9 Stories

Earth's Oldest Known Color Is Found

It's 1.1 billion years old, and pink

(Newser) - Billion-year-old rocks pulled from deep below the Sahara Desert have revealed the earliest colored molecules found on Earth. They aren't black, brown, or even green. Instead, think pink. Nur Gueneli of Australian National University was examining molecules from crushed rocks discovered a decade ago by an oil company drilling... More »

One Whiff of Blood Molecule Separates Hunters, Hunted

Scent of E2D triggers widely different reactions in animals, including humans

(Newser) - Scientists have zeroed in on a molecule in blood whose very scent triggers alarm in humans but also beckons predators. In fact, one whiff of the E2D molecule causes animals of all kinds to act in "diametrically opposite" ways, suggesting that it's been around for eons and responses... More »

Why Chopping Onions Makes You Cry

Slicing into one is the equivalent of attacking it, and they want us to stop

(Newser) - Onions are notorious for making us weep, but why? Scientists say they now have a pretty good understanding of what's going on, reports NPR in an interview with chemist and author Eric Block. It turns out the vegetable has "evolved a chemical defense system" in an attempt to... More »

Video Gamers Unlock AIDS Molecule Puzzle

'They did it in less than 10 days': scientist

(Newser) - Video gamers have figured out a molecular puzzle that has long baffled scientists and may lead to crowd-sourced cures for AIDS and other illnesses, MSNBC reports. In a surprising step for so-called citizen science, players of the online game Foldit discovered the molecular structure of an enzyme in an AIDS-like... More »

Carbon Spaceballs Spotted in Cosmic Dust

Telescope discovers giant 'buckyball' molecules

(Newser) - A type of carbon only seen before in Earth laboratories has been spotted in a cloud of cosmic dust by NASA's Spitzer telescope. "Buckyballs"—soccer ball-shaped molecules made up of 60 carbon atoms—are the largest molecules ever seen in space. Buckyballs have been made in labs by... More »

Scientists Capture Detailed Image of Molecule

Technique could help improve electronics, drugs

(Newser) - In a scientific first, IBM researchers have produced a detailed image of a molecule’s structure, the BBC reports. The stunning image, made with an atomic force microscope that vibrates like a tuning fork, is so finely detailed that it shows chemical bonds. Such intricate familiarity with the molecule opens... More »

Brain Scientists Find 'Memory Molecule'

Blocking it could erase memories; enhancing may stave off dementia

(Newser) - Imagine having the power to wipe out a particularly troubling memory, or to enhance neuron systems in order to stave off the effects of dementia. Such techniques, once only considered by science fiction writers and philosophers, could now be within our grasp, based on studies in animals. The New York ... More »

Scientists Seek 'Shadow' Life Forms on Earth

(Newser) - "If aliens exist, they may be living right next door..." No, it's not a writer pitching a television pilot, but the premise of a scientific theory called the "shadow biosphere," New Scientist reports. Some astrobiologists say that life forms may have originated on Earth after... More »

New Aspirin Spares Users Stomachaches

Italian scientists alter key molecule in painkiller

(Newser) - Aspirin is one of the world’s top painkillers, but it has a nasty way of attacking the stomach lining. That could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a team of Italian researchers who have molecularly altered the drug. The new aspirin “has no side effects,... More »

9 Stories