One morning, in a hospital in the Czech Republic, a 69-year-old man died of heart disease. An hour later, as nurses were preparing to move his body down to the lab for autopsy, they noticed his skin was unusually warm. After calling the doctor back to make sure the man was really dead (he was), they took his temperature. At 1.5 hours after death, the body was 104 degrees Fahrenheit—about five degrees hotter than it was before he died, even though the hospital room was kept at about 68 degrees.
In the late 1800s, British anthropologist and anatomist Arthur Thomson posited that people with ancestral origins in cold, arid climates were likely to have longer, thinner noses, while those who came from warm, humid regions were inclined to have noses that were shorter and thicker.
Exercise is hard. That should go without saying, but it's worth acknowledging. It's difficult enough to instill a new habit without all the things that make exercise uniquely unpleasant at first. You generally have to go to a crowded place full of cranky strangers, share equipment in close quarters, and sweat and shower alongside them. But on top of that, oh yeah, it's hard. A lot of the movements are weird and awkward for newcomers. Maybe you have to stick your butt up in the air, or wiggle around like a wet noodle in overpriced, stretchy clothing. It's not surprising that so few people stick to a regular workout regimen, because to some degree, if it's not hard, you're not doing it right.
The Ebola virus doesn't just bring terror and death to human communities, it also ravages Africa's great apes, whose populations are already imperiled by hunting and habitat encroachment. Now, in an effort to keep our closest-living relatives alive, researchers have successfully tested an oral Ebola vaccine in the laboratory.
The White House released its proposed 2018 fiscal year budget on Wednesday night, and the prognosis for Earth Science isn't great. If Congress approves the budget in full, NASA's Earth-observing satellite programs (PACE, OCO-3, DSCOVR, and CLARREO Pathfinder), which are mostly still in development, are toast. And even if Congress doesn't make all of the suggested budget cuts, the proposal indicates the administration is shrinking away from the research that most serves to benefit our own planet. Here's what we stand to lose:
When you think fossils, you probably think of impressively preserved bones; the last remains of dinosaurs that strolled (or flew) across the Earth eons ago. But it took evolution a long time to work up to dinosaurs. Or any kind of animal, for that matter. For about 2 billion years in Earth's early history (give or take a few hundred million years) single-celled organisms ruled the planet. Then, life started branching out.
One of the holy grails in the field of regenerative medicine is the ability to engineer whole organs in all their complexity, not just pieces of them. Laura Niklason is one of those pushing this boundary. During a visit, I followed one of her postdocs into a refrigerated closet in her Yale University laboratories. He reached out to a shelf and took down a jar. Unlike the amorphous piece of heart muscle Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic had showed me, there was no mistaking what was floating inside this container. It was a perfectly preserved pair of rat lungs, taken from an actual animal and “decellularized.”
On Friday, The Washington Post reportedly obtained a memo from within the Trump administration about proposed funding for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The memo outlined steep cuts to several divisions, including the elimination of the $73 million Sea Grant research program, cuts to climate research divisions, and more.
Everyone cares that pandas and polar bears are endangered because, let's face it, they're adorable. In enviro speak, they're known as “charismatic megafauna”—they're large animals with popular appeal. Also included on this list are elephants, lions, tigers, sharks, and whales. In short, looks matter.