Anxiety about certain things can be hereditary

We all know our parents have a big impact on our lives, but new evidence is emerging that our parents’ behaviors before we are born may have a bigger influence on us than we previously imagined.

Epigenetic research is a hot-button topic at the moment, generating a lot of attention in both scientific studies and the media. Epigenetics is the ability of genes to be influenced by our experiences, altering our genetic make-up in real time. By changing the chemical signals that course through your brain and body, you can actually turn genes on or off, a process that can then influence your future actions. Thus, in some ways, epigenetics can be thought of as the bridge between nature and nurture—your behavior and environment affecting your biology, and vice versa.

Pop a squat

Today is World Toilet Day!

Seriously.

And toilets these days are big business.

Last year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced the prize for their highly publicized competition to Reinvent the Toilet, awarding the honor (and $100,000) to a team from the California Institute of Technology for a lavatory that runs on solar power and converts our “contributions” into hydrogen and electricity.

We have something important to say

In case you're not up on the latest Science Blogging/Writing/Communication gossip (which I'm assuming most of you aren't), well, shit has really hit the fan recently.

There have been a slew of misogynistic occurrences in the past week, with more stories of sexual harassment coming to the surface. Numerous scientists and bloggers have commented on the developing situation far more effectively than I will be able to here, and I'll be sure to link to them as I go. But first, the unfolding story.

Finding Mr. Right just got a lot harder

It’s hard being a young woman these days. Chivalry is dying, but many glass ceilings are still firmly in place. We’re supposed to have it all but sacrifice nothing, balancing choosing a career path and a life partner. We can delay having kids by putting our eggs in the freezer next to our vodka, but our similarly aging male partners’ sperm might handicap our chances of having healthy offspring, with higher risks for autism and schizophrenia linked to paternal age.

And now it turns out that hormonal contraception, or The Pill, our revolutionary defense against the inherent misogyny of biology, could be tricking us into choosing the wrong men.

Everyone poops: A weight loss story

​It seems like we are always looking for a quick and easy weight loss solution. We spend millions of dollars every year on gym memberships, workout equipment, dietary supplements and self-help books in the vain attempt to lose those last 5 (or 10 or 20) pounds. Unfortunately, most of these attempts fail miserably and we end up right back where we started, if not worse. But what if there was an easier way? What if there was one simple solution to losing all that excess weight for good? What if all it took was a stool transplant. Would you do it?

Yes, fecal matter. That embarrassing brown lumpy bodily expulsion. We learned from an early age that Everyone Poops, and now a recent study has hinted that with the right transfer, somebody else’s poop could help you lose weight.

Billions of dollars to map billions of neurons

A lot of money is being spent right now to ‘map the human brain’. In the last month, both the European Commission and U.S. president Barack Obama have pledged to give billions of dollars to fund two separate projects geared towards creating a working model of the human brain, all 100 billion neurons and 100,000 billion synapses.

The first, the Human Brain Project, is being spearheaded by Prof Henry Markram of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Together, with collaborators from 86 other European institutions, they aim to simulate the workings of the human brain using a giant super computer.

To achieve this, they will work to compile information about the activity of tons of individual neurons and neuronal circuits throughout the brain in a massive database. They then hope to integrate the biological actions of these neurons to create theoretical maps of different subsystems, and eventually, through the magic of computer simulation, a working model of the entire brain.