Culture

AUSTIN, Texas - The debate in sleep science has gone on for a generation. People and other animals sicken and die if they are deprived of sleep, but why is sleep so essential?

Psychiatrists Chiara Cirelli and Giulio Tononi of the Wisconsin Center for Sleep and Consciousness proposed the "synaptic homeostasis hypothesis" (SHY) in 2003. This hypothesis holds that sleep is the price we pay for brains that are plastic and able to keep learning new things.

A few years ago, they went all in on a four-year research effort that could show direct evidence for their theory.

Animal traffickers are taking advantage of remote ivory trade routes to smuggle pangolins - one of the world's most endangered animals - out of Central Africa, a new study has found.

The solitary mammals - sought after for their meat and scales - are being transported across remote forest borders in a largely successful attempt to avoid increased law enforcement, according to groundbreaking research led by the University of Stirling.

In popular culture, asteroids play the role of apocalyptic threat, get blamed for wiping out the dinosaurs - and offer an extraterrestrial source for mineral mining.

But for researcher Nicholas Hud, asteroids play an entirely different role: that of time capsules showing what molecules originally existed in our solar system. Having that information gives scientists the starting point they need to reconstruct the complex pathway that got life started on Earth.

Multicellular organisms like ourselves depend on a constant flow of information between cells, coordinating their activities in order to proliferate and differentiate. Deciphering the language of intercellular communication has long been a central challenge in biology. Now, Caltech scientists have discovered that cells have evolved a way to transmit more messages through a single pathway, or communication channel, than previously thought, by encoding the messages rhythmically over time.

Stanford, CA--Roots face many challenges in the soil in order to supply the plant with the necessary water and nutrients. New work from Carnegie and Stanford University's José Dinneny shows that one of these challenges, salinity, can cause root cells to explode if the risk is not properly sensed. The findings, published by Current Biology, could help scientists improve agricultural productivity in saline soils, which occur across the globe and reduce crop yields.

Northbrook, Ill., Feb. 14, 2018 -- UL, the science safety company, and Johns Hopkins University have embarked on joint research that has resulted in findings that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is superior in finding toxic substances to traditional animal testing. Beyond being more effective, UL's Cheminformatics REACHAcross™ software computer processing can be performed in a matter of seconds and at a fraction of the cost to traditional testing methods.

If we have learned anything on social media in 2017 it's that everything isn't okay. Far from it. But we are finally starting to talk about it - according to researchers at Drexel University who study our relationships with social network sites. Their latest work, an examination of how and why women decide to disclose pregnancy loss on Facebook, sheds light on a shift in our social media behavior that is making it easier for people to come forward and share their painful, personal and often stigmatized stories.

NEW YORK - It's an age-old debate for coffee lovers. Which is better: Arabica beans with their sweeter, softer taste, or the bold, deep flavor of Robusta beans? A new study by WCS, Princeton University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison appearing in the journal Scientific Reports has taken the question to unlikely coffee aficionados: birds.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.--Try a quick experiment: Take two flashlights into a dark room and shine them so that their light beams cross. Notice anything peculiar? The rather anticlimactic answer is, probably not. That's because the individual photons that make up light do not interact. Instead, they simply pass each other by, like indifferent spirits in the night.

The larger an area, the more species of wild bees are needed to pollinate crops, a Rutgers University study shows.

The findings appear today in the journal Science.