Coprolites Give The Straight Poop On Cretaceous Carnivores

Rosary, fir tree and bump-headed lace... you might think those classifications refer to different shapes of seeds or butterfly wing color patterns, or something else that inspires a touch of poetry. Nope. We're talking excrement. Researchers working with hundreds of samples of fossilized feces — coprolites — from a site in Spain were able to reconstruct a rare picture of biodiversity within a freshwater wetlands system more than 125 million years ago. Coprolites are not uncommon in t

Why Are Our Brains So Big, Anyway?

Not to give us a collective swelled head or anything, but the Homo sapiens brain is big. Really big. For years, researchers have puzzled over why our noggin-embiggening occurred: Big brains are, after all, costly to feed. One leading theory held that our brains increased in size to manage the cognitive demands of ever-more complex communications and other social processes. New research suggests, however, that interactions with each other played only a small role compared with the big driv

Debunking the Biggest Myths About ‘Technology Addiction’

How concerned should people be about the psychological effects of screen time? Balancing technology use with other aspects of daily life seems reasonable, but there is a lot of conflicting advice about where that balance should be. Much of the discussion is framed around fighting “addiction” to technology. But to me, that resembles a moral panic, giving voice to scary claims based on weak data. For example, in April 2018, television journalist Katie Couric’s “America Inside Out” program f

Very Bad Wizards Cite Neuroskeptic

I was honored yesterday to learn that I've been featured on popular philosophy and psychology podcast Very Bad Wizards. You can listen to the episode here. In this episode, hosts Tamler Sommers and David Pizarro discuss this blog, but they mainly focus on my tweets. In particular, Sommers and Pizarro pay tribute to some of what I like to think of as my 'wtf' tweets, in which I link to a new scientific paper which is just, well, bizarre or remarkable. Here's a relatively mild exampl

True or false: sex makes your muscles weaker.

According to this study, the answer is False (despite that fact that "Sex has been deemed taboo for athletic performance going back to ancient Rome and Greece, as the act of sex was thought to promote ease and a sense of relaxation.") Read more below! Effect of Sexual Intercourse on Lower Extremity Muscle Force in Strength-Trained Men. BACKGROUND: Sex has been deemed taboo for athletic performance going back to ancient Rome and Greece, as the act of sex was thought to promote ease a

Every-day wonders: the edges of a giant Colorado thunderstorm cell, captured in photo mosaics

The summer monsoon season in Colorado is still probably weeks away, but we got a spectacular preview today As I was leaving Boulder, Colorado this afternoon, heading for home out on the plains at the foot of the Rockies, I looked up and was stopped short by a giant, glowing thunderstorm cell that was building fast, in all dimensions. I've long been enamored of Western skies. That's true in all seasons, each of which brings its own wonders. But there's something particularly special about

Another remarkable time-lapse video shows Hawaii’s volcanic activity from a unique perspective

A 'cloud camera' 40 miles away and high on a mountain captured the eerie glow emanating from continuing volcanic activity Last week I featured time-lapse video capturing the ash plume from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano exploding skyward higher than Mt. Everest. Now, the same camera, located on the Gemini North telescope atop 13,803-foot Mauna Kea, has captured yet another remarkable video. The new time-lapse shows the intense glow from an extensive region of volcanic fissures on Hawaii's Big

Epic Flight Fail? Pterosaur Models Are Wrong, Says Study

Have paleontologists just been winging it? Up to 95 percent of the hip joint reconstructions of pterosaurs and their distant relatives, the most birdlike of dinosaurs, are anatomically impossible, according to new research that used a surprising source. But the study's conclusions, counters a pterosaur expert, should be grounded. Fleshing out an extinct animal from bones alone has always been paleontology's greatest challenge, and mistakes have been made. But a paper published today mak

The Aftermath of Michael Jackson’s Antigravity Lean

In Michael Jackson’s 1987 music video “Smooth Criminal,” the legendary performer leans forward 45 degrees from a straight-up position — and comes back. It’s a feat that seemingly defies both physics and physiology, and the move has become another element of MJ’s aura of mystery. Some type of cinematic or mechanical trick must be responsible, since most people can manage only a 20-degree forward tilt before toppling headlong. Yet Jackson performed the move live on tours around the world fo

The Aftermath of Michael Jackson’s Antigravity Lean

In Michael Jackson’s 1987 music video “Smooth Criminal,” the legendary performer leans forward 45 degrees from a straight-up position — and comes back. It’s a feat that seemingly defies both physics and physiology, and the move has become another element of MJ’s aura of mystery. Some type of cinematic or mechanical trick must be responsible, since most people can manage only a 20-degree forward tilt before toppling headlong. Yet Jackson performed the move live on tours around the world fo

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