• One of the greatest discoveries in the history of evolution research was a smallish fossilized dinosaur called archaeopteryx. It had your basic body; it appeared to have wings.

    And it absolutely had feathers.

    A link – nay, indeed, a missing link – between dinosaurs and birds. An open door to the thrilling idea that ducks on the pond, pigeons on the sidewalk and hawks circling in the sky all had distant dinosaur ancestors.

    New research is beginning to reveal an exciting new aspect of ancient dinosaur feathers – their colours.

    “It all started back in the 80s,” said Ryan Carney, a graduate researcher at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

    “People had found small structures in these fossils of feathers that were thought to be fossil bacteria.”

    But then, seven years ago, a Yale University student named Jakob Pinther revealed these were actually ancient pigment structures. They generate a substance called melanin – the main pigment responsible for colouration throughout the animal

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  • We know life exists on Earth, but we have yet to find it anywhere else.

    We have mathematical projections which forcefully argue the number of stars and planets in the universe is so vast and infinite, life must be all over it – but we have yet to find it anywhere else.

    A new study from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics doesn’t change that. But if life is out there, these findings could go a long way to telling us where to look.

    “We don’t even need to know exactly how it’s spreading,” Harvard researcher Henry Lin explained in a chat with Yahoo Canada.

    “Whether it’s spreading by spaceships colonizing galaxies, or by spores riding on asteroids, it doesn’t really matter. The point is, we now have a generic way to search for the spread of life.”

    And it’s complicated. I’m as likely to walk on another world as I am to give you a simple explanation of what these guys are doing.

    Essentially, though, if we find an Earth-like world out there that might support life, we now have

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  • Does the number seven look red to you? Are letter Es green? You might have synesthesia. This phenomenon presents itself when two (or more, in rare cases) senses combine.

    For synesthetes, the senses arent separate like they are for most people, so they may hear colours, or feel or taste them. For these people, piano music may be pink, sevens might be blue, or ice cream could be yellow or triangular.

    What is synesthesia?

    The word, Greek in origin, means to perceive together,or senses coming together.Syn = together, Esthasia (aesthesis) = sensation.

    Described by Sir Francis Galton (cousin of Charles Darwin), interest in synesthetes was first piqued in the science community in the 1880s. Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory pathway evokes sensations in another sensory modality,according to a ScienceBlog post on neurophilosophy. It is involuntary, constant over time, and can vary considerably from person to person.

    Despite being classified

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  • Former President Jimmy Carter discusses his cancer diagnosis during a press conference Aug. 20. (Getty)Former President Jimmy Carter discusses his cancer diagnosis during a press conference Aug. 20. (Getty)

    When former U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced that not only did he have melanoma, but that it had spread to his liver and brain, many people probably had the same thoughts: Isn’t melanoma skin cancer? And how do you get it on your brain?

    “People think, 'Oh, it's melanoma that's just skin cancer – you cut it out and you don't have to worry about it,'” says Dr. Tim Turnham, executive director of the Melanoma Research Foundation in Washington, D.C.

    “That thought has two implications: it isolates patients – often people diagnosed with melanoma feel people don't understand that they’re dealing with a life threatening illness because they think it's 'Cancer Lite' – but more significantly, it means that people don't understand the risks and don't take appropriate steps to alleviate those risks.”

    One of those risks is that melanoma can metastasize to other, more vulnerable, parts of the body.

    How Melanoma Spreads

    Melanoma is particularly nefarious form of skin cancer. According to The

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  • L: A Launch Arcology from Sim City 2000 (Wikia); R: Concept art for the Essence skyscraper. (BOMP/eVolo)L: A Launch Arcology from Sim City 2000 (Wikia); R: Concept art for the Essence skyscraper. (BOMP/eVolo)
    The arcologies of "Sim City 2000" may not be as far off from appearing in our city skylines as we think.

    A skyscraper design containing various natural landscapes within it, including a desert, a forest, a jungle and a glacier won first place in architecture magazine eVolo's design competition for 2015, presenting a vision of the future that's very similar to the futuristic buildings that players could build in the PC classic “Sim City 2000.” But for the designers of Essence – the name of the winning project – it was a case of two nearly identical ideas being generated entirely independently of one another.

    Sim City did not play any role in the design process. In fact, until today, we had no idea about the arcologies, which had appeared there. Definitely we'll need to extend our fields of interest in order to improve our flexibility, when it comes to architectural design,” says Jakub Pudo, a member of BOMP, the four-person Polish urban architecture collective behind the design.

    Read More »from From Sim to City: Self-contained 'arcology' environments come closer to reality
  • It’s Wednesday: eat more kale because it’s a superfood and super good for you. It’s Thursday: put that kale away, it can cause problems like chronic fatigue and consuming it can be toxic to your health.

    Kale’s utter goodness or fearsome badness should be a fairly simple and straight-forward matter of science. But contrasting studies have both praised and condemned the leafy green.

    How is it possible for science to be wrong so often?

    University of British Columbia microbiologist Rosie Redfield believes that bad science has been around forever and it’s not a new phenomenon. But because of the Internet, when scientists do get their facts wrong, it’s simpler and faster to discover the errors.

    “With social media and with everything online, it’s a lot easier for find things and it’s easier for us to talk to each other,” Redfield said.

    Redfield was one of the main scientists who helped debunk a controversial scientific paper put out by NASA and the journal Science back in 2010. The paper

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  • (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)(Photo courtesy Thinkstock)

    You swear you felt it, that buzzing sensation in your pocket indicating your phone has gone off. Somebody out there needs you and you must respond. You go to reach for your phone and realize it’s not there, so what did you just feel? This phenomenon is known as Phantom Vibration Syndrome and its prevalence has increased as constant mobile connectivity has become the norm.

    People experiencing phantom sensations is not a new occurrence in the medical community as amputees have often felt what is known as the Phantom Limb. Despite the limb being removed from the body, the brain still feels as if it’s there and continues to send the signals it would have sent if the limb still existed.

    “So why is this happening with the phones?” says Dr. Alan Monavvari, Chief of Family Medicine at Markham-Stouffville Hospital and a family practitioner at Discovery Family Health. “Most people tend to have their phones very close to their body. People used to attach it to their waist, now it’s in your

    Read More »from Why we experience Phantom Vibration Syndrome, and how to stop it
  • L: Cecil the lion handout (CP); R: Dead sharks stacked on ship's deck after being hunted off Lima (Reuters).L: Cecil the lion handout (CP); R: Dead sharks stacked on ship's deck after being hunted off Lima (Reuters).

    Recent global outrage over trophy hunting has showcased just how vicious of a predator humans can be. But now, new research released this week in the journal Science offers sobering scientific evidence that proves that humans are indeed a new kind of indiscriminate super-predator, the likes of which the planet has never seen before. And if we continue our killing tendencies, we will be irreparably impacting the sustainability of the worldwide food web and even changing the course of evolution for countless species.

    Humans are one very unique predator and its our high rates of predation on adult age classes of prey that sets in motion all sorts of ecological and evolutionary effects that eventually harm humanity, said co-author of the new study Chris Darimont, Hakai-Raincoast professor at the University of Victoria and science director with Raincoast Conservation in an interview with Yahoo Canada.

    Over thousands of years the human species have evolved into hunter-gatherers, which

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  • (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)(Photo courtesy Thinkstock)

    There are two things about dementia most people would agree on. One is that the thought of losing all or part of your mind is terrifying. The other is it’s a disease of the elderly.

    The first is true, and getting truer. Dementia is taking hold in frightening new numbers.

    As for the second? New research shows dementia is beginning to take hold of people in their 40s.

    Colin Pritchard is a research professor in the faculty of health and social sciences at Bournemouth University in England. He is co-author of a new report – published in Surgical Neurology International – that charts some alarming new trends.

    “The research was actually stimulated by the fact that I had two friends dying from motor neuron disease,” Pritchard told Yahoo Canada.

    “The textbooks, ten years ago, said that occurs in one in 100,000 people. Now, they say one in 50,000.”

    Pritchard, who says he doesn’t know anywhere near 50,000 people, thought this was very unusual.

    “This led to a series of studies looking at

    Read More »from People in their 40s increasingly developing dementia, study confirms
  • Millions of bobbing balls of plastic may help Los Angeles conserve its drinking water but even though Vancouver is in the midst of its own drought conditions, those nifty shade balls, which have been poured into a California reservoir to protect the quality of the system, remain a novelty and not an answer to the city’s water problems.

    “We are not at the point yet here in Canada where we would need to do that but absolutely this year’s drought has opened people’s minds to the realization that we need innovative ideas,” says Robert Haller, executive director of the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, the non-profit national body representing the public sector in the industry.

    Toronto Water’s general manager Lou Di Gironimo told Yahoo Canada the city’s water supply is from Lake Ontario.

    “We have a series of small water storage reservoirs that are all covered. We do not use ‘shade balls’ on top of our water reservoirs.”

    Earlier this week, Los Angeles officials unleashed its latest

    Read More »from Could California’s ‘shade balls’ help Canada’s water woes?


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