Science Tuesday: All of June’s Science News

Happy Tuesday, Aledan Merfolk! I obviously failed big-time at keeping up with weekly Science Tuesday posts, so I’m switching it up and posting this segment once a month instead of weekly. Enjoy all (ok, most) of June’s science news!

Ancient geometric symbols may have been basis for writing

Comet’s atmosphere contains amino acid needed for creating life

Bees’ fuzz helps pick up flowers’ electric signals

Antarctica didn’t protect dinosaurs from mass extinction event

Specially engineered nanoparticles take aim at atherosclerosis

Study ties prednisone use to elevated mortality risk in patients with RA

Meteor source of iron in dagger found with King Tut

Water on young moon likely came from asteroids

Milky Way has mass of 700 billion suns

Pluto’s terrain visible in great detail in latest New Horizons image

Skeleton of ancient dog-like creature still puzzles scientists

Study links migraines to cardiovascular problems in women

London excavation reveals Roman-era documents

Shapes on Pluto’s surface offer clues to geological activity

Scientists eye mantis shrimp for ideas to create new body armor

Male sparrows provide less for young if they suspect mate of cheating

Gene that colors butterfly wings linked to dark-colored moth mutation

Scientists closer to creating universal cancer vaccine

Youths on ADHD meds may have increased arrhythmia risk

Unusual underwater structures are geological, not ancient city

Study suggests quicker universe expansion

New radio maps of Jupiter indicate ammonia swirls below clouds

Researchers unveil synthetic human genome project

Dogs may have originated in both Asia and Europe

Young ocean fish eating plastic “Scientists say the fish prefer the plastic to their natural food the way teenagers eschew healthy food in favor of fast food.”😦

Reduced risk of colon cancer death linked to low-dose aspirin use

Rosetta probe back online after orientation snafu

New magma chamber found alongside New Zealand volcanoes

Risk of microcephaly as high as 13% among Zika-infected pregnant women

Study explores link between dopamine, memory function

Hawking, colleagues say information can escape from black holes

Photons’ quantum properties could be used to send uncrackable messages

Study links ancient European farmers with Stone Age migrants from Aegean Sea

Eels climb and send pulses of electricity into threatening creatures

Bison found their way to Americas about 13,000 years ago

Strange deep-sea mushroom is a part of a siphonophore

Archerfish demonstrate ability to discern specific human faces

Malaysian rainforest home to world’s tallest tropical tree

7 new species of peacock spiders identified in Australia So pretty!

Mammals began to thrive long before dinosaurs died out

Event Horizon Telescope will improve image of black holes

LISA Pathfinder captures almost-flawless free fall

Astronomers listen to sounds from ancient star cluster

New blood test could help personalize antidepressant treatment

New elements named for Japan, Moscow, Tenn. and Russian physicist

Satellites, drones help find huge hidden monument in Petra

Flores Island fossils appear to be from ancestors of Homo floresiensis (psst, these are the “real hobbits” you’ve heard about)

Black hole’s dinner of space clouds is in astronomers’ sights

Bioluminescence evolved many times in deep-sea fish

Scientists re-create ancient enzyme

Health, behavior changes likely in early humans due to ancient supernovas “The nearby supernovas would have brightened the night sky for about a year, leading to behavioral changes and hormone production, and increased radiation on Earth would have lasted 500 years.” (The most interesting part of this article is the discussion on radiation background levels and the dosage necessary to cause fatalities)

Female Cape honeybees exhibit invasive, freeloading behavior

Hummingbird hawk-moths staying in UK longer than usual

Carbon dioxide turned into limestone in Iceland

Breath test could warn of early return of lung cancer

Australian researchers creating allergen-free peanut

Scientists developing miniature multimodality endoscopic scanner

Mouse species has menstrual cycle similar to that of humans

Star ripping away young planet’s outer layers

Milky Way lost to light pollution for 1 in 3 people

Imperfections greatly weaken carbon nanotubes

Brain reward system changes seen in long-term marijuana users

Jupiter-sized planet found orbiting binary star system

Close-up shows boundary between Pluto’s plains and rocky highlands

NASA tracks Mars dust storms based on atmospheric temperatures

Autonomic nervous system activity during sleep helps with memory

Hoard of Roman-era silver discovered in Scottish field

More infections follow use of antibiotics during breast-feeding

Peptoids used to develop blood test for diseases without antigens

Scientists detect chiral molecule in interstellar space

NASA scientists to study behavior of fire in space with Cygnus blaze

2,000-year-old hunk of butter pulled from bog in Ireland

Part of humerus found from seabird as big as a plane

Climate change key factor in extinction of rodent in Australia

Rx drug contamination common in Southern streams

Researchers examine anaphylaxis risk in siblings of youths with peanut allergy

LIGO latches on to more gravitational waves

NASA uses space instruments to view methane leaks on Earth

New fish species found in Pacific during NOAA expedition

Amazon butterflies pilfer bamboo nectar from ants

Male banana fiddler crabs improve mating odds by trapping females

Birds’ small brains pack big neuron punch

New technique allows chemotherapy to cross blood-brain barrier

Birth defect risk low with 3rd-trimester Zika infection

Oxygen found in distant, early galaxy

Asteroid found orbiting sun alongside Earth

Strange meteorite found in 470M-year-old limestone in Sweden

New gene-drive process could limit testing impact

Researchers look for King Henry I’s remains on Reading Abbey grounds What is it with the English paving over their dead kings?

Female patients appear more prone to dry socket after extractions

Aquarium researchers seek to design whale-saving rope

Mass extinction 12,000 years ago brought on by humans

Researchers find rare eyeless catfish in Texas

Earth’s seabeds need modern mapping, ocean experts say

Distant planet being destroyed by star’s radiation

Algorithm may help predict an Islamic State-inspired attack

Supercomputers’ brain power could get boost from artificial synapses

Very young Neptune-sized planet found by Kepler space telescope

Zika vaccine approved for human trial

Early mammals’ eyes evolved to see better at night

30-second rub with sanitizer best to kill bacteria

Brain tumor-higher education link found “The 17-year study found that women with three or more years of college were 23% more likely to develop glioma, and men with similar education levels were 19% more likely to develop that type of tumor.”

Hippocampus grafts allow regeneration in aged brains “The researchers grafted neural stem cells into the hippocampus of aged animal models and found that the hippocampus of older animals accepted the grafted cells as well as that of younger animals, which may lead to helping treat age-related neurodegenerative diseases in humans.”

Powerful electrical field may have kicked water out of Venus’ atmosphere

Asteroid rings remain despite interactions with gas giants

Ancient figurine lost for 150 years found in Scotland museum

Blood flow into brain doesn’t happen right away in newborn mice

Zebra finches learn complex mating songs from their fathers

Device could capture energy for prosthetic limbs

Computer simulation shows how Pluto could have subsurface ocean

Early binary stars’ lifetimes charted to study gravitational wave creation

First high-energy physics experiment simulated on quantum computer

Chunks of land along Calif.’s San Andreas fault rising, sinking

Imaging technique gives scientists a look inside cat mummies

Researchers find contagious cancer among Canadian mussels

Drug may delay or prevent breast cancer

Hubble spots massive dark vortex in Neptune’s atmosphere

Earth’s gravity field detects strange Caribbean Sea sound <-Obviously mermaids singing…

Monkeys shrink their social circles as they age

Study examines self-destruct mechanism of paternal mitochondrial DNA

Heart attack patients with diabetes at 50% increased risk of dying

Youths with short sleep duration at increased risk for obesity

Ancient insects found in amber disguised themselves with debris

Common precursor found for scales, feathers and hair

Amphibious centipede found in Southeast Asia

Massive canyon on Charon described

Electric currents may reduce fat in chocolate, study suggests

Study evaluates PET prostate radiotracer for breast cancer imaging

Study examines intensive lifestyle intervention in black diabetes patients


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Little Eggs and Worldbuilding Issues

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! Every time I jump back onto the blogging bandwagon life decides to smack me with the busy stick, so it’s been a few weeks. I’ve decided to change Science Tuesday to a monthly post, so most of June’s science news will be posted next Tuesday (the 28th). But I’ll still be posting custom ponies every Sunday when I can find them. I have one for you this weekend and it’s so beautiful!

Last we talked, I was in my reading cycle (I’m now in my video games/HGTV/recover cycle, which is kind of backwards from normal…but I’m not complaining because I’ve been playing WoW for the first time since the Panda expansion came out!). I finished TAMING OF THE QUEEN and HALF A WAR. I really enjoyed both of them, but TAMING was really really really good. It gave me nightmares about King Henry VIII, and even though I already knew the history and what would happen, I was seriously on the edge of my seat in places. That’s how well done that book was. I definitely recommend it, especially if you’re a female author (Katherine Parr was the first woman to publish under her own name in English). I’m now reading THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss and listening to ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie.

I’m about to roll into the writing cycle, and as I was trying to fall asleep two nights ago I realized the issue I was having with Enfields. I’ve got two MCs who’re trying to fight the big bad guy, but the big bad guy isn’t fighting back. The MCs are too small to really be much more than an annoyance to him – he’s focused on something else until the end of the book. So it’s time to restructure this sucker, rip apart the worldbuilding and stitch it back together, and get the big bad guy to see the MCs as a threat and actively work against them.

And I still need to find a place for that sex scene I already wrote…

I’ve joined Camp NaNo next month in hopes that my cabin-mates will help kickstart my brain and make the pieces fall together so I can finally make some headway on this book. I also picked up STORY FIX by Larry Brooks (you may have heard me praising STORY ENGINEERING in the past, which I’ll also be re-reading with an eye towards Enfields).


Last but not least: the Littles have become Ladies! They started laying eggs this weekend! Little eggs, because they’re still half the size of Mona😛

<–Look how teeny the eggs are!

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans! I’ll see you on Sunday for Custom of the Week🙂

#TeamRocks and a Not-So-Likable MC

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! If you missed it, I started posting Custom of the Week and Science Tuesday again this week, so make sure you check those out. I’ll have another custom this weekend, but family is arriving today so I’ll be offline for the most part until Tuesday (and next week’s Science Tuesday may be a little late).

I spent the long weekend cleaning the house since it was raining and family was coming, but in between scrubbing the bathroom and moping the floor, I got to know my new agent siblings, who are all wonderful❤ They set up a Facebook group for support and silliness, and we spent the weekend trolling our agent with subtweets and cheering each other on our various projects. It’s amazing to be a part of such a supportive group of people going through the same process I am. #TeamRocks

Last week I finished the CP project for my agent and started another, and I’ve plotted out Enfields for the next several chapters. Then things become fuzzy again, but I’m sure I’ll figure out what happens by the time I write all the scenes that need to be written (I write by hand, so it’s a lot slower to write out the scenes and type them up than it is to storyline them). My MC has taken a turn for the not-so-likable, but it works so well that I’m really excited for it. I had no idea she was such a bad person. She comes across as such a nice, quiet soul.

I’m going to have a lot of fun with her >:)

As for reading, I finished THANKS FOR THE TROUBLE and loved it! I gave it to my boss, and he also loved it, as did his wife. Now another coworker has it and I’m willing to bet she’s loving it (but she’s on vacation this week so I can’t ask her). I’ve started reading THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN by Phillipa Gregory (gosh I love her Tudor books!), and I’m nearly done listening to HALF A WAR by Joe Abercrombie.

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans!

Science Tuesday: All of May’s Science News

Happy Tuesday, Aledan Merfolk! It’s been a loooong time since we’ve had a Science Tuesday, and we’ve missed a lot of awesome science news, so let’s take a look at all the awesome things that happened in May, starting with ET!

Intelligent extraterrestrial life likely exists

Strange tail-less comet observed by researchers

LHC gears up to search for possible new particle

Fewer than 10 Royal Turtles remain in wild in Cambodia

Scientists transform skin cells into non-functional sperm

Aerial pesticide spraying correlates with autism risk in children

Wreckage of Cook’s Endeavour possibly found off R.I. coast

Seasonal dark lines on Mars may be created by boiling water

Exoplanets orbiting ultra-cool dwarf star could harbor life

New jellyfish discovered by NOAA in Marianas Trench

New species of frog found in Amazon rainforest

Google joins Mich. colleges in effort to resolve water woes in Flint

Trillion species of microbes, most undiscovered, may exist on Earth

Wheel wear won’t keep Mars Curiosity from climbing mountain

Venezuela’s Lake Maracaibo is world’s top spot for lightning

Female giant water bugs attracted to egg-carrying males

Researchers link type 1 diabetes risk to viral infections in children

3 possible reasons suggested for moon’s mysterious swirls

Leopards aren’t as abundant as once thought

Study puts focus on crocodile eyes

Embryos grown outside uterus for 13 days in pair of studies

Mouse study looks at how ketamine works as antidepressant

Sierra Leone Ebola survivors developed blindness later

Fossil discovery sheds light on primate evolution mystery

Quake swarms point to magma recharge at Mount St. Helens

Venus flytraps’ predatory ways may have roots in defense

Scientists calculate distant black hole’s mass

Gut calming messages blocked by defective genes in Crohn’s disease patients

Marijuana to be tested as treatment for PTSD in clinical trial

Ancient marine reptile boasts unusual hammerhead

Researchers check for leprosy in red squirrels on UK island

Society can influence bedtimes, but not wake times

Fast, economical test for Zika developed

Implant helps restore some sight to macular degeneration patients

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis linked to increased heart disease risk in women

Model, maps offer detailed view of Mercury

Clean water ice covers Pluto’s moon Hydra

Many of world’s plants threatened with extinction

Contradictory radar scans fuel debate over Tutankhamun’s tomb

Canadian teen links constellation with hidden Mayan city

Researchers say basalt shard was part of oldest known ax with handle

Camels’ genetic diversity linked to ancient trade routes

Kepler space telescope locates 1,284 new exoplanets

Atomic oxygen found in Mars’ atmosphere

Lava bubbles in volcanic rock offer clues to early life on Earth

Evidence of early oxygen found in 2.7-billion-year-old micrometeorites

Darkest ocean depths home to lots of life (like…mermaids?!)

Bend in Hawaii-Emperor Seamount caused by mantle flow

WHO: UK, Ireland areas exceed air pollution safety levels

Worm excrement responsible for strange mounds in South America

Cold climate shift may have been factor in Neanderthal extinction

Earth-sun magnetic field interactions seen by NASA space probes

Strange radio-wave echoes may finally have explanation

Scientists surprised to find eukaryote with no mitochondria

Caregiver depression may linger long after patient leaves ICU

Bones of American bison ancestor uncovered in Fla.

CT scan shows tiny Egyptian coffin holds ancient mummified fetus

Dung beetles take mental snapshot of sky to guide them

Study offers evidence that RNA may have started life on Earth

Space Station reaches 100,000th-orbit milestone

Expanding red giant stars could warm frozen planets enough to support life

Roman-era artifacts found near shipwreck by amateur divers in Israel

Swift bleaching of Great Barrier Reef documented in photos

Texas research team reports successful cloning of Zika virus strain

DARPA shows off latest inventions, designs

Ancient multi-celled organisms found in China

Explaining giraffe necks is a stretch goal for scientists

Chemistry of Europa’s oceans could be like Earth’s

Spider-silk-like wire developed by scientists

AI speedily learns Bose-Einstein condensate experiment

Study examines gender disparity in silent heart attacks

Bacteria may lead to development of type 1 diabetes

Small object in Kuiper Belt seen in New Horizons images

Area surrounding sun-like star similar to Kuiper Belt

Unique horns adorned 2 new dinosaur species found in Mont., Utah

Scientists examine retreat of Antarctica’s Totten Glacier

New Orleans, surrounding areas sinking

Ohio site used for spiritual ceremonies 2,300 years ago

Hubble image offers detailed view of Mars

Urban bees mostly dine on flowers rather than human food

Insect-like flying robots can stick to surfaces

Small modular nuclear reactors take step closer to marketplace

Migraine patients may find relief with green light

Childhood obesity tied to prenatal BPA exposure

Experiment supports pilot-wave theory

Exoplanets offer clues to formation of our solar system

2 separate studies link birds’ red color to same gene

Colorful gardens mark Arctic fox dens

Shark bites on rise in Hawaii because more people in water

Researchers find dangerous Nile crocodiles in Fla.

Skeletons in ancient mass graves likely Battle of Dunbar prisoners

Fossil of strange ichthyosaur offers insight about mass extinction

Lips may have covered dinosaurs’ teeth (pucker up for dino porn! Which is actually a thing…)

Solar flares from nascent sun may have paved way for life on Earth

Study paints bleak picture if global warming continues

Barley used to make beer in China 5,000 years ago

Environmental toxins may explain carcinogenic meat research

Black holes start out massive and get bigger

Dolphins need mucus to help make sounds to find prey (“It’s kind of like making a raspberry,” said researcher Aaron Thode. <- This is my favorite science news this past month. I can totally see Niku doing this)

Excavation of Malcolm X’s boyhood home finds 18th-century artifacts

Australian researchers make progress with silicon in quantum computers

Depression in adolescents tied to socioeconomic status

Historic sites in Detroit to share $50,000 in preservation grants

Neanderthals likely built mysterious 176,000-year-old structures

Studies suggest that colliding black holes may be dark matter

Tree cloud-seeding experiments may have impact on climate predictions

World War II plane missing since 1944 found near Palau

Ancient Phoenician’s genome sequenced

Protein linked to Alzheimer’s may be triggered by infections

Study IDs new eye problems in Zika-infected infants

Huge deep sea sponge could be 1,000 years old

Mars emerging from ice age

Abrupt change in 1242 Hungary climate pushed out invading Mongols

Improvement of optical clocks may pave way for redefinition of second

Bacterial infection resistant to antibiotics found in US patient (Well this is scary as shit)

Study ties AFib to increased cancer risk among women


If you want to receive the same daily science emails I do, you can sign up for the Sigma Xi SmartBrief here.

Happy 10th Anniversary!

Happy 10th Anniversary to my wonderful Hubby!❤ Ten years ago today we were married on Mackinac Island, Michigan, in a tiny ceremony that included our parents, siblings, and a best friend each. Thirteen people total, including us and the pastor (who also owned the bar we toasted at the night before).

The past ten years have been filled with adventure and romance and lots and lots of fur-babies (and feather-babies). I hope the next ten are filled with the same!

Tonight we’re celebrating with a fancy dinner at my favorite restaurant, FIG.


Nailed It!

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! I’ve had a big, busy week since last I saw you – but the biggest news is that I NAILED MY EDITS! Woot! The “training manual” sections worked, making Finn less douchy while still keeping him in character worked, the sweeter sex scenes worked (and now I get to go back through and turn the heat up again ;P), and all the other little tweaks and edits worked. I’m so relieved! This was my first round of edits with an agent, so I’m really glad to hear my changes worked😀

We go on sub next week! Eeeep!

Now I’m CPing for my agent, which is super fun. And I love the book, it’s very much in line with StO, but without mermaids.

Last week I finished listening to THE MIRROR EMPIRE by Kameron Hurley and started HALF A WAR by Joe Abercrombie, but I haven’t been able to listen to much of it lately because I haven’t been doing the test that allows for audiobooks in the past week (those samples don’t come in often, but when they do come in it’s all at once). I finally started reading THANKS FOR THE TROUBLE yesterday at lunch, and I’m only 30 pages from finishing, so I’ll be finishing at lunch! That’s how good this book is! And it’s not even fantasy. I don’t always read Contemporary YA, but when I do apparently the MC must be mute and I’ll adore it (remember me raving about SEA OF TRANQUILITY? I still think about that book *often*).

Once I finish THANKS, I’m jumping back on the writing train to finish Enfields. I finally figured out what needs to happen next (thank goodness! I was stuck for MONTHS!), and it’s going to be very exciting and a little depressing. My favorite combo😉

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans, and if you need a little pick-me-up, have some chocolate:

(This is seriously my favorite thing today)

Thank Aleda April’s Over (almost)

Happy Friday Aledan Merfolk! April is always a rough month for me because it’s audit season at work, and this year I took over two additional tests right before audits started AND got my edits on StO back from my agent, so it’s been a whirlwind of activity on this end (which is why I haven’t posted since April 1st).

I’ve been writing a fake training manual for StO, which has been fun and challenging and should bring another dimension to the book that it was lacking before. Most of the other edits are pretty straight-forward, mostly making Finn less of a douchebag in the beginning (he’s so much fun to write as a douchebag, but not as much fun to read). It’s been an interesting balancing act, trying to keep him in character while also toning him down.

ThanksTroubleWhen my edits are done (should be next week!), I’ve got a couple CP projects lined up, and a couple books as well. One of my agent-siblings sent me a signed copy of THANKS FOR THE TROUBLE by Tommy Wallach, and I have a mermaid anthology to burn through. Last time I saw you I was still reading THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT, and OMG you guys, that book was PERFECT (for me). The ending was far from happy, but I tend to enjoy endings like that. If you haven’t read it yet, definitely grab a copy and start reading. It’s amazing from page one. I also read EMERGE by Tobie Easton, which was a nice twist on the classic mermaid tale. I really enjoyed it.

With my new tests at work I’ve had lots of time to listen to audiobooks, so I’ve blown through A GATHERING OF SHADOWS (wonderful, as are all of Victoria’s books), and THE MIRROR EMPIRE by Katherine Hurley (which I’ll finish this afternoon while working). It took me a little while to really get into Mirror Empire, but once I did I loved it. The narrator is good too.

And last but not least, we got two new Littles! But don’t get too attached, we plan to eat these ones (we may not be able to go through with it, so we got females just in case, but we’re going to try).

Nugget and Fricassee – don’t they look yummy?😉

Have a wonderful weekend Aledans!