Billy Crystal may have been shocked when Meg Ryan so effectively—and amusingly—faked an orgasm in a restaurant during the 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally, but surveys suggest only one-third of women are regularly fully aroused during intercourse. In a paper published this week, two evolutionary biologists offer a provocative new explanation—that the female orgasm is an evolutionary holdover from an ancient system, seen in some other mammals, in which intercourse stimulated important hormonal surges that drive ovulation.
It was one of the most mind-bending scientific reports in 2014: Injecting old mice with the plasma portion of blood from young mice seemed to improve the elderly rodents’ memory and ability to learn. Inspired by such findings, a startup company has launched the first clinical trial in the United States to test the antiaging benefits of young blood in relatively healthy people. But there's a big caveat: It's a pay-to-participate trial, a type that has raised ethical concerns before.
It sounds like something out of a James Bond movie: a secret military operation hidden beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet. But that’s exactly what transpired at Camp Century during the Cold War. Within the next century, climate change could start to reveal this base again, and potentially release its toxic and radiological wastes.
Why does a snake have 25 or more rows of ribs, whereas a mouse has only 13? The answer, according to a new study, may lie in “junk DNA,” large chunks of an animal’s genome that were once thought to be useless. The findings could help explain how dramatic changes in body shape have occurred over evolutionary history.
Nearly 50 years ago, Rainer Weiss dreamed up a way to detect gravitational waves—infinitesimal ripples in spacetime predicted by Einstein’s theory of gravity, general relativity. Last September, that dream came true as 1000 physicists working with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, two huge detectors in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, sensed a pulse of waves radiated by two massive black holes as they spiraled into each other a billion light-years away. The discovery makes Weiss, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, a sure bet to win a Nobel Prize, his peers say.
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