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  • Science Stats

    Uninhabitable Earth

    To determine whether a planet could support life, astronomers first look at whether it falls within its star’s habitability zone, the Goldilocks distance that is not too hot or too cold. But that range can change as a star evolves. A recent estimate of the lifetimes of the habitability zones of Earth and various exoplanets suggests Earth could become unable to support life as soon as 1.75...

    11/11/2013 - 10:12 Planetary Science
  • It's Alive

    Pink armadillos ain’t your Texas critters

    Here’s an Internet bizarrity that you can believe in: the pink fairy armadillo.

    It’s a real animal, the smallest armadillo species in the world. At about 100 grams, it would fit in your hands. It’s covered with “very fine, silky white hair,” says Mariella Superina of the CONICET research center in Mendoza, Argentina. And its hard outer covering, rich in blood vessels, can blush pink....

    11/07/2013 - 11:26 Animals
  • Say What?


    A newly christened mineral has an atomic structure that’s similar to diamond and nearly as hard. Qingsongite was first created in the laboratory in 1957, and geologists first found natural qingsongite, which is a cubic boron nitride, in chromium-rich rocks in Tibet in 2009.

    The mineral is named after deceased Chinese geologist Qingsong Fang, who discovered diamond in similar Tibetan...

    11/03/2013 - 17:32 Materials, Earth, Chemistry
  • Introducing

    Clearly new snail

    Croatia’s deepest cave system is home to a tiny, translucent resident. The newly named Zospeum tholussum belongs to a group of terrestrial snails found in wet subterranean habitats. Alexander Weigand of Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany retrieved a living specimen from one chamber and a handful of empty shells from others more than 800 meters deep inside the Lukina Jama–Trojama cave...

    11/02/2013 - 15:43 Animals, Ecosystems
  • Feature

    Waiting to exhale

    The 800 or so breaths you release each hour contain more than just spent air. Along with familiar gases like carbon dioxide, nitrogen and oxygen, each breath holds a vaporized record of the foods you’ve eaten, the places you’ve been, the drugs you’ve taken, the pollutants you’ve encountered and the general operation of your internal organs. It’s a chronicle of daily living that doctors have...

    11/01/2013 - 14:40 Biomedicine