Harvard vault protects the world’s rarest colors

The most unusual colors from Harvard’s storied pigment library include beetle extracts, poisonous metals, and human mummies. Today, every color imaginable is at your fingertips. You can peruse paint swatches at hardware stores, flip through Pantone books, and fuss with the color finder that comes with most computer programs, until achieving the hue of yourContinue reading “Harvard vault protects the world’s rarest colors”

Prison vs. Harvard debate

On one side of the stage at a maximum-security prison here sat three men incarcerated for violent crimes. On the other were three undergraduates from Harvard College. After an hour of fast-moving debate Friday, the judges rendered their verdict. The inmates won. The audience burst into applause. That included about 75 of the prisoners’ fellowContinue reading “Prison vs. Harvard debate”

New study shows that anger outbursts acutely raise risk of heart attack and stroke

Getting really angry might be more dangerous than you think. A new study found people who experienced severe anger outbursts were more at risk for cardiovascular events in the two hours following the outbursts compared to those who remained calm. “The relative risk was similar for people who had known pre-existing heart disease and thoseContinue reading “New study shows that anger outbursts acutely raise risk of heart attack and stroke”

Ancient Irish texts show volcanic link to cold weather

By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent, BBC News Researchers have been able to trace the impact of volcanic eruptions on the climate over a 1200 year period by assessing ancient Irish texts. The international team compared entries in these medieval annals with ice core data indicating volcanic eruptions. Of 38 volcanic events, 37 were associated withContinue reading “Ancient Irish texts show volcanic link to cold weather”

Largest psychiatric genetic study in history shows a common genetic basis that underlies 5 types of mental disorders

Structure of the CACNA1C gene product, a calcium channel named Cav1.2, which is one of 4 genes that has now been found to be genetically held in common amongst schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, major depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disoder. Groundbreaking work on the role of this protein on anxiety and other forms of behaviorContinue reading “Largest psychiatric genetic study in history shows a common genetic basis that underlies 5 types of mental disorders”

Strengthened link between climate change and volcanic eruptions established

It has long been known that volcanic activity can cause short-term variations in climate. Now, researchers at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (Germany), together with colleagues from Harvard University have found evidence that the reverse process also occurs: Climate affects volcanic activity. “In times of global warming, the glaciers are melting onContinue reading “Strengthened link between climate change and volcanic eruptions established”

Do Palm Trees Hold the Key to Immortality?

For centuries, humans have been exploring, researching, and, in some cases, discovering how to stave off life-threatening diseases, increase life spans, and obtain immortality. Biologists, doctors, spiritual gurus, and even explorers have pursued these quests — one of the most well-known examples being the legendary search by Ponce de León for the “Fountain of Youth.”Continue reading “Do Palm Trees Hold the Key to Immortality?”

DNA is the future of data storage

A bioengineer and geneticist at Harvard’s Wyss Institute have successfully stored 5.5 petabits of data — around 700 terabytes — in a single gram of DNA, smashing the previous DNA data density record by a thousand times. The work, carried out by George Church and Sri Kosuri, basically treats DNA as just another digital storageContinue reading “DNA is the future of data storage”

Freezer malfunction at Harvard destroys crucial supply of brains being used to study autism

A freezer malfunctioned at a Harvard-affiliated hospital that oversees the world’s largest collection of autistic brain samples, damaging a third of the scientifically precious specimens and casting doubt on whether they can be used in research. The director of the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center said the loss was “devastating,” particularly in light of theContinue reading “Freezer malfunction at Harvard destroys crucial supply of brains being used to study autism”