Discovered: Mold-less bread could lower food waste; Grand Canyon is millions of years older than we previously thought; facial expressions are hard to parse without body language; superbugs can be reigned in through genetics.
Bread that you won't have to throw away. How many times have you come back from a holiday trip to find a moldy loaf of bread in your cabinet? Soon, thanks to new bread-baking techniques developed by scientists from a company called Microzap, you'll be able to go on two-month jaunts and return to edible bread. They've cooked up a loaf that, by way of microwaves that kill mold-producing pores, can keep for up to eight weeks. That could help to address problems with widespread food waste. The average American family tosses out 40 percent of the food it buys, accounting for $165 billion in squandered money every year. [BBC News]
The Grand(pa) Canyon is really old. The Grand Canyon's age is a huge part of its appeal for tourists wandering the West and looking for really really old things. Now, the park rangers will have to update their placards to let visitors know that its millions of years older than we previously thought, according to researchers led by Rebecca Flowers of the University of Colorado, Boulder. Samples of Helium atoms date the canyon back 70 million years, in Flowers' interpretation. But some geologists remain skeptical. Like SUNY Geneseo's Richard Young, who says, "I like the work [this team is] doing, and a lot of the stuff they've done is really interesting. But there's a lot of evidence for a young Grand Canyon." [Science Now]
What are these disembodied faces trying to tell us? Can you tell whether the faces below are letting out a victorious yell or a defeated howl? The 45 subjects that Hebrew University of Jerusalem researcher Hillel Aviezer showed these photos to couldn't, and the researchers used this to conclude that body language is just as important as facial expressions when determining emotion. Focussing just on faces, "when you compare extreme pain to extreme pleasure, you really can’t tell them apart," says Aviezer. [Wired]
Genetically reigning in superbugs. Superbugs like MRSA that are immune to the antibiotics at doctors' disposal may meet their match soon, if geneticists can perfect real-time sequencing of drug-resistant bacteria. Mark Walker and Scott Beaston of the University of Queensland write in a new Science essay, "Genomic sequencing can provide information that gives facilities a head start in implementing preventive measures." Scientists have been getting closer to understanding recent MRSA and KPC outbreaks, and how to study future outbreaks so as to stamp them out before they infect more patients. Until then, researchers suggest hospital workers wash their hands constantly and disinfect all hospital surfaces carefully. [Scientific American]