13 Stories

Nonstop Artificial Light Might Even Affect Your Bones

In a new study, mice became more frail, but only temporarily

(Newser) - Roughly one-third of the globe can no longer see the Milky Way thanks to artificial light at night. The impact of light pollution has long been obvious, but scientists are now exploring the role of constant exposure to light on health, and a study in the journal Current Biology adds... More »

How Chameleons Really Change Their Color

New study finds it isn't just pigments

(Newser) - Chameleons may not be the only creatures on the planet capable of shade shifting, but they're probably the best at it—panther chameleons in particular. They can go from green and blue hues to yellow and red ones in a matter of minutes, and scientists say they now think... More »

Scientists Slay Superbugs... With Light

Wavelengths cause chemical reaction, researchers find

(Newser) - Scientists have shed light on a new way to kill hospital superbugs like MRSA: literally shed light on them. A set of wavelengths called HINS-light acts by stimulating molecules in the bacteria, causing them to create chemicals that kill the germs. In trials, the process appears far more effective than... More »

Scientists 'Tie Light in Knots'

Breakthrough could lead to more precise lasers, traffic speed guns

(Newser) - A team of physicists say they’ve managed to “tie light in knots” using holograms and abstract mathematics. The breakthrough could have a host of practical applications, including more precise lasers and traffic speed guns. It’s also the first physical application of “knot theory,” a branch... More »

Digital Pioneers Scoop Physics Nobel Prize

Trio's work on light paved way for Internet, digital cameras

(Newser) - The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded today to three scientists whose research into light paved the way for the digital age. Charles Kao received the prize for his work on the transmission of light through fiber-optic cables—the basis of modern communication networks. Bell Labs researchers Willard Boyle and... More »

LA Fights Park Crime With Midnight Lights

Even gang members invited to summer nights of food, music

(Newser) - Los Angeles' rundown parks used to be hotbeds of gang violence that scared away law-abiding neighbors after dark, but a new program has brought both a sense of community and a reduction in crime, the New York Times reports. The solution, which has already seen an 86% drop in homicides... More »

Long-Distance Love Light Shines in New Gizmo

(Newser) - Tired of texting your long-distance lover to say how much you care? A Scottish research lab hopes to connect couples with something a bit more poetic: "painted" light. Users of Mutsugoto wear touch-activated rings tracked by motion-sensing cameras mounted above their beds; caress your own arm and a matching... More »

Fireflies May Be Succumbing to Light Pollution

Numbers plummeting around the world

(Newser) - From backyards in Tennessee to river banks in Thailand, fireflies are disappearing. And the lights may be going out, said scientists who gathered last week in Thailand, because of human light pollution. Urban sprawl has caused a loss of habitat, AP reports, but it also may be that bright cities... More »

Light Pollution Veils Starry Skies

Obscured night sky could be a health hazard

(Newser) - Dark skies are being engulfed by light all over the world, creating some unexpected consequences, the Wall Street Journal reports. Over two-thirds of the world's people— including nearly all Americans—can no longer see "what is possibly the most extraordinary natural wonder," said one astronomer. The amount of... More »

Light May Slow Dementia

Brighter environs cut depression in research hailed as 'spectacular'

(Newser) - Brighter daytime lighting can significantly soften dementia symptoms, according to a Dutch study that found better moods and sleep patterns correlated with brighter environs. Combined with extra doses of the hormone melatonin, lighting slowed onset of symptoms by up to 5%, which “may not sound like a huge amount,... More »

From Night Owl to Early Bird?

Altering caffeine, light, can help mold sleep patterns

(Newser) - For those wide-eyed deep into the night, rising and shining with the early birds might seem like an elusive dream that comes to a jarring end each morning. But for this 5% to 30% of the population, understanding circadian rhythms can benefit their tired eyes more than chugging coffee. The... More »

City Lights Linked to Breast Cancer

Scientists believe lights suppress tumor-fighting hormone

(Newser) - Women who live in areas with a large about of night-time light face an increased risk of breast cancer, and scientists believe it may be because the light interferes with a tumor- fighting hormone, reports the Washington Post. Researchers compared satellite images at night with cancer registries and found breast... More »

Planet with Water Discovered

HD 189733b holds superheated water vapor but is too hot for aliens

(Newser) - Astronomers located the first planet beyond our solar system that hosts water—a giant gas ball bigger than Jupiter and named HD 189733b. Its sizzling climate, which can reach upwards of 3,600 degrees, renders it uninhabitable to any extraterrestrials, but the discovery shows that water is more common in... More »

13 Stories