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  • It's Alive

    A corsage that bites

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    Orchid mantises have evolved into a fake flower that out-flowers the real thing. The insects don’t seem to be mimicking any real flower found so far, but have invented something even fancier. Among the many oddly shaped mantises of the world, only the petal-legged, corsage-worthy orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) comes close to counterfeiting a whole blossom, says James O’...
    12/09/2013 - 07:52 Animals
  • Science Visualized

    Online map tracks forest shifts from space

    By layering more than 650,000 satellite images onto a Google map, researchers have created a new tool to track forest cover.

    The online tool, described in the Nov. 15 Science, lets users walk through space and time, zooming from single plots to a global view. The big picture isn’t so pretty.

    From 2000 to 2012, logging, fires, storms and other disturbances wiped out 2.3 million...

    12/06/2013 - 09:29 Ecosystems, Ecology, Sustainability
  • Screentime

    Best science to see and hear

    Every day, hours and hours of audio and video about science are uploaded, downloaded and shared. And now the Science Studio website has stepped in to curate that flood of information. Science Studio bills itself as “a collection of the best science multimedia on the web.” A panel of 39 judges, including notable science writers, watched and listened to 120 nominated videos, radio programs,...
    12/04/2013 - 09:10 Science & Society
  • Reviews & Previews

    The Tell

    While most people think they’re good at spotting liars, the truth may come as a surprise. The vast majority can detect a lie only 54 percent of the time (barely better than flipping a coin). A tiny percentage, maybe one in 1,000 people, can discern a lie more than 80 percent of the time. These “truth wizards” are exceptionally keen at reading a person’s facial expressions and body language, among...
    12/03/2013 - 09:11 Psychology
  • Say What?

    Cryovolcano

    An ice volcano that erupts slurries of volatile compounds such as water or methane instead of lava. Cryovolcanoes are thought to occur in the solar system’s frozen places, such as Saturn’s largest moon Titan, where such volcanoes may spew liquid from an ocean hidden in the moon’s interior.

    On Titan’s frigid surface, astronomers have spotted formations (above) that resemble volcanic...

    12/02/2013 - 09:44 Earth
  • Science Stats

    Fastest supercomputers

    The new list of the world’s fastest computers, now in its 20th year, has China’s Tianhe-2 on top with a processing speed of 33.9 petaflops — or quadrillions of calculations per second.

    Many top supercomputers are at national laboratories and are used mainly for science, such as number two Titan at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. In recent years, speeds have risen dramatically...
    12/01/2013 - 08:46 Computing
  • Feature

    Heal thy neighbor

    Nearly all the women of Mohmandara, a village in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border, met at a local health clinic one day in 2005. Mental health workers at the clinic, run by a Dutch international aid organization, had heard village women talking to each other about “feelings of sadness” and “worrying too much.” The women eagerly accepted an invitation to talk it over at the clinic...

    11/29/2013 - 14:30 Science & Society, Psychology
  • Feature

    Global neuro lab

    If you own a television, a computer or a smartphone, you may have seen ads for Lumosity, the brain-training regimen that promises to sharpen your wits and improve your life. Take the bait, and you’ll first create a profile that includes your age, how much sleep you get, the time of day you’re most productive and other minutiae about your life and habits. After this digital debriefing, you can...

    11/29/2013 - 11:00 Neuroscience
  • Reviews & Previews

    Making the most of zero gravity

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    Legendary astronauts like John Glenn and Neil Armstrong achieved fame through single extraordinary moments. Yet Chris Hadfield is arguably the most famous post-Apollo astronaut thanks to his YouTube videos chronicling astronauts’ everyday lives. His new book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, includes what he learned from his time at the Canadian Space Agency.

    ...

    11/27/2013 - 14:32 Astrobiology
  • News

    Human ancestors threw stone-tipped spears at prey

    Stone points unearthed in East Africa served as the business ends of the earliest known throwing spears, which human ancestors used to hunt prey around 279,000 years ago.

    Hand-cast spears, consisting of sharpened obsidian tips attached to long, presumably wooden handles, allowed ancient members of the human evolutionary family to hunt animals from a distance and avoid dangerous...

    11/19/2013 - 15:00 Anthropology, Archaeology