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SCIENCE: It Turns Out Homosexuality is Complicated

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No individual gene alone makes a person gay, lesbian or bisexual; instead, thousands of genes likely influence sexual orientation, a massive new study of the genomes of nearly half a million people suggests. Across human societies and in both sexes, between 2% and 10% of people report engaging in sex with a member of the same sex, either exclusively or in addition to sex with a member of the opposite sex, the researchers said. The biological factors that contribute to sexual orientation are largely unknown, but many scientists suspect that genetics plays a role, given that same-sex sexual behavior appears … Read more

The Heat Is Coming

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When I say, “how about that heat wave,” perhaps you think of the western United States, where temperatures last week soared above 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius), smashing dozens of historical heat records from Oregon to Arizona. Or maybe you think of India — where intense heat has scorched the country for more than a month, killing at least 36 people and forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate their villages — or perhaps Kuwait, where local media recently reported high temperatures of 145 F (63 C), potentially the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth. The point is, the Northern … Read more

SCIENCE: Sorry, There Are No Space Octopi On Earth. Probably.

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Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe. I want to believe the conclusions of a new paper that says octopuses are actually space aliens whose frozen eggs first came to Earth aboard an icy meteor. I want to believe that humans, too, are aliens — the final descendants of an extraterrestrial virus that crashed to Earth 540 million years ago and sent evolution spiraling into wild new directions. I want to believe that the universe is one giant biosphere, tossing the same building blocks of life from planet to planet in a never-ending game of cosmic hot potato. I want … Read more

SCIENCE: Trans Kids’ Brains Resemble Their Gender Identity

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A new study led by a Belgian neurologist found that brain activity in transgender people resembles that found in cisgender people of their gender more than their sex assigned at birth. Julie Bakker of the University of Liege led the research, which involved MRI scans of 160 transgender people diagnosed with gender dysphoria who were children and teenagers. The scans also measures brain microstructures using a technique called diffusion tensor imaging. Their brain scans were compared to people of comparable age who were not diagnosed with gender dysphoria. The study found that transgender boys’ brain activity resembled cisgender boys’, and … Read more

STUDY: Plants Can Detect the Sound of Water

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Pseudoscientific claims that music helps plants grow have been made for decades, despite evidence that is shaky at best. Yet new research suggests some flora may be capable of sensing sounds, such as the gurgle of water through a pipe or the buzzing of insects. In a recent study, Monica Gagliano, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Western Australia, and her colleagues placed pea seedlings in pots shaped like an upside-down Y. One arm of each pot was placed in either a tray of water or a coiled plastic tube through which water flowed; the other arm had only … Read more

News: Did Scientists Just Discover Evidence That ‘Gay Genes’ Exist?


Scientists may have found genetic indicators of whether someone has same or opposite-sex attraction. The link was discovered when scientists compared the DNA of 47 sets of male twins. The pairs included some where the two twins had a different sexual orientation. Looking at the molecular data from nine genome sites, researchers could guess whether a twin pair was straight or gay with up to 70% accuracy. Lead researcher Dr Tuck Ngun, from the University of California at Los Angeles, said: “To our knowledge, this is the first example of a predictive model for sexual orientation based on molecular markers.” … Read more