armadillo leprosy

If you don’t want leprosy, stay away from armadillos

Leprosy, though usually associated with the ancient world, is still a prevalent disease today, especially in the United States. But Florida has reached a high of nine causes so far in 2015, leading researchers to wonder how exactly the disease is spreading. Leprosy—also known as Hansen’s Disease—currently affects around 6,500 U.S. residents, and it takes years to correctly diagnose and treat. However, despite this high number, about 95% of the human population is not susceptible...

cecil lion

Cecil the lion is slaughtered, his six cubs might die as well

Cecil was no ordinary lion. He was Africa’s most famous lion and his brutal killing has caused outrage around the world. Thirteen-year-old Cecil, with his distinctive black mane, was a big tourist draw at Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. He was part of research project by scientists from UK’s Oxford University and wore a GPS so his movements could be tracked. Hunter admits killing, denies acting illegally Sadly, Cecil was killed by an American dentist from Minneapolis....

grizzly hair

Grizzly diet and mercury levels revealed in single hair

By firing a laser beam down the length of a single grizzly hair, scientists can now find out what the bear has been eating and the amount of trace metals such as mercury, copper, and zinc in its diet. The new technique uses a mass spectrometer to analyze the gases as the laser vaporizes each location while it zaps through the hair. Hair is mainly protein, including a lot of the fibrous protein keratin, and...

spaceship two crash

How a pilot error caused Virgin spaceship crash

An investigation has revealed the cause behind the deadly Virgin Galactic spaceship crash that took place ten months ago: a structural failure caused by the co-pilot prematurely unlocking the braking system. The investigation, conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), determined the aerodynamic forces that resulted from the brakes being deployed ultimately resulted in Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo being torn apart over the Mojave Desert. The accident caused the death of the co-pilot, but the...

boy girl spines

Spines of boys and girls differ at birth

Examining measurements of vertebrae in newborn children, researchers at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles found there are notable differences between the sexes present at birth. The results of the study, which is published in its entirety in the August issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, suggest that the differences in the spinal composition of males and females are evolutionary, allowing the female spine to adapt to carrying a fetus. Using MRI imaging, the researchers found...

snotbot drone

‘Snotbot’ drones collect whale snot samples

The conservation group Ocean Alliance is reportedly working on a new project that’s snot for the faint of heart: Drones that would fly over the surface of water in order to collect samples of the mucus expelled from whales’ blowholes. Ocean Alliance is calling the drones “Snotbots” and is developing them with the assistance of a team from the Olin College of Engineering, according to NYC Today. They are also seeking the public’s help via...

mayan panels

Mayan hieroglyphs reveal ‘New World Order’ arrival

Three well-preserved Mayan panels recently discovered in Guatemala are offering scientists with essential new data on the brutal rivalry between two Maya superpowers that occurred during the height of the empire around 1,500 years ago. The panels were found in the archeological site known as El Achiotal, which was founded in the 5th century AD and is also around 12 miles east of the Mayan royal palace of La Corona, which now sits as ruins. Researcher...

placebo effect

Placebo effect still works even if subject knows it’s fake

The placebo effect was first tested in a single-blind trial in the 18th century, but despite hundreds of years of recognition, scientists have not yet uncovered exactly how it works. However, a new study from the University of Colorado at Boulder has made discoveries that shed new light on the subject. “We're still learning a lot about the critical ingredients of placebo effects,” senior author CU-Boulder Associate Professor Tor Wager said in a press release....

twitter copyright

Should tweets be copyright protected?

While Twitter has prided itself in the past on letting free speech reign on its social media platform, the company has recently started embracing the idea of tweets being original copyright-protected works that another user can’t rewrite and claim as his or her own. As reported by The Verge, the issue of copyrighted tweets was raised earlier this month when a post by freelance writer Olga Lexell was apparently reposted by other accounts; giving the...

jeep hack recall

Jeep issues security-patching USB sticks for hackable cars

In response to an article and video showing its Jeep Cherokee car could be controlled by hackers, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced a recall of sorts – providing security-patching USB drives to affected customers. Last Tuesday, Wired made headlines across the media landscape when it reported hackers were able to take control of a Jeep Cherokee with one of its writers behind the wheel – while on the highway. “Though I hadn’t touched the dashboard, the...