Cosmic blast from the past

Three decades ago, a massive stellar explosion sent shockwaves not only through space but also through the astronomical community. SN 1987A was the closest observed supernova to Earth since the invention of the telescope and has become by far the best studied of all time, revolutionising our understanding of the explosive death of massive stars.

Melting Sea Ice May Be Speeding Nature's Clock in the Arctic

Spring is coming sooner to some plant species in the low Arctic of Greenland, while other species are delaying their emergence amid warming winters. The changes are associated with diminishing sea ice cover, according to a study published in the journalBiology Letters and led by the University of California, Davis.The timing of seasonal events, such as first spring growth, flower bud formation and blooming, make up a plant’s phenology — the window of time it has to grow, produce offspring and express its life history. Think of it as “nature’s clock.”

Manhattan-Sized Iceberg Breaks Off Antarctica

Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier lost another large chunk of ice at the end of January. The section of ice that broke off the glacier on the western coast of Antarctica was roughly the size of Manhattan. It was 10 times smaller than the piece the same glacier sloughed in July 2015.

Do Cats Cause Schizophrenia? Believe the Science, Not the Hype

Cats, you might have heard, cause schizophrenia. Or—more recently—they do nothing of the sort. It’s a decades-long scientific investigation, infrequently punctuated by headline-grabbing stories that definitively claim one or the other, depending on whatever the newest sliver of research indicates.

Scientists: Warming temperatures could trigger starvation, extinctions in deep oceans by 2100

Researchers from 20 of the world’s leading oceanographic research centers today warned that the world’s largest habitat – the deep ocean floor – may face starvation and sweeping ecological change by the year 2100.

Researchers develop math models to address antibiotic resistance in healthcare facilities

Scientists at York University and a national team of collaborators have developed new mathematical models that will help researchers, doctors and policymakers address the challenging public health issue of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. The research, co-led by postdoctoral fellows Josie Hughes and Xi Huo, was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Sugar's 'tipping point' link to Alzheimer's disease revealed

For the first time a “tipping point” molecular link between the blood sugar glucose and Alzheimer’s disease has been established by scientists, who have shown that excess glucose damages a vital enzyme involved with inflammation response to the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

What, You Can't Tell Two Lemurs Apart? Computers Can

The Centre Valbio research station, a modern building of stone and glass set in the jungled hills at the edge of Madagascar’s Ranomafana National Park, was starting to look like the third season of The Wire. Big tackboards lined the walls, each one covered with dozens of pinned-up photographs. Some images were grouped together in families, while others floated alone, unconnected. It was 2012, and Rachel Jacobs was using Detective McNulty-style tactics to sort out the associations in a very different kind of crew: the park’s population of red-bellied lemurs.

Oil and Gas Wastewater Spills, including Fracking Wastewater, Alter Microbes in West Virginia Waters

Wastewater from oil and gas operations – including fracking for shale gas – at a West Virginia site altered microbes downstream, according to a Rutgers-led study.The study, published recently in Science of the Total Environment, showed that wastewater releases, including briny water that contained petroleum and other pollutants, altered the diversity, numbers and functions of microbes. The shifts in the microbial community indicated changes in their respiration and nutrient cycling, along with signs of stress.

Fishing for bacteria in New Zealand

If you asked Richard Sparling, what he did during his sabbatical early last year, he’d probably say “fishing in New Zealand.”But this ambiguous answer by the department of microbiology associate professor does not tell the whole story.