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Scientifically speaking...

JULY 22, 2015
Here's a few pieces for Scientific American magazine.
I have been doing this regular thing for some time now for a section called "Advances",
where it's always about new findings in different areas of the scientific realm and their possible applications. Pretty tough at times, as they can be very vague and abstract...They're always small and round and pretty simple and conceptual. Well, for the most part. Somtimes just silly...
All of them great fun, and hey, sometimes I even learn something! And then I quickly forget, of course.
The Boss Man on this is the inimitable Michael Mrak.
About a drug that targets the sweet receptors in your gut / A cell phone that presents decoy data when someone tries to pull information from it- the implications could be good or bad.

Ants apparently don't carry all their waste outside of their hives, as previously believed, but also have dedicated toilet compartments inside / Some plants adjust the thickness of their seed casings to the ground they grow on.

How blind cave fish got blind / Fungi in sloth hair could yield new drugs / One-way sound transmission.

Medical apps for smartphones / Dolphins straining their voices in much trafficked waters / Doctors discussing gun safety with patients

If you can’t remember being a baby, it’s because the creation of many new neurons in young brains wipes out old memories / The importance of large wildlife in keeping rodents (and therefore infectious diseases) in check / Make a cellphone call even when the network goes down.

Deer interpreting other deer's voices to determine their strength / A drug derivative of marijuana to treat epilepsy / The physics of hair curling.

The naming of a newly discovered snail / Pushy parents harming kids' social skills / Antibiotic resistance in manure.

A later start-time in schools improves learning / How taste receptors in your nose help fight bacteria / Staring at monitors all day can cause symptoms of dry eye disease.

Scientists creating invisible rodents for non-invasive diagnoses / Why larger, longer-lived animals aren’t more prone to cancer, even though they ought to be / Researchers have documented a prey species (samango monkeys) opportunistically using human presence (Human Shield Effect) to avoid leopards.

Graphene's behaviour in water and the environmental implications / The shrinking Y chromosome / The distraction center in the brain.

Flexible glass and its applications / Groups being better at spotting lies than individuals.

Why does scratching an itch make it itchier? / Singing in the rain: Tonal languages (like Chinese, where the same phonemes have different meanings with different pitches) exist more frequently in humid areas than dry ones.

Gut microbes helping to deliver vaccines / Parents’ unrealistically positive views of their children may promote narcissism.

The warm air a computer gives off can reveal once-private information / Russian physicists recently found that they could model the “Blitzkrieg” of World War II with a scientific law: the kinetic theory of gas atoms.

Some American deer (mule deer and white-tailed) will respond to distress vocalizations of a wide variety of mammal young / Bendable LEDs and their possible applications / Plantibodies: human antibodies produced by plants.

Scientists trying to understand the behaviour of bubbles, with the aid of a new computer model, in order to create better foam based materials / Some researchers believe that it was a stellar explosion, or supernova, that triggered the solar system’s formation from a cloud of dust and gas billions of years ago.

Human microbiota change incredibly quickly- within three or four days of a big dietary shift / Follicles harvested from scalp trimmings in facelift surgeries and cultured in growth serum being used for hair loss treatment research / Astronomers haven't really discovered much in the Kuiper belt since 2005, the year Pluto got demoted- mainly because there may not be much left to discover in these parts.

Sperm cells are just the latest mystifying place researchers have found taste receptors / Tracking indoor bacteria provides a new route to real-time climate control / The Perfect Kelvin, a turning point in the quest for an absolute temperature scale, not depending on the freezing and boiling point of water.

Meals alter how cells behave / Tadpole Galaxies.

Are neutrinos their own antimatter counterparts? / Smithsonian astrophysicists have identified a fascinating star called HVS17, which is racing out of the galaxy at nearly a million miles an hour / Even scientists who dedicate their careers to studying insects get spooked by spiders.

Fracking Linked to Tainted Drinking Water / Does Mars need protection from our microbes? / What we could learn by monitoring sleep patterns of the entire world.

A new physics paper explains why cornstarch and water mixtures do the strange things they do / A study suggests atoms can bond not only with electrons in their outer shells, but also via those in their supposedly sacrosanct inner shells.

Despite its flaws, Body Mass Index remains a useful measure / Fracking? Solar? Coal? U.S. energy secretary Ernest J. Moniz says: "All of it!"

Men who do more housework have less sex / Humans may use quantum vibration to smell.

On creating a plant-based egg substitute that can do everything (scramble, bake, etc.) that a good old chicken egg can / Smart, networked devices will deliver significant benefits to a population rarely targeted by consumer technologies: the elderly / Astronomers have found direct evidence that galaxies in the early universe supped on cold streams of gas to fuel their prodigious star formation rather than bashing into each other to acquire the gas.

The pitfalls of positive thinking or how rosy thoughts can lead to negative outcomes / Nasal cavities can provide air conditioning or heat, depending on the climate.

Dispatches from a late night party where physicists were awaiting word from CERN about the Higgs Boson / A new brain-machine spelling device could help the paralyzed communicate with their thoughts / Orbiting planets exert extremely subtle wobbles in a star’s motion by their gravitational pull.

Whether we believe, religiously, may have to do with how much we rely on intuition versus analytical thinking / New findings on Allergies / Extramarital sex ups the risk of sudden death.

Mothers producing different kinds of milk for babies of different sexes / Paradoxical materials could grow when compressed, shrink when pulled / Researchers are beginning to study form of memory called “mind-pops,” fragments of knowledge that drop suddenly and unexpectedly into consciousness.

Roaches to the Rescue! Engineers design robo pests that can search for earthquake victims / Materials that design themselves / Research into how things break could lead to new, shatterproof materials.

© 2024 Thomas Fuchs