An extermination trick that married insecticide with sugar worked for a while — but then suddenly lost its power against roaches. Now science tells us why, as it highlights once again how human actions affect natural selection.
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?
Scientists have tracked a light beam that’s half-a-million light years long to a monster black hole and found that the hole and its disk of orbiting junk are spinning in parallel. Their new, supersize radio telescope promises more details on black holes at the center of most galaxies, including ours.
Can we spot these young, male, angry, frustrated killers in advance? Will science help us identify them in time?
“Yes, but…” is the word from the frontiers of physics. The world’s largest atom smasher has blasted protons against each other with such enormous energy that they have — apparently — appeared in the debris of decaying particles. At last, matter can have mass!
Take a modern volcano, and multiply it by 1,000. That’s a super-volcano. Their rare eruptions change landscapes and weather. How long can giant pools of molten rock sit beneath the surface before a super-v blows? A new study says, not long at all…
How do patents work? What is “new, non-obvious and useful”? What will happen after the biggest change in patent law in 60 years?
Sometimes, scientists feel the need to leave the lab and warn the public about onrushing hazards. Rowland warned about ozone, but others are warning about warming. Does scientific culture encourage or hinder going public? Does the helpful response to ozone depletion suggest we’ll succeed in confronting global warming?
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?
Scientists thought wings were the first evidence of flight. But plenty of falling ants can glide back to “their” tree to avoid being devoured on the forest floor. If an ant’s brain and body are able to detect its position and change its flight path, is gliding the first flight?
If conflicts are more common near the equator, what will global warming affect do? A new study shows increases in conflict during el Niño periods — but only during the warm, dry part of the cycle, and only in places affected by these big climatic cycles.
Hitting the road? What could be more enlightening than gawking at a cave, exploring a desert, or eyeballing the largest telescope in the world? Need proof that science is not just books and websites or equations and software? Get moving!
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.
Darwin thought life had to predate the Cambrian era, and yet there was no evidence. In 1953, a Wisconsin geologist saw fossils aged almost 2 billion years. Now, life has been discovered in rocks from 3.5 billion years. What was life like, and how do we recognize it?