Alone Again, Or

Scientists have been studying the calls of a whale dubbed “the loneliest whale in the world” for more than 20 years. Its calls are unusually high pitched—52 hertz, versus the typical 15-20 hertz range of blue whales. No one has ever seen the 52-hertz whale, but scientists believe he has been swimming alone for decades, […]

Mind The Gap

Lexical gap:   “A perceived gap in the lexicon or vocabulary of a language”; ideas or “relationships that are ‘lexicalised’ or represented in the vocabulary of one language may not be in another.” —A Dictionary of Sociolinguistics   The Roman orator Quintilian said that when communicating “one should aim not at being possible to understand, but […]

Science Shaming

As a researcher and dilettante science blogger, I come across a lot of things on the Internet I find irritating: poorly written papers, inaccurate methods, unsubstantiated scientific claims, ‘nutrition bloggers,’ and so on. Hilarious science writer Adam Ruben posted a piece a few months back titled ‘How to P*ss Off a Scientist,’ where he listed […]

The Power Of Energy

What is the difference between power and energy? The simple answer is that energy is the ability to do work and power is the rate at which energy is created or consumed. Both terms appear quite frequently whenever talk about electricity or environmental sustainability crops up, but are often incorrectly used interchangeably. When I pay […]

Science’s Three-Way Split

It’s no secret the general public is not always in agreement with scientists, but a recent study from the Pew Research Center shows just how divisive certain issues can be. [Editor’s note: See also Matthew Lawder’s post on this same topic, “Science vs. The People.”] In August 2014 approximately 2,000 adults across the country were […]

Science vs. The People

Washington University in St. Louis’ Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Barbara Schaal, was recently announced as the President-Elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), beginning her term Feb. 17. The AAAS’ mission is to “advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.” As AAAS’s president, […]

The Antibiotic Re-Think

Foregoing antibiotics in farm animals has become a recent trend among the uber health conscious, now trickling down to the masses. McDonald’s announced this month that the company is making moves to phase out their use of chickens grown on human antibiotics within the next two years. This is a huge step in the food […]

See Journeys

There is a long-standing puzzle about the wiring of the human eye: why was it wired backwards? The inside-out vertebrate retina has always been presented as an example of inefficient structure locked in by development and evolutionary history. Some recent research has shown that the retina of the eye has been optimized so that the sizes […]

Congo vs. Bonobo

In terms of untapped mineral reserves, The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is arguably the richest country in the world, with its estimated $24 trillion worth of natural resources. The DRC is a country of superlatives, with vast reserves of coltan, gold, cassiterite, and tin mined in eastern Congo, and reserves of diamonds, copper, […]

Tilting The Apple Cart

Exciting news was announced Friday, Feb. 13, when the USDA approved two versions of apples genetically engineered to resist enzymatic browning—you know, that unappealing color apples turn after being cut and exposed to oxygen. Developed by small Canadian company Okangan Specialty Fruits (OSF), the new apples are modified versions of the classic Golden Delicious and Granny […]