From an evolutionary perspective, same sex attraction doesn't make much sense. But a pair of psychologists writing in Psychological Science say the "kin selection hypothesis" may explain why the trait has persisted for eons without conferring any discernible reproductive advantage.
The new study suggests that homosexuality may convey an indirect benefit by enhancing the survival prospects of close relatives. Specifically, homosexual men might enhance their own genetic prospects by being "helpers in the nest." By acting altruistically toward nieces and nephews, homosexual men would perpetuate the family genes, including some of their own.
Data collected since the pre-industrial age indicates that the mean surface pH of the world's oceans has declined from 8.2 to 8.1 units with another 0.4 unit decline possible by century's end, according to a new study in Oceanography. A single whole pH unit drop would make ocean waters 10 times more acidic, which could rob many marine organisms of their ability to produce protective shells – and tip the balance of marine food chains, the study warns.
The delicate balance of life in the waters that surround the frozen continent of Antarctica is especially susceptible to the effects of acidification. The impact on the marine life in that region will serve as a bellwether for global climate-change effects.
Research conducted by scientists at the Weizmann Institute and the University of Maryland reveals that bats, which 'see' with beams of sound waves, skew their beams off-center when they want to locate an object. The research, which recently appeared in Science, shows that this strategy is the most efficient for locating objects.
"We think that this tradeoff between detecting a object and determining its location is fundamental to any process that involves tracking an object whether done by a bat, a dog or a human, and whether accomplished through hearing, smell or sight," said co-author Cynthia Moss, a University of Maryland professor of psychology, who directs interdisciplinary bat echolocation research in the university's Auditory Neuroethology Lab.
Despite the endless anti-smoking campaigns and serious health risks associated with tobacco use, many smokers don't give up the habit. Currently, the smoking quit rate remains discouragingly low. Smokers try to quit on average 12 to 14 times before they succeed, and every year about 41% of smokers try to quit but only 10% succeed.
So what, then, is the best to way to convince smokers to stop for good? Giving them information about their individual risk of serious illness may be a good place to start, according to a paper published in the current issue of the Postgraduate Medical Journal.
Quantum biology? Sure, it doesn't get as much attention as its physics counterpart but special proteins called light-harvesting complexes are getting some attention for the field and a team of University of Toronto chemists say they have observed quantum mechanics at work in photosynthesis of marine algae.
Children and young adults are more likely to pursue sports, music or other pastimes when given an opportunity to nurture their own passion, according to a three-part study Published in the latest Journal of Personality.
As part of the study, the research team evaluated 588 musicians and athletes from swimmers to skiers. Participants were between six and 38 years old and practiced hobbies at different levels: beginner, intermediate and expert. Kids were recruited from high school or specialized summer camps, while adults were recruited at training camps and competitions. The scientific team used a Likert-type scale to measure how parents supported child autonomy and to evaluate child well-being regarding hobbies.