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
Evidence of the ancient humans was limited to a cave in Siberia—but now, scientists have found genetic remains of the Denisovans in China. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Travel time differences for sound waves produced by undersea earthquakes in the same place at different times can provide details about ocean warming.
A duckbill dinosaur jawbone found in Morocco means that dinosaurs crossed a large body of water to reach Africa.
Chipmunklike animals that lived among the dinosaurs appear to have been social creatures, which suggests that sociality arose in mammals earlier than scientists thought. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Here are some brief reports about science and technology from around the world, including one, from the dormant volcano Llullaillaco in Chile, about a mouse that is the highest-dwelling mammal ever documented.
COVID might be fought efficiently with fewer shutdowns by restricting activities only in a particular area with a population up to 200,000 when its case rate rises above a chosen threshold.
Horseflies misjudge landings on zebra patterns, compared with solid gray or black surfaces, which provides evidence for why evolution came up with the black-and-white pattern.
Need a break from politics and the pandemic? You’re probably not in the Amazon rain forest right now, but we can take you there in audio. Today, in part three of our three-part audio sound escape, we ascend into the trees where howler monkeys and crimson-crested woodpeckers rule the airwaves.
Need a break from politics and the pandemic? You’re probably not in the Amazon rain forest right now, but we can take you there in audio. Today, in part two of our three-part audio sound escape, we descend into a nighttime flood of frog music.
Need a break from politics and the pandemic? You’re probably not in the Amazon rain forest right now, but we can take you there in audio. Today, in part one of our three-part audio sound escape, we listen to dolphins hunting among the trees.
The concave-eared torrent frog's unusual ear anatomy lets it hear high-frequency calls, which gives a mating advantage to the littler males that sing soprano.
Here are some brief reports about science and technology from all over, including one from the United Arab Emirates about the the first interplanetary mission by an Arab country.
We wrap up our preelection series with Scientific American senior editor Jen Schwartz, who talks about the possible effects of the election results on technology development and use.
Scientific American senior editor Mark Fischetti and associate editor Andrea Thompson talk about this election and the future of U.S. energy research and policy.
Scientific American senior editor Mark Fischetti talks about how this election will affect environmental science and policy.
Scientific American ’s associate editor for sustainability Andrea Thompson talks about how climate science and policy will be affected by this election.
Scientific American ’s senior medicine editor Josh Fischman talks about issues in medicine and public health that will be affected by this election.
Scientific American ’s editor in chief sets up this week’s series of podcasts about how this election could affect science, technology and medicine.
Many of the statues not along the coast are in places that featured a resource vital to the communities that lived and worked there.
More than 40 of the birds, in coalitions of three or four, may fight for days over oak trees in which to store their acorns.
The volatile compounds released by microbial communities on cheese rinds shape and shift a cheese’s microbiome. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The mass-extinction asteroid happened to strike an area where the rock contained a lot of organic matter and sent soot into the stratosphere, where it could block sunlight for years.
Planners returned water to the dry bed of Arizona’s Santa Cruz River in 2019, and various species began showing up on the same day.
Researchers say three ancient leather balls, dug up from the tombs of horsemen in northwestern China, are the oldest such specimens from Europe or Asia. Christopher Intagliata reports.
From mammals to mollusks, animals living among humans lose their antipredator behaviors.
The ancestors of today’s dogs already exhibited some playfulness, which became a key trait during domestication.
A stretch of Neandertal DNA has been associated with some cases of severe COVID-19, but it’s unclear how much of a risk it poses. Christopher Intagliata reports.
New Nobel laureate in chemistry Jennifer Doudna talks about various applications of the gene-editing tool CRISPR.
Blue whales off California’s coast sing at night—until it’s time to start migrating, and they switch to daytime song.
Charles Rice, who today shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of the hepatitis C virus, talked about how rapidly research now occurs, compared with his early work.
Researchers determined that Greenland is on track to lose more ice this century than during any of the previous 120 centuries. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The disappearance of their predators in a disturbed ecosystem has turned Atlantic forest sloths from night creatures to day adventurers.
Researchers seeking evidence for cancer in dinosaurs found it in a collection of bones at a paleontology museum in Alberta.
Fork-tailed flycatchers make a fluttering sound with their wings—but separate subspecies have different “dialects” of fluttering. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Here are some brief reports about science and technology from all over, including one from Israel about what DNA reveals about the Dead Sea Scrolls’ parchment.
Hyraxes, which live in Africa and the Middle East, punctuate their songs with snorts. And the snorts appear to reflect the animals’ emotional state. Jason G. Goldman reports.
Scientists determined that temperatures were 11 degrees cooler during the last ice age—and that finding has implications for modern-day warming. Julia Rosen reports.
Hummingbirds in the Peruvian Andes enter a state of torpor at night to conserve energy, dipping their body temperature to as low as 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Given an impossible task, a dog will ask a human for help, but a wolf will not seek help—and neither will a pet pig.
Pumping cheap iron-oxide-rich red bricks with specific vapors that form polymers enables the bricks to become electrical-charge-storage devices.
Researchers found that leftovers are likely to end up in the trash, so they advise cooking smaller meals in the first place to avoid food waste. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The finding of a baby dinosaur fossil in the Arctic implies that some dinos nested in the region, which was milder than today but not toasty.
Astronomers observed an odd triple-star system that offers clues about misaligned planetary orbits. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A study estimates that 200 million trees in the tropics are mowed down by lightning annually.
Here are some brief reports about science and technology from all over, including one from Antarctica about how there’s something funny about penguin poop.
Every year, Alaska’s big salmon runs feature smaller salmon. Climate change and competition with hatchery-raised salmon may be to blame. Julia Rosen reports.
That drought may have brought about societal shifts in the region 5,000 years ago. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The finding could potentially help wildlife managers keep better tabs on their herds. Jason G. Goldman reports.
Researchers found extra bones within a 240-million-year-old ichthyosaur fossil—which they determined to be the ichthyosaur’s last, possibly fatal meal. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Butterflies, fish and frogs sport rear-end eyespots that reduce predation. Painting eye markings on cows similarly seems to ward off predators.
Hermit warblers in California have developed 35 different song dialects, apparently as a result of wildfires temporarily driving them out of certain areas.
Scientists determined that “lava world” exoplanets do not derive their brightness from molten rock but possibly get it from reflective metallic clouds. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Climate change is expected to bring more frequent droughts and heat waves to Africa’s Kalahari Desert. And aardvarks might not be able to cope. Jason G. Goldman reports.
Scientists spotted a mouse at the summit of Llullaillaco, a 22,000-foot-tall volcano on the border of Chile and Argentina. Julia Rosen reports.
A decline in smell was the sense loss most strongly associated with such risk in a recent study. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Rather than undergoing active chameleonlike color changes, glass frogs’ translucency allows light to bounce from their background and go through them—making their apparent color close to their setting.
Compared with traditional lineup techniques, a series of two-faces-at-a-time choices led to more accurate identification by study witnesses.
An analysis of fox fossils found evidence that they scavenged from wolf and bear kills until Homo sapiens supplied plenty of horse and reindeer remains.
Now submerged caves in the Yucatán Peninsula contain remains of ocher-mining operations that date back at least 10,000 years.
Soap bubbles are sticky enough to carry a pollen payload and delicate enough to land on flowers without harm.
Here are some brief reports about science and technology from all over, including one about how a lizard population responded to hurricanes by developing larger and stickier toe pads on average.
COVID-19-related lockdowns dampened human activity around the globe—giving seismologists a rare glimpse of the earth’s quietest rumblings. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Art museums are filled with centuries-old paintings with details of plants that today give us clues about evolution and breeding practices.
Meteorologists take advantage of weather data collected by commercial jetliners at different altitudes and locations. Fewer flights mean less data.
The sword-tailed cricket can discern bats’ echolocation signals by only responding to calls of a certain volume—at which point it plummets out of their approach.
The system works like noise-cancelling headphones but fits over an open window. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Vaccination used against smallpox during the Civil War reveals the identity of the distantly related virus used to keep troops disease-free.
Individuals aren’t very good at judging whether someone coughing or sneezing has an infectious condition or is simply reacting to something benign.
Those that eat insects, migrate or usually live in the woods are most likely to fly into buildings that feature a lot of glass.
White-throated sparrows made a change to their familiar call that quickly spread across Canada.
Scientists have found snippets of Native South American DNA in the genomes of present-day Polynesians, and they trace the contact to the year 1150. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Researchers saw a third fewer vehicle collisions with deer, elk, moose and other large mammals in the four weeks following COVID-19 shutdowns in three states they tracked.
Velvety free-tailed bats produce sounds that help them locate insect prey but simultaneously identify them to their companions.
Old, big trees are dying faster than in the past, leaving younger, less biodiverse forests that store less carbon worldwide.
The stomach contents of young great white sharks show that they spend a lot of time patrolling the seafloor for meals.
Political scientists analyzed congressional tweets and observed how Republicans and Democrats responded differently to the virus. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The gross ecosystem product, or GEP, tries to take into account the contribution of nature to the economy.
Many species are known to have changed their migration routes in response to the changing climate. They now include mule deer and Bewick’s swans.
Here are some brief reports about science and technology from around the planet, including one about a 70-million-year-old mollusk fossil that reveals years back then had a few more days than we have now.
By hardening the nation’s streets and highways, trucks would use less fuel and spare the planet carbon emissions. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Narwhals, recognizable by their large single tusk, make distinct sounds that are now being analyzed in depth by researchers.
A study of our closest evolutionary relatives finds that the chimp behavior known as lip smacking occurs in the same timing range as human mouths during speech.
Three-dimensional printed coral-like structures were able to support the algae that live in real corals, which could help restore reefs and grow algae for bioenergy production.
Scientists are studying the delicate mucus houses built by creatures called larvaceans to better understand how they live. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The psychological state of children may need special attention during COVID-19 impacts and isolation.
By sequencing DNA from the dust of dead sea scrolls, scientists were able to glean new clues about the ancient manuscripts. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Right whales, other whales and turtles get caught in lobster trap lines, but fewer lines can maintain the same lobster catch levels.
An expert on climate denial offers tips for inoculating people against coronavirus conspiracy notions.
Prey animals flash biochemically produced light to confuse elephant seals hunting in the dark. But at least one seal turned the tables.
Analyzing keywords on Twitter can offer a loose measure of the subjective well-being of a community, as long as you don’t count three words: good, love and LOL.
The Silent Cities project is collecting sound from cities around the planet during the coronavirus pandemic to give researchers a database of natural sound in areas usually filled with human-generated noise.
Here are some brief reports about science and technology from around the planet, including one about an incredibly well-preserved horned lark ( Eremophila alpestris ), like the one pictured, that lived 46,000 years ago.
Exposed to mildly warmer waters, some corals turn neon instead of bleaching white. The dramatic colors may help coax symbiotic algae back. Christopher Intagliata reports.
A gene whose mutated form is associated with cancer in humans turns out to have a role in burning calories over a long evolutionary history.
Mosquitoes that like to bite at night are being thwarted by bed nets, leading to the rise of populations that prefer to bite when the nets are not up yet.
President Trump pointed out yesterday that if we didn't do any testing for the virus we would have very few cases, which forces us to confront the issues posed by testing in general.
Food sharing is mainly found in adult animals as a part of social bonding. But in a rarely observed behavior in birds, older barn owl chicks will share food with younger ones.
Dehydrated blood that could be kept at room temperature for years may be possible thanks to a sugar used to preserve donuts—and made by tardigrades and brine shrimp so they can dry out and spring back with water.
To entice female ring-tailed lemurs, males rub wrist secretions, which include compounds we use in perfumes, onto their tail and then wave it near the gals.
They don’t stand on one leg around just anybody but often prefer certain members of the flock.
Horses picked out photographs of their current keepers, and even of former keepers whom they had not seen in months, at a rate much better than chance.
The large herbivores appear to prefer disturbed areas over more intact ones and spread many more seeds in those places through their droppings.
Bees infected with a virus cut back on interactions within their hive but find it easier to get past sentries at neighboring hives.
Wild cats kill more animals than domestic ones do. But pet cats kill many more of them in a small area than similarly sized wild predators.
Here are a few brief reports about science and technology from around the planet, including one about what the eruption of Mount Vesuvius might have done to one ill-fated resident of Herculaneum.
Oxpeckers riding on rhinoceroses feast on ticks, and their calls warn the nearsighted herbivores about approaching humans.
In a teleconference promoting her participation in Earth Day events on the National Geographic Channel, Goodall talked about what gives her hope during the pandemic and what she hopes we all learn from it.
Here are some “highlights” from the past 13.5 years of this podcast.
Introducing herds of large herbivores in the Arctic would disturb surface snow, allowing cold air to reach the ground and keep the permafrost frosty.
In mice, a test for lung cancer involves nanoprobes that recognize tumors and send reporter molecules into the urine for simple analysis.
As he endorsed Joe Biden today, former president Barack Obama touched on some environmental, economic and science matters.
Researchers studying yellow warbler responses to the parasitic cowbird realized that red-winged blackbirds were eavesdropping on the calls and reacting to them, too.
Well, it’s probably there because the odds on its presence have gone way up in the past 40 years. But such parasites are still much more of a health problem for whales and dolphins than they are for us.
Although the tusk can be a weapon, the variation in tusk length among animals of similar body size points to it being primarily a mating status signal.
Pulitzer-winning Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance, talks about the dangers of politicians offering coronavirus misinformation.
Tigers and lions at the Bronx Zoo have tested positive for the virus, and studies show that house cats—but apparently not dogs—can become infected.
Humboldt squid can rapidly change the pigmentation and luminescence patterns on their skin by contracting and relaxing their muscles, possibly to communicate.
Dating back 67 million years, this representative of the group of modern birds has been dubbed the Wonderchicken (which is not an April Fools’ Day joke).
To make it in urban areas, birds tend to be either large-brained and able to produce few offspring or small-brained and extremely fertile. In natural habitats, most birds brains are of average size.
The diets of coyotes vary widely, depending on whether they live in rural, suburban or urban environments—but pretty much anything is fair game.
The bilateral organism crawled on the seafloor, taking in organic matter at one end and dumping the remains out the other some 555 million years ago.
Here are a few brief reports about science and technology from around the planet, including one about the discovery of an intact chicken egg dating to Roman Britain.
By entering your health status, even if you’re feeling fine, at the Web site COVID Near You, you can help researchers develop a nationwide look at where hotspots of coronavirus are occurring.
When vampire bats feel sick, they still engage in prosocial acts such as sharing food with nonrelatives. But they cut back on grooming anyone other than their closest kin.
Listen in as I use two calculators to track the difference in numbers of infections over a short period of time, depending on how many people each infected individual infects on average.
They’re not born pregnant like tribbles, but swamp wallabies routinely get pregnant while pregnant.
Ocean plastic gets covered with algae and other marine organisms, making it smell delicious to sea turtles—with potentially deadly results.
The growth layers in a 70-million-year-old clam shell indicate that a year back then had more than 370 days, with each day being only about 23.5 hours.
As oceans heat up, the ubiquitous noise of snapping shrimp should increase, posing issues for other species and human seagoing ventures.
In an example of how sea noise can harm species, exposed shore crabs changed camouflaging color sluggishly and were slower to flee from simulated predators.
Studies on very old vegetation in the Amazon basin show active management hundreds of years ago on species such as Brazil nut and cocoa trees.
By breaking 900 classical piano compositions into musical chunks, researchers could track Ludwig van Beethoven’s influence on the composers who followed him. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Here are a few brief reports about science and technology from around the world, including one from off the California coast about the first heart rate measurement done on a blue whale.
Increasing or decreasing the altitude of aircraft by a few thousand feet to avoid thin layers of humidity could make a major reduction to contrails’ contribution to climate change.
Inbreeding in Thoroughbreds has increased significantly in the past 45 years, with the greatest rise occurring in the past 15 or so of them.
Hippos that escaped from drug kingpin Pablo Escobar’s private zoo are reproducing in the wild. And with increasing numbers, they could threaten ecosystems.
Art created by Australian Aboriginal people used organic carbon-free pigments, but wasp nests above or below the art can be used for radiocarbon dating that supplies boundaries for the age of artworks.
Ice cores from a Tibetan glacier reveal the first deposits of industrial revolution pollution, starting in layers dated to about 1780.
A new study in mice concludes stress can cause gray hair—and credits overactive nerves with the change in hue. Karen Hopkin reports.
A very fine grind can actually hamper espresso brewing, because particles may clump more than larger particles will.
Most feral dogs that did not run away from humans were able to respond to hand cues about the location of food—even without training.
Neandertals ate clams and then modified the hard shells into tools for cutting and scraping.
Whiskeys claimed to be from the 19th century are revealed to be made with much more recently grown barley, thanks to the unique isotopic fingerprint of the nuclear-testing era.
By outfitting 169 albatrosses with GPS data loggers, scientists were able to track fishing boats apparently trying to hide their location. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Here are a few brief reports about international science and technology from around the world, including one from the Democratic Republic of the Congo about a toad that has evolved coloring that makes it look like a deadly snake’s head.
Groundhogs are less accurate at weather forecasting than are coin flips, but they are nonetheless pretty interesting critters.
One hypothesis says the ability to vocalize arose in nocturnal animals—and a new evolutionary analysis suggests there may be some truth to it. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Well more than 100 distinct sign languages exist worldwide, with each having features that made it possible for researchers to create an evolutionary tree of their lineages.
Researchers dialed down the default number of opioids in two hospitals’ prescription systems—and doctors ended up prescribing fewer pills. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Some wolf pups will play fetch with a stranger, suggesting that an ability to playfully interact with people could have come before, and played a role in, dog domestication.
By listening to the sounds of the forest, biologists were able to identify an invasion of barred owls in spotted owl habitat. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The cat parasite Toxoplasma gondii boosts curiosity in mice—which makes them more likely to be caught by cats, thus continuing the parasite’s life cycle. Karen Hopkin reports.
The remora clings to other fish—and appears to use an unusual sense of touch to do so. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Mussels and crabs are two of the creatures most likely to invade Antarctica in the next 10 years, a panel of scientists say. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Soil bacteria may have taken residence in early algal species, gifting the algae with the ability to withstand drier conditions on land. Annie Sneed reports.
The Murchison meteorite, which screamed to Earth 50 years ago, carried with it stardust that's seven billion years old. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Hunted areas of Gabon have fewer large mammals and a thicker forest understory—but they also have fewer termites. Jason G. Goldman reports.
The starfish relatives can recognize patterns using photoreceptors on their arms—and their color-changing abilities could have something to do with it. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Scientists observed two Atlantic puffins using sticks to scratch themselves—the first known instance of seabirds using tools. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The 2019 New York Yankees’ record number of injuries led to a change in training staff that will almost certainly correlate with, but not necessarily cause, a lower injury rate this coming season.
A few brief reports about international science and technology from Indonesia to Spain, including one from Brazil about the highest-voltage electric eel ever discovered.
In South Africa archaeologists found the charred remains of a roasted root vegetable. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Getting around the sun last year was some trip.
By comparing how DNA gets altered over the lifetimes of people and dogs, researchers came up with a new way to compare canine years with human years.
Research suggests people value gifts more when they have to unwrap them. But how do we avoid all the wasted paper? Christopher Intagliata reports.
Human hair tested stronger than thicker fibers from elephants, boars and giraffes, providing clues to materials scientists hoping to make superstrong synthetic fibers.
Certain species of bacteria and fungi seem to proliferate on dandruff-ridden scalps. The reason is a little more mysterious. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Tiger moth species that contain bad-tasting and toxic compounds are nonchalant in the presence of bats, while edible moth species evade their predators.
In shallow waters off the coast of Israel, archaeologists have found entire villages—including one with a sunken seawall. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Here’s an argument that citizen scientists deserve co-authorship on scientific journal papers to which they contributed research.
While some hydropower facilities release almost no greenhouse gases, others can actually be worse than burning fossil fuels.
People in certain zip codes are more likely to purchase products that flop, buy homes that are poor investments and pick political candidates who lose. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Residents of an overwintering station in Antarctica provided linguists with evidence of the first small changes in speech that may signal the development of a new accent.
Archaeologists unearthed wood from a Roman villa when digging Rome’s subway—and scientists determined the planks came all the way from France. Christopher Intagliata reports.
The white bellbird of the Amazon may be the loudest bird in the world.
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.