Leading science journalists provide a daily minute commentary on some of the most interesting developments in the world of science. For a full-length, weekly podcast you can subscribe to Science Talk: The Podcast of Scientific American . To view all of our archived podcasts please go to www.scientificamerican.com/podcast
Playing the sounds of a healthy reef near damaged corals may help bring the fish community back. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A study done in South America found that with increasing population density, humans had more diversity of fungi on the skin but less microbial diversity in the gut.
The fiber-optic cables that connect the global Internet could potentially be used as seismic sensors. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A few brief reports about international science and technology from Mexico to Tanzania, including one about the need to quarantine bananas in Colombia that are potentially infected by a fungus.
Ground-penetrating radar can detect tiny density differences that lead to images of ancient footprints impossible to discern by eye.
Indigenous artists in what’s now British Columbia created pigments by cooking aquatic bacteria. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Recycled wastewater can be cleaner than bottled water, but people still avoid drinking it because of their disgust over its past condition.
Bots masquerading as humans in a game outperformed their human opponents—but the their superiority vanished when their machine identity was revealed. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Researchers activated specific brain cells in zebra finches to teach them songs they’d ordinarily have to hear to learn.
Pet dogs appeared more interested in videos of a bouncing ball when the motion of the ball matched a rising and falling tone. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Archaeologists working in the ancient city of Hierakonpolis discovered five ceramic vats containing residues consistent with brewing beer.
Cats are clingier to their human owners than their reputation would suggest. Karen Hopkin reports.
Study subjects with a gene variant that heightened their sensitivity to bitterness tended to eat fewer vegetables than people who didn’t mind bitter flavors. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A measleslike virus is ricocheting through marine mammal populations in the Arctic—and melting sea ice might be to blame. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Researchers tracked thousands of individual ants to determine how they move in vast numbers without stumbling into gridlock.
In an analysis of chess and tennis matches, players rising in the rankings did better than expected against higher-ranked opponents and better than similarly ranked players who were not rising.
Within just a third of a second of hearing a snippet of a familiar refrain, our pupils dilate, and the brain shows signs of recognition. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A few brief reports about international science and technology from Brazil to Hong Kong, including one about male elephants in India exhibiting unusual social behaviors.
The pumpkin’s ancestor was an incredibly bitter, tennis-ball-sized squash—but it was apparently a common snack for mastodons. Christopher Intagliata reports.
In cold, northern climates, eggs tend to be darker and browner—heat-trapping colors that allow parents to spend a bit more time away from the nest. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Green crabs learned to navigate a maze without making a single wrong turn—and remembered the skill weeks later. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The phainopepla migrates from southern California to the desert Southwest to breed in the spring before flying to California coastal woodlands to do so again in summer.
A gigantic fish from the Amazon has incredibly tough scales—and materials scientists are looking to them for bulletproof inspiration. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The Saharan silver ant feeds on other insects that have died on the hot sands, which it traverses at breakneck (for an ant) speeds.
Synthetic repellents such as DEET seem to mask the scent of our “human perfume”—making us less obvious targets for mosquitoes. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The resonant properties of your skull can amplify some frequencies and dampen others—and, in some cases, affect your hearing. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The Dsup protein protects DNA under conditions that create caustic free radical chemicals.
Rumblings on the Red Planet act like x-rays, allowing scientists to probe the hidden interior of Mars. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Algorithms are already used to remove online hate speech. Now scientists have taught an AI to respond—which they hope might spark more discourse. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to John Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino “for the development of lithium-ion batteries.”
The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics goes to James Peebles “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology” and to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.”
The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine goes to William G. Kaelin, Jr., Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza “for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.” They identified molecular machinery that regulates gene activity in response to changing levels of oxygen.
DNA from the teeth of medieval plague victims indicates the pathogen likely first arrived in eastern Europe before spreading across the continent.
Scientists found eight species of nematodes living in California’s harsh Mono Lake—quintupling the number of animals known to live there. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Tiny insects called treehoppers produce very different mating songs at higher versus lower temperatures, but the intended recipient still finds the changed songs attractive.
Adult corals can reshuffle their symbiotic algae species to adapt to warming waters—and, it appears they can pass those adaptations on. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The brains of those who are blind repurpose the vision regions for adaptive hearing, and they appear to do so in a consistent way.
A few brief reports about international science and technology from Hungary to Japan, including one about a wine grape in France that DNA testing shows has been cultivated for almost a millennium.
Western ears consider a pitch at double the frequency of a lower pitch to be the same note, an octave higher. The Tsimane’, an indigenous people in the Bolivian Amazon basin, do not.
BBC and Netflix nature documentaries consistently shy away from showing viewers the true extent to which we’ve damaged the planet. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A slight temperature difference at night between a surface losing heat and the surrounding air can be harnessed to generate electricity to power lights.
Homo erectus used hand axes to butcher elephants and other game. But a new study suggests they also used finer, more sophisticated blades. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Microplastic particles are everywhere, but in freshwater systems, 60 percent of particles are clothing lint from laundry.
A study finds no deleterious effects on mental health when kids spend their leisure time texting and engaging in other online activities.
As the little structures grow, their constituents specialize into different types of brain cells, begin to form connections and emit brain waves. They could be useful models for development and neurological conditions.
Squirrels constantly scan their surroundings for hawks, owls and other predators. But they also surveil for threats by eavesdropping on bird chatter. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Lava flow records and sedimentary and Antarctic ice core data show evidence of planetary magnetic field activity 20,000 years before the beginning of the last pole reversal.
At the Kermadec Islands, humpbacks from all over the South Pacific converge and swap songs. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Better food labeling could prevent people from throwing away a lot of “expired” food that’s still perfectly edible.
The conditions of sunlight, temperature, humidity and wind that make cropland good for agriculture also maximize solar panel efficiency.
It’s not easy to recycle polyurethane, so it’s usually tossed out or burned. But a chemical tweak can turn polyurethane into glue. Christine Herman reports.
Wild animals that live near humans have higher cholesterol than their rural counterparts—and our food could be to blame. Christopher Intagliata reports.
As Hurricane Dorian approaches Florida, consider that feeding style means that aggressive tangle-web spider colonies produce more offspring after severe weather, while docile colonies do better in calm conditions.
A small patch of graphene on human skin seemed to block the mosquitoes’ ability to sense certain molecules that trigger a bite. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Microbes fly tens of miles over Chile’s dry, UV-blasted Atacama Desert—and scientists say the same could happen on Mars. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A program at the University of Illinois trains indigenous scientists in genomics—in hopes that future work will be aimed at benefiting those communities. Christine Herman reports.
U.S. Military Academy cadets wear the colors black, gray and gold for reasons found in gunpowder’s chemistry.
Scientists found an interstellar iron isotope in Antarctic snow samples—which hints that our region of the universe may be the remnant of an ancient exploding star. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Some people go on dates just to score a free meal—a phenomenon known as a “foodie call.” But it takes a certain personality type. Karen Hopkin reports.
Researchers trained machine-learning algorithms to read Amazon reviews for hints that a food product would be recalled by the FDA. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Slight changes around the eyes are indeed a giveaway as to whether a smile is sincere or faked.
Researchers slowed the approach of greedy gulls by an average of 21 seconds by staring at the birds versus looking elsewhere. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Honest, involuntary laughter cued people to laugh more at some really bad jokes than they did when hearing forced laughter.
By killing off many of New Zealand’s endemic birds, humans destroyed 50 million years’ worth of evolutionary history. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Nearly half of bacteria gathered in public settings around the city were resistant to two or more commonly used antibiotics, such as penicillin and erythromycin. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Mating is risky business for black widow males—so they hitchhike on the silk threads left by competitors to more quickly find a mate. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Babies as young as a year and a half want leaders to fix situations in which they see someone else being treated unfairly.
Released or escaped parrots are now living in most states and are breeding in at least 21. For some, it’s a second chance at survival.
A few brief reports about international science and technology from Guatemala to Australia, including one about the first recorded tornado in Nepal.
Photographs snapped by safari tourists are a surprisingly accurate way to assess populations of African carnivores. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Computer modeling revealed that insects with a celestial compass can likely determine direction down to just a couple degrees of error. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Engineer John Houbolt pushed for a smaller ship to land on the lunar surface while the command module stayed in orbit around the moon.
Just before Neil Armstrong climbed back into the lunar module, he scooped up a few last-minute soil samples--which upturned our understanding of planetary formation. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Researchers dissected the jaws of ants infected with the Ophiocordyceps fungus to determine how the fungus hijacks the ants' behavior. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Youths rated as attractive were less likely to have negative encounters with the criminal justice system—but only if they were women. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A proof-of-concept study got transgenic tobacco plants to make a useful enzyme in their chloroplasts, not nuclei, minimizing chances for transfer to other organisms.
Starting in 2017, an artificial intelligence monitoring system at the Welgevonden Game Reserve in South Africa has been helping to protect rhinos and their caretakers.
The pack produces a steady trickle of electricity from the swinging motion of your stuff. Christopher Intagliata reports.
An analysis of the 2019 edition of the Major League baseball points to reasons why it's leaving ballparks at a record rate.
A lab analysis found that even an all-beef frankfurter had very little skeletal muscle, or "meat." So what’s in there? Christopher Intagliata reports.
People who spent at least two hours outside—either all at once or totaled over several shorter visits—were more likely to report good health and psychological well-being. Jason G. Goldman reports.
Geneticist Natalie Telis noticed few women asking questions at scientific conferences. So she publicized the problem and set about to make a change. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Males that allow females to take food right out of their mouths are more likely to sire offspring with their dining companions.
By switching fruit flies' sensory neurons on and off with light, scientists were able to create the sensation of sweet or bitter tastes. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Wheat plants' leaves repel water, which creates the perfect conditions for dew droplets to catapult off the leaves—taking pathogenic spores for the ride. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Mice that were fed bacteria isolated from elite athletes logged more treadmill time than other mice that got bacteria found in yogurt.
A few brief reports about international science and technology from Canada to Kenya, including one about how humans thousands of years ago in what is now Argentina butchered and presumably ate giant ground sloths.
Rather than wiping microbes out, antiperspirants and foot powders increased the diversity of microbial flora in armpits and between toes. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Two monkey species who last shared a common ancestor 3 million years ago have "eerily similar" alarm calls.
Millipedes, often blind, have come up with clever physical signals to ward off sexual advances from members of wrong species.
People appear to consume between 74,000 and 121,000 microplastic particles annually, and that's probably a gross underestimate.
At the third Scientific American “Science on the Hill” event, “Solving the Plastic Waste Problem”, one of the issues discussed by experts on Capitol Hill was biodegradability.
Researchers trained a neural network to scrutinize high school essays and sniff out ghostwritten papers. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Anthropologists found parasite eggs in ancient poop samples, providing a glimpse of human health as hunter-gatherers transitioned to settlements. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Murray Gell-Mann, 1969 Nobel Laureate in Physics who identified the quark, died May 24th.
Some wild female bonobos introduce their sons to desirable females—then make sure their relations won’t be interrupted by competing males. Karen Hopkin reports.
Preterm babies who listened to music in the neonatal intensive care unit had brain activity that more closely resembled that of full-term babies. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A new study suggests women's performance on math and verbal tasks increases as room temperature rises, up to about the mid 70s F. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A study found that only a small percentage of bird beak shape variation is dependent on diet, with other factors like display and nest construction probably playing parts too.
Chewing gums discovered in western Sweden contain the oldest human DNA found in Scandinavia. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Frances Arnold, the Caltech scientist who shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, says evolution can show us how to solve problems of sustainability.
Growing up in a home filled with books enhances enhances intellectual capacity in later life, even if you don't read them all.
A study finds that kids, especially daughters, are effective at teaching their parents about climate issues.
Ammonia from penguin poop gets carried on Antarctic winds, fertilizing mosses and lichens as far as a mile away. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The residue of ancient urine can reveal the presence of early stationary herder-farmer communities.
By dampening the energy of waves, coral reefs protect coastal cities from flooding damage and other economic losses. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Researchers want to outfit air conditioners with carbon-capture technology. Christopher Intagliata reports.
In his memoirs, the womanizing writer Giacomo Casanova described suffering several bouts of gonorrhea—but researchers found no trace of the microbe on his handwritten journals. Karen Hopkin reports.
Algorithms learned to sift ultrasonic rat squeaks from other noise, which could help researchers who study rodents’ emotional states. Lucy Huang reports.
Scientists propose that the moon could have formed when a Mars-sized object slammed into an Earth covered in magma seas. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Felines move their ears, heads and tails more when they hear their names compared to when they hear similar words. Jim Daley reports.
A few brief reports about international science and technology from Liberia to Hawaii, including one on the discovery in Northern Ireland of soil bacteria that stop the growth of MRSA and other superbugs.
The likelihood of an event like Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and of its massive precipitation, is fivefold higher in the climate of today than it would have been some 60 years ago
Snake venom toxicity depends on snake size, energy requirements and environmental dimensionality more than on prey size.
Freshwater dolphins are evolutionary relics, and their calls give clues to the origins of cetacean communication in general. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The tiny brain of a honeybee is apparently able to calculate small numbers' addition and subtraction. Annie Sneed reports.
A deeper data dive calls into question a 2018 study that found a spike in fatal traffic accidents apparently related to marijuana consumption on this date.
Female hyenas keep their clans in line by virtue of their complex social networks. Jason G. Goldman reports.
One in three gluten-free dishes tested at restaurants contained gluten—especially GF pizzas and pastas. Christopher Intagliata reports.
At an April 9th event sponsored by the Kavli Foundation and produced by Scientific American that honored Nobel and Kavli Prize winners, neuroscientists James Hudspeth and Robert Fettiplace talked about the physiology of hearing and the possibility of restoring hearing loss.
At an April 9th event sponsored by the Kavli Foundation and produced by Scientific American that honored Nobel and Kavli Prize winners, economist Paul Romer talked about how the social system of science offers hope for humanity and for how we can live with each other.
At extreme pressures, potassium atoms can be both liquid and solid at the same time, a phase of matter known as "chain melt." Christopher Intagliata reports.
Coyotes become fearless around people in just a few generations—which isn’t good for their longterm co-existence with humans in cities. Jason G. Goldman reports.
NYU’s “Sounds of New York City” project listens to the city—and then, with the help of citizen scientists, teaches machines to decode the soundscape. Jim Daley reports.
Hydrogen peroxide in whitening treatments penetrates enamel and dentin, and alters tooth proteins. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Light tuned to a specific frequency warms ice more than water—which could come in handy for defrosting delicate biological samples. Adam Levy reports.
The monkeys lower the pitch of their "whinnies" when they're far from the rest of their group, which might help the calls travel further through jungle foliage. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Food chemists precisely measured how charcoal filtration contributes to Tennessee whiskey's smoother flavor. Christopher Intagliata reports.
English lacks some words that other languages pack with meaning.
Scientists tracked bumblebee queens with radar when they emerged from hibernation and found the bees take only brief flights en route to a new nest. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Tracking the location and mood of 15,000 people, researchers found that scenic beauty was linked to happiness—including near urban sights like bridges and buildings. Christopher Intagliata reports.
We don't yet know what the immersion in technology does to our brains, but one neuroscientist says the answer is likely to be that there's good, there's bad, and it's complex.
During daylight hours, hundreds of bombardier beetles of multiple species will congregate together to more effectively ward off any predators not afraid of a lone beetle's toxic spray.
When jets of charged particles from the sun hit our magnetosphere, some of the ensuing ripples travel toward the northern and southern poles and get reflected back. The resulting interference allows standing waves to form, like on a drumhead.
By tracking duetting choir singers, researchers found that when an individual singer's pitch drifts off tune their partner’s tend to too. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Researchers aiming to lower the cost of mealworms were able to double the worms' size, but the larger larvae had fewer eggs and weaker offspring. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A new model suggests smashing killer space rocks with insufficient force could let gravity pull the pieces back together. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Weekday sleep deprivation with weekend make-up sleeping seems to be worse for blood sugar control than even chronic sleep deprivation alone.
Thyroid hormone, which helps warm-blooded animals regulate body temperature, also appears to put a halt on heart regeneration. Christopher Intagliata reports.
By analyzing nearly 2.5 billion Wikipedia page views, researchers found species searches reflect seasonal animal migrations and plant blooming. Christopher Intagliata reports.
At a sports technology conference, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred addressed issues including an automated strike zone and advanced analytics.
Volunteers who listened to music solved fewer word puzzles than others who worked in silence. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A few brief reports about international science and technology from Greenland to Palau, including one on the discovery of a trove of mummified cats in Egypt.
Biologists have taken the genes that produce cannabinoids in weed and plugged them into yeast, making rare and novel compounds more accessible. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Humans traveling to Mars will be required to operate with a degree of autonomy human astronauts have never had, due to communication delays. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Grandmothers can enhance the survival of grandchildren. That is, unless grandma’s too old or lives too far away. Karen Hopkin reports.
Artificial intelligence experts, ethicists and diplomats debate autonomous weapons. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The incidence of foodborne illness could jump in a warming world, due to an increase in housefly activity. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A new genetic study of Latin Americans provides evidence that gene variants for lighter skin color came about in Asia as well as in Europe. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Seismologist and policy advisor Lucy Jones says science education needs to teach how science works more than just what it finds out.
When researchers fed mosquitoes a drug used to treat people for obesity, the insects were less interested in hunting for their next human meal ticket. Karen Hopkin reports.
Deer populations have exploded in North American woodlands, changing forest ecology—and how sounds, like birdsong, travel through the trees. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Elephants have six sets of teeth over their lives, sometimes two sets at once. At those times, they can extract more nutrition from food and put on weight.
The rover Opportunity has called it quits after working for more than 14 years on Mars.
Although millennials' memory of recent pop tunes drops quickly, their ability to identify top hits from the 1960s through 1990s remains moderately high. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Conservation biologists can track the whereabouts of endangered species by the sounds they make, avoiding cumbersome trackers and tags. Christopher Intagliata reports.
An environmental assessment of the nation's largest desalination plant finds mixed results. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Humpback populations from the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet up south of Africa and trade song stylings.
By turning off certain brain cells, researchers were able to make mice sense painful stimuli—but not the associated discomfort. Karen Hopkin reports.
Javelin throwers chucking replicas of Neandertal spears were able to hit targets farther away, and with greater force than previously thought to be possible. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Researchers built a small, flexible device that harvests wi-fi, bluetooth and cellular signals, and turns them into DC electricity. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A few brief reports about international science and technology from Papua New Guinea to Kazakhstan, including one on the slow slide of Mount Etna in Italy.
Cod egg survival stays high with limited warming, but plummets when the temperature rises a few degrees Celsius in their current spawning grounds.
A species of hermit crab appears to have evolved a large penis to enable intercourse without leaving, and thus possibly losing, its adopted shell.
By coupling audio recordings with satellite data and camera traps, ecologists can keep their eyes—and ears—on protected tropical forests. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Though Saturn formed about 4.5 billion years ago, its rings were added relatively recently—only 100 million to 10 million years ago. Karen Hopkin reports.
Detroit residents declined an offer of free street trees—but were more willing to accept them if they had a say in the type of tree. Jason G. Goldman reports.
A total lunar eclipse will grace the skies this Sunday, January 20—and it may or may not be red. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The Mona Lisa effect is the illusion that the subject of a painting follows you with her gaze, despite where you stand. But da Vinci's famous painting doesn't have that quality. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Ants infected with fungal pathogens steer clear of other cliques within the colony—avoiding wider infection, and allowing for a sort of immunity. Lucy Huang reports.
Climate change is shifting population numbers and nest building by resident and migratory birds in Europe—sometimes leading to deadly conflict. Christopher Intagliata reports.
In animal studies, a set of 24 genes involved in neural development, learning and memory, and cognition, seem to be associated with monogamy. Karen Hopkin reports.
Subject who saw a Superman poster were more likely to offer help than were people who saw another image.
Scientists are working to correct a genetic defect in cystic fibrosis patients by having them inhale RNA. Christopher Intagliata reports.
More than a quarter of the seedlings sampled at native plant nurseries were infected with pathogens—which could hamper restoration work. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Users of the social network said they'd require payment of more than $1,000 to quit the platform for one year. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A few brief reports about international science and technology from Germany to Rwanda, including one on the discovery of the world's oldest known brewery, discovered in Israel.
Pine needles can easily be broken down into sugars as well as the building blocks of paint, adhesives and medicines. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Fructose and sucrose can make it all the way to the colon, where they spell a sugary death sentence for beneficial bacteria. Karen Hopkin reports.
A new algorithm raises parking rates in busy neighborhoods and lowers them elsewhere, guaranteeing free parking spots regardless of location. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Ghrelin, the hormone that makes you hungry, also makes food, and food smells, irresistibly appealing. Karen Hopkin reports.
Peafowls' head crests are specifically tuned to the vibrations produced by feather-rattling male peacocks, thus acting as a sort of antenna. Jason G. Goldman reports.
A new study suggests that, unconsciously, we actually do believe that looking exerts a slight force on the things being looked at. Karen Hopkin reports.
So-called "relaxation music" is only about as effective as a soothing Chopin piece at lulling listeners into a relaxed state. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The hormone irisin encourages bone remodeling, in part by first triggering another substance that encourages some bone breakdown.
The Bahia's broad-snout casque-headed tree frog needs a pool to raise its young that's just right.
A particular set of brain neurons may be behind registering itch and inducing us to scratch.
Starting December 16, ocean scientists will live-tweet the BBC documentary series Blue Planet II, available via Netflix.
Millions of years from now, the geologic record of the "Anthropocene" will be littered with plastics, yes, but also chicken bones. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Ichthyosaurs had traits in common with turtles and modern marine mammals, like blubber and countershading camouflage. Christopher Intagliata reports.
When trouble lurks, juvenile aphids drop off of the plants they're eating and hitch a ride on bigger aphid escapees.
The Trump administration is shrinking Utah's desert monuments, stripping some federal protections for wild pollinators. Christopher Intagliata reports.
An estimate of dog intelligence requires looking at non-dogs as well to understand what's special to canines and what is just typical of the taxonomic groups they're in.
By analyzing the network connections between 47,000 films on IMDb, researchers found the most influential films ever made. Christopher Intagliata reports.
In the last few decades blue whale calls have been getting lower in pitch—and a rebound in their numbers may be the reason. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Smart meters on showerheads encouraged hotel guests to conserve—even though they personally saved no money. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The sounds of the Mars InSight Mission control room during the tense minutes leading to the landing on the surface.
Taking a swig of red wine before eating Brussels sprouts appears to moderate Brussels sprouts' polarizing flavor. Christopher Intagliata reports
Freak heavy rainstorms in 2015 and 2017 wiped out many dry-adapted microbes in the Atacama Desert, useful info in the search for life off Earth. Christopher Intagliata reports.
People who had a conflict in a given day but also got hugged were not as affected by the negative interaction as were their unhugged counterparts.
The single organism that is the Utah aspen grove known as Pando is on the decline due to herbivores wiping out its youngest tree outgrowths
Immigrants to the U.S. lose their native mix of gut microbes almost immediately after arriving in the U.S.—which researchers can't quite explain. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A few very brief reports about international science and technology from Alaska to Indonesia, including one on offshore dairy farming from the Netherlands.
Adult humans laugh primarily on the exhale, but human babies laugh on the inhale and the exhale—as do chimps. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Researchers recorded piranha "honks" and catfish "screeches" in the Peruvian Amazon, which might illuminate fish activity in murky jungle waters. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Anthropologist Jennifer Raff argues that race is culturally created, but has biological consequences.
Listening to the sounds panda pairs make when they're introduced could lead to better breeding success. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The "low hanging fruit" of genome-related health care will be knowing which drugs are likely to treat you best, says science journalist Carl Zimmer.
A tiny fly, related to biting no-see-ums, pollinates cacao trees and enables our chocolate cravings. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Bottlenose dolphins simplify and raise the pitch of their whistles to be heard above underwater shipping noise. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Octopuses react to MDMA much like humans do. And not surprisingly, given their anatomy, the animals are excellent huggers. Annie Sneed reports.
A few very brief reports about science and technology from around the globe, including one from Mongolia on horse dentistry.
Researchers taught two dozen wild sparrows new songs, by playing them the recordings of sparrows that live thousands of miles away. Jason G. Goldman reports.
By caring for their sick and injured, Neandertals were able to expand into more dangerous environments and pursue more deadly prey. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A study correlating personality traits with financial data found that agreeable people had lower savings, higher debt and higher bankruptcy rates. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Bees suddenly fell silent when the sun disappeared during last year's solar eclipse—perhaps because they were tricked into night mode. Christopher Intagliata reports.
English as-a-first-language Canadian study subjects were less trusting of statements in English spoken with a foreign accent, unless the speaker sounded confident about their assertion.
Baby giraffes inherit aspects of their mothers' patterning—which could give them a survival advantage if good camouflage runs in the family. Christopher Intagliata reports.
William Nordhaus shared the 2018 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, "for integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis,” with Paul Romer, "for integrating technological innovations into long-run macroeconomic analysis."
Twice a year, thousands of pronghorn antelope and mule deer migrate through Wyoming, and newly built highway crossings are sparing the lives of animals—and motorists. Jason G. Goldman reports.
The bittering agents called hops have enzymes that chew up starch and unleash more fermentable sugar—which can boost alcohol and CO2 in the finished brew. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Frances H. Arnold, George P. Smith and Gregory P. Winter share the 2018 chemistry Nobel for developing evolutionary-based techniques that lead to the creation of new chemical entities with useful properties.
Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland share the 2018 physics Nobel for their work with lasers that have led to numerous practical applications, such as eye surgery.
James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo share the Nobel Prize for their work on harnessing the cancer patient's own immune system to destroy tumors.
Christine Blasey Ford's professional expertise came into play during her testimony regarding the Supreme Court nomination.
An aerial laser scan of more than 800 square miles of Guatemalan jungle revealed Maya buildings, canals, roads and bridges. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Patterning a surface with tiny stripes of ice prevents frost formation on the rest of the surface—a technique that could keep planes or roads frost-free. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Researchers have designed a musical instrument that can detect counterfeit drugs by the pitch of its notes. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Forests with numerous tree species, and therefore a mix of water-management strategies, appear more tolerant of drought. Christopher Intagliata reports.
On International Talk Like a Pirate Day, here's an eye-patch-witness account of how science helps in all peg-leg walks of life, even piracy
The marine mammals have extraordinarily sensitive touch—which helps them nab prey in the absence of other sensory cues. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A few very brief reports about science and technology from around the globe.
A mutation in a key gene may have endowed humans with superior endurance—allowing them to compete better with other animals on the savanna. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Springtime's arriving earlier across North America. But the degree of change isn't the same everywhere, which could spell trouble for migratory birds. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Biologists are enlisting citizen scientists to poke around under the sink and behind the curtains, for wildlife living in the "great indoors." Karen Hopkin reports.
Astrophysicists have gotten a better glimpse at what happens to crashing neutron stars by listening in on the electromagnetic echoes of the collision. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The hammerhead relatives consume copious amounts of sea grass, and have the digestive machinery to process it—making them true omnivores. Christopher Intagliata reports.
When Hurricane Irma blew through the Turks and Caicos, lizards with shorter hindlimbs lucked out. Jason G. Goldman reports.
An intrepid undergrad led the way to understanding the physics of snapping strands of spaghetti.
A few very brief reports about science and technology from around the globe.
Costa Rican scientists are extracting valuable materials from the peel and stubble of pineapples.
Mosquitoes want your blood for its proteins...or simply to hydrate on a hot, dry day.
Digital assistants have to respond quickly, but correctly—so researchers are studying how real humans navigate that trade-off, to design better machines. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The birds are arriving in the Arctic up to 13 days earlier than they used to. But at a cost: hunger. Annie Sneed reports.
Fire ants tunnels got excavated efficiently by only a small percentage of the group doing most of the work, thus avoiding pileups in tight spaces.
Genetic information from the bones of macaws found in abandoned pueblos suggests they were bred and distributed as a commodity. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Milkweed grown with more carbon dioxide in the air supplies fewer toxins to monarch butterflies that need the toxins to fight off gut parasites.
Crows are what's known as "partial migrants"—as cold weather approaches, some crows fly south whereas others stay put. And that behavior appears to be ingrained. Christopher Intagliata reports.
About 80 percent of Earth's biomass is plant life, with humans about equal to krill way down the heft chart.
The Michigan Scientific Literacy Survey of 2017 found that last year's total solar eclipse got Americans more interested in celestial science.
The insects fashion and use "baffles"—sound controllers—made of leaves to produce sound more efficiently. Jason G. Goldman reports.
Researchers programmed a computer to compare structures and toxic effects of different chemicals, making it possible to then predict the toxicity of new chemicals based on their structural similarity to known ones.
Both men and women tended to pursue mates just 25 percent more desirable than themselves — suggesting they are "optimistic realists." Christopher Intagliata reports.
Whale ancestors probably never had teeth and baleen at the same time, and only developed baleen after trying toothlessness and sucking in prey.
A variety of corn from Oaxaca, Mexico, has aerial roots that harbor nitrogen-fixing bacteria, allowing the corn to suck nitrogen straight from the air. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Birds become good at avoiding danger by eavesdropping on the alarm calls of other birds—and the learning occurs without even seeing their peers or predators. Christopher Intagliata reports.
An analysis of the Hong Kong metro found microbes, including some with antibiotic resistance genes, freshly disperse throughout the system each day. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Different people have differing aptitudes for observing small changes and particular features.
About 5 percent of crows will attempt to copulate with other crows that have joined the choir invisible .
Certain proteins that coordinate the healing response are present at higher levels in oral tissue—meaning wounds in the mouth fix faster. Christopher Intagliata reports.
More than 2,500 scientists signed a letter saying that an expanded U.S.–Mexico border wall would threaten both biodiversity and scientific research. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Researchers used a couple of hundred dollars worth of materials to turn a wall into a giant touch screen
By analyzing the proteins in ancient dental plaque, archaeologists determined that British menus almost three millennia ago featured milk, oats and peas. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Chemicals designed to simulate honeybee alarm pheromones could deter elephants from farmers’ crops, easing conflicts with humans. Annie Sneed reports.
Extreme sea level rise could swamp internet cabling and hubs by 2033—and coastal cities like New York, Seattle and Miami are at greatest risk. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Shark researchers used a system for recognizing patterns in star field photographs to identify whale sharks, which have individual spot patterns.
A study of human–mammal interaction across the globe found animals are more prone to take to the night around humans. Jason G. Goldman reports.
The International Astronomical Union reports that there are now 79 known Jovian moons, with a dozen found last year.
Some moth species have evolved long wing tails that flutter and twist as the moth flies, which distract hungry bats. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Very brief reports about science and technology from around the globe.
A prototype flexible electronic mouth guard can measure lactate levels in an athlete’s saliva, tracking muscle fatigue during training and performance.
Wine book author Kevin Begos explains that just a few varieties of wine grapes dominate the industry, which leaves them vulnerable to potentially catastrophic disease outbreaks.
Iridescence appears to break up the recognizable shape of objects—making them harder to spot. Karen Hopkin reports.
By analyzing 200 surgeries, anthropologists found mixed-gender operating room teams exhibited the highest levels of cooperation. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Visitors can see and learn about sharks and their environment in the new "Ocean Wonders: Sharks!" facility at the Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium.
Most invertebrates get smaller on average in cities, although a few very mobile species respond to urbanization by growing.
An analysis of the movement of some 40,000 people suggests most of us frequent only 25 places—and as we sub in new favorites, we drop old ones. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Listeners to a person letting loose with a roar can accurately estimate the size and formidability or the human noise maker. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Six months of piano lessons can heighten kindergartners' brain responses to different pitches, and improve their ability to tell apart two similar-sounding words. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Many people assume only male birds do the singing. But females also sing in at least 660 species and perhaps many more.
Certain motifs in swamp sparrow songs can last hundreds, even thousands of years—evidence of a cultural tradition in the birds. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Researchers tested the hearing of beluga whales in an Alaskan bay and found that they seem to have suffered little hearing loss due to ocean noise. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Foods high in both carbs and fats tickle the brain’s reward circuits more so than snacks that showcase just one or the other. Karen Hopkin reports.
Juno spacecraft data suggest lightning on Jupiter is much more common than we thought—but it congregates near the poles, not the equator as on Earth. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A new analysis found the flood protection benefits of coral reefs save the global economy $4 billion dollars a year. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Hippo poop is piling up in Tanzania’s freshwater fisheries—which is bad news for biodiversity, and deleterious for the dinner plate. Jason G. Goldman reports.
Researchers engineered a portable device that detects even the tiniest trace of hydrogen sulfide—one of the primary offenders in bad breath. Karen Hopkin reports.
At the AMA annual meeting the organization's president petitioned for an evidence-based, science-driven analysis of gun violence and solutions.
A structure known as a metal organic framework traps water vapor by night, then releases it when heated the next day. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Some 5,000 to 7,000 years ago, the diversity of Y chromosomes plummeted. A new analysis suggests clan warfare may have been the cause. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Warning a child that something, like a vaccine shot, will hurt can actually increase their perception of the pain.
Humans and other primates often reciprocate good deeds. A new study suggests a nonprimate, the dwarf mongoose, does so, too, even after a delay. Christopher Intagliata reports.
During extreme heat waves, a species of eucalyptus copes by releasing water and taking advantage of evaporative cooling. Other trees may do the same.
The best facial-recognition algorithms are now as good as the best forensic examiners are. But the best results come by combining human and computer skills. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Sea lions and fur seals in Uruguay have become a tourist attraction—but the animals have become less, not more, accepting of humans. Jason G. Goldman reports.
An evolutionary analysis of pop tunes revealed that over the past 30 years songs have grown sadder—but the big hits buck that trend. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Pediatric cardiologist Ismée Williams discusses her young adult novel, Water in May, about a teenage girl whose newborn has a life-threatening heart condition.
The new Google AI voice assistant, called Duplex, highlights the intricacies of carrying out a mundane human-style conversation, as it keeps you off the phone.
Orangutans were observed to use plant extracts to treat their own pain.
Racing pigeons is big business—and doping is common. Now scientists have devised a way to detect doping in the avian athletes. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Scientists have added radar info to seismic data, isotope measurements and optical imagery to study covert nuclear tests. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Hunting regulations in Sweden prohibit killing brown bear mothers in company of cubs—causing mama bears to care for their young longer. Jason G. Goldman reports.
Sediment records have confirmed that Jupiter and Venus change Earth's orbit from virtually circular to noticeably elliptical and back every 405,000 years. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The InSight Mission will look at Mars's seismic activity and latent heat to find out more about how planets get made--and how humans might live there.
Tomato plants detected snail slime in soil near them and mounted preemptive defenses, even though they were not directly touched.
Ancient tools on Mediterranean islands could predate the appearance of modern humans—suggesting Neandertals took to the seas. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Thierry Zomahoun, president of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, talks about the potential and needs of science on the continent.
Advice from an N.Y.U. food policy symposium: eating healthfully means you can't ever let down your guard when shopping.
In a study of children interacting with toy animals Native American kids and non-Native kids imagined the animals very differently.
Listeners gave more credence to a scientist’s radio interview when the audio was good quality than they did to the same material when the audio was poor. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Today in Boston, Gates announced a $12-million initiative to foster the development of a vaccine effective against all flu strains.
The Bora people in the northwestern Amazon use drums to send languagelike messages across long distances. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Lawns mowed every two weeks hosted more bees than lawns mowed every three weeks. Jason G. Goldman reports.
A new study claims it's easier to accurately whistle a melody than to sing it. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A look at a database of fatal traffic accidents found a 12 percent increase on the informal marijuana holiday 4/20 after 4:20 P.M. compared with nearby dates.
Mice trapped in New York City apartment buildings harbored disease-causing bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Researchers used Twitter searches for nonflu words associated with behavior to predict flu outbreaks two weeks in advance.
Non-native milkweed species planted in the southern U.S. could harm monarch butterflies as temperatures rise. Jason G. Goldman reports.
Princeton University's Jennifer Rexford talks about optimizing the internet for the uses it got drafted into performing.
Researchers try to figure out why every 20 years a Pakistan glacier moves roughly 1,500 times faster.
Red dwarfs are a popular place to hunt for small exoplanets in the habitable zone—but the stars' radiation bursts might fry chances for life as we know it. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Rather than always making the same call in response to the same stimuli, North Atlantic right whales are capable of changing their vocalizations.
The U.S. Northeast may be more geologically active than was previously thought, according to a seismic sensor network.
Volunteers willing to place riskier bets tended to sport larger amygdalas—a region associated with processing fear. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The jutting midface of Neandertals seems to have evolved to help get large volumes of air into an active body that needed lots of oxygen.
Photosynthesis actually is an inefficient process, but a biological chemist is trying to crank it up.
Several feet below a beach in British Columbia, archaeologists discovered soil trampled by human feet—the oldest footprints found so far in North America. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The source of knuckle cracking sounds is much debated—but new mathematical models may reconcile two opposing views. Christopher Intagliata reports.
To learn more about decay and fossilization, researchers conduct unorthodox experiments—like dissecting decomposing animals in the lab. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Ravens produce different types of calls depending on their age and sex—which might help ravens size up other individuals. Jason G. Goldman reports.
A multifactorial analysis finds that the ignition of a flu epidemic stems from a blast of colder weather striking an otherwise warm, humid, urban environment, and driving people indoors into close quarters.
Upstate New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, who worked for decades on issues such as overuse of antibiotics in agriculture and food safety in general, died March 16 at the age of 88.
An analysis of more than six decades of daily temperature and snowfall data linked warmer arctic temperatures to cold snaps at lower latitudes. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The whipworm lives in the human gut, mooching microbes from its host to build its own microbiome. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Counting by drone not only saves time and effort, but yields better data on species numbers—a definite plus in terms of conservation. Karen Hopkin reports.
A protein found in spit prevents bad bugs from binding to intestinal cells in the lab, pointing to a possible way to lower the chances of dysentery. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Exoplanet hunters are moving beyond simply finding new planets into trying to know what they look like and whether there's surface or subsurface activity.
People who use echolocating mouth clicks to compensate for low vision increase the number and intensity of clicks when objects are harder to detect. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The cinnabar moth caterpillar's coloration pattern warns predators close up, but camouflages the critter from a distance.
A study of 22 different types of lichens revealed 10 included fungi that had lost a gene for energy production, making them completely dependent on their algal partner.
When the National Rifle Association holds its national convention, gun injuries drop 20 percent—perhaps because fewer gun owners are around their guns. Christopher Intagliata reports.
But those who do tweet in big cities are more prolific—tweeting more often, on average, than their small-town counterparts. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Recordings of songbird duets reveal baby birds learn conversational turn-taking like we do: gradually, and from adults. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The bloodsuckers lose their appetite for attractive scents when they associate those aromas with a likelihood of being swatted. Karen Hopkin reports.
Understanding an ecosystem means following changes in the abundances and identities of the species present as the clock ticks. The BioTIME database should help.
By eavesdropping on the calls of blue whales, researchers hope to get a more accurate picture of the massive mammals' distribution and abundance. Christopher Intagliata reports.
By analyzing 130 years of seabird feathers, researchers determined that food webs are losing complexity in the Pacific—meaning less-resilient ecosystems. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The bombardier beetle can spray its hot brew of toxic chemicals even after bring swallowed, to force a predator into vomiting it back out.
David Lindenmayer of the Australian National University College of Science in Canberra says that older trees play outsize roles in maintaining landscapes and ecosystems.
Damselfish had trouble learning to avoid predators, when that lesson was accompanied by a soundtrack of buzzing boat engines. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The length and spacing of woodpecker drum rolls varies enough to tell woodpeckers apart—which could be useful to conservation biologists. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Today’s work-from-home, on-demand culture means more days at home—and translates into greater energy savings, too. Karen Hopkin reports.
Orcas can imitate calls from other whales and even human speech—suggesting they can transmit cultural practices, such as unique dialects. Christopher Intagliata reports.
During feel-good holiday periods like Christmas and Eid-al-Fitr, romance strikes—leading to a boom in births nine months later. Karen Hopkin reports.
Areas of Kenya without large wildlife saw tick populations rise as much as 370 percent—meaning more danger to humans. Jason G. Goldman reports.
Chemists are working on ways for wildfire-affected winemakers to avoid creating smoky wines. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Having lions and giraffes together in protected areas means far lower survival rates for juvenile giraffes. Jason Goldman reports.
Drugs modified by chemistry Nobel laureate Ben Feringa can be turned on and off by light, which could help keep bacteria from developing antibiotic resistance.
Researchers found a sixfold increase in heart attacks in patients in the week following a flu. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, talked about worldwide scientific collaboration today at the World Economic Forum.
The geese are wintering farther and farther north, in urban areas like Chicago—which may help them avoid hunters. Emily Schwing reports.
An analysis of more than 200 earthquakes over the past four centuries concludes there's no connection between moon phases and big earthquakes. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Surveillance of Yelp restaurant reviews for terms like vomit led researchers to the sources of foodborne illness outbreaks. Karen Hopkin reports.
Using a new algorithm, geneticists uncovered the pathogen that could have caused a massive epidemic in the Aztec empire: Salmonella bacteria. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A new fossil find reveals that the sucking tongue of butterflies—or proboscis—appears to have evolved before the emergence of flowers. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Astronomers found that other star systems tend to host similarly sized exoplanets—far different from ours. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Ecologists needed a way to more easily keep track of populations of amphibians, and green glow sticks lit the way.
General Jay Raymond, Commander of Air Force Space Command, talks about keeping watch over space and cyber.
Getting around the sun in 2017 was a memorable trip.
The song training that Bengalese finches received appeared to overcome tempo tendencies baked into their genes. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Fruit bats raised hearing different pitches of sounds vocalized in keeping with their aural environment as they matured.
It takes months for members of a mongoose breeding society to trust newcomers with important tasks like watching for predators. Jason G. Goldman reports.
A big data analysis involving more than 1.5 million patients could find no relationship between weather and complaints to doctors about joint or back pain.
Siting solar panels over rooftops, parking lots, reservoirs and contaminated land could generate heaps of energy—with minimal effects on agriculture or the environment. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The Gulf corvina produces a chattering chorus that’s one of the loudest underwater animal sounds on the planet. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Repeating something can render that thing melodious—even the sound of a shovel being dragged across the pavement. Karen Hopkin reports.
A flash of radiation drastically reduced arrhythmia in a small group of patients, for at least a year after treatment. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Scientists are exploring the use of fiber-optic cables—like the ones that form the backbone of the internet—to monitor earthquakes. Julia Rosen reports.
Noshing while shopping convinces consumers to buy the featured product more often than does simply seeing end-of-aisle displays. Karen Hopkin reports.
Machine-learning algorithms teased seven distinct dolphin clicking patterns from a library of more than 50 million clicks, identifying one species by sound alone. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Following dietary guidelines would mean eating less meat and dairy—and fewer calories overall—reducing greenhouse gases and other pollution. Julia Rosen reports.
New beaver ponds in the Arctic may contribute to the destruction of the permafrost that holds that landscape together.
When sharks prowl shallow waters, fish quit foraging and hide—sparing seaweed from being grazed in those areas. Jason G. Goldman reports.
For thousands of years, women in agricultural societies seem to have had arms stronger than members of modern rowing teams.
Coquí frogs are invasive species in Hawaii. But they don’t seem to bug the islands’ native and nonnative birds. Jason G. Goldman reports.
Hospitals consistently score low on quietness surveys. An acoustician suggests a few ways hospitals could keep the peace and quiet. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Rosemarie Truman, CEO of the Center for Advancing Innovation, says a better system of governance for federally funded inventions could lead to many more good ones becoming commercialized.
Researchers trained machine-learning algorithms to pinpoint the location of a cargo ship simply by eavesdropping on the sound of its passing. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Analysis of alleged yeti samples found them to be from less fantastic beasts, such as bears, but also shed light on the evolution of those local bear populations.
An analysis of voter opinions finds that half of Republican voters think climate change is happening, and would support regulating CO2 as a pollutant. Christopher Intagliata reports.
At the World Conference of Science Journalists in October, Nathan Myhrvold, co-founder of Intellectual Ventures, charged innovation outfits with changing the lives of the world's most disadvantaged.
A social scientist studies how car stickers turn the roads into actual information highways.
By listening to the calls of their brethren, chimps seem to be able to understand the mind-sets and perspectives of other chimps. Jason Goldman reports.
About half the honeybees in a test exhibited no sidedness, but the other half was split 50–50 between righties and lefties—perhaps to navigate obstacles more efficiently.
Researchers attached cameras to humpback whales and found that they flap their flippers to help power forward swimming.
Estimating cranberry harvests involves tedious hand-counting. But microwave analysis could change all that. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A new analysis treats bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies as species in an evolutionary model—and finds bitcoin has no selective advantage. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Salmon excavate streambed holes in which to lay eggs, setting off a chain of events that has surprisingly large geographical effects.
New World societies long ago likely had less income inequality than those in the Old World, and the difference might have been an oxen gap. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The crested pigeon, found in Australia, has a modified wing feather that helps produce an alarm signal sound to warn other birds when there's trouble.
A campaign calls for the creation of a statue to recognize Félicette, the first cat to be sent into space.
The Bryde's whale has come up with a passive but more efficient feeding strategy in the hypoxic waters of the Gulf of Thailand.
Computer scientists borrowed insights from the fruit fly brain to create a more accurate search algorithm. Christopher Intagliata reports.
With some training, sheep were able to select a celebrity's face over that of a stranger they'd never seen. Christopher Intagliata reports.
SETI pioneer Jill Tarter and Berkeley researcher Dan Werthimer talk about how the discovery of nearby exoplanets is inspiring new efforts to gain info about these galactic neighbors.
On National Bison Day, a look at the role the Bronx played in reestablishing herds of bison on the American plains.
In a sample of 98 woolly mammoth remains, researchers found that 70 percent were male—which suggests males were more likely to die accidentally. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Scientists used muons, a by-product of cosmic rays, to image the interior of the Great Pyramid—and found a previously unknown space inside. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The wood tiger moth is the first species known in which fluids from various parts of the moth’s body each target a different type of predator. Jason Goldman reports.
As news coverage of California's most recent drought intensified, water use trends went down—suggesting news might inspire consumers to conserve. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The wintertime smog in China's northeastern provinces is so severe it blocks more than 20 percent of sunlight from reaching the region's solar panels. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Wolves appear to have better cooperation skills than dogs—unless the pups partner up with humans. Karen Hopkin reports.
Firearm deaths and injuries went up in California communities after gun shows in neighboring Nevada—but not after more strictly regulated California gun shows. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Mosquitos stealthily float off us after filling up, by virtue of fast wingbeats that generate almost instant lift with only an imperceptible additional push from the legs.
Up-to-date software, apps, browsers and router software offer the best protection against a potential flaw in wi-fi security called a key reinstallation attack, or KRACK.
Exhaust fumes from oceangoing vessels lead to an almost doubling of lightning activity over shipping lanes compared to adjacent areas of the sea.
By playing the online game Foldit, players might help design an enzyme that can stop aflatoxins from making millions sick.
Jellyfish exhibit signs of a sleep state, which could mean that sleep predates the evolutionary development of central nervous systems.
Under certain circumstances squirrels will bury all of the same kind of nut near one another, a mnemonic strategy known as chunking.
Black bears and cougars share the Vancouver countryside, but not happily.
Like fingerprints and facial recognition, the shape and beat of your heart can be used to verify your identity. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The microbes that live in and on our bodies will colonize a human-manned spacecraft to Mars—but will the spacecraft's microbiome be safe? Christopher Intagliata reports.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution.
The Nobel Prize in Physics goes to Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves".
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2017 was awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling circadian rhythms.
Submerged electric eels lose current to water, so they apparently leap into the air to minimize their contact with water and maximize their shock value.
A chance observation led researchers to add the Australian Magpie to the short list of birds that dunk their food in water before eating.
The 2011 east Japan tsunami swept huge amounts of wreckage out to sea—and Japanese species hitchhiked across the Pacific on the debris. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Individuals in packs of African wild dogs appear to sneeze to make their wishes known regarding when to get up and hunt.
The frogs' calls are too high-pitched for the frog to detect, which may be an artifact of evolution. Christopher Intagliata reports.
More reflective telescope mirrors allow astronomers to capture more photons —and do more science. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A new study hints that the most energetic particles ever seen come from far beyond the Milky Way.
A trove of scientific notes from the early 1900s suggests a warming climate is driving birds to migrate earlier to New York’s Mohonk Preserve. Julia Rosen reports.
As temperatures rise, the tree line moves upslope. But ancient bristlecone pines are losing that upslope race to faster-colonizing neighbors. Christopher Intagliata reports.
As carbon dioxide levels rise, plants are sipping water more efficiently—which could come in handy in a drier future. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Cannibalistic caterpillars prevent disease from decimating their populations by removing infected individuals. Emily Schwing reports.
Internet hosting company DreamHost is battling the U.S. Justice Department over requests for information about people visiting a Web site for organizing protests. Larry Greenemeier reports.
Smooth vertical surfaces like windows reflect sound waves away from bats—meaning bats can't "see" windows and similar obstacles with echolocation. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Using insurance industry models, researchers determined that wetlands prevented some $625 million in damages due to Hurricane Sandy. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Pikas, a hampster-size rabbit relative, have disappeared from a 64-square-mile plot in the northern Sierra Nevada—and climate change is a likely culprit. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A star that appeared and then vanished in A.D. 1437 was an explosion in a binary star system—which now reveals clues about the life cycle of certain stars. Christopher Intagliata reports.
When cattle graze the desert's natural landscape, birds face changes in food availability—and some species are unable to adapt. Jason Goldman reports.
Warmer water boosts fishes' demand for oxygen—and their bodies may shrink in response. Christopher Intagliata reports.
In 1998 an orange juice maker dumped 12,000 tons of orange peels on degraded pastureland in Costa Rica—transforming it into vine-rich jungle. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Astronomers Without Borders wants to share your used eclipse glasses with kids in other parts of the world for the 2019 total solar eclipse.
David Baron, author of the new book American Eclipse, talks about how seeing his first total solar eclipse turned him into an eclipse chaser.
A petroglyph spotted in Chaco Canyon may depict a total solar eclipse witnessed by the Pueblo people.
Why you should think twice before you give an app access to your phone’s address book.
A new device promises to tell police when a driver has been sending messages while behind the wheel, but is it legal? Larry Greenemeier reports.
Sea ice is drifting faster in the Arctic—which means polar bears need to walk farther to stay in their native range. Emily Schwing reports.
Western fence lizards are more spooked by red and gray shirts than they are by blue ones—perhaps because the males have blue bellies themselves. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Celebrity Twitter accounts look a lot like Twitter bots: They tweet regularly, follow relatively few people, and upload a lot of content. Christopher Intagliata reports.
An epic bout of cold weather quickly altered a population of lizards—an example of natural selection in action. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Italians who stuck closely to the heart-healthy diet had fewer heart attacks and strokes—but only if they were well-off and/or college educated. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Humans appear well equipped to recognize the alarm calls of other animals—perhaps because sounds of distress tend to have higher frequencies. Karen Hopkin reports.
The North American walnut sphinx caterpillar produces a whistle that sounds just like a songbird's alarm call--and the whistle seems to startle birds. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Volunteers who used money to save themselves time were more content than volunteers who purchased themselves physical stuff. Karen Hopkin reports.
Exposure to existing antibiotics can imbue infectious bacteria with resistance that also kicks in against new drugs related to the originals. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Researchers in the U.K. trained computers to rate photos of parks and cities for what humans consider to be their scenic beauty. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Forensic entomologists can chemically analyze fly eggs from a corpse, which might speed up detective work. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Century-old records found in Puerto Rico helped reconstruct the damage caused there by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake—and could help disaster experts plan for the next big one. Julia Rosen reports.
An experimental cell phone works by absorbing and reflecting radio waves—meaning it's incredibly energy efficient and needs no battery. Christopher Intagliata reports.
In patients with severe eczema, Staphylococcus aureus strains dominated the skin microbe population—suggesting that certain types of bacteria could worsen eczema flares. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Whether lightning rods should have rounded or pointy ends became a point of contention between rebellious Americans and King George III.
Economists calculate that each degree Celsius of warming will dock the U.S. economy by 1.2 percent--and increase the divide between rich and poor. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Quantum bits, aka qubits, can simultaneously encode 0 and 1. But multicolored photons could enable even more states to exist at the same time, ramping up computing power. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Researchers designed an antireflective coating for smartphone screens, with inspiration from the bumpy eyes of moths. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The better study participants scored in the memory test, the faster they got bored. Karen Hopkin reports.
DNA analysis of skeletons found in the Pacific Northwest backs up traditional oral histories, and suggests there could have been more than one colonization of the Americas. Emily Schwing reports.
A team of physicists has revealed why rolling suitcases start rocking from wheel to wheel—and how to avoid that frustrating phenomenon. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Ecologists say wolves should be allowed to roam beyond remote wilderness areas—and that by scaring off smaller predators like coyotes and jackals, wolves might do a good service, too. Emily Schwing reports.
Researchers built silver–zinc batteries that can bend and stretch—meaning they could be more elegantly integrated into future wearable devices. Christopher Intagliata reports.
As polar bears are forced onto land, they're feeding on animals with less mercury—reducing their levels of the toxic pollutant. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Only a third of travelers could correctly identify a bed bug—suggesting that some bug sightings in online reviews could be cases of mistaken identity. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The "other victims" of the opioid epidemic are pain patients who need the drugs but cannot now get them because of fears related to their use
Mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria are unable to transmit viruses to humans—and could curb the spread of viral disease. Karen Hopkin reports.
With 700 new greenhouses, Alaska is growing its own produce as deep into winter as the sun keeps rising.
Researchers found unique genetic variants that differentiate costly beluga caviar from cheaper fakes that rip off consumers. Christopher Intagliata reports.
New French president, Emmanual Macron, reacted to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement by inviting disaffected U.S. researchers to make France "a second homeland."
Evaporation from overwatered lawns cost the city of Los Angeles 70 billion gallons of wasted water a year. But the city's trees were much thriftier. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Tom Frieden, head of the CDC from 2009 to 2017, told graduating medical students that we face challenges from pathogens, and from politicians.
Activity trackers accurately reckon heart rate—but they're way off in estimates of energy expenditure. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Recipes for concrete that incorporate by-products from the coal and steel industries, like fly ash and slag, could reduce road salt–related cracking. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Bumblebees sought out flowers with nicotine in their nectar, and the drug appeared to enhance the bees' memories. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Really big meteorite or asteroid strikes may cause melting and deep deformations that eventually lead to volcanic eruptions.
A religiously inspired change in the European diet about a thousand years ago led to the development of the modern domesticated chicken.
Earthworm numbers doubled in fields after farmers switched from conventional plowing to no-till agriculture. Christopher Intagliata reports.
When tiny particles of space debris slam into satellites, the collision could cause the emission of hardware-frying radiation. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Bacteria swap DNA among themselves. And that process may be more common in multicellular organisms than previously believed. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Pocket gophers survived the Mount Saint Helens eruption in their underground burrows and immediately went to work bringing back the ecosystem.
Human-produced noise doubles the background sound levels in 63 percent of protected areas, and raises it tenfold in 21 percent of such landscapes.
As temperatures rise, energy demands peak, with a corresponding increase in air pollutants. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The spicy compound in chilies kicks off a chemical cascade that reduces gut inflammation and immune activity in mice. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Called an "open sewer" in the recent past, the Bronx River is now clean enough for a type of herring to once again be introduced and to make runs to the ocean.
Scientists uncovered genetic traces of Neandertals and Denisovans by screening cave dirt for DNA. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Microbes living in the guts of fruit flies appear to influence the flies' food choice—and promote egg production, even under a nutrient-poor diet. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Evolutionary biologist Lee Dugatkin talks about the six-decade Siberian experiment with foxes that has revealed details about domestication in general.
Lisa Klein, from the materials science and engineering department at Rutgers University, commented on the March for Science at an April 21 talk to the chemistry department at Lehman College in the Bronx.
If people run more in New York City, that can push their socially connected counterparts in San Diego to run more as well. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Starting in the next century, atmospheric carbon levels could begin to approach those of hundreds of millions of years ago, and have their warming effect augmented by a brighter sun.