Your Kitchen Sponge is Covered With Bacteria — Don’t Bother Cleaning It

If bacteria all glowed the way some bioluminescent species do, you'd probably go blind walking into your kitchen. An abundance of organic material and damp surfaces allows microbial life to flourish around spaces where food is prepared, but one particular item shines brightest in the bacterial firmament. It's the kitchen sponge, that workhorse of culinary clean-ups, and it is absolutely overrun with bacteria. Kitchen sponges have been picked out as bacterial strongholds for quite a while,

Noru transforms from a wandering weakling into a roaring typhoon that is now churning towards Japan

But forecast tracks for Noru are literally all over the map, so it's too soon to tell whether the storm will make landfall there For ten days, Noru meandered aimlessly in the Pacific at no more than Category 1 strength, doing a big lazy do-si-do with a tropical storm but otherwise seemingly going nowhere. By Sunday, Noru had weakened into a tropical storm. But as it wandered southward, it entered an environment with low wind shear plus very warm surface waters at close to 30°C (86°F).

Can PhD Students Write Review Papers?

In a post earlier this month, I discussed a new Journal of Neuroscience paper on statistical power in neuroscience. That paper was a response to and reanalysis of a previous article, and in my post I noted my surprise that the new paper hadn't appeared in Nature Reviews: Neuroscience (NRN), where the original paper had been published. It turns out there's a bit of a backstory here. According to the senior author of the new paper, Jon Roiser, his group did want to submit to NRN, but th

Almost without warning, Tropical Storm Emily formed off the Florida coast and made landfall just south of Tampa Bay

Where the heck did this storm come from?! Seemingly out of the blue, Tropical Storm Emily has spun up off Florida's Gulf Coast and made landfall just south of Tamp this morning. Where the heck did this storm come from? At 2 p.m. EDT on Sunday, the National Hurricane Center's Tropical Weather Outlook noted that something was brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. But the outlook also noted that upper-level winds were not conducive to anything significant developing: A tropical wave located sever

WATCH: Satellite imagery shows hurricane-like whirlpools swirling in the atmosphere along the California coast

These intriguing features form regularly in the summer. They may look like mini-hurricanes — but looks are deceiving. From an airplane, they can look like all the world like mini-hurricanes swirling the clouds above the ocean off the California coast — whirlpools with eye-like features in the center. Check it out: But these vortices are actually eddies in the atmosphere, not hurricanes. They often form as winds interact with C

XPRIZE Enlists Science Fiction Advisors to Dream Bigger

The world of 20 years ago would probably seem unrecognizable to many who have grown with Internet and mobile services enabling an always-connected, everything-on-demand lifestyle. Now imagine hitting fast forward and teleporting 20 years into the future to consider how science and technology may have shaped society in the world of 2037. That's the premise for an XPRIZE competition backed by some of the finest storytellers turned science fiction advisors. The XPRIZE Foundation is more know

Are Underpowered Studies Ever Justified?

Is a small scientific study better than none at all? A provocative piece in Frontiers in Psychology raises the question of whether we should ever do under-powered studies. The authors are Dutch researchers Rik Crutzen and Gjalt-Jorn Y. Peters. Crutzen and Peters begin by questioning the idea that even a little evidence is always valuable. Taking the example of a study that only manages to recruit a handful of patients because it's studying a rare disease, the authors say that: Underp

FDA to Cut Nicotine In Cigarettes to ‘Non-Addictive’ Levels

The FDA today announced plans to reduce levels of nicotine in cigarettes, a move that is aimed at lowering smoking rates in the U.S. In a press release, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the move will cut the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to "non-addictive" levels, although he did not specify what that meant. The agency plans to issue an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) and establish a period for public and commercial input. "The overwhelming amount of death and dis

Three Kinds of Human Smiles

There are three basic types of human smile: "reward", "affiliative" and "dominance" smiles. That's according to a new paper by psychologists Magdalena Rychlowska and colleagues. Here's the authors' illustration of the types, as posed by actors: Reward smiles, the authors say, are used to signal enjoyment: Reward smiles are displayed to reward the self or other people and to communicate positive experiences or intentions... the reward smile may have evolved from the play face of primat

Celebrating Shark Week with Sevengill Sharks

This week is Shark Week so we wanted to celebrate by returning to three posts written about Sevengill Sharks and ways you can support their conservation through the Sevengill Sharks Tracking Project.  The first post (seen below) was published in 2013 with others following in 2015 and 2016.  Not really into carnivorous fish? Check out SciStarter's Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there's something for everyone!By Ashley Rose

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