Credit Courtesy of A Little Insight 3D 4D Ultrasound.
Why people yawn is a mystery. But yawning starts in the womb.
Past studies have used ultrasound images to show fetuses yawning, but some scientists have argued that real yawns were getting confused with fetuses simply opening their mouths.
So Nadja Reissland, a researcher at the University of Durham in the United Kingdom, used a more detailed ultrasound technique to get images of fetal faces that could distinguish a true yawn from just an open mouth.
Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 11:26 am
By Marcelo Gleiser
Credit Fabrice Coffrini / AFP/Getty Images
"Simple," you may say. "All you have to do is test the theory against experimental data and, if predictions don't work, toss the theory in the garbage can." In practice, however, things are way more complicated.
A few months ago, I let you in on a little secret about Greek yogurt. Not all of this extra-thick, protein-rich yogurt is made the old-style way, by straining liquid out of it it. Some companies are creating that rich taste by adding thickeners, such as powdered protein and starch.
Robert Siegel speaks with Dr. Michael Ryan, Coordinator of Research and Curator and Head of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, about a new dinosaur species discovery — the Xenoceratops.
French adventurer-scientist Roland Bourdeix has a grand, almost surreal, vision for how to preserve a thousand or more genetic varieties of coconut trees. Imagine, as he does, turning dozens or hundreds of remote Pacific islands into coconut sanctuaries. Each island would contain just a few varieties of these trees. No others would be allowed, because the whole point of this exercise is to prevent uncontrolled mixing of genes from different varieties.
Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 8:31 am
Credit Warner Bros./Photofest
Every night for months before the presidential election, Nate Silver would fire up his computer and run simulated results for his FiveThirtyEight blog on The New York Times. He ran hundreds of these simulations, tweaking variables like "white male poodle owner" turnout. Then along came Election Day. We all went out to vote (you did vote right?) and reality became the final word, trumping whatever Nate Silver's simulated universe might, or might not, have said.
Scientists working on NASA's six-wheeled rover on Mars have a problem. But it's a good problem.
They have some exciting new results from one of the rover's instruments. On the one hand, they'd like to tell everybody what they found, but on the other, they have to wait because they want to make sure their results are not just some fluke or error in their instrument.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 1:55 pm
Credit Courtesy of Lada Adamic.
We've been hearing a lot recently about how algorithms can predict just about anything. They find long-lost friends on Facebook and guess which books we'll buy next on Amazon. Algorithms hit the big time this month, when New York Times blogger Nate Silver used mathematical models and statistics to correctly forecast the outcome of every state in the presidential election.
There are people (and I hear from them constantly) who think if a subject is sophisticated, like science, the language that describes it should be sophisticated, too.
If smart people say torque, ribosome, limbic, stochastic and kinase, then the rest of us should knuckle down, concentrate and figure out what those words mean. That's how we'll know when we've learned something: when we've mastered the technical words.