Life is biology is species: But how many species live on Earth? About six million arthropods (insects, spiders and crustaceans), says a new study.
We love accurate weather forecasts, but the weather satellites they rely on are nearing the boneyard. Some replacements have crashed into the ocean, others are in financial limbo. Be very worried about our fragile planet: these satellites also track climate, ice, fire, and the health of forests and ocean!
Compared to regular airplanes, radio-controlled craft are safer, cheaper, and easier to use for observing wildlife and environmental conditions. Where are these robots being used? What are they finding? And as prices continue to fall, what stands in the way of much broader use?
Neutrinos are odd: Extremely difficult to see, they travel through mass with scarcely a trace. A 1-billion ton detector in South Pole ice is now counting neutrinos, intent on understanding their origin and role in the universe, and even spotting echoes of the Big Bang.
A crash course in “sink or swim” teaches computerized robots to adapt to changing circumstances. When taught by “directed evolution,” robots that started without legs learned to walk sooner than robots that started with legs! Can you explain?
Can pigeons learn an abstract mathematical rule? Apparently, according to a new study, which asked pigeons to place, five blue dots and eight green squares, in ascending order. Now we know birds and primates can both do this, but where and why did this ability originate?
Seismic study shows crust thinning as continent divides, giving another view of our restless planet, showing tectonic movement in action, and highlighting a major real-estate investment opportunity.
A new report on the ancient universe shows that most galaxies – even all of them – had a black hole at the center, much like modern galaxies. We can understand why a black hole would need to be surrounded by millions of stars, but why should galaxies require black holes?
Fish contamination was rare after the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, with levels of dangerous hydrocarbons well below “levels of concern.” But nobody looked systematically at heavy metals, the Gulf still has a lot of oil, and the many different hydrocarbons may have unpredictable impacts.
A federal court has thrown the field of embryonic stem cell research into confusion. Last week, research that destroys embryos could not get federal bucks — even if those embryos were doomed or destroyed years ago. This week, it can. How is the legal yo-yo affecting researchers — and desperate patients?
It’s one of the biggest puzzles of paleontology: Why did North America’s large mammals go extinct shortly after the glaciers melted about 15k years ago? New study suggests that hunters get the credit — or blame.
Underground nuclear tests have been the biggest roadblock to a comprehensive test ban. How are these explosions detected, and how reliably?
The feds put out a massive report on American birds, and the #1 source of data is – amateurs! What is the role of amateurs in ornithology? Hint: if you want to survey 800 species on 3.5 million square miles…
Pres. Obama has removed some limits on studies of cells that can become any body cell. What was lost in eight years of limits on embryonic stem cells? What’s ahead?
Biology operates on the nanometer scale, and now ultra-small technology is producing monster benefits for genetic analysis, cell biologists, and the treatment of blinding glaucoma.