have life? Might it still? A me­te­or­ite iden­ti­fied as com­ing from Mars has re­ig­nit­ed the old de­bate.

Parasites found to use “Trojan horses” to quell resistance
Patho­gens dump un­friendly genetic mater­ial sealed in friend­ly-look­ing pack­ages, a stu­dy says.


“Invisible” infrared light made human-visible
Any sci­ence text­book will tell you we can’t see in­fra­red light, but that can change un­der some cond­i­tions.

Vultures evolved extreme gut to handle disgusting food, scientists say
Vul­tures live on rot­ting, often poop-con­tam­i­nated meat that would poi­son or kill most oth­er an­i­mals.


Voice may reveal who has clout
Be­ing in a po­si­tion of pow­er can change the sound of your voice, a study finds.

Ancient landslide could be record breaker
A giant land­slide some 21 mil­lion years ago is said to have cov­ered an ar­ea great­er than Rho­de Is­land with­in min­utes.


Comet lander said to find dusty ice, organics
Preliminary data came from a lan­der that spent two days on a com­et be­fore los­ing pow­er.

Spooky alignments of galaxies detected
Simi­lar­i­ties in the ways that ga­la­xies spin can extend over vast reaches of space, a study sug­gests.

Social status may persist across eight centuries or more
At least in Eng­land, so­cial sta­tus has tended to per­sist for some 28 genera­t­ions, a study finds.


Comet lander loses power but completes “primary” job
Mission sci­entists hope the probe may re­awaken later with more light.

Lander in awkward spot on comet, but sends pictures
The Phi­lae land­er is not quite where it was meant to be, but it’s work­ing, sci­ent­ists report.


Lander touches down on comet
The first-in-his­tory feat is ex­pected to lead to many more im­ages and data.

Storms flare up on Uranus
The planet’s nor­mally placid blue-green face is seeing changes vis­i­ble even in am­a­teur as­tro­no­mers’ tele­scopes.

Newfound particle might not be famous Higgs, team claims
What was ident­ified as a Higgs bo­son might in­stead be some­thing re­lated to the myster­ious “dark mat­ter,” some argue.


Seal-like beast gave rise to dinosaur-era sea monsters, study says
A fossil is said to rep­re­sent an an­ces­tral form of gi­ant sea rep­tiles called icthyosaurs.

People deny a problem when they dislike the solution, study finds
Phe­no­mena such as glo­bal warm­ing de­nial­ism might not stem direct­ly from the na­ture of the prob­lem itself.

Astronomers identify mystery object at center of galaxy
As­tro­no­mers say they have solved a puzzle about a thin, bi­zarre ob­ject near our gal­axy’s mon­ster black hole.


Strange, fanged deer re-appears in Afghanistan
An endangered deer with vampire-like fangs lives on in north­east Af­ghan­i­stan, sci­en­tists re­port.

Childhood beliefs about soul may stick with us despite what we say
What we be­lieved as chil­dren about the soul and af­ter­life shapes our adult views more than we may admit, re­search sug­gests.

Why did dinos have feathers long before flight?
Display and commun­ica­tion may have spurred the initial evo­lution of feath­ers, a fea­ture later passed down to birds.


Comeback seen for endangered giant tortoise
A popula­t­ion of tor­toises was down to just 15 a half-cen­tu­ry ago on the Galapa­gos is­land of Es­pañola.

Study: isolating only “likely non-survivors” can stop Ebola
Promptly iso­lat­ing just the sick­est pa­tients would elim­i­nate the ep­i­dem­ic in Li­be­ria, re­search sug­gests.


Lizards seen evolving in just 15 years
Sci­en­tists have doc­u­mented rapid ev­o­lu­tion of a na­tive Flor­i­da liz­ard spe­cies as a re­sult of pres­sure from an in­vad­ing liz­ard.

Dinosaur stabbing said to reveal stegosaurs’ deadly skill
A huge hole in a predator’s skeleton may show that a seem­ingly lumber­ing plant-eater could use its tail spikes with lethal effect. 


Feeling of seeing world in detail is illusory, scientists say
The brain uses mem­o­ry to fill in a lot of blanks, a study pro­poses.

Hint of dark matter found?
Sci­en­tists have measured a sig­nal that they say might come from the mys­te­ri­ous sub­stance de­tected so far only through its gra­vity.


Family tree traces evolution of mysterious birds
Cotingas are some of the bright­est, loud­est, oddest-look­ing, least-under­stood birds.

Birds beat turbulence by folding wings, study finds
Re­search­ers ex­am­ined how soar­ing birds manage to fly in tur­bu­lence that would keep a light air­craft ground­ed.

“Dark matter” may be half what was thought—at least locally
Astronomers made a new meas­ure­ment of “dark mat­ter” in our gal­axy, in­visible stuff de­tected only through its gra­vit­a­tion­al pull.


Sharing our “epic” moments may cost us
Talking about ordin­ary stuff might help you feel more in­cluded in a con­ver­sa­tion than re­count­ing the ex­cep­tional, psych­ol­o­gists have found.

Hungry black hole found to eat faster than thought possible
It’s swal­low­ing star ma­terial in an amount esti­mated as the equiv­a­lent of 100 bil­lion bil­lion hot dogs a min­ute.

Feeling down? Head to Facebook, find someone worse off
People in a bad mood were found more likely to search sites to find friends who are do­ing even worse than they are.


Mystery fossils seem to represent tiny balls of cells
No one knows quite where they sit on the evo­lu­tion­ary tree of life.

“Cousin” planets reported found
As­tro­no­mers say they have found two plan­ets, each or­bit­ing one star—while the stars or­bit each oth­er.

Out in space, the most complex organic molecule yet
The find­ing sug­gests an eas­ier path to the form­ation of life on ma­ny planets, the re­search­ers ar­gue.


Anomaly in spacecraft flybys puzzles scientists
The laws of gra­vity don’t seem to be work­ing ex­actly as they should around Earth.

An image, or its inter­pre­ta­tion? New­found brain cells show sur­pris­ing role
Scientists combined im­ages of celeb­rities to make view­ers’ brains do a little extra work. Aris­totle would have ap­pre­ciated the results, they say.

Earth’s water is older than the Sun, scientists claim
The find­ings may indi­cate that wa­ter is com­mon in plane­tary sys­tems.


Scientists report first “semiaquatic” dino
A huge di­no­saur dis­cov­ered over a cen­tu­ry ago turns out to have been adapted for liv­ing and hunt­ing in a wa­ter en­vi­ron­ment, sci­en­tists say.

Study: population won’t stabilize this century
New pro­ject­ions con­tra­dict past pre­dic­tions of a peak near 2050.

Not our fault chimps kill each other, study concludes
Chimps’ evo­lu­tion­ary close­ness to hu­mans has fueled interest in why these apes be­come viol­ent, and what that might say about us.


Parrot found to “teach” tool use to others
Goffin’s cock­a­toos can not only make and use tools but al­so teach oth­ers to do it, a study con­cludes.

Study suggests delaying aging may be easier than thought
Research on people and fruit flies has re­newed att­en­tion on a pro­cess of cell­ular “garb­age dis­posal.”

Deadly sophistication seen in trout-eel hunting partnership
The coral trout’s col­la­bo­ra­tive skills ri­val those of the much bigger-brained chimp, sci­ent­ists say.


New dino described as largest weighable specimen ever
Sci­en­tists say they have dis­cov­ered a fos­sil of the larg­est land an­i­mal whose weight can be ac­cu­rately cal­cu­lat­ed.

Cutting carbs may beat cutting fat
A study sug­gests peo­ple could re­duce their weight and heart dis­ease risk with­out a low-fat diet.


How the brain chooses between truth and lies
Most of us want to be hon­est, but at some point, we’ll lie if the ben­e­fit is great enough.

Training might teach the brain to prefer healthy food
It may be pos­si­ble to train the brain to pre­fer healthy low-calorie foods over un­healthy higher-calorie foods, re­search sug­gests.

Movie recreates in detail past visit to far-off moon
Sci­en­tists work­ing with NASA re­stored 1989 foot­age from the Voy­ager 2 space­craft to make a map and film of Nep­tune's moon Tri­ton.

Tiny “cannon” shoots single light particles
The in­ven­tion is part of an at­tempt to de­vel­op su­per-fast com­put­ers us­ing pho­tons.

Sheepdogs found to use simple rules to herd sheep
Sci­en­tists used GPS tech­nol­o­gy to un­der­stand how sheep­dogs do their jobs so well.

Past global warmings were good times for sea crocs
Past spells of nat­u­rally caused warm­ing were gold­en op­por­tun­i­ties for sea croc­o­diles to spread, ac­cord­ing to a stu­dy.

World Science Archive
 Download high-resolution image from NSF website

Blue sunflower? This is really a mi­cro­scope im­age of liq­uid drop­let res­i­due from water-based chem­i­cals, one-half mil­li­me­ter wide. The drop­lets on the out­er edges are 50 times less wide, and sev­en times less wide than a hu­man hair. This im­age, ti­tled "Blue Sun Flow­er," was cre­at­ed by Devin Brown, sen­ior re­search en­gi­neer at the In­sti­tute for Elec­tron­ics and Nan­otech­nol­ogy at the Geor­gia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy. The im­age won grand prize in the 2013 EIPBN (Elec­tron, Ion and Pho­ton Beam Tech­nol­o­gy and Nanofab­ri­ca­tion) mi­cro­graph con­test. (Cred­it: Devin K. Brown, In­sti­tute for Elec­tron­ics and Nan­otech­nol­ogy, Geor­gia Tech)

Wondering how to support World Science for free? Just put a link to our home page,
on your site!

* More Science in Images
* More World Science
* Comments
* About World Science
* Tell a friend about World Science
* Supporters
* Links (1, 2, 3)

News alerts
* Scientists still waiting for clear signs of ozone hole healing (Reuters)

* 3 in US win chemistry Nobel for computer models (AP)

* Nobel prize for Higgs boson discovery (
* NASA Mars rover finds no sign of methane, telltale sign of life (Reuters)

WS Archives

Links  (World Sci­ence not qres­pon­si­ble for con­tent of out­side pages)  
A Few Things Ill Considered
African Journal of Environmental Science & Technology
Cliff Pickover's Reality Carnival 
Gravity Control
How To Save the World
Numericana physics & more
Reference Frame
Science and Reason
Science and Society
Sum Over Histories
The Disgruntled Chemist
The Eyes Have It
Random Harmony Inventor
Physics and music
About the WS backgrounds


©2004-2013 World Science. Any article on this site may be reproduced on another website, on condition that that page provides a link to this homepage, Linking to the page of the original article is optional. 

Site best viewed in Internet Explorer.
Return to top of page

hit counter code