The breakdown of this brain region may accelerate aging
If these sweltering summer days prompt you to reach for a cold drink, you can thank your hypothalamus, a region of the brain that helps us regulate body temperature and other internal conditions. But the region may fail us when we get older. A new study in mice suggests that the hypothalamus promotes aging, hastening physical and mental decline as its stem cells die off.
In the next 30 years, we’ll make four times more plastic waste than we ever have
Seventy years ago, plastic was barely used outside of the military. Today, we can’t live without it. And over the next 30 years, we may produce four times more plastic waste than we ever did, a new study shows.
Watch this robotic appendage give humans a third arm
In the future, you may be less likely to ask a friend to lend a hand. That’s because you may have a mechanical one attached to your shoulder.
Memory-enhancing drug reverses effects of traumatic brain injury in mice
Whether caused by a car accident that slams your head into the dashboard or repeated blows to your cranium from high-contact sports, traumatic brain injury can be permanent. There are no drugs to reverse the cognitive decline and memory loss, and any surgical interventions must be carried out within hours to be effective, according to the current medical wisdom. But a compound previously used to enhance memory in mice may offer hope: Rodents who took it up to a month after a concussion had memory capabilities similar to those that had never been injured.
Extinction that killed the dinosaurs may have led to frog explosion
The ancestors of this red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) may have gotten their big break thanks to the same mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs.
These orbiting black holes may be locked in one of the universe’s tightest embraces
In the heart of a huge, warped galaxy about 750 million light-years from Earth, a dance is unfolding. And the dancers—two of the largest black holes on record—may be orbiting each other in the closest such pas de deux ever reported
Curiosity rover decides—by itself—what to investigate on Mars
NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars in 2012, in part to analyze rocks to see whether the Red Planet was ever habitable (or inhabited). But now the robot has gone off script, picking out its own targets for analysis—precisely as planned.
Computers are starting to reason like humans
How many parks are near the new home you’re thinking of buying? What’s the best dinner-wine pairing at a restaurant? These everyday questions require relational reasoning, an important component of higher thought that has been difficult for artificial intelligence (AI) to master. Now, researchers at Google’s DeepMind have developed a simple algorithm to handle such reasoning—and it has already beaten humans at a complex image comprehension test.
Can fake names tease out NIH reviewer bias?
When the label “white male” is attached to a research grant application, do peer reviewers give it a better score?
Potential building block of life found in very young star system
Two teams of researchers report today that they have detected a prebiotic molecule—a potential building block of life—around newly formed sun-like stars. The molecule, methyl isocyanate, has a structure that is chemically similar to a peptide bond, which is what holds amino acids together in proteins. The finding suggests that quite complex organic molecules may be created very early in the evolution of star systems.