Science & Tech

As an enthusiastic academic, I can’t help but love the natural and even theoretical sciences. From astronomy to geology and even physics, there’s virtually no science I don’t enjoy, which is why I write about a lot of scientific topics that are posted here in Science & Tech.


Getting to know super-Earths and a mysterious exoplanet

Results from NASA’s Kepler mission — launched to discover Earth-like terrestrial planets that orbit within or near the habitable zone of their host stars — have indicated that the most common planets in the galaxy are so-called super-Earths. Characterized as being larger in size than Earth but smaller than Neptune, there are no super-Earths in our own solar system, so astronomers have been using powerful space telescopes to learn more about these mysterious worlds. Most recently, the Hubble telescope was used to study the planet HD 97658b, which resides in the Leo constellation. With results from the Kepler mission and observations from Hubble, astronomers are making more accurate inferences as to not only the planetary composition of our galaxy, but also...
Napping humpback whale

Scientists get rare footage of sleepy whale taking a nap

Did you know that humpback whales are the farthest traveling mammals on the planet, capable of journeying some 3,000 miles per year as part of their annual migration? All that swimming is enough to make any whale absolutely pooped. While on an expedition to the Caribbean earlier this year, researcher Kieran Bown of PangaMX (follow them on Facebook here) and his team saw the tail of a humpback whale sticking out of the water some distance away. At first they were afraid the whale was dead or grievously injured as the tail wasn’t moving. When they went in to investigate the motionless animal, they found that she wasn’t dead, but rather just dead tired. “The Humpback was sound asleep, vertically...

No single explanation for the biodiversity on Madagascar, experts say

Ask any biologist or student of the natural sciences and they’ll agree: Madagascar is a peculiar menagerie of unique creatures, many of which live there and nowhere else on the planet. And according to a group of scientists, there’s no one reason or “one-size-fits-all” model to explain the biodiversity on Madagascar. Madagascar, located 300 miles east of the African coast and separated from the mainland for 80 million years, has provided its residents, both flora and fauna, with a totally isolated and near-undisturbed environment in which they could evolve and develop. And the island has captivated the imaginations of scientists and naturalists worldwide since its official colonization in the late 18th century due to the unparalleled diversity found there. For...

Blame your genes for your coffee addiction, study suggests

“I’m a coffee addict, but it’s not my fault. It’s in my genes.” That may sound like a joke, but actually it’s long been accepted that there are genetic links to our coffee-drinking habits. And according to a recent genome-wide meta analysis, eight genetic variants–two of which were already known and six of which were identified in this study–in particular have been identified as being correlated with habitual coffee drinking. Genetic Link to Coffee Addiction Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital looked at the genetics of 20,000 European and African American coffee drinkers in combination with the results of two dozen other studies for a total of more than 120,000 subjects. The participants described...
Evolution of man

The (Sorta) Modernist’s Approach to Contemporary Anthropology

Asking yourself, “What are the current trends in anthropological research today?” I’m sure if you weren’t before, you are by now. And that’s an excellent question… Throughout academia, there is an increasing demand for more holistic scientific research. Indeed, current research in anthropology increasingly references other fields—i.e., economics, psychology, sociology, biology, etc.—in order to make educated ‘guess-timations’ about prehistoric populations; however, as modern research incorporates approaches from various fields, currents trends seem to show that much current anthropological research focuses on ‘exotic’ samples in the context of more culturally relevant (and specific) topics (Kroff 2006). As one would expect, many topics addressed in anthropological research will vary based on the scientific and social issues considered important in the home country,...
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