On the surface, bed bugs seem ill-equipped for world domination: They can’t fly, jump, or swim; they can survive only on blood; and the world’s foremost apex predators—humans—want them all dead. Yet the parasitic arthropods have recently undergone what scientists are calling a “rapid global expansion,” taking over new territories and growing in number and range. And according to a new study, their globetrotting is made possible in part by an unusual form of transportation: our stinky laundry.
A central mystery surrounds the supermassive black holes that haunt the cores of galaxies: How did they get so big so fast? Now, a new, computer simulation–based study suggests that these giants were formed and fed by massive clouds of gas sloshing around in the aftermath of the big bang.
About 300,000 years ago, herds of rhino-sized creatures migrated across the floodplains of east-central Australia, mimicking the treks that zebras and antelopes make across Africa’s Serengeti today. But these migrants weren’t majestic, long-limbed grazers. Instead, they were car-sized relatives of today’s short, stocky wombat. According to a new analysis of a fossil tooth of the long-extinct animal, called Diprotodon, the scenario would be the only known seasonal mass migration among marsupials and their close kin.
Fifteen years ago, a 20-year-old man in France suffered traumatic brain injury in a car collision and fell into a persistent state of unconsciousness known as a vegetative state. Now, a new study suggests that an experimental form of low-intensity nerve stimulation in the brain—approved to treat depression and epilepsy—succeeded in stirring the man into a what physicians describe as a “minimally conscious” state. It’s a far cry from a total revival, but the findings hint at a major avenue of new research into restoring consciousness following brain injury.
Once you’ve submitted your paper to a journal, how important is it that the reviewers know who wrote it? Surveys have suggested that many researchers would prefer anonymity because they think it would result in a more impartial assessment of their manuscript. But a new study by the Nature Publishing Group in London shows that only one in eight authors chose to have their reviewers blinded when given the option. The study, presented last week at the eighth International Congress on Peer Review in Chicago, Illinois, also found that papers submitted for double-blind review are far less likely to be accepted.