Brain Scanning vs. Self-Rated Brain Activity – Neuroskeptic

On Twitter this week I joked that neuroscientists could save money on brain scanners by just asking people how active their brains are. Why do we spend so much on neuroimaging and then rely on self-report measures of the other variables of interest? Why not self-report brain activity, how active is your amygdala 1-10? […]

What It Takes to be a Space Pilot – The Crux

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. The craft is flown by human pilots to space. (Credit: Steve Mann/Shutterstock) Taking control of a 3,000-pound rocket motor launching into an inhospitable environment at speeds exceeding 2,000 mph sounds terrifying to some. But others will spend their whole careers in pursuit of those ephemeral, weightless moments. With the expansion of commercial […]

DNA Analysis of Ancient Rome Reveals a Cosmopolitan Megacity – D-brief

(Credit: leoks/Shutterstock) A new collection of DNA from ancient Romans spanning 12,000 years shows how the population of the empire’s capital shifted along with its politics. Published in Science, the timeline is one of the first to examine what genetic information from archaeological digs says about the region after the time of hunter-gatherers and early […]

Modern Apartments Have More Fungi Than a Jungle Hut – D-brief

Rural residences have less bacteria and fungi than their urban counterparts. (Credit: Elise Lefran/Shutterstock) Moving to the city might mean gaining some unexpected roommates. New research finds that urban dwellings host more fungi and bacteria than their rural counterparts. This is despite the fact that city homes use more cleaning and antifungal products. The finding, […]

No, Houseplants Won’t Purify the Air in Your Home – D-brief

Your houseplants look nice, and they might even make you happier, but they’re unlikely to clean the air. (Credit: Anatolii Mikhailov/Shutterstock) If you go for a walk in the forest, the air feels fresh. People often attribute that to trees’ and plants’ air-purifying abilities. They suck up C02 and exhale oxygen, removing pollutants from the […]

Hubble Catches One Galaxy Floating in a Cosmic City – D-brief

(Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Bellini et al.) The universe is vast, with galaxies containing gas, dust, stars, and planets sprinkled throughout. But this sprinkling isn’t random; although some galaxies are indeed truly alone, most are not congregating through gravity. NGC 1706, captured in this stunning Hubble Space Telescope image, is one of about 50 […]

SpaceX, Boeing Complete Crucial Tests for Crew Capsules – D-brief

Boeing’s Starliner performing the abort pad test on November 4. (Credit: NASA) Boeing and SpaceX, both leaders in the aerospace industry, have completed crucial tests of their crew capsules, which the companies hope will bring American astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in the near future. Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner completed a pad abort test on November […]

How to Stay Fit As You Age — Into Your 60s and Beyond – The Crux

(Credit: Alex Brylov/Shutterstock) Ageing is inevitable and is influenced by many things – but keeping active can slow aging and increase life expectancy. Evidence shows that ageing alone is not a cause of major problems until you are in your mid-90s. And strength, power and muscle mass can be increased, even at this advanced age. […]