Science

Meat and masculinity: why some men just can’t stomach plant-based food

Meat alternatives are suddenly everywhere, from burger joints to supermarket shelves to restaurant-grade food.

One problem? For men, in particular, there is often a visceral attachment to slaughter-derived meat. This could pose a stumbling block for an industry worth an estimated $A9.4 billion globally in 2020 and seeing significant growth, with grocery sales in Australia up by 46% in 2020.

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A new treatment helped frogs regenerate their amputated legs – taking science one step closer to helping people regrow their body parts, too

Our bodies connect us to the world. When people lose parts of their bodies to disease or traumatic injury, they often feel that they’ve lost a part of who they are, even experiencing a grief akin to losing a loved one. Their sense of personal loss is justified because unlike salamanders or snarky comic book characters like Deadpool, adult human tissues generally do not regenerate – limb loss is permanent and irreversible.

Or is it?

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A lunar return, a Jupiter moon, the most powerful rocket ever built and the James Webb Space Telescope – space missions to watch in the coming months

Space travel is all about momentum.

Rockets turn their fuel into momentum that carries people, satellites and science itself forward into space. 2021 was a year full of records for space programs around the world, and that momentum is carrying forward into 2022.

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Scientists aren't sure why our eyes move rapidly during sleep. A new study offers a novel theory

During the tranquil one-third of our lives that we spend asleep, the human body does something that might not seem restful at all: REM sleep, short for rapid eye movement, is a phase of sleep that consumes 90 to 120 minutes of an adult human's day and as much as nine whole hours for a newborn baby. In this phase of sleep, your eyes twitch randomly and repeatedly, and sleepers have their most vivid dreams; people awakened from REM sleep often feel as though they really happened. Scientists note that parts of the neocortex, which is associated with higher forms of thinking, begin to activate seemingly at random.

Though REM is only a minority constituent of the time spent sleeping, it is perhaps the most enigmatic stage. What the purpose and function of REM sleep is, and why we do it, is still a mystery.

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Scientists warn of 'a slew of ethical concerns' with Elon Musk’s brain implant technology

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Neuralink technology, which sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, recently hired a director for clinical trials. The idea behind Neuralink is to implant coin-shaped devices that would allow people to operate computers and mobile devices with their brains. And in the scientific world, journalist Noah Kirsch reports in an article published by the Daily Beast on January 25, Neuralink is inspiring a lot of debate.

“In spite of the never-ending momentum for the world’s richest man,” Kirsch explains, “scientists are worried about the company’s oversight, the potential impact on trial participants, and whether society has meaningfully grappled with the stakes of fusing big tech with human brains.”

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Ancient DNA suggests woolly mammoths roamed the Earth more recently than previously thought

In 2010, small cores of permafrost sediments were collected by a team at the University of Alberta from gold mines in the Klondike region of central Yukon. They had remained in cold storage until paleogeneticists at the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre applied new genomics techniques to better understand the global extinction of megafauna that had culminated in North America some 12,700 years ago.

These tiny sediment samples contain an immense wealth of ancient environmental DNA from innumerable plants and animals that lived in those environments over millennia. These genetic microfossils originate from all components of an ecosystem — including bacteria, fungi, plants and animals — and serve as a time capsule of long-lost ecosystems, such as the mammoth-steppe, which disappeared around 13,000 years ago.

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Yes, your dog can understand what you’re saying — to a point

Humans are unique in their ability to develop sophisticated language abilities. Language allows us to communicate with each other and live in complex societies. It is key to our advanced cognitive abilities and technological prowess.

As a developmental psychologist, I have extensively studied the role of language in children’s cognitive development, especially their executive functions – the cognitive skills that allow them to control their behaviour, plan for the future, solve difficult problems and resist temptation.

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When two ecosystems collided, ichthyosaurs re-evolved the ability to consume large prey



The land contact between North and South America has long been a fountain of research. The Isthmus of Panama — the narrow strip of land between the two continents — fully emerged about 3.5 million years ago. It allowed contact between terrestrial North and South American mammals, and resulted in wide-scale invasions of placental mammals into South America and the ultimate extinction of most southern marsupials.

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A rogue rocket is on course to crash into the Moon. It won’t be the first

In a few weeks’ time, a rocket launched in 2015 is expected to crash into the Moon. The fast-moving piece of space junk is the upper stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket which hoisted the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite off our planet. It has been chaotically looping around Earth and the Moon ever since.

Asteroid-hunter Bill Gray has been keeping tabs on the 4-tonne booster since its launch. This month he realised his orbit-tracking software projected the booster will slam into the lunar surface on March 4, moving at more than 9,000 kilometres per hour.

The booster is tumbling wildly as it travels, which adds some uncertainty to the timing and location of the predicted impact. It is likely to occur on the far side of the Moon, so it won’t be visible from Earth.

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Scientists think they know why there’s a bizarre geological blackout from about 1 billion years ago

Scientists use ice-core samples and soil samples, drilling down deep, to discover what was happening on the earth millions and millions of years ago. But about 1 billion years ago something strange happened, scientists can't find the data. Geological samples go from about 550-million-year-old rocks to layers of 1.7 billion-year-old rocks sitting atop each other. Now, scientists think they've discovered the missing discrepancy.

Previously, there were two theories about what happened before the Neoproterozoic era. "One suggests that tectonic activity associated with the assembly and breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia created the Unconformity, while another points to erosion from widespread glaciation during our planet’s 'Snowball Earth' phase some 700 million years ago," the report said.

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Everything we see is a mash-up of the brain’s last 15 seconds of visual information

Our eyes are continuously bombarded by an enormous amount of visual information – millions of shapes, colours and ever-changing motion all around us. For the brain, this is no easy feat. On the one hand, the visual world alters continuously because of changes in light, viewpoint and other factors. On the other, our visual input constantly changes due to blinking and the fact that our eyes, head and body are frequently in motion.

To get an idea of the “noisiness” of this visual input, place a phone in front of your eyes and record a live video while you are walking around and looking at different things. The jittery, messy result is exactly what your brain deals with in every moment of your visual experience. This can be seen also in the video below. The white circle on the right shows potential eye movements, and the blurry blob on the left reveals the jumpy visual input in every moment.

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Florida senators walk out after DeSantis' surgeon general refuses to answer if vaccines are good

Florida Democrats walked out of a Florida Senate Health Policy Committee hearing on Wednesday after state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo refused to answer their questions.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) appointed Ladapo to be the state's surgeon general, but since then, many questions have surfaced about his experience, his resume and his medical advice.

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Grandad almost kills his granddaughter after using QAnon COVID cure on her

A grandfather rushed to a QAnon Telegram channel to beg for help with his six-month-old granddaughter he feared had COVID.

"My granddaughter is sick. Flu like symptoms, she’s six months old," he posted last week. "Her mother is worried sick, she just had COVID last week."

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