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The Curious Case of a Man Who Cannot See Simple Digits From 2 to 9

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University recently reported the strange case of a man’s whose rare degenerative brain disease left him unable to distinguish basic numbers from 2 to 9.

After studying an engineering geologist diagnosed with a rare degenerative brain disease called corticobasal syndrome for eight years, researchers published a study which they claim suggests that a brain response to a picture or a word does not necessarily mean that person is aware of it. The protagonist of their research had suffered neurological damage to such an extent that he could not distinguish or reproduce numbers between 2 and 9, nor pictures or words with such digits embedded in them. And yet, electroencephalography (EEG) results showed that his brain was able to properly identify all pictures and words, even id he wasn’t aware of it.

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Concerning Number of Americans Drinking and Gurgling Bleach to Prevent Covid-19

The results of a recently-published survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggest that 39 percent of Americans are using bleach and other high-risk cleaners in improper ways in order to prevent getting infected with the novel coronavirus.

After noticing an unusual spike in calls to poison control center about harmful exposures to household cleaning agents like bleach back in April, CDC researchers assumed the phenomenon was linked to the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection. But in order to get a clearer picture of the situation, the agency conducted an online survey regarding household cleaning knowledge and practices, and got some pretty unexpected results. It turns out some people intentionally gurgle bleach or inhale disinfectant fumes in order to prevent Covid-19.

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Scientists Create Alien-Looking Bioluminescent Plants Reminiscent of ‘Avatar’ Jungles

Stunning-looking luminescent plants have become popular in science-fiction and fantasy films in recent years, but if the recent achievement of an international team of scientists is any indication, self-sustaining bioluminescent plants are already a reality.

In 2017, MIT researchers announced an important breakthrough in their quest to make plants that glow in the dark a reality, but their Plant Nanobionics only made watercress leaves dimly glow for about 3.5 hours. Late last month, a team of 27 scientists published a groundbreaking study documenting their ability to genetically tweak virtually any type of plant and make it sustainably luminescent throughout its entire life cycle. By inserting DNA obtained from bioluminescent mushrooms into the DNA sequence of plants, they managed to create plants that glow orders of magnitude brighter than previously possible.

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Swiss Scientists Create Shimmering Rainbow Chocolate

A group of scientists from ETH Zurich and FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland recently filed a patent for a process that makes chocolates shimmer in rainbow colors without using food coloring.

The story of shimmering rainbow chocolate began on the corridors of a university building, when food scientist Patrick Rühs, materials scientist Etienne Jeoffroy and physicist Henning Galinski started chatting about chocolate during their coffee break. The main focus of their discussion is whether it would be possible to make chocolate in other colors than brown and white, and if so, how. Intrigued by the complexity of the topic, they started looking into chocolate, its properties and what makes it brown. Then they started conducting playful experiments in the kitchen of ETH University.

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ZBiotics – A Probiotic Drink Genetically Engineered to Prevent Hangovers

We humans have been looking for an effective way to prevent or at least treat hangovers for a long time, but one Silicone Valley startup claims to have finally found a way to ease the uncomfortable side effects of drinking.

Zbiotics is the world’s first genetically modified probiotic. It’s not marketed as an explicit cure for hangovers, because they include a wide variety of negative side effects; Downing a small bottle of Zbiotics before your first alcoholic drink of the night has a very specific purpose – to help your body break down acetaldehyde, a by-product of metabolizing ethanol. It’s this toxic compound that is associated with known hangover symptoms like headache, nausea, and heart palpitations.

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The Indonesian Island That Somehow Makes Mammals Smaller

Ever since the remains of “Homo Florensis”, an extinct species of unusually short humans, were discovered on Flores Island, in eastern Indonesia, scientists have been fascinated with this patch of land, which apparently has the power to somehow make mammals shorter and smaller.

It all began in 2004, when the remains of a human who would have been about 1.1 m in height were discovered at Liang Bua cave. Partial skeletons of nine other individuals were subsequently unearthed and analysis showed that they were part of a yet unknown species of the “Homo” genus named Homo Florensis. It’s estimated that they lived on Flores Island roughly 190,000 to 50,000 years ago. With an average height of just 1.1 meters, they were shorter than modern pygmies which earned them the nickname of ‘real-life hobbits’. Scientists believed they were the ancestors of the pygmies currently living on Flores Island, which made perfect sense, only it turns out that the two have nothing in common. If anything, both species had been independently “shrunk” by the island itself.

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The Immortal Jellyfish – The Only Creature Known to Be Able to Live Forever

Turritopsis dohrnii, a small species of jellyfish native to the Mediterranean, is commonly known as the “immortal jellyfish, and it literally lives up to its name. Possessing the ability to revert to its a sexually immature stage instead of succumbing to an inevitable death, this tiny creature holds the secret to true biological immortality.

Humans have fantasized about immortality since the beginning of time. We have countless myths and stories about it, but until the mid-1990s we had yet to find any proof that eternal life on this earth was possible. In 1996, researchers published a study about a small species of jellyfish capable of reverting from an adult, solitary individual to its juvenile colonial state, thus cheating death and achieving potential immortality. Just as long as it wasn’t consumed by predators and it could be sustained by its environment, the jellyfish could repeat this cycle indefinitely and live forever. To this day, the immortal jellyfish remains the only known immortal animal.

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Alleged “Sonic Attacks” at Cuban Embassy Shrunk Victims’ Brains, Study Suggests

Between 2016 and 2018 a number of US and Canadian diplomats working at an embassy in Havana, Cuba, reported symptoms like headaches, nausea and memory loss after hearing mysterious noises. The phenomenon became known as the “Cuban Sonic Attacks”, but Havana authorities have so far denied any wrongdoing. However, a recent study suggests something did affect the diplomats, as dozens of them showed structural changes to their brains, such as a 5 percent shrinkage.

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the disturbing study analyzed advanced MRI scans of the brains of 40 diplomats that reported strange symptoms while being stationed in Havana, and compared them to those of 48 healthy people with similar ages and ethnic backgrounds. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that the whole white matter volume -areas of the brain central nervous system that affects learning – of the affected diplomats was roughly five percent smaller than that of healthy individuals. Authors added that connectivity differences in the brain’s auditory and visuospatial areas were also noticed between diplomats and control participants.

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You Have Tiny Mites Living Inside Your Face And There’s Nothing You Can Do About It

Did you know you have dozens of tiny eight-legged arachnids living inside the pores of your face, feeding on the sebum secreted by the skin and mating on your face as you sleep? Don’t freak out, though, we all have them, and there’s nothing we can do to get rid of them.

Demodex folliculorum, or “face mites” as they’re commonly known, are tiny, tick-like arachnids that can only survive on the skin of humans, particularly their face. They measure around 0.3 millimeters and spend most of their lives buried head-down inside the hair follicles around those very fine, peach fuzz-like hairs that grow on our faces. They feed on sebum, that greasy, oil-like substance that our skin constantly produces to protect itself from drying out, so the highest density of face mites can be found on the oiliest parts of your face – around the eyes, nose and mouth.

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Golden Blood – The World’s Rarest and Most Precious Blood Type

Golden Blood, or Rh-null blood is an extremely rare blood type that has only been identified in 43 people around the world in the last 50 years. It is sought after both for scientific research and blood transfusions, but also incredibly dangerous to live with for the people who have it, because of its scarcity.

To understand golden blood it’s important to understand how blood types work. Human blood may look the same in everyone, but it’s actually very different. On the surface of every one of our red blood cells we have up to 342 antigens – the molecules that trigger the production of certain specialized proteins called antibodies – and it’s the absence of certain antigens that determines a person’s blood type. Around 160 of these antigens are considered common, meaning they are found on the red blood cells of most humans on the planet. If someone lacks an antigen that is found in 99 percent of all humans then their blood is considered rare, and if they lack an antigen found in 99.99 percent of humans, their blood is considered very rare.

The 342 known antigens belong to 35 blood group systems, of which the Rh, or ‘Rhesus’, system is the largest, with 61 antigens. It’s not uncommon for humans to be missing one of these antigens. For example, around 15 percent of Caucasians miss the D antigen, the most significant Rh antigen, making them RhD negative. In contrast, Rh negative blood types are much less common in Asian populations (0.3 percent). But what if a human is missing all of the 61 Rh antigens?

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Research Suggests Eating a Side of Dirt with Your Food Can Help You Lose Weight

Researchers at the University of South Australia claim to have discovered clay materials in a certain type of dirt, which, if consumed with an evening meal can help soak up fat droplets from the gut.

Obesity costs the global economy an estimated $2 trillion every year, and countries around the world spend even more trying to prevent it, but a recently-published Australian study suggests that finding a cure to this modern-day epidemic could be as easy as dirt, literally. Researchers led by PhD candidate Tahnee Dening were investigating how clay materials can improve drug delivery when they discovered that one of the materials she was testing had the remarkable ability to soak up fat droplets in the gut. The serendipitous discovery immediately signalled Denning that they were on to something big, maybe even a cure for obesity.

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Chinese Scientist Claims to Have Created the World’s First Genetically Edited Babies

Chinese researcher He Jiankui recently shocked the entire world after revealing that he had altered the DNA of twin girl before birth, to make them immune to the HIV virus and AIDS. If his claims prove to be true, these twins would be the world’s first genetically-edited babies.

Professor He revealed his controversial genetic editing work earlier this week. In a video posted on YouTube, he claims to have used gene-editing tools to eliminate a gene called CCR5 in order to make a pair of twin girls, called Lulu and Nana, resistant to the HIV virus, should they ever come in contact with it. Speaking at a genome summit in Hong Kong, on Wednesday, the Chinese scientist defended his work and talked about the stigma attached to HIV/Aids in China. However, many of his peers believe that He Jiankui has gone too far, warning that meddling with the genome of an embryo could cause long-term problems not only for the individual, but entire future generations.

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Swiss Cheese Maker Plays Music to His Cheese to Make It Taste Better

A cheese maker from the Emmental region of Switzerland has been experimenting with various musical genres to see if they can make his cheese taste better.

Since September, cheese maker Beat Wampfler has been blasting musical masterpieces by legends such as Led Zeppelin and A Tribe Called Quest to his wheels of Emmental cheese, hoping to prove that music can influence the development, characteristics and, most importantly, the flavor of the cheese. He is convinced that humidity, temperature and nutrients are not the only things that can have an impact on the taste of cheese, and that sounds, ultrasounds and music can make an impact on flavor as well.

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Reverse Pinocchio – Researchers Find That Your Nose Shrinks When You Lie

Pinocchio may be just a children’s fairy tale, but Spanish scientists at the University of Granada recently investigated the so-called ‘Pinocchio effect’ and found that our noses don’t grow when we tell a lie, but actually shrink a bit.

Dr Emilio Gómez Milán and his team developed a lie detector test that used thermography to tell if people were lying, and found that whenever participants in their research were being untruthful, the temperature of the tip of their nose dropped up to 1.2 degrees Celsius, while the temperature of their forehead increased up to 1.5C. Scientist also found that drop in temperature at nose level actually caused it to slightly shrink, although the difference is undetected by the human eye.

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Sans Forgetica – A Font Designed to Help You Remember What You Read

Developed by researchers and designers specializing in typography and behavioral science, Sans Forgetica is a new font designed to help readers better remember the information they read by forcing them to spend a bit more time on each word.

The design of Sans Forgetica is based on a font called Albion, but with substantial modifications to reduce familiarity and attain its goal of engaging the brain more and helping the reader retain more information. It was developed by scientists at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, who believe it could help students studying for exams.

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