Top stories: Weather on Mars, a stem cell debacle, and a doggy love hormone

(Left to right): NASA/JSC; Florent Dominé; M. Enserink

Top stories: Weather on Mars, a stem cell debacle, and a doggy love hormone

Research teams clash over too-similar MERS papers

A great story can be told again and again. But scientists working on the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) virus are puzzled by two papers appearing in separate journals that not only tell the same story, but also are based on data from the very same patient in Saudi Arabia.

Greenland is getting darker

Greenland’s white snow is getting darker, and impurities like dust, soot, and microorganisms are likely to blame. What's the big deal? Darker snow melts faster: The impurities could be responsible for melting 27 billion tonnes of ice a year and could easily add 2 cm to the projections of sea level rise by 2100.

Japanese stem cell debacle could bring down RIKEN center

Shutting down RIKEN, the research center at the heart of the unfolding STAP scientific scandal may be necessary to prevent a recurrence of research misconduct, according to a new report. A RIKEN review committee found lax oversight and a failure on the part of senior authors of the papers behind the scandal and surmised that a drive to produce groundbreaking results led to publishing results prematurely.

No wind chill on Mars

The environment on Mars isn't as harsh as we thought. Although it is cold—the average martian temperature is about –63°C—it feels a lot warmer because the planet has no wind chill. It turns out that a summer afternoon on Mars actually feels a lot like your average winter day in southern England or Minneapolis.

Rats regret bad decisions

Scientists used to think only humans felt regret. Now, a new study reveals that rats are also capable of pining over what might have been. Researchers say the insight could help improve animal models of bad decisions, such as drug or alcohol use that leads to addiction.

'Love hormone' has same effect on humans and dogs

The “love hormone” oxytocin makes humans more trusting, cooperative, and generous. But how does it affect other animals? New research shows that it makes dogs friendlier, too. The study supports the idea that oxytocin is key to forming close social relationships—even when those are with unrelated individuals or different species.