Pentagon to analyze grantsmaking process for gender bias

The Department of Defense (DOD) will start collecting data on the gender of its grant applicants and award recipients to help determine whether women in science and engineering face any discrimination in the grantsmaking process. Last year, three members of the U.S. House of Representat...

Feature: Is Brazil prepared for a ‘decade of contacts’ with emerging tribes?

BRASÍLIA—In a spacious, art-filled apartment in Brasília, 75-year-old Sydney Possuelo takes a seat near a large portrait of his younger self. On the canvas, Possuelo stares with calm assurance from the stern of an Amazon riverboat, every bit the famous sertanista, or Amazon frontiersman...

X-rays reveal how chocolate turns white

That white discoloration that sometimes forms on old chocolate turns the stomachs of chocolate lovers everywhere. For years, researchers have known that the harmless change, known as a fat bloom, is caused by liquid fat such as cocoa butter migrating through the chocolate and crystalizi...

If Earth never had life, continents would be smaller

VIENNA—It may seem counterintuitive, but life on Earth, even with all the messy erosion it creates, keeps continents growing. Presenting here this week at the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union, researchers say it’s the erosion itself that makes the difference in con...

Interstellar-like blight could ravage Earth’s wheat

In the 2014 sci-fi movie Interstellar (pictured above), a cataclysmic blight has wiped out the world’s wheat, forcing astronauts to hunt for another habitable planet. A new study on barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV), a wheat and cereal crop disease, shows that this fictional dystopia car...

Survey asks: How much personal cash do you spend on your science?

Although academic research is predominantly funded by grants, scientists—like teachers and people in many other professions—sometimes dip into their own wallets to cover job-related expenses, such as conference travel or open-access publishing fees. Just how much personal finance pours ...

Rock-paper-scissors may explain evolutionary ‘games’ in nature

The hand game “rock-paper-scissors” is a classic way to settle playground disputes, with rock smashing scissors, scissors cutting paper, and paper covering rock. But it turns out that nature plays its own versions of the game, and mathematicians and biologists have used it to study ever...

Sophisticated tools may have spelled doom for Neandertals

Nearly 42,000 years ago, ancient humans began wielding a new kind of Stone Age toolkit in southern Europe—one that included perforated shell ornaments and long, pointed stone bladelets that were thrown long distances atop spears. Now, after decades of speculation about who made the tool...

Why do galaxies die?

Some galaxies, such as our own (shown), spawn new stars, but many other galaxies ceased star formation long ago. Why did they stop? In most cases, say astronomers online today in Nature, you can blame something called “strangulation”: Gas quits falling into the galaxies, dep...

PLOS ONE ousts reviewer, editor after sexist peer-review storm

The journal PLOS ONE announced today that it is has “removed” a reviewer whose remarks about a manuscript by two female researchers caused an uproar earlier this week. “[W]e have removed the referee from our reviewer database,” wrote Damian Pattinson, PLOS ONE’s ...
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