If you teach a group of monkeys that blue corn tastes yucky, they switch to pink corn. What happens when a monkey raised to detest pink corn enters the group? You might be surprised!
Meteorite hunters were out in force after the biggest impact in 100 years injured more than 1,200. Does the meteorite market damage science by sending the best samples to private collections, or does it feed science as well as the market?
We lie for many reasons: Glory. Money. Both. Something else. Is there a science of detecting lies? Does the digital realm make lying harder? Easier? Both?
Dig the dung beetle. Sample the belly button. Tilt your brain — and see what happens. Watch bees cook their enemies. Drive through the cabbie’s brain. Check out pretty pix of pretty chicks. All weird. All here!
We spend ever-more hours with TV, cellphones, tablets and computers, is it rude or necessary to always answer your phone? Does distraction make you dumb? What about multitasking?
At the moment of loss or victory, an athlete’s face shows intense … what? Without seeing the body, you can’t tell whether an important point was won or lost. Adding the body language makes all the difference — and can even overwhelm the message of the face!
Spears helped our ancestors eat and defend themselves. Spearmaking required ingenuity, experiments and communication. Symmetrical stone tools with damage at the tip indicate that spears were being used in South Africa half a million years ago, according to a new study.
With the $6-billion slugfest thankfully in our rear-view mirror, we ponder the attachment to “my” team. How do we deal with the inevitable disappointment? Are we fair-weather fans or die-hards, and how does that affect our response to the big game? Could sports affiliation even protect against suicide?
Are we affecting the character of future generations by the way we choose mates? If choosing attractive mates tends to make the grandchildren more attractive, what about choosing mates who like to laugh or have fun?
Can we spot these young, male, angry, frustrated killers in advance? Will science help us identify them in time?
Native agriculture could be a sophisticated response to a challenging environment. What were the secrets of permaculture, companion cropping and corn farming? Could these techniques contribute to modern farming?
Advances in genetics raise the stakes in genetic counseling, but the genetic role in disease can be complicated, elusive. What role do faith, personality and knowledge play in the complex discussions over genetic disease?
New Year’s approaches. A “permanent” calendar could finally answer the annual, “Uh, what day is New Year’s eve this year?” question. This calendar would place each date on a specific day every year, and simplify life for schedulers. But would a permanent calendar be accepted?
Sick of stats on GDP or stocks? Some of the alternative economic indicators are sensible, some are zany, and some are misleading, even dangerous.
If (gasp!) the subject is too big for a Whyfile, hit the books. Here, we review four great science books, on evolution, environment, fighting nature, and discovering motherly love.