Science Hub

You Are Not Alone (Maybe): The Arguments for and Against Alien Life - VIDEO


It's estimated that there are 200 billion habitable planets in the our galaxy.

This PBS explainer looks at the arguments for and against the notion that we are not alone in the universe.


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Study Suggests Attractive Men Are More Selfish

Zoolander Models

We've all been there: we were introduced to that really good looking guy at a party or at the club or some other social setting, and even though he was hotter than a rooster in socks the more he talked the more turned off you got as it became clear that he was kind of a self-focused ass. According to a study at Brunel University London this isn't just happenstance. Rather, attractive men as a whole tend to be more selfish.

The study, titled "Bodily Attractiveness and Egalitarianism are Negatively Related in Males" and published in Evolutionary Psychology, took 125 male and female participants, scored them on generalized attractiveness measures, and then took part in an economics experiment where they were asked to share money with someone else. The results found that men who were ranked as more attractive tended to have a bias towards selfishness. The research also found that attractiveness was at least as important as wealth when it came to attitudes of altruism and egalitarianism. Interestingly, the same was not true for women.

Lead researcher Dr. Michael Price warned against taking the findings as gospel, however, saying:

The correlation between attractiveness and selfishness was nowhere close to being perfect, and many very attractive men will also be very altruistic and egalitarian.

Additionally, these attitudes tended to be subconscious, and being made aware of their biases helped men act against them and engage in more generosity.

Scientists Discover Potent Agent That Could Lead To An HIV Vaccine

HIV and T-Cell

A drug candidate has been created by scientists at the Jupiter, Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute that could pave the way for an HIV vaccine, Science Daily reports. In their studies, the drug candidate blocked every strain of HIV-1, HIV-2, and SIV that has been isolated from humans or rhesus macaques, including the hardest-to-stop variants. What's more is that the drug blocks much higher concentrations of the virus than would be encountered in normal human-to-human transmission and is effective for up to eight months after injection. In short, the way the vaccine would work is that it binds to two sites on the surface of the virus simultaneously, preventing entry of HIV into the host cell.

Said TSRI Research Associate Matthew Gardner, the first author of the study with Lisa M. Kattenhorn of Harvard Medical School:

When antibodies try to mimic the receptor, they touch a lot of other parts of the viral envelope that HIV can change with ease. We've developed a direct mimic of the receptors without providing many avenues that the virus can use to escape, so we catch every virus thus far.

(Photo credit: NIH)

Spot The Robotic Dog Is Here To Give You Nightmares About The Robot Uprising - VIDEO

Screenshot 2015-02-11 18.34.06

Do you remember BigDog, Boston Dynamics’s terrifying (but also cool) quadruped robot designed to assist soldiers through unfavorably rough terrain? Of course you do; it’s been haunting your nightmares of the robot uprising. Never one to leave well enough alone, the Google-funded company is back with a smaller, more nimble version of its canine-like robot they’re calling Spot.

Spot, like its larger relatives, moves around using a system of four articulated legs, an on-board computer, and an array of sensors that allow the machine to adapt to its surroundings much in the same way that an actual animal would.

As uncanny as it is to watch Spot dressage-trot its way through Boston Dynamics HQ, it’s difficult not to be impressed at the moments in which its behavior very closely resembles that of a living animal.

As Neel Patel explains in Wired, much of the life-like behavior showcased in the video is a natural outgrowth of Spot’s programming that’s designed to allow it to respond to external stimulus. In those moments where the two Spot units bump into one another, the machines attempt to correct the collision by orienting themselves in relation to one another. Programmatically, Spot’s making sure to move unencumbered. Visually, however, it looks like they’re purposefully trying to move together.

If the Matrix has taught us anything it’s that we should all consider investing in handheld electromagnetic pulse devices.

Check out footage of Boston Dynamics’s newest four-legged terror AFTER THE JUMP...

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A Bite-Sized Science Lesson that Asks 'How Small Is An Atom?' - WATCH


How small is an atom? Very, very small. 500,000 stacked end-to-end would cross the diameter of a single human hair. So small that if all of the "empty space" that comprises over 99% of an atom's volume were removed, the collective atoms of humanity would fit in a teaspoon. 

Kurzgesagt has the bite-sized science lesson with cute animated birds AFTER THE JUMP...

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Citing Climate Change As Looming Threat, Doomsday Clock Moves Ahead to Three Minutes to Midnight

ClockIn 1947 members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’s Science and Security Board introduced the concept of the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic representation of the world’s proximity to a global catastrophe.

Since its inception the meaning of the clock’s countdown has been further expanded to include the imminent threat posed by climate change, and it’s that same threat that recently prompted the Bulletin to update the clock’s reading ahead two minutes to 23:57 (three minutes to midnight.)

"In 2015, unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity," the Bulletin’s statement on the update explains. "World leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe. These failures of political leadership endanger every person on Earth."


Historically the Clock’s reading has shifted back and forth in response to the behavior of the world’s various superpowers. The Clock has read 23:57 twice before (1949 and 1984), both times following the escalation of nuclear arms by a particular international actor. Climate change was added to the Clock’s list of influential factors in 2007 and was related to both of its most recent adjustments in 2010 and 2012. The clock has only once read 23:58 (two minutues to midnight) once back in 1953 during the U.S. and Soviet Union tests of thermoculear devices during the Cold War. 

"We call upon world leaders to take coordinated and rapid action to drastically reduce global emissions of heat-trapping gases, especially carbon dioxide," said Richard Somerville, a member of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Science and Security Board. "We also urge the citizens of the world to demand action from their leaders. This threat looms over all of humanity. We all need to respond now, while there is still time."


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