Category Archives: Animals

January 18

I Feel Your Pain – The Social Transmission of Pain in Mice

We all know that emotions are contagious.  Your trip to the DMV might see you infected with that peculiar emotion – something halfway between apathy and misanthropy – that is endemic to the DMV.  On the other hand, your ray-of-sunshine coworker just may brighten up your day (unless you happen to work at the DMV). […]

December 07

Ancient Aliens Among Us

  First contact. The prospect of intelligent extraterrestrial life has tantalized us Earthbound humans throughout our history. In relatively recent times, artists such as H.G. Wells, Ursula Le Guin, and Gene Roddenberry have created wide-eyed fantasies full of violent invasions, fraught coexistence, and delicate peace between humanity and the Other. As early as the second […]

August 24

Paint me like one of your mantis shrimps

Sunsets, wildflower superblooms, unicorn frappuccinos. None of these phenomena would have nearly the same allure if we lost our ability to see different colors. But what if we could have an even greater ability to discriminate between colors – would these phenomena be that much more spectacular? In the case of the frappuccino, probably not, […]

July 20

Genomes, Circuits, and the Roundworm: C. Elegans as a Model Organism

A nematode can do much to help our understanding of human biology.

June 01

Highs and Lows

Have you ever heard about the distinction between Type 1 and Type 2 fun?  Don’t worry, this isn’t some scientific attempt to quantify fun and render it anything but.  Type 1 fun is basically anything you do that is actually fun.  Playing with puppies, hanging out with friends, annoying your significant other – that sort […]

April 27

Half Asleep

Sleep, though one of my greatest joys in life, is frustratingly unproductive. As much as I love to curl up in bed, close my eyes and flip the off-switch on my consciousness, the realization that I spend 24-33% of my day just staring at the backs of my eyelids is exasperating. Imagine the possibilities if […]

December 22

Naked and Unafraid

En español Ugliest animal in the world. 2013’s “Vertebrate of the Year”. Co-star of Disney Channel’s Kim Possible. These are just a few of the naked mole rat’s most notable distinctions. However, the extent of their peculiarity and alienness is, if you would believe it, enormously under-appreciated. The more they learn, scientists across the fields […]