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  • Experiences

    Hunting fossils in England

    As rain plopped onto our jackets, my tour group huddled against the side of the Lyme Regis Museum on the southwest coast of England, struggling to hear our fossil-hunting guide over the sound of wind and waves.

    “This is really the weather you want for fossil collecting,” said marine biologist Chris Andrew, the museum’s education director. “It lets the fossils wash down from the cliffs.”...

    01/21/2014 - 10:00 Paleontology
  • Science Stats

    Vaccine vindication

    View the slideshow

    At least 103 million cases of childhood disease have been prevented by vaccines since 1924, according to a new survey tracking reports of 56 diseases back to 1888.

    Within five years of introducing the measles vaccine, 95 percent of cases were prevented. Some diseases have seen recent resurgences as parents delay or skip immunizations for their children;...

    01/20/2014 - 16:50 Health
  • It's Alive

    Sperm on a stick for springtails

    For springtails, sex can be an Easter egg hunt. Many males of the tiny soil organisms sustain their species by leaving drops of sperm glistening here and there in the landscape in case a female chooses to pick one up.

    “The male never meets the female,” says Zaira Valentina Zizzari of VU University Amsterdam, who studies a species of these extreme loners called Orchesella cincta. Just...

    01/19/2014 - 20:23 Animals
  • Mystery Solved

    Transfixing tetrahedrons

    As a whirling dervish spins, his long skirt can form mesmerizing shapes such as a three-faced pyramid that rotates more slowly than its wearer. Dervishes are Sufi Muslims who represent the revolving heavens with their spinning dance, and it turns out the dance also mirrors the physics of a spinning Earth.

    The flowing shapes made by a dervish’s skirt, physicists have discovered, depend on...

    01/17/2014 - 09:30 Physics
  • Reviews & Previews

    Life at the Speed of Light

    Biology has come a long way from the days of mixing things in petri dishes and hoping something interesting happens. In his new book, Venter introduces readers to a future of precise biological engineering, guided by DNA and targeted to create life forms never before thought possible.

    Venter has the scientific chops to back up these claims. His first book related the story of how he...

    01/16/2014 - 10:20 Genetics