Bad feet? Aching back? Impacted wisdom teeth? Blame balky designs inherited from your relatives. How has evolution equipped — or mal-equipped — us for modern life? How do big brains support culture that supports big brains?
Roads are the first insult to pristine natural areas — and a key to agricultural productivity in places where farming makes sense. Here’s a proposal to decide where roads make sense, and where they make mayhem.
And how did it traverse 460 kilometers of ocean? Apparently by crossing a narrow band of ice during the last Ice Age. A new study echoes evolutionary giants Darwin and Wallace and highlights the role of sea level in animal migration.
How will rising temperatures affect endangered species? Are there ways to abate the consequences, and are they being tested? Can we even be certain that climate change is the cause of specific declines?
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!
After Sandy’s soaking: How dangerous are molds and bacteria that grow in a soggy house? What is the best way to salvage a water-damaged home? Do you need expert help?
Conservation and fracking will help United States reach energy independence by 2030. How will cheap natural gas affect renewable energy? How will a one-third increase in fossil fuel use affect greenhouse warming? Are we about to be locked into a 3.6ºC of global warming?
Cheesemaking is older than Homer’s Odyssey, but questions remain. Which bacteria make the best cheese? Must low-fat cheese taste like cardboard? Why is small-producer, “artisan” cheese becoming so popular? Why does one cheese taste different than another.
Researchers are finding more links to obesity, cancer, and sleep disturbances. Light blocks the release of melatonin, a hormone involved in the body clock. Wildlife scientists are finding effects on competition, predation and reproduction. Could light pollution from streets, cars and buildings drive animal evolution?
As a new conversion of soy protein into a meat-like material reaches the market, we also look into meat grown, cell by cell, in lab dishes. Could in vitro meat be in your future, and would that solve ethical, health and environmental problems?
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?
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?
Lake Vostok could house ancient bacteria, but we already know that bacteria can live in boiling water or light up a glowing squid. Countless weird-and-weirdest critters live between grains of sand… Curious about biology’s strange shelf?
Long ago, nature devised the hinge and ball and socket for appendages like legs and wings. The screw is the latest simple machine to be discovered in nature. Why do weevils, a type of beetle, have a screw? How does it help weevils survive their 3-D world?
White nose syndrome has killed a million bats in the eastern U.S., and spread to Nova Scotia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Why is the fungus deadly here, but not in Europe? Can quarantines, anti-fungals or heated bat houses help our bats survive the onslaught?