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Why COVID-19 causes patients to lose their sense of smell

A new study sheds light on the mechanisms that cause some COVID-19 patients to suffer from anosmia, or a loss of their sense of smell. It offers hope that — at least in some cases — the unusual symptom may only be temporary. Neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School led a team of researchers in determining which cells in the upper nasal…

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Worm Joke Causes Science Twitter Flame War Over Accusations of Sexism and Racism

It was supposed to be a fun activity. On July 18, Ellen Weatherford, co-host of the Just The Zoo of Us podcast, tweeted out a simple question:“What is the most overhyped animal?” The post made the rounds of the loose community of researchers, zookeepers, and wilderness enthusiasts that makes up Science Twitter, a community whose…

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The Lost Cause’s Long Legacy

Why does the U.S. Army name its bases after generals it defeated? 6:30 AM ET Professor at Columbia Law School Bettmann / Getty / The Library of Virginia / The AtlanticTen U.S. Army bases are still named in honor of Confederate generals. Donald Trump has strenuously resisted any effort to rename these bases, saying that…

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Human-Specific Gene Causes a Larger Neocortex in Monkeys

The expansion of the human brain during evolution, specifically of the neocortex, is linked to our cognitive abilities such as reasoning and language. A certain gene called ARHGAP11B that is only found in humans triggers brain stem cells to form more stem cells, a prerequisite for a bigger brain. Past studies have shown that ARHGAP11B,…

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What causes Saturn’s strange polar cloud hexagon?

Hex ain’t gone — Simulation with deep convection points to hidden vortices. Scott K. Johnson – Jun 8, 2020 6:32 pm UTC Enlarge / This was the Cassini spacecraft’s view of Saturn’s polar hexagon in 2014.Ever since Voyager 2 revealed Saturn’s unique hexagon-shaped clouds at its north pole, the feature has been a puzzle, and…

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Gene found that causes eyes to wither in cavefish

The fish Astyanax mexicanus exists in two distinct forms: A surface-dwelling form with eyes (top) and a blind, cave-dwelling form without eyes (bottom). A new University of Maryland-led study identified a gene responsible for eye loss in the blind form. The gene is also responsible for the human disease homocystinuria. Credit: University of Maryland Mexican…