By Adam Reyer, Project Director for Global Fishing Watch
Hundreds of millions of people depend on the ocean for their livelihoods, and almost 3 billion rely on it as a protein source. But countless threats — overfishing, destructive fishing practices, bycatch, dishonest catch reporting, habitat destruction — threaten our oceans and the people who depend on them. It’s an economic problem, too: illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is a universal problem that accounts ...read more
The Brains vs Artificial Intelligence competition at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. (Credit: Carnegie Mellon University)
Roughly a year ago, to the day, Google researchers announced their artificial intelligence, AlphaGo, had mastered the ancient game of Go. At the time, Discover wrote that there was still one game that gave computers fits: poker.
Late Monday night, a computer program designed by two Carnegie Mellon University researchers beat four of the world’s top no-li ...read more
In the long view, modern history is the story of increasing rights of control over your body – for instance, in matters of reproduction, sex, where you live and whom you marry. Medical experimentation is supposed to be following the same historical trend – increasing rights of autonomy for those whose bodies are used for research.
Indeed, the Nuremberg Code, the founding document of modern medical research ethics developed after the Second World War in response to Nazi medical exper ...read more
Maybe you’re feeling like the animal you most identified with in previous years (panda bear in snow, puggle, Betty White) just isn’t adequate for 2017. If that’s the case, here are three creatures that would like to apply for the job. Only one is venomous.
An adorbs hermit crab with candy-cane stripes
Are you one of those people who wishes Christmas could be year round? Cute but a homebody? Friendly with creatures that others con ...read more
A slice of the 195-million-year-old fossilized rib of Lufengosaurus reveals vascular canals, many of which contain hematite, probably derived from the dinosaur’s blood when it was alive. Credit: Robert Reisz.
We know the chances of finding dinosaur DNA are virtually nil. Despite recent advances, the oldest genetic material of any animal that researchers have successfully extracted and sequenced is about 700,000 years old (Note: still impressive. Most impressive). DNA degrades and gets con ...read more
A new paper challenges a decades-old theory in neuroscience: Split brain: divided perception but undivided consciousness
According to the famous work of Roger Sperry and Michael Gazzaniga, “split brain” patients seem to experience a split in consciousness: the left and the right side of their brain can independently become aware of, and respond, to stimuli. Split brain patients are those who underwent surgery to sever the corpus callosum, the nerve tract connecting the two hemispher ...read more
The New England Journal of Medicine has released a remarkable set of images and a not-safe-for-the-squeamish video in their weekly feature “Images in Clinical Medicine” introducing the world to a gentleman infected with a six-foot parasitic worm.
A 48 year old man presented to his physician in New Delhi, India with a complaint of abdominal pain for two months associated with lethargy. A physical exam found the patient to be pale in appearance; lab work confirmed anemia. Th ...read more
(Credit: Claudio Divizia/Shutterstock)
To study the ancient history of the Earth, we should look to the moon.
A new study from Japanese researchers reveals that for the past 2.4 billion years, the moon has been bathed in a stream of oxygen particles stripped from the Earth’s atmosphere. By combining measurements taken with the lunar orbiter Kaguya and studies of lunar rocks, researchers prove that Earth contributes it’s own unique whiff of elements to the moon’s surface. The ...read more
Say hello to my little friend (and our great-granddaddy to the nth), Saccorhytus coronarius. Credit: S Conway Morris/Jian Han.
Who’s your daddy, give or take a few hundred million years? Researchers believe a 540-million-year-old creature unearthed in China is our oldest ancestor, and I can definitely see the family resemblance.
Publishing today in Nature, the study introducing us to Saccorhytus coronarius places the tiny creature in the earliest days of the Cambrian Period, som ...read more
The deadly boomslang, the snake fingered in the death of Dr. Karl Schmidt. Photo by William Warby
The actual bite happened in less than a second. Dr. Karl Schmidt, an American herpetologist at the Field Museum in Chicago, had been sent a live snake to identify by his colleague, Richard Marlin Perkins (then the director of the Lincoln Park Zoo). The animal appeared to be a boomslang (Dispholidus typhus), a kind of rear-fanged African snake, but there was something a bit odd about its scales ...read more
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