Diagnosing malaria can be a bit of a pain, especially when trying to test in remote parts of the world where such tests are most needed. For one, it requires a standard blood smear test with the right chemical reagents and a high-quality microscope. It also should be done by a lab technician with proper training, and each test takes 15 minutes and costs roughly $1. Oh -- and the tests spoil in hot climates if not properly stored.
On an April day in 2009, bizarre four-inch flames of light were seen hovering above a stone-paved road in the historical city center of L'Aquila, Italy. Shortly after, a cataclysmic magnitude 6.3 earthquake devastated the area reportedly leaving about 300 people dead.
At the time, these light-filled flashes were thought to be a coincidental phenomenon, but now researchers believe they had a direct correlation to the earthquake.
A new study published in Seismological Research Letters says these flashes of light rarely seen before or during earthquakes are caused by naturally occurring electrical processes in certain types of rock.
L'Aquila was one of several places to see such lights before an earthquake. Other instances include the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, Calif., where locals witnessed a rainbowed light beam above a street right before the temblor, and the 1988 earthquake in Quebec, Canada, where people saw a purplish glowing sphere near the St. Lawrence River 11 days before the quake, according to National Geographic.… Read more
Forget rehab, medication, and counseling. What if light could one day help cure us of our addictions?
Reporting in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, researchers at the University of Buffalo and Wake Forest University shed light on a different way to go about deep brain stimulation that may have profound and lasting effects -- at least when it comes to binge drinking in lab rats.
Instead of using electricity to blast neurons indiscriminately, the researchers turned to an emerging technique known as optogenetics, using light to target and stimulate specific neurons (in this case dopamine).
And it worked. Very convincingly.… Read more
For some time now, I've taken it on faith that the best french fries in the galaxy could only be the beautifully battered and double-fried potato sticks served at the Taos Diner a few blocks from my home. But according to bizarre new but actually earnest food research, Douglas Adams' Restaurant at the End of the Universe might have a better chance of serving up the best fries in existence, if that eatery actually existed.
Then again, short-order fry cooks on Jupiter are also in short supply so far as we know, and yet that's where two researchers from the chemistry department at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece have found the gravitational conditions best suited to frying the perfect batch of fries.… Read more
They're dancing slowly in the streets of Colorado.
Why would anyone want to dampen their joy at being able to legally buy pot?
Yet along comes a bunch of French researchers to suggest that the brain has natural defenses against the nice feelings generated by the very popular plant.
As Agence France-Presse reports, the researchers probed with lab rats and discovered that the naturally occurring hormone pregnenolone seems to counteract the high delivered by marijuana.
The research, published in Science magazine, explained that initially pregnenolone was thought to be "the inactive precursor of all steroid hormones."
However, … Read more
Editor's note: In this two-part piece of speculative fiction, Crave's Eric Mack envisions life in a world in which a number of emerging technologies and concepts that grabbed attention in 2013 have gone mainstream. Part one begins 10 (if you're an optimist) or maybe 20 years in the future, on the day a major scientific discovery is set to be announced.
I am not sure that Friday was a good day to dye hard.
In several parts of the US, freezing cold reigned. So the usual homage of dyeing your local fountain in your team's colors to celebrate the NFL playoffs brought with it some problems.
The folks at Kansas City's Parks and Recreation were undeterred. They didn't, however, have any experience of dyeing a frozen fountain red.
I know this because they said so on their Facebook page. But I'd really like you to focus on the Northland Fountain and what it evokes.
For myself, I see a bloodbath. Of course, I hope this isn't some symbolic portent of what might occur when the Chiefs take on the Colts on Saturday, but I fear that many being shown this image will wonder whether a slaughter might have occurred recently.… Read more
A University of Virginia medical student who thought he was just taking part in a training exercise is now being credited with potentially saving a man's life.
Med student Ryan Jones was participating in the standardized patient program at the medical school. Actors are assigned a specific condition they pretend they have, and medical students try to figure out what is wrong with their "patients" by listening to their complaints and examining them.
Actor-patient Jim Malloy was told to portray the symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which happens when the main blood vessel that brings blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs becomes enlarged. The condition can grow for many years without symptoms. It is most commonly seen in men over the age of 60 who have emphysema, genetic risks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and who were or currently are smokers. … Read more
Could Ewoks really take down the Imperial soldiers with tree logs? Could Luke Skywalker seriously save Princess Leia with a swing across a chasm in the first Death Star? Does a dead tauntaun really make a life-saving sleeping bag when stranded in the snow? "Star Wars" fans have debated the feasibility of these stunts for decades, but luckily the "MythBusters" team is about to take them on.
Hosts and special-effects experts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, along with team members Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci, and Kari Byron, take on urban legends and use modern-day science to see what's real and what's not in their hit show, which returns to the Discovery Channel with new episodes Saturday, January 4, starting with a geektastic "Star Wars" special. … Read more
If Marty McFly were real, would he use Twitter? Researchers set out to wring any traces of time travelers out of the online world. Astrophysicist Robert Nemiroff and physics graduate student Teresa Wilson from Michigan Technological University released their findings with a paper titled "Searching the Internet for evidence of time travelers."
The researchers start by acknowledging the theoretical possibility for time travel into the future. Stephen Hawking's famously unattended time travel party in 2009 gets a mention. (He sent out the invitations after the party was over.)
The search for signs of time travelers involved scouring the Internet for prescient information. "Specifically, we search for content that should not have been known at the time it was posted," the paper says. The scientists narrowed down some search terms that had specific windows for entering popular use, and looked for mentions of those terms prior to them entering the lexicon. "Comet ISON" and "Pope Francis" both fit the bill.… Read more