Dire Wolves Were Not Really Wolves, New Genetic Clues Reveal
Posted in Strange

It had long been assumed that dire wolves made themselves at home in North America before gray wolves followed them across the Bering Land Bridge from Eurasia. For decades, paleontologists have remarked on how similar the bones of dire wolves and gray wolves are. Dire wolves, it now appeared, had evolved in the Americas and had no close kinship with the gray wolves from Eurasia; the last time gray wolves and dire wolves shared a common ancestor was about 5.7 million years ago. Perri, Mitchell and their colleagues found no DNA evidence of interbreeding between dire wolves and gray wolves or coyotes. Dire wolves were genetically isolated from other canids, Mitchell notes, so “hybridization couldn’t provide a way out” because dire wolves were probably unable to produce viable offspring with the recently arrived wolves from Eurasia.

Biden Names Top Geneticist Eric Lander as Science Adviser
Posted in Strange

US president-elect Joe Biden has chosen decorated geneticist Eric Lander as presidential science adviser and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Many scientists have long called for the OSTP director to be raised to a cabinet-level position. When Biden named Lander to his team on 15 January, he also announced a number of other respected scientists to key positions in his administration. One major question is what parts of science policy Lander and his office will be responsible for. The outgoing OSTP director, meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier, wasn’t appointed by President Donald Trump until more than a year and a half into his administration.

The ‘Shared Psychosis’ of Donald Trump and His Loyalists
Posted in Strange

The violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Building last week, incited by President Donald Trump, serves as the grimmest moment in one of the darkest chapters in the nation’s history. One such person is Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist and president of the World Mental Health Coalition. Expert on the psychology of Donald Trump and his supporters says their behavior can be explained by a “narcissistic symbiosis” and “shared psychosis.” Tayfun Coskun Getty ImagesDo you think Trump is truly exhibiting delusional or psychotic behavior? And (3) fixing the socioeconomic conditions that give rise to poor collective mental health in the first place. And the situation with Trump supporters is very similar.

For Black and Brown Kidney Patients, There Are Higher Hurdles to Care
Posted in Strange

The international actuarial and consulting firm Milliman estimates that the average billable cost for a kidney transplant in 2020 is $442,500. Both Black and Hispanic patients were less likely to receive this care compared to White patients. Indeed, according to an analysis of data from 1990 to 2009, Black patients waited an average of 2.5 months longer than White patients for a kidney transplant. Despite such changes in organ donation, Black patients on dialysis are still far less likely than White patients to receive a living donor kidney. Black patients, then, tend to reach out to fellow Black family and friends.

Bees Use ‘Bullshit’ Defense to Keep Giant Hornets at Bay
Posted in Strange

Wellesley College biologist Heather Mattila went to Vietnam to understand how Asian honeybees defend themselves from the hornets there. “Giant hornets will hunt honeybees on their own and grab them one by one. The alternative to covering their house in ...[CLIP: Censored beep sound]... was annihilation of the colony in the face of overwhelming giant hornet invasion. Asian honeybees are a different species than the Western honeybees in Europe and North America. I didn’t have a lot of personal experience with Asian bees, and so meeting them was kind of like meeting the crazy cousin of the bees you know really well.

'One Small Step' Act Encourages Protection of Human Heritage in Space
Posted in Strange

On Dec. 31, the One Small Step to Protect Human Heritage in Space Act became law. However, it is also the first law enacted by any nation that recognizes the existence of human heritage in outer space. I believe that the One Small Step Act, enacted in a divisive political environment, demonstrates that space and preservation truly are nonpartisan, even unifying principles. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/ASUAdvertisementAdvertisementThe One Small Step ActThe One Small Step Act is true to its name. It's a small step.

The Misunderstood Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Posted in Strange

\" \" A mule-drawn wagon carrying the casket of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is followed by dignitaries and thousands of people as it moves en route to Morehouse College, Atlanta for his memorial service on April 9, 1968. \"The same criticisms made against Colin Kaepernick and the Black Lives Matter movement today were trotted out against Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks 60 years ago. But Clayborne Carson, history professor at Stanford University and founding director of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, points out that King didn't retire after the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Of course, Americans have every reason to venerate Martin Luther King and to celebrate his accomplishments. Learn more about the civil rights movement in \"The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader: Documents, Speeches, and Firsthand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle\" by Clayborne Carson (editor).

10 Ways to Survive a Snowstorm
Posted in Strange

Spencer Platt/ Getty ImagesThe best thing to ­do during a snowstorm is to stay indoors. But if you absolutely­ need to get somewhere on foot, you'll have to be very smart in order to survive. Loose, warm, layered clothing is the way to go. Loose clothing helps the blood flow, increasing warmth. Snowstorm conditions are usually accompanied by limited visibility, so make your outer layer a bright color so you can be seen by others.

Cheap Magnets Could Keep Sharks Out of Fishing Nets
Posted in Strange

Countless sharks, sea turtles, seals, dolphins, rays and fish of all descriptions needlessly die before they can be thrown back overboard. Philippe Colombi/Getty ImagesWe kill 100 million sharks every year. We found that traps with magnets had roughly 30 percent less likelihood of catching sharks and rays compared to traps without. Win-wins are great, but we've got a long way to go before we make a dent in that 100 million sharks per year. The magnets seem to work well for traps, but magnets don't work on longlines — the lines are fitted with metal hooks, so the magnets tangle the gear.

Crazy Common Things People Swallow (That They Shouldn’t)
Posted in Strange

But every day, people swallow more mundane things that they shouldn't. \"In the adult population, they usually swallow the object by accidentally mixing it with their food,\" explains Farcy via email. Here are some of the most common, but dangerous, things adults swallow by accident:AdvertisementAdvertisement1. ToothpicksSwallowing a toothpick is not as common as you might think, but it's a serious situation if it happens. If the bones don't come out on their own though, an endoscopy might be required.

What's the Difference Between Cake Flour and All-purpose Flour?
Posted in Strange

\" \" Cake flour has less protein than all-purpose flour, which means you end up with a lighter and moister end product. Now that the world is on a mission to bake as much in the kitchen as humanly possible, ingredients like all-purpose flour and cake flour are in the spotlight. For the amateur bakers out there who can't discern flour from baking soda or sugar from salt, here's an easy explainer that tells you everything you need to know about the difference between cake flour and all-purpose flour. Your typical batch of cake flour contains around 5 to 8 percent of protein, compared to all-purpose flour, which has around 10 to 13 percent. And consider spending a little extra to buy high-quality cake flour, especially for use in simple cake recipes where flavor is critical.

Who Decides What Goes on Postage Stamps?
Posted in Strange

\" The Mister Rogers stamp from the U.S. Postal Service. Postal Service. Ever wonder who decides what appears on our postage stamps? \"Mister Rogers' Neighborhood\" was on the air from 1968 to 2001.

December’s Total Solar Eclipse as Seen from Space
Posted in Strange

On December 14, 2020, a camera onboard a satellite recorded something that looked like a brown blob streaking across South America. Individuals on the ground witnessed something more striking: a total solar eclipse, or a daytime blackout triggered by the moon blocking the sun and throwing its shadow on Earth. Though total solar eclipses happen relatively frequently—about once every 18 months—seeing them is lucky. In about 600 million years, total eclipses will stop. The temporary nature of these alignments makes all their recordings valuable, even when the perspective makes what feels like a boundary-breaking moment—shocking darkness in the middle of the day—seem small.

Here's Where to Find the Cleanest Air in the World
Posted in Strange

\" \" The beautiful downtown area of Honolulu, Hawaii, has the best air quality of all cities in the world of similar size. Ozone pollution comes from gases like exhaust from tailpipes and smoke from factory chimneys. Particle pollution is mostly created by car and truck traffic, manufacturing, power plants and farming. Here are the top five major cities with the cleanest air in the world:Honolulu, HawaiiHalifax, CanadaAnchorage, AlaskaAuckland, New ZealandBrisbane, AustraliaWherever in the world they're located, the cleanest cities tend to have certain things in common. Now That's Interesting China's air pollution is so bad you can see it from space.

Sound the Alarm: Windsor Hum Is Driving Canadians Crazy
Posted in Strange

\" \" A view of Detroit (right) and Windsor from Belle Isle Park in the Detroit River. Windsor is the site of the Windsor Hum which people believe is coming from Zug Island, near Detroit. That's sort of like the Windsor Hum. A 2011 study by the University of Windsor found that the sounds originated in the vicinity of Zug Island, Michigan, near Detroit. In 2013, the University of Western Ontario and the Canadian government looked into the matter, and did confirm that the hum seemed to come from Zug Island.

Anomaly Hunting and Boris Johnson's Phone Call
Posted in Strange

The latest internet conspiracy theory involves a phone call between President Biden and Boris Johnson’s. The phone cable should be visible in the mirror descending from Boris Johnson’s watch, in this official Downing St picture. When I look at those pictures I absolutely see a phone cord, no problem. I can understand the initial reaction of – hey, where’s the phone cord in the mirror? They are about mystery mongering – look at that anomaly – and then attach a sinister implication to the anomaly.

Psychedelics as Antidepressants
Posted in Strange

Outside of this group however, many people don’t think of these compounds as antidepressants to be distributed by white-coat-wearing psychiatrists. This is a start at improving the public perception of psychedelic use, which can ultimately encourage more to seek psychedelic therapy in psychiatric practice. But prior to this, the National Institutes of Health funded more than 130 studies to explore the benefits of psychedelic therapy. However, using alcohol and using tobacco products are both widely perceived as socially acceptable. Other documented cases include instances of people using psychedelics of questionable purity or in unknown doses, and almost always in conjunction with other drugs.

Did a Supermassive Black Hole Influence the Evolution of Life on Earth?
Posted in Strange

When gas flows towards the black hole, it swirls like water going down the drain. As the gas approaches a fraction of the speed of light at the innermost stable circular orbit (ISCO) around the black hole, it heats-up by rubbing against itself through turbulent viscosity. The exposure to past XUV flares from SgrA* at closer distances, could have harmed complex life during the early evolution of the Earth. But it is also possible that the black hole, SgrA* played an important role in shaping the history of terrestrial life. If a link between SgrA* and terrestrial life can be established, then this supermassive black hole might trigger a second Nobel Prize.

The Cosmological Constant Is Physics’ Most Embarrassing Problem
Posted in Strange

The enormous discrepancy between the predicted amount of vacuum energy and the measured amount is often called the cosmological constant problem. One of the most prominent—and, by some, most hated—solutions to the cosmological constant problem is called the anthropic principle. Because string theory requires a multiverse, string theorists tend to regard the cosmological constant problem as essentially solved by this reasoning. “We had a model 10 years ago called the Fab Four that was aimed at solving the cosmological constant problem,” Padilla says. Perhaps these efforts to understand the cosmological constant problem will reveal deeper truths about quantum physics and general relativity.

Will the Real Banana Spider Please Stand Up?
Posted in Strange

\" \" In the United States, the golden silk orb-weaver spider (Nephila clavipes) is commonly known as the \"banana spider.\" Just a banana spider — nothing to worry about.\" \" \" As if to illustrate the problem with common spider names, this black-and-yellow argiope spider, (Argiope aurantia), is commonly known as the yellow garden spider, the golden garden spider, the writing spider, the black and yellow garden spider, the corn spider, the zigzag spider, or the McKinley spider. A few species commonly called \"banana spider\" are, in fact, harmless. \" \" The Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria nigriventer), which some people think of as a \"banana spider.\"

About Us

When you want to outsmart the world, you turn to the facts. And the facts are in the science.

Subscribe to our newsletter!