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Early-season hurricanes result in greater transmission of mosquito-borne infectious disease

Hurricane image (elements furnished by NASA). Credit: © Mike Mareen / Adobe Stock The timing of a hurricane is one of the primary factors influencing its impact on the spread of mosquito-borne infectious diseases such as West Nile Virus, dengue, chikungunya and Zika, according to a study led by Georgia State University. Researchers from Georgia…

Origins of cannabis smoking

Cannabis plant (stock image). Credit: © EpicStockMedia / Adobe Stock Cannabis has been cultivated as an oil-seed and fibre crop for millennia in East Asia. Little is known, however, about the early use and eventual cultivation of the plant for its psychoactive and medicinal properties. Despite being one of the most widely used psychoactive drugs…

Why Noah’s Ark won’t work

Purple sea urchins (stock image). Credit: © MikeFusaro / Adobe Stock A Noah's Ark strategy will fail. In the roughest sense, that's the conclusion of a first-of-its-kind study that illuminates which marine species may have the ability to survive in a world where temperatures are rising and oceans are becoming acidic. Two-by-two, or even moderately…

Reaching and grasping: Learning fine motor coordination changes the brain

Hands grasping (stock image). Credit: © beeboys / Adobe Stock When we train the reaching for and grasping of objects, we also train our brain. In other words, this action brings about changes in the connections of a certain neuronal population in the red nucleus, a region of the midbrain. Researchers at the University of…

Table salt compound spotted on Europa

Tara Regio is the yellowish area to left of center, in this NASA Galileo image of Europa’s surface. This region of geologic chaos is the area researchers identified an abundance of sodium chloride. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona A familiar ingredient has been hiding in plain sight on the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. Using a…

In romantic relationships, people do indeed have a ‘type’

Couple holding hands (stock image). Credit: © kobeza / Adobe Stock If you've ever come out of a bad relationship and decided you need to date someone different from your usual "type," you're not alone. However, new research by social psychologists at the University of Toronto (U of T) suggests that might be easier said…

Dashing the dream of ideal ‘invisibility’ cloaks for stress waves

Roman Colosseum (stock image). Roman arenas have survived in many earthquake-prone regions. Did the Romans inadvertently build seismic wave cloaks when they designed colosseums? Some researchers believe they did due to the arenas' resemblance to modern experimental elastodynamic cloaking devices. Credit: © scaliger / Adobe Stock Whether Harry Potter's invisibility cloak, which perfectly steers light…

Jupiter-like exoplanets found in sweet spot in most planetary systems

Illustration of Jupiter-like planet orbiting a star (stock image). Credit: © Mopic / Adobe Stock As planets form in the swirling gas and dust around young stars, there seems to be a sweet spot where most of the large, Jupiter-like gas giants congregate, centered around the orbit where Jupiter sits today in our own solar…

Mouse study finds BPA exposure has transgenerational effects on gene linked to autism

BPA chemical structure (stock image). Credit: © Zerbor / Adobe Stock Transgenerational bisphenol A (BPA) exposure may contribute to autism, according to a mouse study published in the Endocrine Society's journal Endocrinology. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals or mixtures of chemicals that interfere with the way the body's hormones work. BPA is a common…

The mantis shrimp’s perfect shield

Mantis shrimp (stock image). Credit: © John Anderson / Adobe Stock How do you protect yourself from the perfect striking weapon? You develop the perfect shield. If you're a mantis shrimp with a clublike arm tough enough to crack clamshells, you'd better not get into any fights with your pals. But the tiny crustaceans, among…

Algorithm tells robots where nearby humans are headed

Engineer controlling robot machinery (stock image). Credit: © ipopba / Adobe Stock In 2018, researchers at MIT and the auto manufacturer BMW were testing ways in which humans and robots might work in close proximity to assemble car parts. In a replica of a factory floor setting, the team rigged up a robot on rails,…

Climate change benefits for giant petrels

Giant petrels (stock image). Credit: © Nick Dale / Adobe Stock Giant petrels will be "temporary" winners from the effects of climate change in the Antarctic region -- but males and females will benefit in very different ways, a new study shows. The study, by experts from the University of Exeter and the British Antarctic…

How multi-celled animals developed

Microscopic life (stock image). Credit: © sinhyu / Adobe Stock Scientists at The University of Queensland have upended biologists' century-old understanding of the evolutionary history of animals. Using new technology to investigate how multi-celled animals developed, their findings revealed a surprising truth. Professor Bernie Degnan said the results contradicted years of tradition. "We've found that…

Light-powered nano-organisms consume carbon dioxide, create eco-friendly plastics and fuels

Carbon dioxide molecular models (stock image). Credit: © vector_master / Adobe Stock University of Colorado Boulder researchers have developed nanobio-hybrid organisms capable of using airborne carbon dioxide and nitrogen to produce a variety of plastics and fuels, a promising first step toward low-cost carbon sequestration and eco-friendly manufacturing for chemicals. By using light-activated quantum dots…

Crash with Antlia 2 gave the Milky Way the ripples in its outer disc,...

Illustration of spiral galaxy (stock image). Credit: © Alexandr Mitiuc / Adobe Stock The newly-discovered dark dwarf galaxy Antlia 2's collision with the Milky Way may be responsible for our galaxy's characteristic ripples in its outer disc, according to a study led by Rochester Institute of Technology Assistant Professor Sukanya Chakrabarti. The Antlia 2 dwarf…

Baby pterodactyls could fly from birth

Illustration of pterodactyls (stock image). Credit: © Elenarts / Adobe Stock A breakthrough discovery has found that pterodactyls, extinct flying reptiles also known as pterosaurs, had a remarkable ability -- they could fly from birth. This discovery's importance is highlighted by the fact that no other living vertebrates today, or in the history of life…

Potential new disease threats for wild snow leopards

Snow leopard (stock image). Credit: © Abeselom Zerit / Adobe Stock The first study to investigate disease threats to wild snow leopards has detected that exposure to infections may pose a threat to this highly vulnerable species, as well as local people and their livestock. The results of the study, published in Infection Ecology &…

Ancient DNA from Roman and medieval grape seeds reveal ancestry of wine making

Statue of Dionysus (Bacchus), god of wine (stock image). Credit: © Ruslan Gilmanshin / Adobe Stock A grape variety still used in wine production in France today can be traced back 900 years to just one ancestral plant, scientists have discovered. With the help of an extensive genetic database of modern grapevines, researchers were able…

The benefits of being different

Asiatic golden cat (stock image). Credit: © PACO COMO / Adobe Stock Six different colour morphs of the elusive Asiatic golden cat have been discovered in Northeast India -- with the findings being hailed as "an evolutionary puzzle" -- as the world's greatest number of different coloured wild cat species in one area are reported.…

Dogs mirror owner’s stress

Worried dog (stock image). Credit: © tomispin / Adobe Stock The levels of stress in dogs and their owners follow each other, according to a new study from Linköping University, Sweden. The scientists believe that dogs mirror their owner's stress level, rather than vice versa. The study has been published in the scientific journal Scientific…

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