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You might think a male giraffe weevil, or a male anything for that matter, would object to a rival creeping between his legs when he’s mating.
But creeping sneaks get away with outrageous stunts among New Zealand’s giraffe weevils (Lasiorhynchus barbicornis). Christina Painting at the University of Auckland remembers the first big male weevil she watched, an 80-...
A new simulation illustrates the explosiveness of the volcano that lurks beneath Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
Around 640,000 years ago, the volcano blew its top and coated North America with roughly 330 cubic kilometers of ash. A simulation of the eruption described August 27 in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems reveals that a similar outburst today would bury Billings, Mont...
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The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. WeiglArthur AllenW.W. Norton & Co., $26.9509/21/2014 - 16:00 History of Science, Science & Society, Biomedicine
The bacteria that cause typhus rely on the body louse to spread. Because lice thrive wherever people are crammed together under unsanitary conditions, typhus became a threat to armies and refugees alike during World War II. As a result, Nazi Germany “whipped itself into a typhus terror,” writes science...
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Where Do Camels Belong?Ken ThompsonGreystone Books, $17.9509/20/2014 - 10:00 Ecosystems, Ecology, Animals, Plants
Invasive species are the outlaws of the ecological world. They move in and muck up ecosystems, sap natural resources and muscle out respectable natives. The U.S. government spends billions of dollars each year to combat these rowdy aliens, and yet they keep on coming.
But many nonnatives get a bum rap, says Thompson,...
Letters to the Editor
The great asteroid grab09/19/2014 - 15:30 Planetary Science, Anthropology, Psychology
NASA plans to nab an asteroid and bring it into orbit around the moon. The mission is billed as a stepping stone to Mars, but critics question whether redirecting space rocks will help put humans on the Red Planet. Meghan Rosen detailed the debate in “A rocky road to Mars” (SN: 8/23/14, p. 22).
Responses to the Asteroid Redirect Mission ranged from...
I spent a good chunk of last week in a hospital where my mother was undergoing surgery, so I had a chance to see, firsthand, some of the double-checking that doctors and nurses use to avoid making simple mistakes. They repeatedly asked my mom her name, her date of birth, what surgery she was there for and which side of her body doctors were supposed to operate on. All went well, but the...
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All Rachel Racicot wanted to do was look at a fossil. As a paleontology graduate student at San Diego State University, Racicot had scheduled some time with a local hospital’s CT scanner. She was going to examine a 3-million-year-old porpoise jaw.
But when the day came to slide the fossil into the scanner, the hospital put her on hold. A...
It is not difficult to make microbes resistant to penicillin in the laboratory by exposing them to concentrations not sufficient to kill them….
—Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin, in his 1945 Nobel Prize lecture
Fleming’s remarks were spot-on. Since the heady days of penicillin’s discovery, an overuse of antibiotics has spawned bacterial...
Warren Commission Report — A new way to fight crime, called neutron activation analysis, uses penetrating neutron radiation to help catch a criminal from only a speck of evidence. The Warren Commission included the results of a neutron activation analysis test of Lee Harvey Oswald in their recent assassination study. The tests, however, could not prove that Lee Harvey Oswald fired the...
Egypt’s pyramid construction plans could have included a little rock ‘n’ roll.
Ancient Egyptians might have rolled giant bricklike stones to pyramid building sites by strapping wooden rods to each rock, researchers suggest in a paper posted August 14 at arXiv.org.
The method offers a new take on a herculean task that has long puzzled people. The rolling hypothesis could even dodge...