Plastic Lessons by Shara Yurkiewicz:

I always feel awkward when I talk to plastic patients. The simulation mannequins are impressive: their eyes blink, their chests expand as they breathe, they have pulses, they bleed, they burn. A screen monitors vital signs: I administer a pressor and a dipping blood pressure perks up, or I order a beta blocker and a racing heart rate slows. A physician in the next room lends her voice to play the patient, responding to what I do and say. A physician in the same room becomes a tech, relaying results of my tests and nudging me through the next steps when I veer off course...

The SA Incubator: Helping Hatch Science Writers Since July 2011 by Erin Podolak:

I am a baby chicken. Not literally of course, but figuratively speaking I am a little chick of a science writer. Fledgling, if you will. Continuing with this analogy, I recently left my incubator in the journalism school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and am now out in the world looking for work as a journalist. It is tough out here for a baby chicken, and any clips and exposure you can get have tremendous value. This is why I think it is downright wonderful that Scientific American has a blog in their network dedicated to new and young science writers...

Rome, Scotland, and Stake-Lined Pits by Mary Beth Griggs:

The purpose of these pits was to ward off attackers from the north who really enjoyed making the Romans lives miserable. They provided an extra layer of defense to the few men who defended a crumbling, ill-defended border that was constantly under attack and poorly provisioned by a distant capital city that was too wrapped up in it’s own drama to care...

Mirror Mirror on the Wall by Victoria Charlton:

Eco-conscious consumers are increasingly trying to make decisions based on a company’s green credentials. But beneath all the marketing rhetoric, how can we really tell the environmental heroes from the villains?...

Wild Plants Respond to Climate Change Quicker Than Science Suggested by Tiffany Stecker:

Scientific experiments to measure the rate and effects of climate change on plants aren't matching up to what is happening in nature, a new study finds. In fact, observations on the environment show that changes in nature is happening much faster than in the scientist's lab...

Mammoth Trees, Champs of the Ecosystem by Douglas Main:

It’s important to respect your elders, children are reminded. It seems that this goes for trees, too. Big, old trees dominate many forests worldwide and play crucial ecological services that aren’t immediately obvious, like providing habitat for a wide range of organisms, from fungi to woodpeckers...

Babies and Babies as Parasites, on Distillations by Audrey Quinn:

It’s happened. I’ve become a sucker for babies. But pregnancy? Yeech, I’m not there yet. Babies inside of you can have some pretty parasitic impacts. On last Friday’s episode of the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s podcast Distillations, I look into the chemistry behind pregnancy’s greatest drawbacks...

Sun’s shock wave goes missing by Nadia Drake:

The sun isn’t quite the speed demon scientists once suspected. It chugs around the galactic center at a relatively pokey 83,500 kilometers per hour — or roughly 11,000 kilometers per hour slower than expected, says a report appearing online May 10 in Science...

Unhurtful Thoughts: A Preoccupied Brain Produces Pain-Killing Compounds by Daisy Yuhas:

Thinking of something else is a time-honored method for coping with pain. Indeed, psychologists have demonstrated repeatedly that what you think about can modulate the pain you experience. But what's less clear is how exactly that effect plays out in the body. In a study published today in Current Biology, neuroscientists have found that distraction does more than merely divert your mind; it actually sends signals that bar pain from reaching the central nervous system...

Sterilizing That Blasted Ballast by Rachel Nuwer:

In the dank bowels of the ship, a million microbes squirm and writhe. Their watery cradle — the ballast — plays a central role in balancing the weight of giant cargo ships that regularly shuttle back and forth between the world’s oceans. Invisibly ferried from port to port, the hitchhiking larvae, phytoplankton and bacteria pose a costly threat. If flushed into the wrong environment, these aliens could very well take over ecosystems.

A Field Guide for SciCom by Meghan Rosen:

Two quarters ago, David Cohn—the web whiz and crowd-funded journalism advocate who invented Spot.us—left the SciCom class of 2012 with a note-worthy nugget of internet advice.

“It’s cheaper and easier to try something,” he said, “than to debate about whether or not to try it.”...

40 Acres and a Rule: Draft Federal Fracking Regs Cover Only A Sliver of Land by Lena Groeger:

Last week’s media coverage of the Obama administration’s newly-proposed fracking rules focused so heavily on how drilling companies would have to disclose the chemicals they use that it largely overlooked the toughest provisions: Drillers would be required to test the physical integrity of their wells, and more water would be protected from drilling. Since many wells fail because the cement and casings crack, the new tests could prevent dangerous leakages....

Cancer? Google it by Rose Eveleth:

There are about 20,000 proteins that might be involved in pancreatic cancer. How do you know which ones are the most important? Well, Google might know. Or at least, they might know how to figure out...

Flowers Count Pollen by Sabrina Richards:

Plants need to ensure that each egg has the chance to be fertilized while at the same time preventing double fertilizations, which in many plants kills the zygote. Therefore, plants rely on sperm and egg fusion to prevent multiple pollen grains from trying to reach the egg, according to research published yesterday (May 17) in Current Biology...

Young, political, uncomfortable by Kathryn Doyle:

A woman's thoughts on men's thoughts about women in the sciences...

Guernsey of Bergen Street: Life of a Brooklyn street cat by Ashley Taylor:

The Bergen Street cats are seven among tens of thousands of cats on the streets of New York, according to the New York City Feral Cat Initiative website. These cats are abandoned domestic animals and their progeny. Two of the Bergen Street cats were left on a nearby rooftop when their owners moved away. But Guernsey is the cat that really matters to Al...

Black Beauty knows who you are by Greg Jones:

Researchers have demonstrated horses’ ability to recognise individual humans by combining sight and sound. The work raises new questions of just how common inter-species recognition might be in the natural world.

What Cartography Taught Me About Writing by Kate Prengaman:

Just like in journalism, the first thing one learns in a cartography class is that good maps tell stories. This semester, I’m taking cartography and journalism simultaneously, and I’ve realized that the constructions I’ve learned for how to think about making maps actually make me a better writer...

A Surprising Cause of Obesity by Jessica Gross:

While overeating, inactivity and genetics are key players in the path to obesity, but there may be a surprising, hidden cause that’s also to blame. (Hint: it’s in your stomach—and it’s not that cheeseburger you ate for lunch.)...

Multiple sclerosis: multiple perspectives by Jordan Gaines:

Montel Williams and 400,000 other Americans face it everyday. Richard Pryor was confined to a wheelchair in the last few years of his life because of it. Symptoms range from weakness to bladder problems to difficulty talking. Indeed, multiple sclerosis, or MS, is one of the most well-known yet mysterious neurological conditions we know about.

A Planet Under Pressure, and Why Gender Matters by Paige Brown:

"I believe we want a world that is pro-poor, pro-development, and pro-environment." So said Bina Agarwal, Director and Professor of Economics at the Institute of Economic Growth at Delhi University, India, at the Planet Under Pressure 2012 conference in London - an international conference focusing on solutions to the global sustainability challenge. At the conference, Bina expressed her concern for food security and forest protection in light of global climatic changes, calling for "participation at all levels, at both the global and the local, between countries and within communities..." This quote by Bina from Planet Under Pressure 2012 says it all: "Even without climate change, we will need extraordinary efforts to feed 9 billion [people] by 2050. With climate change, the task is mammoth."

How Whales Fly? by Doaa Tawfik:

What do you think is the direct connection between a whale and a helicopter?

Me and You and ZOBOOMAFOO! by Sabrina DeRiso:

After reviewing my past blog entries, I noticed that they all reference medical discoveries involving humans. Born and raised with a love for animals, I felt it would be substantial to submit a blog regarding medical discoveries on one of my favorite animals. Lemurs! Ever since I was a young child, I would anxiously sit in front of my television awaiting my favorite show, Zoboomafoo! Zoboomafoo, a Sifaka lemur from Madagascar, accompanied by Chris and Martin Kratt, would introduce wildlife to preschoolers...

This one time, at the Grand Canyon… by Maggie Pingolt:

…As an adventurous pair, it only seemed fitting that we conquer as much square mileage as we could while we’re young so we hit the sand with a brisk walk. Not long after starting our hike we caught up to a young German couple taking an extended vacation through the United States. Our paces matched, and so did our adventurous spirit of making it in and out in a day, so the four of us began walking together, trading stories of travel and eventually, physics...