Tarantula Terror Study Captures the Ebb & Flow of Panic in the Brain

Posted on Categories Discover Magazine

Step 1: Put study subject in MRI machine. Step 2: Show subject video of a huge, hairy tarantula creeping toward their toes. Step 3: Watch panic light up in the brain. For a study out in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dean Mobbs and colleagues put their subjects through this fright fest to sort out how the brain responds to different parts of a threat. It’s not all about the presence of a creepy crawler, Mobbs found—it’s whether that creepy cr ...read more

New Bragging Rights for Pluto? It May Be the Biggest Dwarf Planet

Posted on Categories Discover Magazine

Pluto’s dinky diameter wasn’t the official reason it was demoted from the planetary club back in 2006, but symbolically, size was the last straw. When Caltech astronomer Mike Brown spotted the object we now call Eris back in 2005 and astronomers figured it to be larger than Pluto, the former ninth planet’s fate was sealed. Now Pluto’s reclassification as a “dwarf planet” and the subsequent public outcry is behind us, but new research suggests that the former p ...read more

Going Direct: Researchers Change Skin Into Blood With No Stops in Between

Posted on Categories Discover Magazine

It may not be as miraculous as turning water into wine, or as wealth-generating as turning dirt into gold, but we still think this is a very cool trick: Researchers have transformed mature skin cells directly into mature blood cells. Crucially, this was done without reverting the cells to a flexible, “pluripotent” stage in which the cells can grow into any form. The technique, described in Nature, could lead to lab-grown blood cells for transfusions and transplants for people with bo ...read more

Big Confusion on Climate Science Communication vs. Activism

Posted on Categories Discover Magazine

The Los Angeles Times story about climate scientists fighting back has gotten tons of attention today–but it’s misleading. It combines together multiple activities and makes it sound like they’re centered at the American Geophysical Union. That’s not the case and the AGU has put out a press release to clarify: An article appearing in the Los Angeles Times, and then picked up by media outlets far and wide, misrepresents the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and a climate s ...read more

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