Douglas Main
at 09:52 AM Apr 23 2014
Nature // 

Great spotted cuckoos lay their eggs in other birds' nests, and the host does all the work of raising the impostor. But if the new foster parent doesn't cooperate and ditch the new arrival, the  the cuckoo sometimes retaliates, destroying the poor birds' other eggs. Brown-headed cowbirds behave similarly. Whaddaya gonna do about it?

Douglas Main
at 09:51 AM Apr 23 2014
Nature // 

While dozens of new minerals are discovered each year, it is rare to find one that is unrelated to already-known substances. "Most minerals belong to a family or small group of related minerals, or if they aren't related to other minerals they often are to a synthetic compound--but putnisite is completely unique and unrelated to anything," said Peter Elliott, co-author of a study describing the new substance and a researcher at the South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide. "Nature seems to be far cleverer at dreaming up new chemicals than any researcher in a laboratory."

Douglas Main
at 09:13 AM Apr 14 2014
Nature // 

This material can hold several times its weight in water, and unlike the polymers that currently make up absorbent material in diapers and other products, breaks down in about 30 days. The product owes is absorbent abilities to its cellular structure of jellyfish bodies. “Jellyfish are marine creatures composed of 90 percent water and that live in water," according to Capital Nano, a company funding Cine'al. "Their bodies are formed from material that can absorb high volume of liquids and hold them without disintegrating or dissolving."

Douglas Main
at 10:45 AM Apr 11 2014
Nature // 

This material can hold several times its weight in water, and unlike the polymers that currently make up absorbent material in diapers and other products, breaks down in about 30 days. The product owes is absorbent abilities to its cellular structure of jellyfish bodies. “Jellyfish are marine creatures composed of 90 percent water and that live in water," according to Capital Nano, a company funding Cine'al. "Their bodies are formed from material that can absorb high volume of liquids and hold them without disintegrating or dissolving."

Douglas Main
at 10:45 AM Apr 11 2014
Nature // 

“This process of nibbling of cells went unrecognized by everyone in this field, including me, for over a hundred years,” study co-author and infectious disease specialist William Petri of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville told Science. The finding completely changes how scientists think of the parasites, and may lead to new treatments for pathogen, which lives in the gut and infects about 50 million around the world. In certain circumstances they can trigger amoebiasis, a potentially fatal diarrhoeal disease.

Alex Ford
at 07:00 AM Apr 10 2014
Nature // 

The idea that tiny amounts of antidepressants present in our rivers and estuaries may be affecting aquatic life is generally met with surprise, sometimes skepticism, or even a degree of humour.

Douglas Main
at 09:32 AM Apr 9 2014
Nature // 

As Rachel Nuwer explains in a thoroughly entertaining post at Smithsonian, the scientists picked voles because they are quite faithful, as far as mammals are concerned--and they needed to sacrifice a few afterward to look at their brains. In the experiment, the scientists allowed the voles to drink as much alcohol as they wanted over a 24-hour period, during which time they paired male and female voles (who weren't already in a monogamous relationship) and recorded how much they cuddled and/or mated. Afterward, they introduced the couple to a new vole, either male or female. They also performed a control experiment under the same circumstances, except without alcohol. Here's what they found, in a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

 
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