What do Scientists look like?

What a great idea. I’ll let the owner of this blog speak for herself:

This Is What A Scientist Looks Like is a project developed by Allie Wilkinson to challenge the stereotypical perception of a scientist.

There is no single clear-cut path to becoming a scientist. A scientist can come from any background.

There is no cookie-cutter mold of what a scientist looks like. A scientist can look like you, or can look like me.

There is no rule that scientists can’t be multidimensional and can’t have fun.

Help change the way the world views scientists.

Sounds like a great idea.

That’s not something you see every day.

A star with spiral arms!

This is a young star, surrounded by a ‘circumstellar’ disk of dust twice the diameter of Pluto’s orbit around our Sun. The disk itself has a number of clearly visible arms, much like those we are familiar seeing in the much larger structures of galaxies.

I’m reminded of the quote attributed to J. B. S. Haldane : “the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”

via NASA

Hello, beautiful!

A magnificent fossil find in Germany as researchers uncovered an Archaeopteryx specimen missing only its head!

The impression of feathers is particularly clear.

The discovery is outlined in some detail at the i09 blog or you can read about the find at Nature and the Smithsonian’s Dinosaur Tracking page.

Ibuprofen may reduce the risk of Parkinson disease

There are indications, from this research, that ibuprofen reduces the risk of a person developing Parkinson by almost 40%. It is a very large study spread over 6 years, so the results at face-value are worthy of being taken seriously.

I know someone whose regular cure for a headache is to wash down a couple of Nurofen tablets with a tall, strong latte (2 sugars, please) so this news’ll be unlikely to dissuade her from that habit!


Kissing as an allergy treatment

Hay-fever sufferers, rejoice! Here’s a treatment for what ails you that is arguably much better than any anti-histamine tablet.

Research from Japan indicates that kissing acts to reduce levels of an immunoglobulin responsible for allergy symptoms, easing those symptoms in the test subjects who presented with eczema and hay-fever.

The advantage of still being able to operate heavy machinery is a bonus.

How we know the Earth is about 4.5billion years old

There are lots of lay-folk who suspect that scientists make what amounts to ‘stabs in the dark’ when attempting to answer some of the more intriguing questions of the universe.

Like, for instance the age of the Earth.

This post is one of the best (read: concise) overviews I’ve read of why we should expect the age of the earth to be around the 4.5billion mark. It’s one of the best because it comes right out and acknoweldges the variation of conclusions, but in such a way as to explain that they would be, in fact, just what should be expected.

Anyway, have a read – it won’t take you long.


Pic above is an artist’s impression of the formation of a proto-planetary body, accreted from a disk of stellar debris. Via Wikipedia.

Factors affecting how couples recover from a conflict

Here’s some interesting research: a long-term study, following a group of people since birth, has turned up a correlation between the ability of those individuals’ to get over conflict in their adult relationships and their ‘closeness’ to the person who was their primary caregiver during infancy.

In a nut-shell, people who were close to their caregiver between 12 and 18 months (mum, in most cases, I guess) found it easier to get past disagreements with their romantic partners in adulthood.

The researchers suggest this means that if your caregiver is better at regulating your negative emotions as an infant, you tend to do a better job of regulating your own negative emotions in the moments following a conflict as an adult.

And there’s more: one of the study’s authors, Jessica Salvatore, says they “found that people who were insecurely attached as infants but whose adult romantic partners recover well from conflict are likely to stay together … If one person can lead this process of recovering from conflict, it may buffer the other person and the relationship.”

So even if one person has difficulty getting over conflict, as long as the other partner doesn’t then this won’t have to be a significantly negative aspect of the relationship.


via Science Daily