The Week: Most Recent Science Posts recent posts.en-usTue, 21 Oct 2014 08:44:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Science Posts from THE WEEKTue, 21 Oct 2014 08:44:00 -0400Why some men develop signs of pregnancy<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Harry Ashby, the 29-year-old security guard who was signed off work with morning sickness, cravings, a growing stomach and breasts during his girlfriend's pregnancy, was told he had Couvade syndrome.</p><p>Couvade is an involuntary manifestation of pregnancy in men with a partner who is expecting a baby &mdash; sometimes called "sympathetic pregnancy." It isn't a medically recognized physical or mental disorder, and it isn't explained by injury or illness.</p><p>A range of "pregnancy-related" physical and psychological symptoms include abdominal pain and bloating, back pain, pseudocyesis (euphemistically...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Arthur BrennanTue, 21 Oct 2014 08:44:00 -0400How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy<img src="" /></P><p>If you're reading this, it's possible you'll live for a few hundred years. Maybe even thousands. Even better: you could live those years at your peak physical state.</p><p>At first glance, that's an absurd statement, going against the experience of all human history. However, Oxford University's Aubrey de Grey, a leading theoretician of aging, believes there is a 50 percent chance that someone alive today will live for 1,000 years.</p><p>Aging, according to de Grey, is essentially the lifelong accumulation of molecular and cellular damage throughout the body. Using stem cells, hormone therapies, anti-aging...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/nicholas-warino" ><span class="byline">Nicholas Warino</span></a>Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:50:00 -0400These researchers have a novel way to classify every city<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Cities touch you, each in their own special way. Walk its streets, and Seattle feels different than Berlin or Johannesburg or Tokyo. Each has its own fingerprint.</p><p>Still, those fingerprints have just four types, exemplified by Buenos Aires, Athens, New Orleans, and Mogadishu, argue researchers R&eacute;mi Louf and Marc Barthelemy.</p><p>Louf and Barthelemy trained in physics but have an ongoing interest in how one part of a city's core infrastructure &mdash; its streets &mdash; evolves and how that evolution relates to, say, where people live in relation to work. It's part of an emerging science of...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Nathan CollinsFri, 17 Oct 2014 09:23:00 -0400Inside the rise of embryo adoption<img src="" /></P><p>Odessa Kershner is five weeks pregnant. However her babies, possibly triplets, have been inside her body for only three. And they're technically adopted. <em><br /></em></p><p>Here's how that's possible.</p><p>She and her husband, Jeff, have wanted more children for years. But Jeff, a computer programmer for the Oregon Department of Transportation, struggles with Crohn's disease and colitis, which they were just beginning to understand could be transmitted genetically after the birth of their biological daughters. Besides, they had always felt called to adopt.</p><p>Despite their qualifications as a stable, loving family, adoption...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/therese-oneill" ><span class="byline">Therese Oneill</span></a>Fri, 17 Oct 2014 06:12:00 -0400The science of autumn colors<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Whether you make a point of going on leaf-peeping excursions or just enjoy the turning leaves shading your street, you probably wonder what the story is behind the autumn palette of maples, oaks, birches, and other deciduous trees. The answer lies in biochemistry.</p><p><br /></p><p>The cycle of colors in the leaves of deciduous trees is influenced by weather and temperature (more on that later), but one of the primary drivers is the lengths of nights and days, which govern a tree's growth cycle. As nights start getting longer, deciduous trees start to form what are called <strong>abscission layers</strong> at the intersection...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Roxanne Palmer and Julie RossmanThu, 16 Oct 2014 12:49:00 -0400All the diseases you should worry about at least as much as Ebola<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Ebola is serious business in the United States, particularly if you're in the media. Turn on a TV and you have 24-hour Ebola coverage on three cable networks, with anchors breathlessly discussing everything from your pet's role in spreading Ebola to any number of alerts, threats, and false alarms for air travel passengers.</p><p>The Ebola virus has killed exactly one person in a country of over 316 million.</p><p>While worldwide it's a true threat (the WHO just called it "the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times"), Ebola has yet to pose the same kind of danger in the States. Indeed...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Gabriel BellWed, 15 Oct 2014 16:29:00 -0400The personality types of successful poker players, according to science<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Sure, you've got to know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em.</p><p>But more importantly, you need to have the emotional temperament to follow through on that strategy, even when the stakes are high and the pressure is on.</p><p>That's the conclusion of a newly published study that examines the personality types of successful poker players. Confirming the clich&eacute;, it finds such people tend to be cool, calm, and difficult to rattle.</p><p>Writing in the journal <em>Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking,</em> a research team led by the University of Helsinki's Michael Laakasuo suggests such steadiness...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Tom JacobsTue, 14 Oct 2014 14:13:00 -0400How moms change brains<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>For little kids, seeing mom or dad nearby is a calming influence, maybe the difference between between perfect calm and a full-bore freakout. It's as if having a trusted caregiver nearby transforms children from scared toddlers into confident adolescents. And in a way, a new report suggests, that's what having mom around does to a kid's brain.</p><p>When they're first born and for years after, infants and young children can't do a whole lot by themselves. They can't eat on their own, they aren't very good at managing their emotions, and it takes a while for them to learn how to dress themselves. Most...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Nathan CollinsMon, 13 Oct 2014 08:52:00 -0400The robots of resistance<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>August 2005: Willcox Playa, Arizona. The air was hot and full of wind, the ground hard and full of cracks, and an aircraft of sorts was flying directly at Josh Levinger's chest.</p><p>It was, put mildly, irregular in composition. Its fuselage was a blue, five-gallon water cooler bottle. Its two three-liter ballast tanks once contained soda, and its aluminum propeller guard came from a bicycle. The engine originally belonged to a weed-whacker and the fabric wing overhead was designed for kite surfing. The machine's name was Freedom Flies, and almost every part of it was borrowed or homemade.</p><p>Of the...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Luke YoquintoFri, 10 Oct 2014 11:55:00 -0400This is your brain on dogs<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Many dog owners feel like their pets are like their children &mdash; and your brain seems to think so, too. In a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital investigated differences in brain activity when women volunteers viewed pictures of their dogs, their children, and unfamiliar dogs and children. What they found suggests that the bond between human and pup tugs at some of the same heartstrings &mdash; or rather, brainstrings &mdash; as the bond between mother and child.</p><p>The MGH team analyzed functional MRI data for 14 women, each with at least...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Roxanne PalmerThu, 09 Oct 2014 08:25:00 -0400