Mistletoe wasn't always for annoying co-workers at office parties, and it wasn't always just desperate men who think it has magical powers. In previous times, it was held in high regard because it was rootless, green and thriving when the tree it was on looked dead. Celtic druids latched onto it as some sort of supernatural fertility symbol - everything was a fertility symbol to druids - and it crept into popular culture from there.
Today we know it is simply a parasite, which isn't extending its use at office Christmas parties too far.
Gun ownership in the United States has gone way up yet murders have plummeted. Though high-profile tragedies get mainstream media attention, the gun ban contingent has lost a lot of ground in culture.
Lots of people say they care about their weight, and there is no end to weight-loss schemes available on websites, but if you ask nutritionists, personal trainers and even some doctors where fat goes when people lose weight, they can't tell you the right answer.
The most common misconception is that the missing mass has been converted into energy or heat. It's physics, after all. Except it isn't, not in the way they think it is. To lose 10 kilograms of fat requires 29 kilograms of oxygen for the body and that metabolic process produces 28 kilograms of carbon dioxide and 11 kilograms of water. It didn't convert to energy, you didn't "burn" fat.
By Jessica Hughes, The Open University
There’s a scene in the film "Love Actually" where a little girl announces that she’ll be playing “first lobster” in the school nativity play. “There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?” asks her surprised mum – causing the girl to sigh in exasperation at such profound levels of parental ignorance.-->
A desire to be part of the 'in crowd' could damage our ability to make the right decisions, according to a paper in the
journal Interface which claims that individuals have evolved to be overly influenced by their neighbors, rather than rely on their own instinct.
As a result, they believe, groups become less responsive to changes in their natural environment. So much for the wisdom of crowds.
Divorce rates have gone down; the oft-cited 1970s statistic that 'half of all marriages end in divorce' was never really correct, but the belief that it was made divorce much more common.
More young people today are also avoiding divorce by avoiding marriage. As a result, more than half of all American children will have an unmarried mother - and regardless of all of the cultural whitewashing and rationalizations that cultural apologists engage in, the absence of a biological father increases the likelihood that a child will exhibit antisocial behaviors like aggression, rule-breaking and delinquency. Young boys in that environment are 40 percent less likely to finish high school or attend college, regardless of race.
Illegal aliens who have been deported from the United States are more than 2.5 times more likely to be rearrested after leaving jail, and are likely to be rearrested much more frequently than those who have never been removed, according to a new RAND Corporation analysis.
The new work bolsters federal immigration plans to focus immigration enforcement efforts on immigrants who previously have been removed, because they pose a bigger criminal threat.
The analysts looked at long-term recidivism rates among two groups of removable immigrants who had been released from the Los Angeles County jail: men who previously had been removed from the United States and men who had never been removed from the nation.
Current carbon capture schemes are not really ready for prime time, plagued by toxicity, corrosiveness and inefficiency, but a team of chemists have invented low-toxicity, highly effective carbon-trapping "sponges" that could lead to increased use of the technology.
Used in natural gas and coal-burning plants, the most common carbon capture method today is called amine scrubbing, in which post-combustion, carbon dioxide-containing flue gas passes through liquid vats of amino compounds, or amines, which absorb most of the carbon dioxide. The carbon-rich gas is then pumped away - sequestered - or reused. The amine solution is extremely corrosive and requires capital-intensive containment.
By Iona McCleery, University of Leeds.
With Christmas almost upon us, there will be plenty of frenzied present shopping and meal planning. Haven’t made that Christmas cake yet? Fear not. If you were preparing the festive meal 600 years ago you’d have far more on your plate.-->
The Paleolithic diet, eating like our ancient ancestors, is a diet fad that seeks to emulate the diet of early humans during the Stone Age. But what does that mean? Almost anything people want because ancestral diets differed substantially over time and geography, notes a paper in The Quarterly Review of Biology.
The review examines anatomical, paleoenvironmental and chemical evidence, as well as the feeding behavior of living animals. While early hominids were not great hunters, and their dentition was not great for exploiting many specific categories of plant food, they were most likely dietary "jacks-of-all-trades."
Leading conservationists from around the world have called for environmental lobbyists to stop blocking nuclear energy in defiance of the science consensus. It's clean, it's green, and it's needed to mitigate climate change and protect biodiversity.
In an open letter to environmentalists, over 60 scientists ask the environmental community to "weigh up the pros and cons of different energy sources using objective evidence and pragmatic trade-offs, rather than simply relying on idealistic perceptions of what is 'green'".
Organized by ecologists Professor Barry Brook and Professor Corey Bradshaw from the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute, the letter supports their recent article (DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12433) in Conservation Biology.
The rate at which carbon emissions might be warm Earth's climate today are a lot like the past. 56 million years in the past.
The authors of a new paper believe the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, or PETM, can provide clues to the future of modern climate change. The good news: Earth and most species survived warming that was a lot more pronounced - up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit - than even the most dour predictions being made now. The bad news: It took 200,000 years to get back to what we now consider normal.
You're probably not racist. As the world has gotten smaller, race as a bias has become less of a thing. Yet there is a test - the Implicit Association Test - that is guaranteed to show you are racist and weak observational studies that use it end up in a lot of mainstream media stories.
Now there may be a way to cure it.
When the Bárðarbunga volcano beneath Iceland's Vatnajökull ice cap reawakened in August 2014, scientists got an opportunity to monitor how the magma flowed through cracks in the rock away from the volcano.
Although it has a long history of eruptions, Bárðarbunga has been increasingly restless since 2005, including a dynamic period in August and September of this year, when more than 22,000 earthquakes were recorded in or around the volcano in just four weeks, due to stress being released as magma forced its way through the rock.
Are umpires biased? There has been sociological woo produced trying to prove they are racist in baseball but a paper has found that if a cricket team has home umpires, some bias does get introduced, at least in Test cricket, the longest form of the sport .
Though drugs spend years in development and hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars are spent in increasingly demanding clinical trials before approval, a lot of prescription drugs get added warning labels - or can even be withdrawn - after release to the public because of hidden toxicity that clinical trials did not find.
A new toxicity test invented at the University of Utah could make it possible to uncover dangerous side effects earlier in pharmaceutical development.
In the United States in the 1930s, climate change and droughts and excessive agricultural practices combined to give the country a 'Dust Bowl' - as farmers became more stressed during the Depression they farmed harder, so ancient agricultural practices got left behind.
Modern agricultural science is a little smarter. Scientists make sure farmers know the right application for pesticides and when it comes to biotech crops, they make sure pests don't develop 'herd immunity'.
Though some see snowstorms and believe global warming has been exaggerated, a new study using predictions of Greenland ice loss and its impact on rising sea levels instead finds that other models may be greatly underestimating it.
The new estimate simulates future distribution of lakes that form on the ice sheet surface from melted snow and ice, called supraglacial lakes. Previously, the impact of supraglacial lakes on Greenland ice loss had been assumed to be small, but the new research has shown that they will migrate farther inland over the next half century, potentially altering the ice sheet flow in dramatic ways.
A new study says that delaying the cutting of the umbilical cord in newborns by two minutes leads to a better development of the baby during the first days of life - by influencing the resistance to oxidative stress in newborns.