Biologist Bernd Heinrich was in Zimbabwe, in the field, eyes down, looking for beetles, when for no particular reason he looked up and saw ... well, at first he wasn't sure what it was, so he stepped closer, leaned in, and there, painted on the underside of large protruding rock, were five human figures "running in one direction, from left to right across the rock face." They weren't very detailed, just "small, sticklike human figures in clear running stride" painted by a Bushman, two, maybe three thousand years ago.
High-energy physics in action: an image of an event in <a href="http://home.web.cern.ch/about/experiments/cms">CERN's CMS detector</a> during the search for the Higgs boson.
To celebrate the publication of the paperback edition of my book A Tear at the Edge of Creation, I want to go back to some of its themes, given that it's been three years and a lot has happened since then. From the discovery of the Higgs boson to the rampant absence of evidence for supersymmetry, it is fair to say that the predictions in Tear have held true.
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:22 am
The healthy human foot's outer arch may be more flexible than previously thought.
The notion that sport shoes and inserts should keep the human arch stiffly supported is a decades-old assumption that could use some rethinking, according to a British gait analyst who has closely studied more than 25,000 footsteps of healthy people.
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:03 am
Don't fear the 'shrooms.
How risky are psychedelic drugs to mental health? Not nearly as much as you might have imagined.
People who had taken LSD, psilocybin (the brain-bending chemical in magic mushrooms) or mescaline at any time in their lives were no more likely than those who hadn't to wind up in mental health treatment or to have symptoms of mental illness, according to an analysis by some Norwegian researchers.
And there was some evidence that people who had taken the drugs at some point were less likely to have had recent mental health treatment.
Researchers say Facebook use can lead to a decline in happiness and satisfaction.
Credit Joerg Koch / AP
Facebook's mission "to make the world more open and connected" is a familiar refrain among company leaders. But the latest research shows connecting 1.1 billion users around the world may come at a psychological cost.
A new University of Michigan study on college-aged adults finds that the more they used Facebook, the worse they felt. The study, published in the journal PLOS One, found Facebook use led to declines in moment-to-moment happiness and overall life satisfaction.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 1:58 pm
By Adam Frank
We humans are a tribal lot. We can take the subtlest difference and drive it into a wedge seemingly worthy of anger, intolerance and violence. While there are situations where differences appear between people (or whole cultures) that demand lines be drawn, for the most part the fractures we create live in our heads.
Chia-Jung Tsay was something of a piano prodigy. By age 12, she was performing Mendelssohn in concert. At 16, she made her debut at Carnegie Hall. Soon, she was on her way to some of the best music schools in the country — Juilliard and the Peabody Conservatory. And she was throwing her hat in the ring for different competitions.
Black-legged ticks like this can transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 300,000 Americans are getting Lyme disease every year, and the toll is growing.
"It confirms what we've thought for a long time: This is a large problem," Dr. Paul Mead tells Shots. "The bottom line is that by defining how big the problem is we make it easier for everyone to figure out what kind of resources we have to use to address it."
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 12:40 pm
We found lots of avocados being sold six or 10 to a $1 bag in the San Francisco area. Some weighed less than 3 ounces.
Credit Alastair Bland for NPR
What's thick-skinned and leathery, about the size of an egg, essential for guacamole and sold eight for a dollar?
No, not limes. Hass avocados. This year, anyway. These pear-sized fruits usually weigh half a pound or more. In the summer of 2013, though, hundreds of thousands of trees in Southern California are sagging with the tiniest Hass avocados in local memory — some just the size of a golf ball.