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Producing biodegradable plastic just got cheaper, greener

Biodegradable drinking cups or vegetable wrapping foil: the bioplastic known as polylactic acid (PLA) is already a part of our everyday lives. And yet, PLA is not yet considered a full alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics, as it is costly to produce. Researchers now present a way to make the PLA production process more simple and waste-free.

Learning from biology to accelerate discovery

A new review paper explores the strategies nature employs to achieve different functions and the mechanics at play within those functions. Surveying everything from sea cucumbers and Venus flytraps to human muscles and trees, the review paper broadly explores the strategies that biology employs to create different functions and the mechanics at play within those functions.

The Obamacare Giveaway, Wisconsin Edition: Earn $62k and Get Free Insurance

The King v. Burwell decision last month highlighted the role of the premium tax credit (i.e. “subsidies”) in Obamacare. I have examined the structure of the subsidies quite carefully, and was shocked by their size. I’ll try to educate you about this, state-by-state. Show More Summary

Big Question: How Does Sunscreen Shield Your Skin With Science?

You trust sunscreen, and it comes through. But have you ever wondered how the stuff works? The post Big Question: How Does Sunscreen Shield Your Skin With Science? appeared first on WIRED.


As much as it hurts, the Japanese guy is right: the American robot needs to be cooler.

Grey squirrels are quick learners, study shows

They may be viewed by some as an invasive species or a commonplace pest of public parks, but a new study has shown that grey squirrels are actually quick learners capable of adapting tactics to improve efficiency and reap the best rewards.

Tundra study uncovers impact of climate warming in the Arctic

Significant changes in one of Earth's most important ecosystems are not only a symptom of climate change, but may fuel further warming, research suggests. One of the biggest studies to date of key vegetation in the Arctic tundra provides strong evidence that dramatic changes in the region are being driven by climate warming.

Spinal Cord Injury, Gut Microbiome, and White-Plague Coral Disease: the PLOS Comp Biol June Issue

Here are some highlights from June’s PLOS Computational Biology   Inference of Network Dynamics and Metabolic Interactions in the Gut Microbiome The community of bacteria that live in our intestines (called the “gut microbiome”) is important to normal intestinal function, … Continue reading »

Fundamental beliefs about atherosclerosis overturned

Doctors' efforts to battle the dangerous atherosclerotic plaques that build up in our arteries and cause heart attacks and strokes are built on several false beliefs about the fundamental composition and formation of the plaques, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine shows. Show More Summary

How To Get Rid of Negative Thoughts

Repressing thoughts doesn't work so here are 8 ways to get rid of negative thoughts. » Continue reading: How To Get Rid of Negative Thoughts » Read, the new site from PsyBlog's author Related articles: How To Get Rid...Show More Summary

Map of Bioarchaeology News Coverage (Beta)

Through the magic of Twitter and Google, as well as a good two hours of data entry, I have made an interactive map of the articles I've written at Forbes. You should be able to move around the map and click on the various symbols to get headlines, images, time period, and links to learn more. Show More Summary

Good quantum states and bad quantum states

It is impossible to obtain all information about a large quantum system consisting of hundreds or thousands of particles. A new technique allows to describe such systems in terms of 'continuous matrix product states.' With this approximation, the relevant information about a quantum system can be obtained by only a few measurements.

Modified mosquitoes begin blitz on dengue in Brazilian city

An eradication programme in Piracicaba, Brazil, is using genetically modified mosquitoes to control disease-carrying ones, and Florida could be next

“Why Company Towns Are Bad for People”

Must read Victor Valle at Zocalo on the most recent “election” in LA County’s “City of Industry. … Continue reading ?

The Internet Encounters This Centipede, Freaks Out

Chilopodophobes, look away. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department came across a giant redheaded centipede on a broom in Garner State Park and posted a photo of the creepy-crawly to Facebook last week. It might just show up in your worst nightmares. The Texas Redhead centipede has a long black...

Five-day space weather forecasts?

Coronal mass ejections (CME), billion-ton solar plasma eruptions moving towards Earth at up to 2500 kilometers per second, can cause extensive and expensive disruption by damaging power, satellite and communication networks. A UK consortium...Show More Summary

Reconstructing the Michelangelo bronzes

Engineers, imagers and anatomists are helping Art historians to try to understand how the two mysterious Renaissance bronzes were made and why they look the way they do by making accurate replicas of the originals. The latest technology...Show More Summary

Whew! Climate change not likely to cause ‘grolar bears’

From the University of Washington comes this sigh of relief. Risk of interbreeding due to climate change lower than expected One of the questions raised by climate change has been whether it could cause more species of animals to interbreed. Two species of flying squirrel have already produced mixed offspring because of climate change, and…

Extra DNA acts as a 'spare tire' for our genomes

Carrying around a spare tire is a good thing -- you never know when you'll get a flat. Turns out we're all carrying around 'spare tires' in our genomes, too. Today researchers report that an extra set of guanines (or 'G's) in our DNA may function just like a 'spare' to help prevent many cancers from developing.

Monday assorted links

1. Trolls are no longer welcome in New Zealand. 2. Can a correlation between intelligence and prosociality explain the prevalence of left wing views in academia?  Not my view, but an interesting hypothesis. 3. Feuding ukelele bands battle it out in court. 4. Who owns your face? 5. Big health insurance rate increases are due […]

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