Binge and excessive drinking almost always get a bad rap—and for good reason. Heavy alcohol consumption is known to lead to a multitude of problems, including poor brain health. But the effects of moderate drinking on a person's cognitive abilities have gotten less attention. In a study out this week in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), researchers following the brain health of 550 individuals found that subjects who were considered moderate drinkers—those who drank five glasses of wine or four pints of beer a week—showed a reduction in the volume of their hippocampi, an area of the brain associated with memory and learning.
What started with a trip to the pediatrician has now led North Carolina State University researchers to develop new ways of figuring out the age of young human skeletal remains. The new technique uses X-rays of the frontal sinus, a large cavity behind the forehead which fills with mucus that drains into the nose, to determine the age of developing skulls.
Tattoos are, to use a scientific term, flippin' sweet. And they're increasingly popular: more than a third of U.S. adults ages 18 to 40 have at least one. But side-eye from your old-school boss isn't the only thing you risk when you get new ink: these living pieces of art are open wounds as they heal, which leaves you vulnerable to all sorts of discomfort—and infection.
'FDA approval' has a certain glow of authority to it. To be FDA approved is to be safe, effective, and proven. Or at least, it technically is. Technically, FDA approval is a stringent process that requires a degree of proof. You might like to think that you couldn't get away with claiming something went through that process if it never really did. But you'd be wrong. And if you wanted to, say, market an unproven negative ion bracelet as a treatment for 'harmful' electromagnetic fields that aren't actually harmful, you could totally get away with it.
Close your eyes and picture what the Earth looks like. You're probably picturing a circle, mostly blue thanks to the ocean, with swirls of clouds and the occasional green and brown land mass. The entire sphere is floating in a mass of impossible black. You're picturing Earth in a way that you've never actually seen with your own two eyes. Maybe you're getting the sketch from this famous shot, below, known as the blue marble image. Astronauts aboard the Apollo 17 space mission snapped the picture on December 7th, 1972. Countless other images of our home planet have been taken, which have forever shaped our imagination of it. Still, only a handful of humans have seen it with naked eyes.
The vaccines we have today are pretty incredible. They've eradicated smallpox, purged rubella from the Americas, and save millions of people each year from dying of diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, and measles. When enough people get vaccinated, infectious diseases can't spread easily and everyone benefits from herd immunity.
This should go without saying, but because it apparently doesn't, here goes: don't stick random items into your vagina. Tampons, certified body-safe sex toys, physician-approved devices, and penises should really be the only things that go in there. And honestly be careful with some of the penises because they're not all as clean as they should be.
Come September, NASA will be saying goodbye to one of its best image-churning machines, the Cassini spacecraft. In honor of its impending retirement, we've collected 52 of our favorite Cassini images for your viewing pleasure. The image above is a false color image of Saturn's rings. The purple color indicates that those areas are dominated by particles larger than two inches, while green shows areas where particles are less than two inches across.
In Tom Clancy's book (and, later, the 1990 film) The Hunt For Red October, a Soviet submarine debuts a revolutionary, ultra-quiet engine that uses pumpjets and electrical propulsion technology to elude its foes. Chinese state media has reported that the nation is fitting its newest nuclear sub with an engine that sounds a lot like Clancy's imaginings in the real world.