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What exactly is an unusual sexual fantasy?

A new paper makes one of the first attempts to determine which types of sexual fantasies are rare, unusual, common, or typical from a statistical point of view. The authors used an internet survey with 1,516 adults from Quebec who ranked 55 sexual fantasies and wrote their own favourite. The survey indicated that men have […]

A new study suggests that a natural tendency toward an increase in complexity (rather than a decrease in order) is the driving force behind time’s arrow. (Image credit: Gabriela Secara, Perimeter Institute)

A new take on time’s arrow

Why does time flow forward? A new paper suggests that the traditional explanation is flawed and suggests a new one. Current theories invoke the law of entropy, which states that systems naturally move from more ordered states to more disordered ones. But the authors point out that the early universe – a tiny ball of […]

Artist Danelle Dufault’s impression of Zaraapelta nomadis, a newly-named species of ankylosaur from Mongolia. (Image credit: Danielle Dufault)

Mongolian fossil finds expand ankylosaur family tree

A new paper on ankylosaurs from Mongolia has named one new species and ‘resurrected’ another. The new species is Zaraapelta nomadis: ‘Zaraapelta’ is a combination of the Mongolian and Greek words for ‘hedgehog’ and ‘shield’ and refers to the elaborate pattern of bumps and grooves near the eye and a ridge along the back of […]

Through computer analysis, scientists have developed a more objective way of analysing the social behaviour of fruit flies, which could lead to insights into the genetic and neurological mechanisms underlying our own social behaviour. (Photo credit: John Tann, via Flickr)

Is this fruit fly being friendly?

A new computer-based tool for analyzing the social behaviour of fruit flies and could tell us more about how genes affect social behaviour. Previous studies of social behaviour in fruit flies relied on researchers to judge for themselves what constituted a true social interaction. The computer method uses machine vision to analyze the distance between […]

Ebola: Status quo in Liberia could be deadly

A mathematical model suggests that no single intervention is sufficient to curb the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The authors modelled the potential effect of four non-pharmaceutical interventions recommended by the WHO, such as isolating Ebola cases at hospitals, quarantining patients’ contacts, and implementing sanitary funeral practices. Their model suggest that no single intervention is […]

Alternative hospital funding can be risky

A review of worldwide experience with an alternative model of hospital funding suggests that it increases the number of patients needing post-acute care. Activity-based funding (ABF) is a system whereby hospitals are paid a set rate for each episode of care, intended to fund the bundle of services provided to patients with particular diagnoses, as […]

Hydrocarbon contamination from Deepwater Horizon at the seafloor near the Macondo Well, with dots indicating affected coral communities. Lower right inset depicts the molecular structure of hopane. (Credit: Image courtesy of G. Burch Fisher.)

Deepwater Horizon: soiled ocean floor

After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident, the fate of around two million barrels of oil out of the five million barrels released in the Gulf of Mexico was uncertain. R esearchers now estimate that much of these two million barrels has settled on the ocean floor around the well at a depth of 1.5 km. They looked […]

“An ice core containing ancient caribou feces. For thousands of years, caribou gathered on ice patches to escape summer heat and insects. The caribou feces, which contain caribou DNA, digested plants, and viruses, were frozen within layers of ice, enabling researchers to detect the genomes of ancient viruses.” (Credit: Image courtesy of Brian Moorman)

Ancient Arctic viruses still infect plants

The genome of a virus found in 700-year-old frozen caribous feces was shown to infect plants in the laboratory, a new study reveals. Researchers analyzed the viral genetic material contained in a core drilled through layers of accumulated caribou feces up to 4,000 years old in an ice patch in Canada’s Selwyn Mountain in the […]

‘Meaningful’ mistakes help learning at any age

A new study suggests that trial-and-error learning benefits memory in both young and old people, but only  when errors are meaningfully related to the right answer. The study tracked 65 younger (average age 22) and 65 older (average age 72) people who tried to memorize lists of words. Making wrong guesses when given a clue […]

Screening software could help find new drugs

A new method of screening molecules for their ability to bind to enzymes and other proteins could help discover potential new drugs. A newly built model looks at covalent bonding, a much stronger type of chemical attraction but one that is harder to model. Computer models that predict which molecules will interact with enzymes have existed […]

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