Hannah Devlin, theguardian: Scientists have shown the urge to eat after smoking is caused by cannabinoids hijacking brain cells that normally suppress appetite. Caption: Research on the ‘munchies’ side-effect of smoking cannabis has helped scientists understand how the appetite centre of the brain responds to marijuana. Photograph: Alamy
Earth at risk after cuts close comet-spotting program, scientists warn - Astronomers sound alarm after closure of the Australian early-warning program that spotted the Siding Spring comet - Caption: A Nasa infrared image of Comet Siding Spring. The comet, also known by the less catchy name of C/2007 Q3, was discovered in 2007 by astronomers at the Siding Spring Observatory. Credit: Nasa, JPL-Caltech, UCLA/AAP
LiveScience Staff: Apparently you can put on your thinking cap . . . though don't try this at home. Caption: Electrode gel (petroleum jelly with electrolytes) is injected below the tin disks used to record electrical activity generated in the brain. These tin disks are arrayed across the head so that researchers can determine how stimulation affects the activity generated in the brain as participants perform the learning task in the laboratory. Credit: Vanderbilt Univeristy
A study led by Princeton University researchers found that the pond-dwelling, single-celled organism Oxytricha trifallax (above) has the remarkable ability to break its own DNA into nearly a quarter-million pieces and rapidly reassemble those pieces when it's time to mate. This elaborate process could provide a template for understanding how chromosomes in more complex animals such as humans break apart and reassemble, as can happen during the onset of cancer.
The Avian Phylogenomics Consortium's work over four years has brought together more than 200 scientists to better understand the evolution of birds. Credit: Jon Fjelds - News release: Rapid bird evolution after the age of dinosaurs unprecedented, study confirms - http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-12/uos-rbe121114.php